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Long-time Great Falls resident Davina Friedlander, 32, hopes her stint on TNT’s new reality survival competition will win her recognition as she pursues a career in Hollywood.

Friedlander, an actress and comedian, is one of nine challengers competing on TNT’s “72 Hours.”

The show, which premiered earlier this month, divides participants in teams of three and drops them in exotic locations with only a bottle of water for each person and a GPS per team. Teams compete over 72 hours to be the first to find a hidden briefcase containing $100,000.

So far, the survival contest has dropped contestants in Fiji and New Zealand. Friedlander’s hunt for the briefcase was on Hawaii’s Lana’i island.

“You think it sounds like a paradise but Lana’i — half of it is uninhabitable. It sounds like you’d be drinking pina coladas,” Friedlander said.

Her group of three included two men. “I can definitely say there were personality challenges we had to overcome that, I think, will make for good TV. ... I definitely butted heads with one of my teammates.”

Each episode features a new group of nine competitors. Friedlander’s episode airs at 10:15 p.m. Friday on TNT.

Like the TNT show’s audience, Friedlander has not seen footage from her episode.

“It’s killing me,” she said. “The anxiety is killing me. ... It was definitely one of the best things I’ve done in my life. I’m proud I stuck with it. I tried my best at every obstacle. ... It builds your character, that’s for sure.”

Friedlander lived in Great Falls from second grade through high school. She graduated from Bishop O’Connell High School, a private Catholic school in Arlington.

During her childhood, she said, she went camping only a few times, nothing that would truly have prepared her for the wilderness competition.

“Before I left, I went on YouTube and tried to look up survival skills,” she said.

Friedlander moved in Los Angeles in 2011 to pursue a career as an actress. She currently works as a valet and server.

“My goal is I’m an entertainer and I’m interested in getting into television and film,” Friedlander said. “Doing the show is definitely my biggest success [in TV so far]. A sitcom would be IT for me.”

Childhood friend Milica Stamenich, 32, of McLean said she cannot wait to see how Frielander performs.

“She’s outgoing. She’s larger than life,” Stamenich said. “I want to see how she handles the adventure; how her personality comes out. ... She’s been really discreet [about the show]. I’m one of her best friends and she was tight-lipped about it.”

Stamenich and Friedlander met in second grade at Great Falls Elementary School.

“I’m inviting friends over [to watch]. A lot of my friends know her,” Stamenich said.

hhobbs@fairfaxtimes.com