ON THE BORDER: Allison Melder in cast of 'Borderland.'

Arkansas ties are limitless in the unending diet of reality TV shows but here’s one with an Arkansas political angle sufficient to merit an evening mention. A Little Rock Republican politico is in the cast of Al Jazeera America’s “Borderland”

The show features six Americans retracing the steps of migrants who died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. All cast details here. Our angle is Alison Melder, 28, of Little Rock, described as a Republican state Senate aide, though I think “former” was probably omitted from the description. She holds up her end of the political spectrum. She thinks those who enter without permission take U.S. jobs and should be deported.


A former beautician and bikini model who had never traveled outside the United States, Alison became intrigued when she saw a tweet from “Borderland” producers offering to provide more information about immigration.

“It was out of nowhere. I wrote and filled out an application — never thinking in a million years it would become real,” says Alison, who earned a degree in political science in college. “I got my passport just for this show.

She works as a Republican state Senate aide in Little Rock and is “angry and frustrated with our system and our government” when it comes to immigration. “I can’t understand how there could be 11 million–plus undocumented people in the U.S. and that we don’t know who they are,” she says, adding that many are “welfare projects” who undercut the “legal” workforce.

A born-again Christian who had the word “saved” tattooed on her arm, Alison says taking part in “Borderland” changed her.

“Last year I knew I was a Christian, but I didn’t know how to be a Christian,” she says. “I think this trip taught me to humble myself and love everyone equally.”

Why, yes, perhaps that name might be familiar to regular Arkansas Blog readers. Keywords: Petrino. text messages, bikini.

PS — I can’t confirm, but a reliable Reublican source says Melder isn’t available fellows. My source says she married recently in a Capitol ceremony officiated by a state senator. (Indeed, nuptial photos taken in the Old Supreme Court chamber appear on her Facebook page, but not the officiant.) I think there’s a reality show in here somewhere.