Celebrities Take ‘Ultimate’ Challenge with Jukka Hildén on YouTube RED
With his risk-taking persona, Jukka Hildén knows how to wow audiences. The stunt performer and actor from Finland has taken his thrill-seeking ambitions to YouTube, where his 4 million subscribers have enjoyed his every venture.
On Jan. 17, 2018, Jukka released his latest project, Ultimate Expedition, on YouTube RED. It’s a 10-episode adventure competition series that follows Jukka, along with eight celebrities with no climbing experience, as they summit Mount Tocllaraju in Peru.
In addition to the challenge of climbing Mount Tocllaraju, the cast also reveal their own personal struggles with each episode. The full cast includes: Gus Kenworthy, Chuck Liddell, Steve-O, SSSniperWolf, Nikki Baker, Chachi Gonzalez, Furious Pete and JusReign.
Before the show aired, I spoke with Jukka about the season and what viewers can expect.
JMG: What can people expect from the series?
Jukka Hildén: It’s absolutely crazy. We have eight rookies from Chuck Liddell to Steve-O, and we took them to a mountain that’s 20,000 feet tall, and they have to summit that mountain. You know, there were eight people that died this year trying to summit this same mountain.
What was the hardest part about putting this series together?
Well everyone has their own personal moments. Whether it’s an Olympic athlete who came out of the closet or people battling with addictions. They all have their own stories to tell. They’re not going to die trying to summit this mountain, but the show pushes their limits.
Why did you choose this particular mountain?
It’s such a beautiful place, but it’s not an easy mountain. It’s very technical and hard. You have everything in that location. You have to use a huge set of skills to be able to summit that mountain. The Peruvian culture is so colorful and pretty, and the people are trustworthy. It’s a great place to climb.
How did you decide which celebrities would be on the show? Was there an open casting?
No, they were very much handpicked, and I really wanted to see who was willing to come and do something like this. It’s not an ordinary show. You just don’t sign up for a reality show and just get the airtime. You actually have to want to summit the mountain, because it’s tough and very demanding. Everybody is going to break. Everybody struggles, but they’re also going to get the joy of overcoming their physical boundaries. So I wanted to look into who they are as people and if they’re willing to do something like this. I also wanted a variety and diversity in the cast. Mountain climbing is such a surprising sport. You’ll never know who’s going to summit or how people will adjust to the altitude. Usually the young, fit man is the first to get cut. They push their limits too fast and they don’t realize they get altitude sickness and there’s nothing you can do.
Out of all of your cast members, who was the hardest to work with?
I think everybody had their own struggle because it’s tough. People broke on that mountain. People suffered from altitude sickness. So I think everybody had their moments. And working with stars, they all have personalities and a little bit of ego. It wasn’t easy, but who likes it easy, anyway.
Which cast member do you think viewers will connect with the most?
Furious Pete had testicular cancer before he came to the mountain. He didn’t even know he would be alive a half a year later (before coming), but he’s climbing this beautiful mountain. But I think overall what they will connect with is that everybody there is pushing their limits from what they even thought was possible. I think that is such a strong message and will translate to people.
I know you’re a big risk-taker. Why do you think it’s important to take risks from time to time?
I think that’s when you learn the most about yourself. You just don’t stick to your comfort zone, but go out there and push yourself.
Did you have any New Year resolutions?
Yeah, I want to push myself. I want to go diving with sharks. I want to learn Spanish. I always loved to do my own bucket list and keep on learning those skills and set an example for my YouTube audience. I want it to be where I’m not just preaching to the choir, but actually doing it.
You have over 4 million YouTube subscribers. Why do you think people have wanted to follow you and watch your shows?
I like to show the good and the bad of life. So it’s not always bright skies and the fake life of ‘everything is so wonderful.’ I want to show the struggle and the success when it comes. Also, I want to show the real view of my life from being a father to an entrepreneur, to doing something crazy like swimming in a pool full of pythons. So I hope it’s entertaining, but also inspiring.
Watch the first episode of Ultimate Expedition