‘Gold Rush: White Water’ Star Kayla Johanson Reveals What Was Challenging About Joining Show

by Maria Hartfield

Discovery’s Gold Rush franchise has had wild success resulting in a series of spinoffs including Gold Rush: White Water. Similar to its other Gold Rush counterparts, Gold Rush: White Water follows father-son duo Dakota Fred and Dustin on their search for gold throughout Alaska. The series is currently in its fifth season and has added two miners to their crew, Mark Stamper and Kayla Johanson.

The reality television series centers around gold mining operations in multiple countries as each team hope to strike it rich. What’s interesting about the many spinoff series is seeing the different methods in searching for gold.

White Water reveals gold mining at its most extreme. The crew put their lives on the line using an unconventional mining tactic of dredging. The tactic involves diving into whitewater collection pools at the base of high country waterfalls.

The “Dakota Boys” refuse to quit set on striking it rich no matter what. That’s where their heavy-hitting teammate Kayla Johanson comes in. Kayla is the new dredger on the block. She brings with her nearly 15 years of experience, but still seems to cause drama by being the only woman on her team.

Upon joining the show, Johanson went through a period where she felt she needed to prove herself and her skills to the others on her time. She knocked it out of the park when she was the first to find gold.

Now in its fifth season, Johanson seems incredibly cool and comfortable being on camera. After finding such success, it’s hard to believe Johanson wasn’t immediately on board about joining the series.

Johanson Almost Didn’t Join Gold Rush: White Water

Kayla Johanson not only brings a wealth of experience with her, but mining for gold is in her blood. Her Instagram bio even reads “Gold Diggin’ B–ch”. So, it’s interesting that she told Hollywood Soapbox she was “kind of on the fence” about coming on the show. Instead, Johanson wanted some time to think about the opportunity before deciding if she would move forward in accepting the offer or not.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it yet or not, mainly because I already had my own dredging operation going here,” she said. Typically, Johanson likes to work alone with the freedom to plan her own schedule.

“At most, I might work with (another) person if I bring in some help, but for the most part, I work by myself. So I was kind of on the fence if I wanted to change that and leave that behind to go work with a bunch of different people, which was a little bit challenging at first,” Johanson explained.

Luckily, Johanson ultimately made the decision to join the Gold Rush team, and we are so glad she did! She reflects on her experience saying it “ended up being really fun” and that she was “glad” to have said yes to the opportunity.

Watch Gold Rush: White Water on Discovery+.