The host of MTV's new Fear Factor reboot is a self-described "adrenaline-junkie," but there's something that will always freak Ludacris out. It's not heights, it's not spiders or bugs, and it's not enclosed spaces. It's actually something that most people wouldn't even think twice about.
"[I'm] most afraid of being in open water and something brushing up against your leg and you don't know what the hell that is," Ludacris confesses with a laugh. "That's my biggest fear because you're in that person's territory and not your own. It freaks me out just thinking about it."
Sitting down with Bustle and a small group of reporters on the set of MTV's rebooted competition series (premiering Tuesday, May 30 at 10 p.m.), Ludacris is in good spirits after watching two pairs go head-to-head in a high-flying stunt involving cell phones and a platform dangling high above the ground. The stunt started slow and steady but ended with an exciting move that got everyone on set cheering by the time Ludacris came over to chat.
"Another thing that makes me scared is when fans ask for pictures in the men's bathroom," he says with a laugh. "That's my biggest fear right there — I dread that."
When it came to thinking up stunts for the new series, Ludacris was surprised to learn what the top fear currently is for most people.
"They did a study and the number one thing that people were most afraid of, believe it or not, take a guess," he says. "Not public speaking, but [losing your] phone was one of them. The number one was people were most of afraid of birds. Like, terrified of birds?! That's crazy!"
So yes, "there's already going to be a bird stunt" on Fear Factor. Ludacris chuckled a little as he revealed that teaser.
"When you think about people being scared, that's when you feel the most alive," he says. "You've heard those quotes, you've it in movies, but you can just tell and you can see people's real reactions and how they react to fear. What has surprised me the most is that, if you just push people a little bit, obviously people don't wan to do certain things but if you give them that push and they accomplish it, they feel so much better about themselves. It says something about us as humans, when you have someone there to give you that push, how far it really can take you in life and expand your horizons and what you felt your limitations were."
He continues, "Hosting this show and being able to see the human fiber of something like that happening, it brings joy to my day. If I can bring someone to help overcome their own fears, then there's no telling what they can do later on in life after they leave this show to become a better person. It's like we planted a seed for them to go beyond their wildest dreams at this point."
Or you can just watch to see contestants get bugs poured on them, dangle high above the ground and eat some gross stuff. It's like choose your own adventure, Fear Factor style.