Emily Reidel Talks 'Bering Sea Gold'

Post by: Rick Ellis 12 December, 2013

Searching for gold in Alaska is dangerous and frustrating and can leave you more in debt that when you started the process. It's also apparently a profession dominated by men, at least based on what viewers seen on TV. There are at least a half dozen Alaska gold hunting shows currently on the air and less than a handful of regular cast members that are women. One of the few exceptions has been Emily Reidel, the budding opera singer who has become the emotional center of Discovery's Bering Sea Gold.

The show premiered in January of 2012 and the "hook" of the series was that it followed the challenges faced by a group of hopefuls who search for gold by dredging the sea floor located just off the shore of Nome, Alaska. But while the novelty of the crews' task was what brought viewers in, one of the primary reasons for them sticking around was Reidel. She's an unlikely fortune seeker and in season one she made a point of saying that she was in Nome to make enough money so that she could pursue her dream of having a career in Opera. She had a father who was a longtime dredger and her best friend and semi-love interest (Zeke Tenhoff) was also obsessed with finding gold. Watching her navigate the testosterone-filled environment as she struggled to learn the business was often the best part of the show and one of the reasons that it's back for a third season this week.

Reidel said in a recent phone interview that it took awhile for her to really commit to dredging and to decide that this was a career she was destined to pursue at this point in her life. "At the time of the first season I was pretty conflicted," she said. "I was thinking that I could somehow walk this line between singing and gold and there was a point last year where I decided that if I was going to do this, I needed to commit fully and embrace it."

Viewers have watched her struggle to define her relationship with Zeke and last season ended with the cliffhanger that included the suicide of his best friend. That death pushed Zeke into a more obsessive search for riches and it was one of the factors that led to Emily joining her father Steve in an ill-fated search for gold during the winter months that was recounted in season two of Bering Sea Gold: Under The Ice. While Steve funded the venture, his casual and often erratic style of management led to a number of father-daughter arguments. And in the end, the team found less than an ounce of gold.

Reidel says she knew what she was getting into, but being fired from Zeke's team didn't leave her many options. "I needed a job and he had one," she explained. "But my father is....different and it can be extremely frustrating to work with him. He's always been the way that he is and at some point you realize that he isn't going to change." She said that the experience reinforced the fact that she needed to improve her dive experience and that she was ready to run her own barge. "I'm a strong person and I know what I want. I'm committed to this and I want to be the one who determines how successful I'll be. It's important to me that people respect me and that they're willing to follow my leadership."

In the upcoming season of Bering Sea Gold, Reidel gets her chance, when she runs a barge owned by Zeke. But as you might expect from watching previous seasons, things do not go as planned and the dynamic between Emily and Zeke remains one of the intriguing pairings on reality TV. "I love the guy, but it's tough for us sometimes," Reidel explains. "We both are headstrong and everything is complicated by the fact that he's been going through a dark period. John's death changed a lot in his life and he is still working through that."

Reidel says that she's fully committed to finding gold and will take as much time as she needs to reach her goals. But she hasn't given up her singing ambitions and still sees that dream as something she can also accomplish. "I can't see myself as a 50-year-old doing this (searching for gold). But you can be 50 and still be a singer and there's part of me that thinks that's where I'll end up at some point."

Last modified on Tuesday, 26 October 2021 12:44

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