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November 26, 2014

Ariel Tweto Talks 'Flying Wild Alaska,' Calls BS On Seeing Russia From Anyone's House

by Maggie Furlong, posted Oct 28th 2011 10:00AM
Ariel Tweto, 'Flying Wild Alaska'Ariel Tweto is so cute she's almost cartoon-like. With a petite frame and an infectious giggle, the 'Flying Wild Alaska' star was a bundle of energy when we hung out to talk about Season 2 (premieres Fri., Oct. 28, 10PM ET on Discovery). Actually, energetic doesn't even begin to describe her, as our journey through a wide range of talking points proves.

Born Ariel Eva Tuadraq-Atauchaq Tweto, the Eskimo firecracker from Unalakleet, Alaska, struggled to get her pilot's license all through Season 1 in the hopes of taking flight for her family business, Era Alaska, an airline that services the barren land and extreme conditions of the Alaskan wilderness.

"I'm still working on it!," she promised, before launching into one of her many endearing stories -- which are fascinating but, admittedly, not altogether relatable for anyone in the lower 48 states. Like how to properly cook swan. Yes, swan, which according to Tweto tastes like "a cross between a turkey and a duck," in case you're curious.

A few years back, Tweto dominated and charmed on ABC's 'Wipeout' and became known as the "where's the pole?" girl before a producer there decided her family's story would make a great reality show as well. Now she's got her sights set on another franchise: 'Amazing Race.'

She could do it, too -- she has run every single day of her life since 2002. "Cabo, Spring Break, the flu, minus-50 degrees ... at least a mile, but usually it's between three and 15 miles. It's my time to think. Or listen to Ryan Seacrest," she said with a laugh. Now living and going to school in Southern California, Tweto goes back to Unalakleet during the busy season to pitch in.

So is it true what they say about Alaska? Can she really see Russia from there? "Sarah Palin's house is not even near Russia!," Tweto said. "Seriously. It isn't." Keep reading for more ...



What did your family think at first about doing a reality show?
At first I had to pull my dad's leg a little bit, because they're pretty private, but then they warmed up to the idea after a while.

Were you all surprised by the reaction after Season 1?
Oh yeah. My dad was like, "No one's going to watch this show." They were surprised because it's all we know up there -- it's everyday life -- so my dad was like, "Why are people interested in this?"

Besides people wanting to know if you get your pilot's license -- which will continue to be a struggle this season -- what's the other question you get asked most?
If me and [John] Ponts are dating. The answer? Hell no! We're really good friends -- we're like brothers. We argue all the time and fight, but he's dating one of my good friends now, so no ... not attracted to him at all.

People probably thought this was like other reality shows and they just cast this great boyfriend/love interest for you ...
Ooh, they should cast a boyfriend for me! A cute one.

Anyone you'd handpick?
Sidney Crosby [the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey star]. Or [L.A. Clippers basketball player] Blake Griffin. You wouldn't be like, "Oh my god he's so hot," but then you watch him dunk and you're like, "Oh my god he's so hot." [Laughs] I love athletes. But that's my problem -- I like everybody. I like too many people. That's why I never have a boyfriend because I end up liking 10 people ... maybe I'll be Mormon.

Then you can get a TLC spin-off ...
Oh yeah. Ooh, let's talk about 'Sister Wives'!

Jim, Ariel TwetoSo have you guys seen an influx in tourism in Alaska since the show premiered?
A lot of people are going to Unalakleet now just to go say hi to my parents. They think it's so funny, especially my mom. My dad went to the airshow in Alaska and only stayed for five minutes because he just got mobbed ... people come up and try to take pictures, and he'll say yes because he's polite, but he's so shy.

Are there any other reality shows you would want to go on?
'Amazing Race.' I wish me and my mom could do that together. We would win. You get to travel around the world ... that'd be so fun! My mom sucks at directions though. [Laughs]

@mialicoley from Regina, Sask. asks: What is your favorite traditional food?
Probably stink flipper or kogra, which is seaweed with herring egg on it. You tear it from the ocean, and it's so good -- it's like sushi. Stink flipper is the flipper of a seal, and you wrap it in grass and bury it for like three months, and then you boil it, and then you eat it. It dissolves in your mouth. It's so good ... sometimes it doesn't come out right though, and that's a waste of three months. I sometimes shed a tear.

Do you ever forget where it's buried?
We usually mark it with a little stick ... or you just find where there's dog marks trying to get to it.

Have you ever hunted for something that's fed your family?
I shot my first caribou when I was nine, but it was like a teenager ... I shot the wrong one. The gun was really big though, and you know how you shoot through the scope? The scope went right into my eye and I looked like Petey from 'Little Rascals.'

Ariel and her grandmotherIs it usually women and men hunting, or mostly men?
I'm a rebel. It's mostly men. My grandma taught me -- my grandpa died with my mom was a sophomore in high school, and she had 12 kids and had to hunt for all of them. She won the first ever Hunter & Fisher award in our state ... she beat like 12 different guys. My grandma's 82 ... me, my mom and my grandma are like twins. Well, triplets. Her stories are just crazy.

What is your native language? And is it thriving?
Is it thriving? No. I speak Inupiaq, and I know how to sing and dance fluently, and I can understand it when my grandma speaks to me, but I'm not fluent speaking. It's dying. As each elder dies, it's like a whole dictionary is lost. My mom's generation couldn't speak it -- they tried to ban the language and make them learn English, so my grandma's generation speaks it, and our generation is sort of bringing it back.

@By664 wants to know: What do you miss most about Alaska when you're away from home?
Just the ability to walk out and not worry about anything -- getting lost, driving, stupid things. We're all related, so no one's going to hurt you; you don't have to worry about going hungry because you can just walk into someone's house and take anything; no one locks their doors. The hardest think for me moving to L.A. was learning to lock my car and my house.

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Joe

Typical of the Huff and Puff Post. Sarah Palin never said anything about seeing Russia. That was the socialist Saturday Night Idiots Live bimbo Tina Lame Fey. When will you guys give it up? If you really believed you were the smarter and better political choice you wouldn't need to lie to convince people of it.

September 02 2014 at 10:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve Spence

I'm calling BS on this headline, because Sarah Palin never said she could see Russia from her house. That was Tina Fey ....

June 20 2014 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jodiojeda72

Good article until the "Sara Palin" comment. I wish people would grow up. I don't know anything about that woman except that people hate her so much that they try to make her look stupid but when ya'all are constantly coming back to the Sara/Russia thingy, I feel the writer looks stupid. Most people in America have common sense & understand that Palin was NOT speaking literally so when I see others comment as though she was, I just see that person as an idiot, not the Palin lady. Common sense would tell ya that she probably meant that she feels that close. Y'know? Like when someone says "IT WAS SO CLOSE, I COULD REACH OUT & GRAB/TOUCH IT". Point being to all you blog writers...quit looking like idiots & let the Palin thing go. Most people don't think like you because they have common sense. Go buy some for yourself.

June 02 2013 at 8:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jodiojeda72

Good article until the "Sara Palin" comment. I wish people would grow up. I don't know anything about that woman except that people hate her so much that they try to make her look stupid but when ya'all are constantly coming back to the Sara/Russia, I feel the writer looks stupid. Most people in America have common sense & understand that Palin was NOT speaking literally so when I see others comment as though she did, I just see that person as an idiot, not the Palin lady. Common sense would tell ya that she probably meant that she is that close. Y'know? Like when someone says "IT WAS SO CLOSE, I COULD EACH OUT & GRAB IT". Point being to all you blog writers...quit looking like idiots & let the Palin thing go. Most people don't think like you because they have common sense. Go buy some for yourself.

June 02 2013 at 8:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DennisS

Will Jim sell out completely or will any of the Tweeto's stay involved with ERA Alaska with a part ownership

September 25 2012 at 11:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DennisS

Will Jim sell out completely or will any of the Tweeto's stay involved with ERA Alaska with a part ownership

September 25 2012 at 11:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Simpson

I will sure miss the show I always look for it on fridays. I wounder who's going to run the company now that jim's steping down.

July 23 2012 at 1:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ckava3

Not surprised Huff Post had to try and insult Sarah Palin in a story that had nothing to do with Palin, or politics. Your bias is palpable Huff Post!

July 20 2012 at 7:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
colin.wrenn

You must be so proud of your wife AND your daughters they seem to me to be so dedecated to you and your business, your daughters are so lovely bet you have a problem keeping guys away form them ..LOL i wish you and all your family all mthe best from now to the end of time GOD bless all of you..1 day i will come..colin Uk London England

June 09 2012 at 3:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
neiaqualitycarpentry

Sarah Palin got flack for saying you can see Russia from Alaska because of the context in which she said it. She said it in response to a question about what experience he has in dealing with international politics. To which she said 'You can see the Russian mainland from parts of Alaska' , which has nothing to do with international politics.

May 23 2012 at 5:53 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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