Texas Motor Speedway

Reality check: Libby Vincek of 'Survivor' is TMS' newest 'Great American Sweetheart'

Libby Vincek, a TCU graduate and contestant on "Survivor: Ghost Island," is the newest "Great American Sweetheart" at Texas Motor Speedway.
Libby Vincek, a TCU graduate and contestant on "Survivor: Ghost Island," is the newest "Great American Sweetheart" at Texas Motor Speedway. TMS

Texas Motor Speedway will get a dose of reality during race weekend.

The newest “Great American Sweetheart” is Libby Vincek, who is a contestant on this season’s "Survivor: Ghost Island."

Survivor has plenty of avid fans, much like NASCAR. Vincek is ready for her first race weekend.

“Getting to represent something that people are so passionate about and getting to help just boost the morale and present things will be a pretty cool experience,” said Vincek, who went to TCU and now resides in Nashville.

“I’m really looking forward to race day and seeing what our job is and meeting all the fans.”

Vincek will surely be asked about being on "Survivor." This is a reality show that is now in its 36th season. The "Ghost Island" season was filmed last summer in Fiji.

The Star-Telegram asked Vincek about her experience on the show.

How’d you land on the show? “I really didn’t grow up watching the show as passionately as a lot of people did. However, I’ve always been interested in wanting to do something like that. If you put me on a show, what would it be? I’d say "Survivor." But I never pictured myself getting to do something like that because there’s so many people that apply for it and so many people who are considered for it.

"I just never really dreamed of it actually working out for me until someone actually called me from the network and thought that I’d be a really good fit. It was a calling I think in show business that this was meant for me to do. I wasn’t going to find it; it was going to come to me."

What’s the hardest part of the show? “Oh my gosh, the toll that it takes on contestants is really unexplainable unless you go through it. You’re alone. You’re around people that you don’t know and you have to be able to show that not only are you worth trusting, but you have to pick and choose who you trust. That makes it really hard.

“The social game is a lot harder than the physical game is. The physical game is very hard, too, there’s nothing fake about it. You really do have to survive on an island. You really do have to starve and make your shelter and it’s tough. It’s really hard. It’s eye-opening. You really don’t give me any food? If the fire goes out, you have to make your own fire. Things like that and you kind of forget those little things in life that really mean a lot. You learn not to take other things for granted what you do have in real life.”

So it’s not fake? “It’s as real as it gets. There’s nothing that they give you and nothing that they do for you. Whenever you’re really a contestant, they don’t feel sorry for you.”

What should fans of the show know about it? “What I would want fans to know is that it’s truly such an eye-opener and allows you to gain this confidence in yourself that you never knew you had. You’re forced to. When you’re out there, you never want to give up. In life, it’s a lot easier to give up because you have something to fall down on. It’s really important to remember and take that with you. I hope when fans watch it, they live in the contestants’ shoes and try and learn the same lessons that we’re learning there. It’s like, you don’t just watch it for entertainment. If you really do love the game, you want to watch it to be inspired by the people who are out there.

“I think that if there’s a misconception, some people may think that the show is not as awesome because you have to backstab people, but I think it’s more of, like, learn who you can and can’t trust. How do you build relationships in life? You can’t trust everyone in life and you can’t think they’re a nice person all the time. You have to maybe not necessarily backstab people, but you’re not able to trust this person or trust that person.

"It doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. Because, in "Survivor," at the end of the game, you have to vote for who played the best. … You have to be able to play life right. You have to be able to look out for yourself and look out for others, but still make sure you get something out of it in the end.”

What was it like meeting host Jeff Probst? “Jeff Probst is literally the coolest television host in the world. First of all, everything he says, he says once. He doesn’t have to re-say it or rephrase it. He’s just a perfect speaker. But also the fact that he’s so passionate about the game allows us players to be passionate about what they’re doing and the choices they are making.

"My dream is to be a television show host one day. If I ever have the opportunity to do that, I’m taking that with me and allowing myself to say, ‘Hey Libby, whenever you’re doing something like this, you want the people that are involved to love it just as much as you do.’ So I think that he’s just so awesome.”

Finally, what’s next for you? “ 'Survivor' will always be part of my life and I’m going to use that as a platform to be able to speak at different events. I’m working on a fitness line, writing a healthy lifestyle blog and doing stuff like that. I’m working for a production company here in Nashville, also getting into acting and fun stuff like that. I’m not really passing up any opportunities that are coming my way.”

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