It was a week of firsts. First time driving a Ferrari. First time dealing a hand of Texas Hold'Em as a Vegas dealer. First time pulling off a “crippled angel” move like a Cirque du Soleil star. First time learning how to tattoo a beautiful flower. First time performing magic tricks in front of a live crowd. First time mixing my own classic drinks.
Never in a million years would I have thought I'd be able to do any of that but thanks to Expedia.ca and #Sinternship, they made it happen. I've been to Vegas a bunch of times but never have I done anything close to the kind of things I did on camera for #Sinternship.
Now I won't give out too much away of how everything went down because you can expect the webisode to be out later this year and if all goes well you'll also be able to watch all the craziness on TV too. No promises but Expedia.ca did say that if there is enough footage, they're going to try to pull for a 30 minute episode on something like the Travel Channel.
I can barely contain my EXCITEMENT!!
Experiencing Vegas in a different way
In the past, Vegas has usually meant a lot of walking around exploring hotels, eating great food, watch shows, partying (a lot), and drinking (a lot). Now there's nothing wrong with that kind of Vegas trip but this trip really opened my eyes to all the things you never think about doing in Vegas. Getting off the strip opens up a whole bunch of places I didn't even know about.
For instance, just off the northern part of the strip is the restaurant The Barrymore. Originally opened by Drew Barrymore's grandfather, today this is a swanky place for delicious food and drinks that blends an old school vibe of The Great Gatsby with a contemporary twist. We had a sampling of all of the chef's signature dishes and was blown away by the food. I chowed down after our last challenge and although I knew I'd be ruining my appetite for dinner at Rao at Caesars, I didn't care because it was so good. The foie gras, crab cakes and rock shrimp were particularly scrumptious.
How can I forget Exotics Racing, our very first challenge. The thrill of driving a super car is an adrenaline rush that is unlike any other. Once you're behind the wheel, the adrenaline kicks in as you whip laps around the course while taming the beast that's responsive to every turn, press of the break or mashing of the throttle. My advice for anyone going? 5 laps is not enough. You only really get comfortable with the car at lap 5 and by then it's already over. I would recommend a minimum of 10 laps. MINIMUM!
Lastly I'll also quickly mention L'Oracle where we learned a dozen different holds and poses on the trapeze. While this was mostly a gym for circus athletes to train and practice moves, they also have classes open to the public. Want to go tricking (twisting, flipping and kicking all in one movement) or learn how to do a proper handstand, you can go to L'Oracle to learn from instructors that have performed at Cirque du Soleil. The one thing I'll remember from this challenge? Point those toes!
The Planet Hollywood experience
I loved loved LOVED the hotel. Planet Hollywood is awesome because of these 3 reasons:
- Location – Smack in the main hot spot of the strip, across the street is Cosmo and Aria, next door is Paris and diagonally over is Bellagio and Caesars. There's even a huge Walgreens right next to the hotel which is great to load up on goods for cheap.
- Room – Being a Planet Hollywood, ever room is themed to a specific movie. For example, mine was based on an old movie, The Vikings and so my room was filled with various photos and props from the movie. I was impressed!
- Energy – Unlike most hotels that are pretty mellow, Planet Hollywood is rocking hip-hop, R&B and old school hits. Sure it's for the Pleasure Pit but you feel the casino floor come alive at night.
- Shopping – If you're one to shop, there's the Miracle Mile Shops attached to the hotel which has a ton of mainstream stores to pick from.
What's it like to be a reality TV star
Being in front of the camera all week, there was a bunch of realizations I made about what it's truly like to be in a reality TV show.
- What I didn't expect was the amount of waiting around we had to do. Cameras need to get set up. b-roll needs to be shot and the show host needs to record her intro and outro before we start shooting
- It's amazing the type of camaraderie between the contestants that forms despite such a short period of time. We joked that it's because we're Canadian but there was no drama at all. We agreed that no matter who won the grand prize, we would be happy for that person.
- Trash talking was of course encouraged and so I tried to inject a little bit here and there with my GoPro footage but we'll see if any of that makes it on (I'll bet you they're going to make me look like the bad guy but hey I wanted to give them the option of adding some drama if they wanted)
- And that leads to the staging. #Sinternship wasn't actually that bad from that regard. We were encouraged to be natural all the way through. There was only one shot that we had to stage because they didn't have the cameras set up.
- Having a dedicated make up and hair team follow us around was great for the ladies. Us guys didn't get much attention but the girls got the works done to them. I could tell they quite enjoyed that.
- It's pretty awesome to have a PA (personal assistant) assigned to us. Troy and Kat were great. They accompanied us to all of our dinners and whenever we had an issue all we had to do was ask them and they'd take care of it.
So what's in this for Expedia.ca?
I kept getting this question all the time from my friends but what it comes down to is that Las Vegas is their #1 selling destination in Canada and they wanted to create authentic content to inspire people to go. Commercials only do so much these days. Seeing real people do real things just goes a heck of a lot further.
When you see the footage, I'm sure you'll be itching to go to Las Vegas.
Did I win?
If you look through my social media feeds I'm sure you'd be able to figure it out but for the rest of you, mum's the word.
I'll be sure to let all of you know when the completed show gets published and shared online.