Sue Aikens interview: ‘Life Below Zero’

Sue Aikens has been sharing her life with viewers of National Geographic’s “Life Below Zero” for an entire decade now, so what is it that keeps her coming back year after year? “It’s touching something that people want to do,” the 58-year-old declares about the show’s remote and untamed Alaska setting. “There’s not that much ‘wild’ wilderness left. And here comes a grandma that just won’t stop.” She joins Gold Derby as part of our Meet the Experts: Reality TV panel (watch the exclusive video interview above).

“There’s variety,” Aikens says about the docuseries’ cast members, which include Chip and Agnes Hailstone, Glenn Villeneuve, Jessie Holmes, Andy Bassich, Erik and Martha Mae Salitan and Ricko DeWilde. “There are several of us and even for myself, if I stop [my mouth] long enough to use [my ears] and [my eyes], I learn something from everybody.”

SEE over 300 video interviews with 2022 Emmy contenders

“Life Below Zero” has won seven Emmy Awards through the years for editing and cinematography, including two trophies last year. What does it mean for Aikens to be a part of a show that has a dedicated fan base as well as the respect of the TV Academy? “My portion of the show is just my life,” she begins. “I don’t slow down a whole lot unless I break myself and then I’ll probably drag the part behind me as I go. The awards really touch the men, the women, the background people you never see. It takes more than a village of these people to create what you’re seeing.”

“We’ve learned together over a decade,” she remarks about the show’s dedicated production crew. “I’ve seen some of these people meet their mates, get married, have kids, become fur moms and dads, buy homes, and there’s a familiarity there. [Because of them] you’re getting a deeper level of who we are… and now you almost become friends with these people and you care about the people watching. There’s this symbiotic relationship that’s developing.”

Aikens reveals that there’s “100 to 200 hours of film per episode that gets cut down to 12 to 15 minutes [per segment], and yet still tells the story.” Smiling proudly, she states, “That’s a little bit of magic.”

Later, she gives fans an update on Cluck University, aka the chicken coup she built from scratch this season. “I’m getting three dozen eggs a day now!” she exclaims. “I had to incorporate two gentlemen into the herd… and so far the foxes are more interested in tarmigan than chickens.”

Also in our exclusive video interview, Aikens opens up about why she loves the unpredictability of living remotely in a frozen world. “If it’s handed to you, there’s no challenge, there’s no fight for it,” she concludes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

UPLOADED Jun 1, 2022 7:23 am