Final stretch for Discovery Intern contestant

Sophie Piearcey, of Queenstown, is one of five finalists from Australia and New Zealand in the...
Sophie Piearcey, of Queenstown, is one of five finalists from Australia and New Zealand in the running to become the next Discovery Intern. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The next two weeks may prove to be the longest of Sophie Piearcey's life.

The 26-year-old Queenstown resident is one of five finalists to become the next Discovery Intern. The winner will be announced on February 28.

The winner of the competition, open to New Zealand and Australian residents, will travel with a friend to Japan, the United States, Croatia and South Africa, funded by the Discovery Channel, creating videos and other content along the way.

It is the second time the competition has been run. Miss Piearcey, originally from Sheffield, saw it last year and wanted to enter, but because she had not yet gained New Zealand residency, she had to wait.

When that was approved last year and competition applications opened, Miss Piearcey got to work creating her video entry, focused on climbing the hills and mountains around the Wakatipu and sharing her ``top tip'' for travellers - ``get up high''.

``It's not that I'm not into other adventure stuff, it's not that I don't think jumping out of a plane's cool, but just for me, there's no better feeling than ... doing the whole real outdoor adventure stuff.

``I get my kicks from going to a back-country hut, rather than going out in town.''

Miss Piearcey understood about 10,000 people initially applied for the internship, and were narrowed down to 100.

The first round of public votes reduced that to 25 and the second round cut it down to five.

Miss Piearcey is one of two New Zealanders in the running - the other is Kaleb Anderson (22), of Auckland.

``It's crazy. I don't really feel like I've come down yet. I'm just freaking out,'' she said.

``It's kind of one of those things where you enter it and go `Oh well, you might as well. You've got to be in it to win it, haven't you?' and then you're sat here waiting for a phone call from the Discovery Channel to have an interview.

``It doesn't feel real.''

The finalists will all have Skype interviews with the panel of judges from the Discovery Networks this week before the winner is announced at the end of the month.

The trained photographer, who had been blogging about her travels to keep her family up-to-date, said it would be a dream come true if she was chosen and would help kick-start her favoured career as a full-time content creator.

At present, she was working in customer service, as well as doing social media and photography, for Queenstown's Nemo Workroom.

The winner of the competition would spend eight to 10 days in each country and could do the entire trip in one stint or spread it out, so if she was successful she would not have to take a year off work, Miss Piearcey said.

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