They may not be as famous as The Real Housewives or the Kardashians, but four Parksville people got a taste of what it is like to be filmed in a reality TV show.
The two couples are featured in an episode of House Hunters International on a mission to purchase a shared vacation property in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, a fishing village that also happens to be one of the world’s top 10 surfing destinations.
The four are best friends and also business partners but they took a chance putting their relationships on the line for a beautiful piece of paradise.
Mike Oleksiuk and John Madsen run Arrowsmith Moving and Storage, while Mike’s wife Lisa works as a mortgage broker with Dominion Lending Centres Oceanside and John’s wife Linda works at a local law office.
The episode that follows them as they search for a Mexican retreat aired on Sept. 9 on HGTV and will air again on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 5 p.m.
Lisa said when she and Mike wanted to buy a vacation home in Mexico, they naturally thought of sharing it with their best buds.
The main challenge they face in House Hunters International is finding one property to meet the needs of four unique individuals without risking their friendship.
“We are all similar in our tastes and we tend to like the same things but we have never lived together under one roof before,” explained Lisa.
She said they had been looking for a property in Mexico without much success, so Mike decided to write into the show.
“We like to watch the show and Mike e-mailed the show and said there were four of us looking for a vacation property to share. They get a ton of e-mails but he followed up and eventually they asked us to send a video of the four of us.”
The video included footage of the four of them at Cameron Lake where they spend their summers along with a little something extra to get the producers attention.
“We did a goofy thing and dumped water over the guys to make a point about the rain we get on Vancouver Island. We sent in the three minute video and from there they were interested but it took a long time for them to figure out how to do it with four people … that was a new twist for them,” said Lisa.
Once they worked out the logistics of filming two couples, the foursome packed their bags and met the film crew in May 2013 and shot some footage around the picturesque fishing village.
Lisa said it was a unique experience and she learned a lot about how reality shows are produced and how much work is involved. She said they worked 12 hour days with one camera man, one sound guy and a director. “It wasn’t a huge crew. It was weird at first. When you walk into a house it is your initial reaction and they don’t tell you what to say so you are just walking in cold. You have to keep going in and doing the same thing from different angles and they want it to be as authentic as possible.”
The half hour episode aired in the U.S. back in December and Lisa said by chance some of their friends who were vacationing in Hawaii at the time saw that first episode and called them.