• Emily Riedel was born in 1988 in Alaska, USA, to parents involved in the fishing business.
• Riedel fell in love with classical music, and attended the University of South Carolina for a BA in vocal performance.
• She started gold dredging in 2012 as a summer job, and eventually made it a full-time career.
• She became a full-time cast member of the Discovery Channel's reality TV series, “Bering Sea Gold”, in 2013.
• Riedel has amassed wealth estimated at over $250,000, from gold dredging and her involvement with the show.
Emily Riedel is a gold ‘miner’, a TV personality and a would-be opera singer, best known as a star of the Discovery Channel’s reality TV series “Bering Sea Gold”, being the first and so far only woman dredging for gold in Alaska.
Early life, family, educational background
Emily Riedel was born on 4 July 1988, in Alaska USA, into a white American family of unknown descent. Her parents were involved with the fishing business, her father being Steve Riedel, the deckhand, captain and diver featured in “Bering Sea Gold”.
Riedel was raised in Homer, Alaska, with a brother and sister, growing up through quite a rough childhood, as her family struggled with finances. While still a young girl, she fell in love with classical music, having the dream of becoming an opera singer one day.
Speaking about her educational background, Riedel’s passion for opera singing saw her enrol into the University of South Carolina, where she acquired a Bachelor of Arts in vocal performance.
How Riedel became involved in mining for gold as a career
During her college years, Riedel worked part-time to help her parents pay for her education. However, encountering many difficulties in funding both her schooling and her passion for opera singing, she started looking for a job upon her graduation, hoping to find a way to fund her studies at a European opera conservatory.
In 2012 she came to Nome, Alaska, to visit her childhood friend Zeke Tenhoff for the summer, carrying only $300 in her pockets. He helped her out by offering her a part-time summer job in gold-dredging with him and his crew, a profession she had already learned from her father, and advised her to pursue a career in gold mining operations, which he claimed was quite profitable. As working in the music field did not appear promising for Riedel at the time, and with the employment environment being poor, she decided to give gold dredging a try, an industry far from what she’d studied.
Her friend helped her to start, putting her on a gold boat called The Clark as a deckhand, owned and operated by him. Working on her new calling, Riedel then moved to another boat captained by her friend, called The Edge. Her summer job in gold mining eventually became a fully-fledged occupation she fell in love with. She became the captain of her own boat called The Erotica Mining, which she bought from Tenhoff, the only female captain and dredge owner in Alaska.
TV series “The Bering Sea”
After working for some time with Riedel as their co-worker, the crew was approached by a team of the reality television series “Bering Sea Gold” in 2013, offering them an opportunity they couldn’t turn down.
The highly popular series, produced for Discovery Channel by Original Productions, is from the creators of the Emmy-winning show “Deadliest Catch”. One of cable’s highest-rated shows, it is based on the activities and life of gold miners risking their lives in brutal conditions and great challenges, trying to find as much gold as possible in various conditions, and hoping to strike it rich in the waters surrounding Nome. It is aired in two seasons, summer and winter.
Riedel has been a full-time cast member of the show since its first season, starting as a diver and deckhand in the first two seasons, and becoming a captain in the third one, having her own ten-inch suction dredge and a successful crew of three.
She had the luck to become a part of the crew at this time, as the Discovery show attracted great popularity to them, lifting Riedel’s name to fame. Perhaps even more for being the only woman in the crew, posing an even greater challenge than her male counterparts, rising up the ranks in the gold dredging operation dominated by men, and possibly paving the way for other women having the same kind of passion. ‘It is a very difficult job mentally and physically, and there just aren’t many women drawn to this career. Although there should be and I hope that changes…
A lot of guys have come up to me and told me that I inspire their daughters, and I am proud of that. I have had a lot of failures, but I have gone completely out of my comfort zone and ventured into something that was dangerous, but challenging and rewarding’, Riedel explained for Fox News in 2013, hoping a gender-based shift would become normal in the future.
Riedel’s pioneering effort has brought her a fame and fortune, changing her life and growing an impressive base of fans.
Becoming a reality TV star has brought Riedel many other television appearances too, being invited to appear as a guest on various talk shows, such as “The Larry King Show,” “The Steve Harvey Show,” “The Insider”, and several others.
Personal life, dating Zeke Tenhoff
When it comes to her personal life, Riedel is single. She date her once friend and fellow cast member Tenhoff, but the couple eventually realized that there were too many differences between them which after some time began causing weariness. After their separation, they even tried staying friends, but that apparently made the situation even more strenuous, and therefore they called it quits. Since then, Riedel has not been in any relationship.
Riedel is 5ft 0ins (1.52m) tall, reputedly weighs 148lbs (67 kgs), and her vital statistics are 33-24-35. Her hair color is light brown, and her eyes are green.
Riedel has amassed wealth estimated at over $250,000, as of late 2019. Her dedication and years of facing great challenges while gold mining in Alaska seems to have paid off as she apparently scores a lot with her gold dredging profession, not to mention her involvement with the “Bering Sea Gold” show, which plays a major role in influencing her wealth.