You are about to meet an extraordinary and
quite eclectic woman.
Interviewed by Gary Sorkin
Editor: Let's get the BIG Big Brother question out of the way. The American public seems to have rejected it as entertainment. I don't care if you were messing with Brittany or Josh's heads, or if George made a nice looking blonde, what did you think of the show? If you could have changed the format, how would you do it?
Jordan: I think there were monumental errors made by the casting department. This is the first issue. The producers put together a cast of individuals that, more than anything, possessed impressive resumes and all of the catch phrases ("Miss Washington", "United Nations Worker", "New York Lawyer", "Exotic Dancer"). Despite an intriguing array of visual diversity (two token black-Americans, the "alternative girl" with multicolored hair and a nose ring, an Asian-American and a disabled man with one leg), they missed the boat on a crucial issue: how interesting were these people going to be to watch and listen to? They needed to cast the show more like "Survivor" was cast...they needed to find the people who were going to let it all out and engage, rather than worry about their images or being banished, etc.
Secondly, the viewing public is a little confused as to what "Reality TV" means and is (I am too). I think most people want to see conflict, entertainment and sex - this definitely makes for good television. But when they think real people are behind those actions that all of a sudden becomes threatening and the backlash is "banishment" by the public. People will tune in night after night for "Melrose Place" and love the vixen Amanda (which quality drama doesn't have an antagonist and a protagonist?), but when a similar "character" emerges on "Big Brother" she is vilified and "banished" - do people realize that they are removing the very people they tune in to watch? "Survivor" would have been ruined in the hands of the public, because the public doesn't recognize that the very people we see as controversial are the most entertaining. Richard would have been hosed by the public, but if it wasn't for his big butt tromping around naked and his scheming ways there's no WAY the show would have been as popular. (I thought Richard was great.)
People are taking Big Brother very seriously, as I did in the house, but this is entirely the wrong approach in this format. No show which is this much of a pressure cooker (the game, cameras and editing result in an onslaught of dysfunction) by structure should be taken so seriously. There is a lot of confusion concerning "Reality TV" because people are under the illusion that they really know the people on these shows. Furthermore, in a show like "Big Brother" there is major confusion as to what exactly the show is about…human interaction?…entertainment?…a psychological game? No one really knows. Who should remain in the house and ultimately win the competition? The most innocent? The person who most "needs the money?" The most entertaining? "Reality TV" is a concept which is not only confusing to the people on the outside looking in, but ultimately confusing for the people on the inside of these shows looking out. The existence of any game creates dysfunction in an environment - it creates an environment simultaneously conducive to conflict and intimacy at extreme levels.
It is NOT an accurate reflection of reality. It is about real people REACTING to designed dysfunction.
I think the most REAL (in that environment); most ENTERTAINING people should be rewarded.
There is a major problem in HOW the public is viewing the show. They are bent on rewarding the least threatening person by banishing those who are in some way. The problem with this is, as you have seen, the most dynamic, honest people, who are there more for the show, are getting the boot. We are left with a cast of mostly benign, non-threatening people who are...boring to watch.
I think that this sadly reflects society, however - women in particular are seen as threats in society. The women watching the show have played a key role in banishing 4 of the 5 women on the show. (Jaime will most likely be next.) It is about competition for THEM. The most sexually confident and "controversial" was the first out among them. This society is extremely repressed sexually and personally, and needs an enema! :)
Editor: Pop culture has categorized you as "the exotic dancer, the stripper." According to your bio, you are so much more than that. Does this bother you? Does it bother your family?
Jordan: Of course it bothers me - and my family. More than anyone would ever know. The biggest reason for my going on this show was to "break down stereotypes" and show people that the world is a complex place with no absolutes - that people are complicated and usually much more than meets the eye. Our occupations define us as people just about as much as our names do. I have always been so fascinated with people and the life experience. However, my desires were distorted and ended up slapping me in the face.
I'm not surprised however, people want to categorize people so badly...we look for categories every time we meet someone to make us feel more comfortable - like we "get" the other person. When someone emerges who is not so easy to figure out it is threatening to most people. I have always connected with a very small percentage of people in an intense way. I have never been a "masses" type of person. Also in this society, there is a HUGE stigma on confident women, much less outspoken women who have worked in the sex industry and want to talk about it. I have felt the violent opposition, especially from women, who are threatened by me or want to "teach me a lesson". As much as I can understand this, I hate to see women turn against each other so readily. I am in the process of trying to figure out if this is human nature or conditioning. I'll get back to you on this one. ;)
Editor: Here you were house bound with 9 strangers for what turned out to be more than 4 weeks. What is the single most enduring lesson you learned about your fellow human beings during that period?
Jordan: I learned the value of my intimate friends and family...because the masses will never know me to that depth.
I also learned about how deep of an unresolved issue dancing was for me, and that has given me even more of a drive to finish my book. I had a rude awakening with how distorted and ultimately powerful the media can be. My chess game really improved as well. ;)
Editor: One more post Big Brother question. I'm sure you've had offers from many places, people and things: What is your best (excluding this interview) offer, and what was your worst (excluding this interview) offer?
Jordan: People all think that our doors are being beaten down with offers...but this show is mediocre. It's simply not big enough to generate copious amounts of interest. Even so, I have had many offers ranging from exciting to sad, but I will say that my funniest offer was a lifetime discount on meat from a local natural food store.
Editor: How has the entire experience changed you?
Jordan: I am more aware of myself, and I am more aware of the country I live in socially and culturally. I am very familiar with the media, and how television is ultimately about economics and entertainment. I have been disgusted with humanity and impressed with it simultaneously.
Editor: Jordan, you backpacked through Central and South America. Give us a thumbnail; what was that like?
Jordan: It was my first time out of the country, and being the extremist I am, I decided to make it memorable. I had recently experienced a painful breakup, and I wanted to learn Spanish. Those were my primary motivations - to get away and experience life. I booked a flight flying into Guatemala City and flying out of Caracas, Venezuela. I went alone, just me and my backpack. In part because it was so risky and dangerous, it was the single-most empowering adventure I have ever experienced. I learned how to speak a foreign language confidently...I met amazing people...I camped out on desolate beaches and in rain forests...it was incredible. I was the sickest I've ever been in my life at times and my entire backpack was stolen in Costa Rica (figure that one, after making it through Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua)...and although I was aware that I was in danger a few times, I would do it again in a HEARTBEAT. Oddly enough, I think one thing that protected me was being alone...I was such an obvious target people seemed a little hesitant, thinking it was too easy. Most people were confused by my being there alone, and continually asked me if I was in the Peace Corps.
Despite the fact that I could have easily been hurt or killed in Latin America I took the risk, because that's who I am. Luckily, it turned out well for me. I had an incredibly positive experience with the countries and the people - I love Latin America. It forever changed me as a person and I can't wait to do it again (my next goal is Malaysia).
Editor: You are some years away from being a Boomer, what would you like do be doing in 10 years?
Jordan: I would like to be doing the same thing I'm doing now...never the same thing. I have been all over the board and I love it that way...I was working at an outdoor adventure store selling camping equipment, then all of a sudden I am riding my mountain bike to work at a topless 'Gentleman's Club'. I end up on television on a show and all of a sudden I'm working at a radio station and writing articles. I love my life. I hope it is exactly this way in 10 years!
Editor: The triathlon - what intrigues you so about it?
Jordan: The Triathlon is the ultimate aerobic contest. Nothing feels as amazing as jumping into a sea of people all swimming like piranhas, running to your bike, jumping on it in a wet suit and biking your backside off, then jumping off your bike and running it out to the finish line. I love it. There's nothing that comes close to the feeling of completing in a triathlon, especially when you just swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles and ran a marathon, 26.2 miles (the Ironman). I am going to do another one next spring, in the Canary Islands. That's my plan right now.
Editor: If you could contribute one thing to this world - what would it be?
Jordan: A heightened awareness and a greater passion for living.
Editor: Who you voting for President and why?
Jordan: Gore, most definitely. Other than the fact that he is pro-choice, he still kisses his wife like he means it. ;)
Editor: Jordan, you’ve shown us sides of you that the public does not know or see. Your life is unpredictable, and you like it that way. Perhaps, in 10 years from now you will be the first woman President of the United States - if you so choose.