Gold Rush: White Water's newest crew boss Kayla Johanson wasn't sure about joining Dustin Hurt's second team when he first gave her the call. Talking to PopCulture.com ahead of Friday's all-new episode of the hit Discovery show, Johanson revealed just how she had to adapt to a whole new way of doing things joining the team and the "personal challenge" she set for herself this season.
Johanson first caught the gold bug when she was a teen, getting into panning first before learning her grandfather was also a skilled panner. Before she got the call from Hurt asking her to sign on for the season, Johanson was running a successful solo dredge operation and enjoying being her own boss, so she wasn't sure about joining Gold Rush.
"I'd heard of [Gold Rush], but I hadn't really watched it much," she told PopCulture. "When [Hurt] called me, I was kind of on the fence about doing it at first because I had my own dredging operation going." Working as her own boss was a tough thing to give up. Still, Johanson was quickly elevated to crew boss, taking charge of the team including Eric Foster, Mark Stamper, and Scott Allen, despite their initial skepticism that a woman could fill the role.
"When I first got there, there was a lot of doubt," she shared. "A lot of the guys there – I'm pretty small. I only weigh like 115 lbs., so when people see me, they think, 'Oh my god, how is she even going to do this?'" Johanson continued that some people "weren't too happy" when she was named crew boss, and they had to "smooth that out."
Johanson didn't have any nerves about showcasing her skill as a miner but was nervous about being on camera, as she was "extremely shy" growing up and could still feel "withdrawn" meeting a lot of new people. "At the beginning, I was extremely camera shy – the cameras terrified me," she revealed. It might seem counterintuitive for someone so nervous around cameras to join a TV show, but Johanson revealed she thought of it as a "personal challenge" to overcome that fear.
Learning to have to communicate and delegate the site duties was "pretty difficult" because Johanson was used to doing everything herself and trusting in the quality of the work. "I was not having to communicate with anyone because if it needed to get done, I'm the one doing it," she shared. Despite the obstacles in her way personally and with the wild weather facing the crews this season, Johanson said she was "definitely considering" coming back for another season but teased that nothing was "set in stone yet." Gold Rush: White Water airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery and streaming on discovery+.