Nov 03 2014

Travel Channel Selects Top 15 For TRAVEL CHANNEL STAR Competition


Travel Channel Star 2015

**UPDATED: Wed. 5/13/15**




CHEVY CHASE, MD (May 13, 2015) – Who will be the next Travel Channel Star? After reviewing over 1,000 entries from travel enthusiasts across the country, Travel Channel has narrowed the search to the top 15 contestants. Each with their own take on travel, these wanna-be hosts bring many areas of expertise and perspective on how they would explore the world. The professions they are willing to leave behind include part-time poll worker, personal trainer and high school science teacher.

In the 15 five-minute webisodes, three judges and host Bert Kreischer, professional fun-seeker and host of “Trip Flip,” provide colorful commentary and feedback about each audition.

Did the judges get it right? Fans can vote for their favorite contender on’s “Travel Channel Star” page and on Twitter using #travelchannelstar until Friday, May 15. The top five will be revealed on Travel Channel’s website on Monday, May 25 with additional commentary from Kreischer and the judges.

The winner of 2015’s “Travel Channel Star” will host their own five-part series on and will be named in a one-hour special, hosted by Kreischer, on Travel Channel later this year.

The top 15 contestants competing for the “Travel Channel Star” title (in alphabetical order by first name):

Blake Jeffers – Savannah, Ga.

Travel Specialty: Earthy Travel

Current Occupation: High school science teacher

Chris Wagner – Lansing, Kan.

Travel Specialty: Fitness

Current Occupation: Personal trainer

Christie Rojo – Santa Barbara, Calif.

Travel Specialty: Spirituality

Current Occupation: Church Youth Ministry

Gaby Barragán – Santa Monica, Calif.

Travel Specialty: Dance

Current Occupation: Barback

Janel Koloski – Greensburg, Penn.

Travel Specialty: Fearless Traveler

Current Occupation: Nanny and personal assistant

Jimmy Taylor – Montmorency, Australia

Travel Specialty: Adventure

Current Occupation: Actor and personal trainer

Juliana Jurenas – Annandale, Va.

Travel Specialty: Off the Beaten Path

Current Occupation: Actress, receptionist and waitress

Martice Sutton – Philadelphia, Penn.

Travel Specialty: Budget Travel

Current Occupation: Founder, Girls Going Global

Nick Leighton – San Francisco, Calif.

Travel Specialty: Embalmed Bodies of Communist Dictators

Current Occupation: Business consultant, realtor and freelance journalist

Ricky Moreno – Las Vegas, Nev.

Travel Specialty: Fish Out of Water

Current Occupation: Tour manager

Saundra Dunson-Franks – Atlanta, Ga.

Travel Specialty: Baby Boomers’ Bucket List

Current Occupation: Part-time poll worker

Tara Malone – Hatboro, Penn.

Travel Specialty: Solo Travel

Current Occupation: Account Executive

Tarique Connelly – Philadelphia, Penn.

Travel Specialty: Outside the Box

Current Occupation: Direct sales representative

Tony Nagatani – Honolulu, Hawaii

Travel Specialty: Fusion

Current Occupation: Video editor

Veronica Jacob – Newberry, S.C.

Travel Specialty: Cultural Immersion

Current Occupation: Law school graduate





The National Search Will Be Chronicled In Web Series And Winner Will be Crowned in One-Hour Network Special


CHEVY CHASE, MD (Nov. 3, 2014) – Travel Channel is searching for the next “Travel Channel Star!” Today, the Network kicks off its coast-to-coast quest to uncover Travel Channel’s next person whose undeniable thirst for travel and adventure stands out from the rest. In a three-round competition series premiering in 2015 on, the process will culminate in a one-hour on-air special announcing the winner. The winner will then showcase their unique point-of-view and hosting skills in their own five-part series on the Network’s digital platforms. Participants can submit their video for the first-round selection process November 3 through April 15, 2015. The announcement was made today by Ross Babbit, SVP, Programming and Development, Travel Channel.


Contestants can only submit one video and will have three ways to enter:

  • Come to our first live casting call at the That’s Voiceover!™ Career Expo at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York on November 10th from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Come to our casting call at the Tastemade Studios in Santa Monica, Calif. in early 2015 (exact date and times to be announced soon).
  • Submit a two-minute video online at


Judging the competition are three Travel Channel experts: Jodi Bettencourt, vice president of editorial content for Travel Channel Digital; Anna Garwood, director of programming and talent relations; and Rob Pralgo, host of “Travel 911,” a web series that provides tips on how to get through travel emergencies. Travel Channel’s master of fun Bert Kreischer will host the special and recap highlights from the competition series in the one-hour special to air next year. Additionally, the judges will have help from fans, who can vote for their favorite videos online.

“I’m often asked the question, ‘how can I be a host for Travel Channel?’ Now we’re giving our viewers a chance to do just that”, says Babbit. “The video submissions should tell a story and highlight a location that matches contestants’ travel expertise. The best travel videos include an array of topics like food, adventure, unique shopping and local attractions. But what we really want to see come through is personality, point-of-view and a distinct passion and excitement for travel.”


Travel Channel is a proud sponsor of the That’s Voiceover!™ Career Expo, an exciting, interactive, career event where top creative directors, talent agents and casting directors connect with new and well-established voiceover talent.  The That’s Voiceover!™ Career Expo and the Voice Arts™ Awards are presented by the Society of  Voiceover Arts and Sciences™ and will be held November 9-10, 2014 at the Museum of the Moving Image. Tickets are available for the conference and award show at



Source: ©2014 Travel Channel. All Rights Reserved.

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