Danny Moody is no ordinary drywaller. Sure, he trucks out every morning to hang 80-plus sheets of drywall, each weighing 80 to 175 pounds, before calling it a day and returning home to his family. But more than that – which is already impressive – he is the only drywaller in the world to compete in CBS’ new reality-TV show, “Tough as Nails,” which premieres for two hours on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Earlier this year, just before the pandemic hit, Moody spent a month away from his home in Spokane to compete in and film “Tough as Nails.” “It was a blast,” he said. “I enjoyed every minute of it.”
The show features workers from all across America. It’s meant to celebrate the men and women who work tirelessly to keep the country running, from firefighters and drywallers to gate agents. The participants competed in various challenges associated with these hands-on careers.
“Tough as Nails,” which is the latest from “The Amazing Race” creator Phil Keoghan, has another distinct feature: When a competitor is eliminated from the main competition, they don’t go home.
Instead, they partake in prize-incentivized team challenges throughout the remainder of the season.
“They’re just real-life jobs, really,” Moody said. “I mean they had us do things that real-life people would do, whether it was manual labor, a mechanic (challenge), a farming, it was just what people do every day, working hard. They put it into a competition mode.”
Moody has been living in the Spokane area all his life; he’s an alumni of Riverside High School, and he, his wife and four children live next door to his parents and the house he grew up in. “I have a close relationship with my parents, my brother. I typically have a pretty close family, I’m family-oriented.”
Getting from his drywall job to reality TV was not a short or simple process. He first heard about the show from a friend in the drywaller community. “The casting director looked up a friend of mine, and she was like, ‘I don’t want no part in being on national television, but Danny! This sounds like something you might be interested in!’ So she gave me the application, and then I just pursued it.”
The casting process was lengthy; Moody wasn’t the only worker in the country who wanted a spot in the competition. He made certain to stand out with his strong, competitive personality. “I’m super competitive, and I like to win … I don’t care what it is.”
He also was a good candidate because of his lightheartedness and humor. Despite having pulled off a serious face for the photo shoots, it is difficult to catch Moody without a goofy smile. “I think we have three photos where I have a serious smile or a serious face. Every other time, it’s a crooked face, eyeballs looking weird, the usual. … The serious photos were hard for me.”
Moody kept things light with the casting team. “I have the personality where it’s hard for people to stay serious around me, so they ended up laughing and joking most of the time anyways with me.” After weeks of suspense, when he finally got the role, he had “just a smile ear to ear.”
Moody hopes his bright personality comes through in the final cut. “I mean, I got a plethora of dad jokes, let me tell you.”
When it came to the competition itself, Moody’s profession readied him for the tasks. “Sheetrock’s not light … it gets you pretty strong,” he explained. “Doing piece work – which means I get paid by what I do not necessarily hours on the job – I know how to push hard and keep going.” Those were certainly traits that helped him through the competition. The trailer for the show features tasks like hammering rails to railroad ties. It’s difficult work.
But the contestants were not working on their own. Many of the activities were team-based, and for Moody, getting to know his fellow contestants on and off set was a highlight. “They were amazing people coming from different walks of life. You got to learn about them and their fields, so it was a great experience.
The behind-the-scenes was another point-of-interest. “The first day of shooting, you’re like, ‘What do all those people do?’ But as you get going with it, you realize that everybody has a certain job, and they gotta keep it going smooth. And you don’t realize how much goes into it until you’re there. … It was amazing. Even if I wasn’t involved, just to be on the set to see everything, that would have been cool.”
Moody and his wife are excited for the premiere next Wednesday in part because it happens to fall on their anniversary. In addition to having their family over to celebrate 11 years of marriage, they’ll be watching Moody’s TV debut. “I let the wife know that I’m pretty happy about it.”
“Tough as Nails” airs at 8 p.m. Wednesday on CBS.
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