BREVARD COUNTY — A new competition series recently premiered on HBO Max, a subscription-based streaming service, that features a local teenager whose skills are put to the test.
Elijah Naidas, a 15-year-old Palm Bay resident, can now share his experiences on “Karma,” a competition between 18 teenage contestants that filmed a year ago in the Sierra National Forest of California.
“Karma” aired its first episode on June 18 and will continue to stream new episodes for the following six weeks. Elijah was just one of 18 contestants chosen from a search of 14,000 teenagers between the ages of 12 to 15 nationwide.
“I’ve never been an outdoors person but I thought, you know what, if I do get picked this would be a crazy, new experience and I’m all about that,” Elijah said.
The show’s description claims it is “completely off the grid to solve puzzles and overcome physical challenges, with the laws of karma setting the rules.”
Although not a camper, Elijah said he does have the athletic training from playing basketball and the flexibility of being a dancer.
After competing in “Karma,” Elijah said his biggest takeaway was learning that what goes around comes around, and not everyone is who they say they are.
Another important lesson, according to Elijah, was just how much family means to him. Filming took place without his parents, without his cell phone, and it made him realize how much he missed being with his siblings.
“I always put family first but being away from them that long, basically being on our own out there in the wilderness, was one of the hardest things I had to go through,” Elijah said.
Despite being away from home, the competition was still an exciting experience that Elijah will cherish.
For one, “Karma” was hosted by YouTube star Michelle Khare, best known for her “Challenge Accepted” series, which takes her through training like an FBI agent to Hollywood motion capture and Olympic figure skating.
The competition also presented Elijah with an opportunity to learn about other contestant’s diverse backgrounds.
“It really helped me grow as a person to see how everybody comes from a different background and how we can come together and do something pretty cool like that,” Elijah said.
For more information, visit www.hbomax.com.