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MTV's show transports MacDill family member back in time

by Senior Airman Robin Drake
Thunderbolt staff writer

Sarah Bray, standing on the far right in the back row wearing a purple dress, poses with the rest of the cast members from the MTV show, "The 70s House."

Photo courtesy of www.freewebs.com/sarahbray

If you were given the opportunity to go back in time and live during an era that you have not experienced, would you do it?

That is exactly what happened for one MacDill family member. Sarah Katharine Bray, daughter of Col. Clifton L. Bray, deputy director for plans, policy and strategy at U.S. Special Operations Command, was selected out of thousands of applicants to be one of 12 cast members for MTV's new retro reality show, "The 70s House."

Sarah and the other cast members, age's ranging from 18 to 25, had no idea they were about to time warp to the past and into a world full of surprises. All of them were required to "give up" any personal possessions or items that were not considered to be "70s style," which, in the end turned out to be all of them.

The house they live in has furnishings and decorations from the 1970s. Both the clothing they wear and the food they eat are also from that decade.

"We ate a lot of TV dinners but it took 45 minutes to an hour to cook them because we had to use an oven," said Sarah.

Adding comedy to the experience, each cast member has the privilege of experiencing the ever dreaded "hustle alarm." It doesn't matter what time it is or where they are, when "The Hustle" begins to play, all are required to get up dance.

"In bed was the worst because the cameras would be right there and we would be in our ugly pajamas with no make-up," said Sarah, "it was really embarrassing."

Sarah says that it was pretty easy to adjust to life in the 70s, and after a few days no one seemed to miss their cell phones or laptops. The cast members would sit around and talk and because of that they really got to know one another she says.

"The best thing about this experience are the friends I've made," said Sarah. "I've met a lot of amazing people and we each share this experience that no one else will ever have."

At 24, Sarah's experiences on national television are ones that most people could only dream about.

Sarah's mother, Terri Bray, says that even at a young age her daughter began telling stories and role playing. By third grade Sarah landed a role in her first play.

During her high school and college years, Sarah appeared in a variety of plays including The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Fame and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

In addition to acting she also possesses vast knowledge and experience in directing, costume design and stage set up. She graduated from Texas Tech University in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in theater.

"I always knew I wanted to get into the entertainment industry, and one day move out to L.A.," said Sarah.

After college, Sarah moved back from Texas to her family's home in Tampa. She had planned for a trip to visit some friends who were living in Los Angeles and thought as a joke she would send MTV an email expressing an interest she had in working for them.

Much to her surprise she received a reply with information about upcoming auditions that would be taking place during her visit.

"I asked questions and did some research before I went for the initial audition and found out that it was for a new reality TV show," said Sarah.

After the audition she returned to Tampa and waited for word on whether she would be selected to return to L.A. for the final audition.

"They told me that if I was selected I would hear back from them during the next month," said Sarah.

That month came and went, and much to Sarah's disappointment she did not receive the call.

"It wasn't until a few days later that Sarah was contacted and told that she had made it to the final audition," said Mrs. Bray. "She had to pack her bags with enough stuff for seven weeks of filming and was flown back to L.A."

Both Sarah and her parents attribute the numerous moves the entire family has made during Colonel Bray's military career to her courageous decision to pick up and move away.

"Early in life, we left comfortable, safe, stable surroundings and headed off for adventure and challenges that involved moving to far away places and often uncertain situations," said Colonel Bray. "If we chose to do that, it's pretty hard to not let your children take similar bold steps in their lives."

Both of Sarah's parents and her three siblings are extremely proud of her accomplishments and the internal drive she has to persevere toward her goals.

"It is always fulfilling to see someone's dreams and aspirations come true," said Colonel Bray. "She has fulfilled that short-term goal and this is just a stepping stone to the longer range goals she has for her future."

Sarah's adventurous spirit, willingness to take chances and support from family and friends has undoubtedly helped her strive for success.

"The 70s House" can be seen on MTV on Tuesday nights. See local listings for times.

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