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Interview with Mole 2’s Myra Brownby C. Brian Devinney -- 07/26/2002
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Her six-episode stint on the second edition of The Mole made her a fan favorite, and for California pilot Myra Brown, it was the adventure of a lifetime. Recently, I talked to Myra from her home in San Diego about her experience on the ABC reality series, The Mole 2.
A fan of the show's first edition, Brown flew to Atlanta to attend one of the show's open call auditions. Even though she arrived at six in the morning, over two hundred people were already in line for their chance at becoming the show's eponymous character. She quickly made friends with those in line with her - some of whom had assumed the "game" had already begun.
"There was one guy in line who was real quiet and kept to himself," Brown said. "We thought he might be a 'plant' from the network sent to spy on us. We were already looking for mole activity before the audition began."
After being requested to return the following day for another round of interviews, she came back for a set of one-on-one interviews including a session taped for the camera.
"The first thing they picked on was the fact that I was a pilot and what was the scariest thing about flying. I said, 'The food. It will kill you.' He looked up at me and we both started laughing," she said.
Upon receiving word that she had made it to the next round of competition, Brown was sequestered in a hotel for the duration of the contestant search. From being awakened at midnight to complete a player profile (which would later be used during the show's production as quiz questions) to playing games with fellow contestants who, upon later conversations with her actual contestants, were actors hired in order to gauge how well she would interact in stressful environments, game activity, and with conflicting personalities between players. Three days following the completion of her final interviews, Brown received the word she was selected to be a player in the game.
But not the Mole.
In fact, Brown stated to producers that she wouldn't mind being the Mole, however, she would rather win the game outright. Of the fourteen players selected to participate in the second season of The Mole, Brown was the only player to offer any resistance when asked if they would like to be the title character.
"I told that if they wanted me to be the Mole then I would do it, but I really wanted to go out there and prove that I could win this game."
Within the confines of the game itself, Brown set about playing it by her own rules. Her journal, if intercepted by any other player, would have been nearly useless as she wrote her notes in her own special code. She began looking for patterns within sleeping arrangements. Following executions or, on occasion, during rounds, players were moved from room to room - even at four in the morning.
"I noticed when everyone was moved to a different room except one person. I noticed when the room number that one person stayed in always ended with the same number. I was on the lookout for anything I thought that might give me an edge."
She aligned herself with the Mole's fourth victim, Patrick, and set about searching for the Mole's true identity.
"When we took off our blindfolds," Brown said, "I looked around the room and I caught Patrick's eye and this look passed between us. I knew I had found my ally."
But her ally wasn't to stay in the game very long. His fourth-round departure and the reasons behind it still give her a moment to pause. After he ripped out the pages from Katie's journal, Patrick received the wrath of his fellow players who deemed his actions to be a supreme violation of trust.
"He told me that he thought it would be great because people would seriously think that he was the Mole. However, I still wonder if he took a fall and eliminated himself. After it got around that he ripped out the pages in Katie's journal, no one was talking to him. You can't win the game when no one is talking to you."
On her own now, Myra went on to compete in two more memorable challenges. Locked in a jail cell with minimal tools, Myra teamed up with Al and Heather to escape from her in less than forty minutes. The attempt wasn't as easy as shown on television. After retrieving the slingshot hung on the wall, it was quickly deemed to be useless and nothing more than a piece of set dressing.
"Remember when Al threw a handful of rocks at the light bulb and completely missed? Guess who they hit? ME!"
After successfully being rescued from their cells by Heather (who turned down a much desired exemption to do so), the trio learned of an escape path via Al's cell. One bar located near the roof of the cell was removable. Had Al located and removed the bar, it would have allowed him the opportunity to squeeze out of his cell and possibly obtain the coveted exemption.
After surviving another execution, Brown then had to live up to one of her shortcomings - cooking. After admitting that she had nothing in common with Betty Crocker or Julia Child, she was placed into a mission that required her not only to gather ingredients but prepare three ten-inch pizzas. Their success hinged upon the only person in the small village that spoke English.
"Roberto was taking us around through all of these hallways and staircases. This lovely woman pulled out all of the cheese she had and sat there and grated it for us."
Roberto took Brown along with her fellow players Bill and Katie back to his sister's home in order to cook the pizzas. The preparation took on a festive feel as they also helped celebrate Roberto's sister's birthday.
"The camera guy was up on this spiral staircase and I just loved it."
What Brown didn't know at the time was that she was preparing her own dinner for the evening. The dough for one pizza fell on the floor and yet another pizza was speckled with black flecks. Although never explained on camera or to the players, the flecks were part of the tablecloth on which the pizzas were prepared. Knowing what she knew at the time, Brown opted to scrape off the toppings and eat that rather than ingest what she knew was a potentially unsanitary meal.
Her demise in the game came not only as a shock to viewers but to Brown herself. Viewers and players alike had been lulled into a false sense of security during executions. Until Brown, the first player entered into the computer at an execution had never seen the ominous red thumbprint signaling their exit from the game.
"I thought I was free and clear, and then there was the red thumbprint and I'm on a flight home."
Friends and family weren't concerned with Brown's mysterious departure. Her job at the airline thought she was working with the military. Her job with the military thought she was working with the airline. Friends assumed she was needed for a military exercise. Only one friend who knew her from both work and the military was concerned as her alibis contradicted each other.
"When it finally all came out that I was on the show, everyone was asking me things like, 'Oh my, God. Where did you go? Did you buy anything?' It was tough because I had to stop and think about what I wanted to say. Since then it's gotten easier."
Brown recounted the most memorable story to date involving a flight attendant who had heard of her participation in the program.
"She came up to me and asked me if I was on The Mole. She had just seen the show the night before and was certain she had seen me on it. Then she asked me which one I was. By that point in the series, I had already been eliminated."
C. Brian Devinney is a human resources consultant and huge Yankees fan based in New York City. He is the author of his own blog, "Tales From the City" and is currently writing his third play, Poker Night. He can be reached at TheRealityFactor@aol.com.
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