Waianae's Ilima Shim to appear on fourth season of 'Tough As Nails'

Jan. 1—Born and raised on the Big Island, Ilima Shim's first brush with fame came when she was on the Konawaena High School varsity track team and earned a place on the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Track and Field All-Star Team in 2003.

Born and raised on the Big Island, Ilima Shim's first brush with fame came when she was on the Konawaena High School varsity track team and earned a place on the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Track and Field All-Star Team in 2003.

On Wednesday, Shim, 35, a construction worker who now lives in Waianae, will represent Hawaii on the fourth season of the CBS reality show "Tough As Nails." Viewers can watch Shim test her strength, endurance and mental toughness against 11 other contestants while she also works with five of them in a six-person team battling the other six. In a departure from most reality shows, contestants who "punch out " (are eliminated ) as individuals continue to compete for cash prizes with their team.

After working in the hospitality business and as a tattoo model, Shim moved to Oahu in 2015 where she discovered her interest in construction. Her love of tattoos earned her the title of Queen of the Pacific Ink & Art Expo that same year.

"Tough As Nails " premieres at 8 p.m. Wednesday on CBS.

Without giving anything away, how does being on the show compare with what you expected ?

I honestly think it was everything that I expected—to be thrown out into a new job description that I haven't done. So I knew that it was going to be a tough show. I knew that I was going to be uncomfortable in a lot of situations, but you know, uncomfortableness is growth.

How did you get onto "Tough As Nails ?

My girlfriend and her mom actually binge-watch all these reality TV shows. They know that I do construction, and they felt that I was more than capable to do any and all of the challenges that were on the previous episodes or the previous seasons, so they took it upon themselves to (submit my application ). ... We got a call back asking for me to be on the show. ... I sat down with the family and we watched a couple of the episodes from a previous season, and we saw that there were three Hawaiian guys that had joined the show, and getting a call back would make me the first girl from Hawaii. I thought that was super awesome. So I accepted and I went to the show. I feel like it was one of the best decisions I've made in my life.

"Tough As Nails " has an unusual rule that although you are all competing against each other for the grand prize, you also compete as two teams of six people, and the team that wins each week wins $12, 000. Do team members ever look at each other, like, "My teammate is standing between me and the grand prize ?"

Absolutely. So we had to learn how to turn on and off (that ) switch, which was a part of the challenge as well. Learning to work together, learning each other's strengths and weaknesses, and then being turned against each other ... the really tough part is turning on and off that love and team effort to just do stuff for yourself.

I found this quote on your Instagram page : "Blood makes you related, but loyalty makes you family." Is that your philosophy ?

Absolutely ! Yes it is !

The tattoo work I could see caught my eye. I'm sure it captures everyone's attention. What is the story behind them ?

I lost my brother in a car accident back in 2002. He was an amazing artist. ... He started drawing for his friends and then T-shirt companies. But when he passed away, all of his friends had stolen his artwork from his room. When my family went to retrieve all his belongings, we'd noticed that all of his artwork was missing. My first tattoo was my brother's name, and an independent star for our love for art. And I kind of just grew it from there. All the little things in my life experiences that have stuck to me, I've made it a part of my body. I've done that because I feel like my body is my temple. And regardless if I pass (away ), nobody can take it away from me. Nobody can take my story away from me.

One more question about the show : What advice do you have for someone who wants to be on the show ?

A : It's a lot of mental preparedness, but (also ) just being physically prepared to take care of your body. ... You kind of forget about the safety side of things when you're just trying to win, you don't want to take five minutes to take care of yourself, but then for the next shot, you have a cut on your hand that's preventing you from your full potential. So I would say be aware of taking care of your body and your mind.