MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — “Survivor: Blood Vs. Water” premiered Wednesday on WCCO. And this season there’s a Minnesotan to root for.

Reed Kelly is a St. Paul native, but currently calls New York home. He’s on the show with his boyfriend, Josh Canfield.

“To me, ‘Survivor’ represents getting out there and pushing your boundaries,” Kelly said. “You never know what you’re capable of doing until you actually get out there and try stuff.”

Before Kelly arrived in Nicaragua to compete in “Survivor,” his heart was on Broadway. The 2001 Hill-Murray graduate performed in “Wicked,” “The Addams Family” and “Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark.” The actor and dancer even graced the cover of Time Magazine.

But it’s his Minnesota roots that he credits with preparing him for the physical and mental challenges faced on “Survivor.”

“If you can make it through a Minnesota winter, you can make it through just about anything,” he said. “We’re just outdoors people usually in Minnesota, so I think that also helped. That, and I’m comfortable being outside and being uncomfortable.”

His family, still in St. Paul, has supported his career and the decision to compete to be the sole “Survivor.”

His mom, Kathy, is a school superintendent.

“My mom said, ‘Remember that less is more, and you know God gave you two ears and one mouth — so listen twice as much as you talk,” Kelly said.

His dad, former state senator and St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly, also offered his opinion.

“He said, ‘You know Reed, I just don’t think the nation really enjoys seeing grown men cry on television,'” Kelly said.

Armed with that advice, Kelly hopes he’ll make Minnesotans proud this season.

I didn’t want him to give any spoilers, but I asked him how far he got in the show.

“Jenny, I think that’s the definition of a spoiler,” Kelly said.

Kelly says he was raised to be competitive, and feels that will be his strength in the game.

I can attest to that, as Kelly is my second cousin.

Jennifer Mayerle

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