Ever wondered what it is like to live in the remotest part of Alaska – where residents brace through punishing weather, clash with deadly wildlife, and sometimes battle for daily necessities?
You might have learned how difficult it can get for residents to survive in Alaska’s wilderness. Still, on BBC Worldwide’s reality show Life Below Zero, viewers get a near first-hand experience of the chilling moments of the life of the grid in Alaska.
Life Below Zero’s cast members are documented doing all sorts of outrageous survival activities, from navigating around a grizzly bear attack to living in complete isolation. It’s thrilling to see the wins and challenges of cast members in some of the harshest terrains in the world.
Immersed in its action pact scenes, viewers can’t help but wonder if cast members are paid enough to take us through a walk in their remote lifestyle.
What is Life Below Zero?
Life Below Zero is a BBC Worldwide reality television series aired on National Geographic that takes viewers deep into the bitterly cold Alaskan winter to follow the lives of resilient hunters who navigate through storms and man-eating beasts to survive.
According to Reality Blurred, the show has won four Emmy awards (the reality program cinematography Emmy in 2019, 2018, and 2016, and the reality TV picture editing Emmy in 2017). So it is no surprise that the BBC Worldwide reality show has aired for sixteen seasons to date.
Producers responsible for its stunning visuals state that they film in brazen conditions.
“It’s a little bit scary right now because lights were dropping, and we’ve seen a predator, like a wolf or a bear or a wolverine, so it kind of freaks me out a lot to be here right now,” a producer told The Wrap.
However, if producers are frank about the harsh realities that they have to go through in the Alaskan wilderness, it’s sure to say cast members are in for a journey.
It only seems fair that the daunting task that cast members experience amounts to generous compensation. Below we bring you closer to the main cast members, revealing their salary from Life Below Zero and their net worths.
How much does Life Below Zero pay?
Fans of the popular Life Below Zero are concerned about how much its reality tv stars get paid to feature on the show or if they get paid anything at all.
The good news is that fan’s favorite subsistence hunters have reported made a lot of money from showcasing their survival skills to viewers. Cast members of Life Below Zero get paid a similar cast salary; however, as not all cast members appeared in the entirety of the show’s seasons, each cast member has a very different net worth.
Life Below Zero cast salary, and net worth: Sue Aikens
Born 1st July 1963 in Mount Prospect, Sue is an Illinois native. Not a whole lot is revealed about her childhood. However, reports claim her parent’s divorce caused her to move to Fairbanks, Alaska, at an early age.
Sue had to adapt to the cold Alaskan winters and learn how to survive, which judging from her survival instinct on the show, she caught on well.
Currently, Sue Aikens lives 480 miles from the nearest city and 75 miles from the closest road in Alaska.
The subsistence hunter set up a hunting camp called Kavik River Camp in Alaska, 200 miles away from the Arctic Circle, which has been a success, hosting numerous hunters each year during hunting season.
According to notable sources, Life Below Zero’s producers caught on to Sue’s unique lifestyle and asked Sue if she would join the show as its main member.
Over 150 episodes into the reality show, Sue’s salary per episode is $4500. Since Sue has been on the show from literally day one, she’s certainly earned a sizable amount of money.
In addition, being a cast member in other reality shows including, Flying Wild Alaska and Sarah Palin’s Alaska, has significantly contributed to her net worth. Authoritative sources estimate Sue’s net worth at over $500 000.
From an early age, Glenn Villeneuve has had a flair for the outdoors. Although not much has been said about Glenn’s life, reports claim he dropped out of school to pursue his love for exploration and nature.
Having no professional education, Glenn moved to the remote lands of Alaska in 1999 and settled in Chandalar, 200 miles north of Fairbanks.
Glenn Villeneuve lived a subsistence lifestyle, hunting for wild animals and relying on firewood to keep the home burning. Life Below Zero producers approached Glenn to become a cast member of the show.
Before his fallout with Life Below Zero, Glenn appeared on 75 episodes of the reality show. According to Distractify, he earned an annual salary of $200 000. During the show, Glenn reportedly invested in property and stocks, where he earned more income. Tvstarbio reports Glenn Villeneuve’s net worth to be valued at $1 million.
Agnes and Chip Hailstone
Born Edward V Hailstone in Kalispell, Montana, USA, Chip Hailstone is one of two sons of parents, Mary Louis and Daniel Franklin Hailstone. Chip moved to Alaska aged 19, reportedly already familiar with hunting and trapping. He settled in Noorvik and shortly met his wife of Alaskan Descent, Agnes Hailstone.
Together, Native Alaskan Agnes, who was already accustomed to indigenous hunting and fishing, and Chip attracted producers with an impressive survival skillset. As a result, the two were cast to join the Life Below Zero series.
The married couple’s salary per episode is reported $4500 each. As of 2019, Agnes Hailstone’s net worth was valued at $100 000, while their husband Chip Hailstone holds an estimated $100 000 in net worth.
Andy Bassich was born in Washington DC, USA – in 1958. Andy lived in a few different states in the United States including, Maryland and Virginia, before leaving his accustomed city life to Alaska in 1980.
Andy Bassich settled near the Yukon River and took a job as a riverboat captain. Andy would meet his future wife, Kate Rorke Bassich while captaining the boat she would board as a tourist. After a couple of dates, Kate remained in the Alaskan land to reside with Andy, and soon after, they tied the knot.
To sustain himself and his newly wedded wife, Andy partook in sled racing and subsistence hunting. According to Networthreporter, he also runs a survival school and a dog mushing school called Alaska Yukon Adventure.
Like other members, his remote lifestyle secured him a spot as a main cast member on Life Below Zero. Andy has gone on to feature in 85 episodes of the chill-inducing reality series. His lengthy run on the show earned him a lot of money. Andy Bassich’s net worth is valued at over $250 000.
Jessie Holmes was born in 1980 in Alabama, USA. Before moving to Alaska, Jessie resided in Montana for three years, where he worked as a carpenter and earned money building cabins for people. “Before I moved to Nenana, what I did was I was a carpenter,” he said on the National Geographic reality show.
He finally settled in a town called Nenana in Alaska, where his carpentry skills helped him sustain life for himself. Then, according to reports, he started building boats, cabins, fish wheels, and sleds.
Jessie owns and has trained over 50 dogs, which he prioritizes in his life, for sled racing. His fishing wheel has gone a long way, fetching an average of 3200 salmon in the summer and fall to feed his dogs and himself.
Jessie was asked to join the reality series in its sixth season in 2015.
Apart from the show, Jessie makes an income from dogsled races. In 2018 he ranked 9th place in the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race (Alaskans may know this ) and walked away with $25 812 in prize money.
According to reports, the reality star ranks amongst the richest of cast members. Jessie Holme’s net worth is allegedly valued at $500 000.
Life Below Zero back for another season
National Geographic revealed that Life Below Zero had been renewed for multiple seasons. This includes an eight-part spin-off show, Life Below Zero Next Generation, which premiered in 2021 and followed the adventures of a whole new set of subsistence hunters.
Additional seasons of Life Below Zero prove how the show has enticingly captured the hearts of fans, an achievement that is only known to the best of reality shows.