Hi, I'm a new poster, but long-time lurker. I myself am from Merced, and found this article in the paper today. I also went to school with Katie, but am a year ahead. I only know of her around town anyhoo... I'm babbling.. here is a copy of the article... sorry it's long
Native Katie Gallagher joins cast of reality show
CBS' "Survivor" includes Merced native Katie Gallagher, third from left in front row.
By Amelia Neufeld
Last Updated: January 14, 2005, 06:38:08 AM PST
A Merced woman will be one of the 20 castaways who try to outwit, outplay and outlast each other to win the $1 million prize on the 10th edition of CBS' "Survivor," this season set on the Pacific island of Palau, the network announced Thursday.
Katie Gallagher, an advertising executive for Radio Merced, would not comment Thursday about the experience, citing a confidentiality agreement with the network.
"I can't say a word," said the 29-year-old Merced native. "Sorry. I want to."
Gallagher was selected after auditioning at an open casting call held last summer at Fashion Fair Mall in Fresno.
The "Palau" cast just might be the most diverse "Survivor" tribe yet. The oldest contestant is 57; the youngest is 21. The cast includes a bartender from New Orleans, a firefighter from New York, a dolphin trainer from Florida and a Las Vegas showgirl.
Potential voting blocs might include the "lawyer alliance" (three contestants are lawyers), the "California alliance" (four hail from the Golden State), or maybe even the "my-first-name-has-double-letters alliance" (Ashlee, Gregg, Bobby, Jennifer, Willard and Jeff).
Lori Rossi, a friend of Gallagher's who did not sign a confidentiality agreement, said that Gallagher returned to Merced a week before Christmas after having been gone for a couple of months.
"She told everyone she was going on vacation," Rossi, 30, said. "Those of us who have known Katie for a long time, for her to go on vacation or travel was not unusual. We were like, 'OK.'"
When Gallagher returned, Rossi said she did not notice much physical change in her friend's appearance.
"I can't say she looks super different," she said. "She's always been fit."
Rossi, whose sister is Gallagher's roommate, said she and Gallagher became friends in the fourth grade, when Gallagher attended Chenoweth Elementary School in Merced and Rossi attended Our Lady of Mercy. Later, the two attended Tenaya Middle School together.
Rossi said Gallagher has always had a flair for the dramatic.
"Ever since she was little, she's been a performer," she said. "She is hysterical... She will say things and your stomach will hurt from laughing."
And if Gallagher wins the $1 million prize?
"She'd probably buy all her closest friends a round of drinks," Rossi said. "And then she'd go travel."
Gallagher was born in Merced and attended Chenoweth Elementary and Tenaya Middle schools. She went to Merced High for a year before moving with her family to Irvine, in Southern California.
In 1993, she graduated from Irvine's Woodbridge High School and then went to Monmouth University in New Jersey, earning magna cum laude honors in 2001 with a communications degree in radio and television.
She previously worked as a camp counselor for at-risk children, outdoor education instructor and sales representative.
The official "Survivor" Web site lists her hobbies as camping, gardening, performing in local musical theater productions and shopping at vintage stores.
On the site, she describes her personality as: "optimistic, spontaneous, sarcastic, full of opinions and hilarious."
This June, Gallagher played Bebe in Playhouse Merced's production of "A Chorus Line."
Jerry Deal, Playhouse Merced's marketing and development director, said he met Gallagher in 2003. He said their first meeting set the tone for their friendship.
"I met her at a bar in town," he said. "She came over and started screaming in my ear, 'I want to know you! Who are you?' I said, 'OK, this is a crazy person.' But we ended up getting to know each other and she has become on of my very good friends. She is meant to entertain."
The new season of "Survivor" premieres Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. on CBS.
The Modesto Bee and Associated Press contributed to this report.