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Where are they now?

Published May 13, 2005

Some previous reality show contestants from the Tampa Bay area say they haven't exactly faded into anonymity either.

- CHASE SQUIRES, Times TV critic

* Jan Gentry, 56, Lutz, appeared on Survivor: Thailand in 2002, finishing third. Gentry kept her job teaching at McKitrick Elementary School in Lutz ("You never quit your day job," she said). She was busy for a while after the show making appearances at fundraisers to find cures for diseases, but she has cut back to be with her family and work on other projects. She said she still cherishes the time on Survivor, and she stays in touch with friends she met through the show, including two who have become celebrities, "Boston" Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich (recently contestants on The Amazing Race whose televised wedding will air May 24). This season's Survivor is the first one where Gentry said she and other alumni weren't invited to the live finale. Recently, she has been working on a children's book and is looking for an agent to help her bring it to publication.

* Jessica Sierra, 19, Tampa, burst onto the national scene in this year's American Idol. While the show is ongoing, she has returned briefly to Tampa but will have to go back to Los Angeles for the finale, and then will join others from the show on a performance tour, stopping at the St. Pete Times Forum July 13 (tickets go on sale next weekend). Sierra said she has big plans after, starting with a trip to Nashville, Tenn., where she plans to continue her singing career. She said fan support has been great in the Tampa Bay area, and she continues to thank everyone who helped her.

* Darlene Cahill, 46, New Port Richey, turned her also-ran status on home-diva reality show Wickedly Perfect this year into a budding career and began exploring the possibility of a new television show starring her and another former member of Wickedly Perfect. A Los Angeles production company reported this week the show is early development.

[Last modified May 12, 2005, 09:16:02]

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