Holly Hoffman

Holly Hoffman, a 2010 contestant on "Survivor: Nicaragua," will be in Sioux City on Oct. 13 to speak at the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women event. 

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SOUTH SIOUX CITY | Since her appearance on "Survivor: Nicaragua" seven years ago, Holly Hoffman has found people can't get enough of her story. Which is fine, since she found it applies to most situations. 

In fact, she was able to parlay her experience on the reality competition show into a whole new career -- as a motivational speaker. 

"I really came out of the game with a story, of wanting to quit and then kind of changing the way I thought about the game and played the game, and changed my attitude," Hoffman said. "I take this experience and I relate it to the real world of survival." 

Her first speaking engagement was the month after the season wrapped, and she found more and more people wanted to listen. Last year, she did 128 speaking events, and this year she's slated to do about 140. 

"I didn't really think it would last very long, and it just kept going and going and going," Hoffman said. "And the third year, I started signing with speaking bureaus, and now I have seven speaking agents, a website, a book, I'm working on my second book." 

A native of Eureka, South Dakota, who now lives with husband Charlie on a ranch in north central South Dakota, Hoffman will be speaking at the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women luncheon on Oct. 13 at the Marina Inn Conference Center in South Sioux City. 

Go Red for Women was one of Hoffman's earliest clients -- this month's luncheon will be the 21st time she has addressed a Go Red crowd since 2011. 

"The very first (Go Red) event that I spoke to, I had no clue what Go Red for Women was," she said. 

So Hoffman went online to learn a bit more about Go Red for Women and about the American Heart Association. 

"I was shocked that heart disease was the number one killer in women," she said. She felt compelled to get the word out to women to "know your numbers" -- blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, body mass index and so forth. 

Like most people, Hoffman's family and friends have been touched by heart issues -- her father suffered high blood pressure, and a friend had a stent put in after an episode where she became ill on the treadmill. 

"Whenever I hear of a woman that tells me she's not feeling right or so forth, that's one of the first things I tell them: 'You need to go get your numbers checked,'" she said. 

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Lifestyles reporter

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