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Big Brother watches Baysider on TV show

Dana Varela, 28, will have her every...

By Ayala Ben-Yehuda

A Bayside woman who manages the Tiger Schulmann’s Karate studio on Bell Boulevard is one of 13 contestants set to compete for $500,000 on the new season of CBS’s reality TV show “Big Brother” starting this week.

Dana Varela, 28, will have her every movement recorded 24 hours a day as she spends up to three months sequestered in a California house bugged with microphones and video cameras. She will vie for the grand prize by forming alliances and outfoxing her fellow houseguests in a race to avoid elimination from the show, which airs Tuesdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. and Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

Varela will have no contact with the outside world, but she may have to live with her ex. Five of the mystery contestants in the house will be ex-lovers of the houseguests already chosen and announced by the network.

“From a series of screening interviews, producers culled a pool of finalists with the physical, psychological and mental capacity to endure 100 days in a monitored house under extraordinary conditions,” reads a blurb on the show’s Web site.

Jun Song of New York City was also announced as a contestant last week.

In a contestant questionnaire, Varela said her motto was “losing is not an option.”

Describing herself as a person with “personality and the non-quitting spirit,” Varela said she went on the show “to win $500,000 and have a ton of fun.”

Sensei Bryan Gotthoffer, master teacher and owner of the karate franchise on Bell, said the formerly unemployed Varela applied for a spot on the show several months ago on a dare.

“She’s competitive, she’s dynamic, she’s driven, she’s very intelligent,” said Gotthoffer, who promised Varela that her job, which she has had for three months, would wait for her.

“She wasn’t really sure she wanted to go, but she knew it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up,” Gotthoffer said.

A TV crew from the show filmed Varela, a blue belt, working with students in her school and proudly wearing the Tiger Schulmann’s uniform.

“It’s good for her, but it’s great publicity for us, too,” Gotthoffer said.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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