In a departure from his normal duties as a decorator, Nate Berkus signed on to host Oprah's Big Give and follow the contestants' every move for 45 days.
Nate says he wanted to be a part of this show because the premise touched him on a personal level. In December 2004, Nate survived the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people, including his partner, Fernando Bengoechea.
After the disaster struck, Nate was left stranded in Sri Lanka with no wallet, phone or dry clothes. He relied on the kindness of strangers to help him get through those dark days. "I know, since I've been in this position in my life, what it means to actually need help and get it from a stranger," he says. "[A man gave me] a clean shirt and flip-flops when I needed them most. That moment will stay with me forever."
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While filming Oprah's Big Give, Nate says he was amazed by the contestants' charitable acts. "I think it gave me a greater sense of humanity," he says. "I was dying to find out what the contestants were able to achieve with every challenge."