Naturalist, adventurer, actor, activist, environmentalist and horse-trainer are just some of the words to describe “Naked And Afraid XL” star Jake Nodar. Jake was born in Baltimore, Maryland, his family consisting of an older brother and one younger brother and two younger sisters, to his German/Russian mother and Irish/Cuban father. Exposure to the outdoors was instilled in him at an early age as his mother works for a farm where they do educational programs where they teach kids about agriculture and the agriculture/environmental link (his father is also an avid outdoor enthusiast).
Having an obsession with horses since childhood, when he moved with his parents to a small farm when he was 18 it was only natural that the first thing Jake would do was get a horse. After purchasing his first horse, he began volunteering at Days End Farm Horse Rescue where they hired him on as farm manager, overseeing 45-60 abused and neglected horses, and his lifelong career with horses began. Jake enrolled in a horse training school in western Colorado, where after graduating, he started his business, primarily working with young horses and horses with behavioral issues. Over the past 17 years, he has started hundreds of young horses under saddle, trained with Olympic riders, and have trained and competed in numerous disciplines, both English and western and appeared in numerous publications such as California Riding Magazine, Practical Horseman Magazine and the Equiery.
Jake’s television career began quite by accident. One of Jake’s favorite pastimes is taking part in an annual adventure trip. Some of his past trips have included backpacking around the Canadian Rockies, camping with the Maasi people in Kenya and a solo bicycle ride from St. Augustine, Florida to Santa Monica, California. While researching a trip to Mongolia Jake came across a link for an adventure trip in Alaska on a hiking forum. The information on the link was very vague, so he emailed the address listed and within a few hours received a call from someone in casting for a production company. It turned out to be a show the Discovery Channel was doing called “Out Of The Wild: The Alaska Experiment.” The producers had him overnight an ‘audition’ video and soon he was cast in the project which aired in 2009 on the Discovery Channel.
Although Jake never hid the fact that he was gay, he had a very public coming out during the taping of the Alaska show when the producers had him read a personal letter to his remaining team mates letting them know that the rugged hunter, and one of the final contestants, who survived the whole journey was gay. He had a great time during this series and was quickly approached by the producers to work on their next series “Full Metal Jousting” where contestants were selected through a strenuous physical process due to the fact that they would be jousting on horses wearing 85 pounds of armor in a very dangerous setting (there were ambulances and medics on set at all time to help with any injuries). Again, Jake was the only openly gay male cast member on the show and he was also featured in a Documentary called “Bad Ass Gays” that premiered at Atlanta’s Out On Film festival and later aired on the Logo Network.
Soon after Jake became the first openly gay male cast member to be featured on the Discovery Channel’s hit series “Naked And Afraid” which led to his being asked to join the cast of “Naked And Afraid XL” (airing July 10th, 2016) which takes a group of 12 previous cast members to last 40 days and nights naked and with no food or water provided.
Looking ahead Jake, who is still currently residing in Maryland and trains horses, is hoping to develop his own future television series and continues to go on adventures. He is a member of the Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association and is involved with the charity Days End Farm Horse Rescue and enjoys wildlife photography camping and playing the guitar. Growing up in a religious family and coming out at 20 (when he’d never met another gay person) he took solace in watching Ellen DeGeneres (as that was his only connection to the gay community). Ellen’s public coming out helped Jake stay true to himself and he hopes to help pay it forward by helping with gay youth specifically The Trevor Project