To say that contestants of the Discovery reality series Naked and Afraid and its spinoffs wear absolutely nothing isn’t entirely true. They all wear the same necklace, after all: a decorative bead hanging from a string around their neck. So, what gives? What are those necklaces on Naked and Afraid anyway?
For starters, the necklace is one of the few items contestants can keep on their person as they battle for survival for weeks without food, water, or clothing. Contestants can only bring a few tools, which are “often a knife, a fire starter, and a pot,” as former Naked and Afraid contestant Blair Braverman explained in a 2020 Outside essay.
And then there’s that satchel that all the contestants wear, which actually pairs with the necklace for an important purpose…
The necklace is a microphone.
As The Denver Post reported in a 2019 interview with Naked and Afraid contestant Molly Jansen — one of Blair’s costars in Season 10 — the show-provided necklace hides an always-on microphone, which connects to a wireless transmitter hidden in the show-provided satchel that the contestants wear.
The satchel has a microphone transmitter, a battery pack, and a tracking device.
In her Outside essay, Blair explained that Naked and Afraid participants get the burlap satchels as soon as they start filming.
And Dani Beau, a Naked and Afraid contestant you might remember from Seasons 4 and 13, described the technology in a TikTok video this May. “It’s actually a microphone hidden inside of this bead,” Dani said, pointing to her necklace. “The wire runs through the necklace cord, down the burlap strap [of the satchel], where the battery pack sits in a little pocket.”
Dani’s reveal came as news to some TikTok users. “I thought it was a tracker in case they need to come find you, but it makes sense to have a mic, now that you say it,” one user wrote in the comments of Dani’s video.
“There is a tracking device in the radio,” Dani explained. “Yeah, they had to get creative with where to hide the mic on naked people.”
The technology isn’t very easy to deal with.
“OMG, we were wondering why they never let go of that bag,” another TikTok user said in a comment on Dani’s video.
Dani replied that the bag turned out to be the bane of her Naked and Afraid existence — or one of the banes, at least. “It’s the worst having to wear it all the time,” she wrote. “The material is so itchy!”
And the microphone technology isn’t exactly high-tech, as one commenter learned. “I always thought it was Bluetooth and rechargeable/exchangeable by production,” that person wrote.
Replied Dani: “I wish they were that fancy. They’re not even waterproof, so we constantly have to wait for them to switch out the gear, haha.”