Fish Out of Water

Alaskan fishing captains Andy Hillstrand, Johnathan Hillstrand (his brother) and Sig Hansen were in New York to promote their reality series Deadliest Catch at the Discovery Channel upfront presentation, along with the closing-bell ceremony at NASDAQ. Like some fellow grizzly Alaskans, they are bearish: “I’m in the market, and I have gold and silver. I’m diversified,” said Andy Hillstrand.

The trio seemed confident they could run businesses better than “experts”–they’d been successful fishermen long before the premiere of Deadliest Catch, in 2005. “It’s the purest way to be entrepreneurial,” said Andy. Of city businessmen, Johnathan Hillstrand is skeptical: “They say one thing and mean another, holy fucking fuck. Pardon my language.”

The three men acclimate well to New York. Mr. Hansen had taken a group of advertising executives out the night prior. “I’m like a Navy SEAL–last in, first out!” he declared, ordering an Absolut and Coke as hair of the dog at a midtown hotel cafe. He’d slept through a tanning-bed appointment and barely made the lunchtime interview.

They were particularly excited about receiving engraved crystal from NASDAQ. “Sig’s gonna hollow his out to drink vodka,” said Johnathan. After the bell-ringing ceremony, they’d been flocked by well-wishers in Times Square. “I felt like the Naked Cowboy!” said Mr. Hansen. They generally get along well with other TV reality stars, but not a certain celebrity matriarch: “What a bitch! I told her it should be Johnathan and Kate Plus Eight–and I don’t mean kids,” said Johnathan.

Despite signs of metropolitan savvy, their sartorial choices were a tell: the three Alaskans were dressed in morning-after tank tops and jeans, with plans to put on their suits for the upfront. Explained Mr. Hansen: “I’m a fucking chameleon, dude.”
–Daniel D’Addario

Fish Out of Water