Making use of her fame

Cruise: `Survivor' outcast Jenna Lewis is in Baltimore promoting a new contest - and herself.

April 06, 2001|By Sarah Pekkanen | Sarah Pekkanen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Remember Jenna Lewis, the giggly single mom in the pink bikini, who was eliminated by the "Survivor" alliance led by Richard and Sue? Even though she's so last-season, Lewis is still coasting on a post-"Survivor" wave of fame that will carry her to Baltimore tonight.

Lewis, 23, who has left her life as a New Hampshire student to move to San Francisco and concentrate on acting, will be host of a "Survivor"-inspired contest at Padonia Station tonight between 6 and 8.

No one will have to eat rats, but then again, no one will win $1 million - at least not immediately. Instead, the prize is what Lewis describes as a "spring break for adults" - a four-day cruise to the Bahamas where the "Survivor" theme will continue. Joining Lewis as a co-host on the cruise ship will be her fellow castaway Joel Klug, the fitness buff whose chauvinistic leanings got him booted off the island long before Lewis was axed.

Though tonight's contest clearly trades on the mania inspired by the show, Lewis is trying to branch out. Her dream is - you guessed it - to become a movie star. Film auditions have her jetting to Los Angeles from her home in the city by the bay. Meanwhile, her "Survivor" connection helps pay the bills: She serves as a commentator on the new round of competitors for USA Today, "The Early Show" and several radio stations.

Lewis still keeps in touch with many of her fellow castaways, including Colleen, who actually did land a movie deal, but she says she "steers clear" of Sue, the truck driver with the wicked tongue. Life after "Survivor" obviously isn't the same for Lewis, even if she didn't achieve the cult status attracted by crusty ex-Navy Seal Rudy, who was named "sexiest Survivor" by People magazine and got his own action doll.

Still, Lewis, who was one of the more likable contestants, is trying to negotiate her own television show and has gotten her share of marriage proposals: "You just write back and say thank you for the nice sentiments," she says.

Her thoughts on the current competition on "Survivor II"? She thinks Colby will win but isn't that impressed with the new crop.

"It's a bunch of little Richard Hatches running around," she scoffs. "Everyone is trying to play exactly like Richard, so we don't get a genuine chance to know those people for who they are."

Luckily, no one has yet to disrobe - and Lewis says Richard's exhibitionist tendencies are still foremost on the minds of the many fans who approach her for autographs. "They say a lot of funny things like, `We hate Richard,' and `What was it like with Richard running around naked?' " she says.

For more information about the contest and cruise, call 888-5-MALIBU.

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