Cath McCallig and Kelly Nash were determined to get out Hunted downdefiantly Thelma and Luisa-style, friends to the end.
Alas, it happened much sooner than both of them had hoped, captured by land hunters in the very first episode.
The lifelong friends, both with theater backgrounds, relied on a variety of disguises to hide their tracks, but photos posted on social media before the ‘Where’s Wally’ show quickly alerted fans. Hunted down team to their close associates and in a house in Prahran where they were resting.
Apparently, it was their children who posted the pictures, without turning off the comments.
“We figured we’d be better at this because we don’t have much of a digital life,” Cath says TV tonight. “We thought maybe it’s actually not digitally so obvious in the world that we might have a chance, but we clearly didn’t!
“We are not super tech savvy like our children and all the young people who were other fugitives. We saw how young they were when we got on the boat. ‘Oh god, of course we’re the elders here!’ It may have been our downfall.
“We thought maybe we could fly under the radar, digitally. But also, and this is a pretty extreme way of doing it, I wanted to experiment with the idea that you become kind of invisible as a middle-aged woman.
“It was a way of saying how invisible we are, except we haven’t had a chance to prove it. But it would have been interesting just to be able to hide in plain sight so to speak.
Left to right: Cath McCallig and Kelly Nash
They also had elaborate plans involving wigs, costumes, boats, holiday homes and friends ready to help cover their tracks, but their journeys from the Docklands to Port Melbourne, Portarlington and Prahran were strained.
“We thought it would be fun to ride part of our escape route across the bay,” Kelly reveals.
“We too have some friends with holiday homes who have kindly opted out. We really wanted to go to Sorrento, to my neighbor’s house over there,” adds Cath.
“I think this is probably the most disappointing part, disappointing the people who were ready to come and help us!” Kelly explains.
“We relaxed because that was our third day on the run. We had four “preliminary plans” for that day, but they fell through. So we were desperate and I think when we got to the house of Georgina, a friend and colleague, we just relaxed and let our guard down.
“We were just exhausted from being ‘up’ overall, it was only three days. So god knows how other people can do that.
“Until you’re in that situation, you really don’t know,” agrees Cath. “We were lying in bed the second night in a trailer going, ‘Imagine if this was something we had to do to protect ourselves and/or our children as victims of domestic violence. We are lucky that we are not in that situation. How hard it must be for them to hide, because clearly it’s really hard.
“It’s pretty easy to find,” adds Kelly.
They both underwent a lengthy audition process to join Hunted downbefore passing on the essential information to the producers.
“That’s pretty much it,” Kelly acknowledges. “Passwords for all your emails, you hand over your phone, you basically hand over your digital life. It’s all in their hands and they can use it however they like.
“There’s a lot of preparation and a psychologist is involved and they have to have a good sense that you’re up for the challenge, I suppose.
“Strong is how I would describe it.”
Despite the anticipated bombing, they both enjoyed the experience and only learned how they were captured during media interviews and watching the episode screen last night.
“Yes, it’s a reality show. But there’s no meanness,” says Cath. “I mean, the other contestants -not that we’re allowed to chat- were kind and lovely. Each of them is beautiful. There was no sense of competition. It was all supportive.
“We did the work against the Chasers, I suppose. We weren’t against the other escapees,” Kelly says.
“We loved the other teams, they are amazing!” adds Cath.
Both are pragmatic about having fun after lockdown on a TV show where the reward is secondary to the challenge to oneself
“We’re moms and wives, so life is pretty predictable when you hit 50. To do something a little out of the ordinary, a little fun and a little wacky and crazy, why not? Playing an adult version of Hide and Seek sounds like a lot of fun,” says Cath.
Kelly adds, “We’d love to do it again, knowing what we know now! But next time turn off the comments!
Hunted continues at 7.30pm Tuesday and 10am Wednesday.