Everyone lies on Survivor. Some may lie more than others, but everyone lies to some extent — especially when it comes to voting people out. And then there are those that lie right out of the gate. Maybe it’s about their age. Or their profession. Or how much they know about the game. Or maybe it’s about all three!
We asked the 14 Survivor: Edge of Extinction newbies (who will be joined by returnees Joe Anglim, Aubry Bracco, Kelley Wentworth, and David Wright when the season premieres Feb. 20 on CBS) if there were certain secrets about themselves that they did not plan to share with fellow contestants. While some professed to be an “open book,” others weren’t quite so ready to spill the proverbial beans. Here’s what they told us the day before the game began out in Fiji in terms what they didn’t plan to tell the others.
“I think I’m not like most super-fans. I typically don’t fall into the look that they go for. So, I’m gonna use that to my advantage. I’m not gonna act like I know the game as well as I do. I plan on using that as one of the things in my arsenal — just maybe playing dumb because I talk with a little country accent, and use that to my advantage. They don’t need to know I’m a super-fan. I’m here on vacation for all they know.”
“I question whether or not I should let people know that I’ve applied for 17 years. I think being a super-fan of the show could put you at a disadvantage. I don’t want people to think that I’m a threat because I happen to know every single thing that’s happened on every episode. So I don’t think that I’ll tell them that I’ve been applying for 17 years — maybe I’ll just keep it to the last four.
“I did think I was going to lie about my age, but now I’ve decided not to. I’m 46, and I’m pretty sure that I’ll probably be the oldest one on this season just because that’s how it’s been going lately in the casts. I thought I was going to come out here and be like the oldest, the weakest player and I feel like that puts you at an immediate disadvantage; but I’m not so sure anymore. There’s definitely some very young-looking people. I feel like I definitely could be their mother. But there’s also some older looking people, and if I start to lie about my age, I’m going to screw myself up with the mental math figuring everything out.”
“One of my biggest concerns is that someone is going to ask the name of the school where I teach, and it’s called The Ron Clark Academy. Like, ‘What kind of an arrogant dude would name a school after himself?’ Which I actually didn’t. It was used for publicity purposes at the time of the movie [The Ron Clark Story, starring Matthew Perry], but the name has stuck. I hope no one asks me that. I’ll have to lie. I’m going to say the name of it is RCA.
“Then if they say, ‘What does that stand for?’ I’ll say, ‘Oh, rigor, commitment, and attitude.’ I’ll just come up with something boring so they’ll stop listening. And then I’m also concerned because we’ve had some viral videos where 80 million people watched a viral video of me dancing with my students in my classroom. We have those things out there, so I’m afraid someone’s going to recognize it, or maybe someone has a teacher in their family who’s visited Atlanta to come to our school, and so I’m concerned about those types of things, but I’ll just have to handle it as it happens.”
“I think that for me I am a very open and trusting person in general and so I want people to know that they can trust me. But I’m not going to go around and offer up that I was Division 1 athlete, I’m going to Georgetown in the fall, all these different things. I almost want them to underestimate me because I think that that’s where I can shine. I am incredibly athletic, I am incredibly smart, and so I think that I want them to know bits and pieces, but I’m not going to be offering up, ‘Hey, I did this and this.’”
“All along the casting thing [producers] were like, ‘Are you going to tell them you’re a morning anchor? Are you going to tell them that?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, why?’ ‘They might think you’re smart.’ ‘I’ll dispel that quickly.’ ‘They might think you’re rich.’ ‘Macon, Georgia, I’ll explain that’s not the way it works.’ So I think I’m pretty much going to be an open book just because there’s so much other stuff to concentrate on. I don’t want to worry about having to not let something slip.”
“If there is one thing that I wouldn’t want them to know it’s my last name and it’s because my last name is Diaz. I don’t want them to think that I’m part of Sandra Diaz. Sandra Diaz is a two-time winner. They’re automatically going to be like, ‘Oh, yeah, she’s part of the Diaz clan.’ So I’m just going to lie about that, but it’s not because I’m ashamed of anything. It’s just I don’t want them to vote me off for something that I’m not in control of. I’m going to say my name is Wendy Days because Diaz in Spanish is Days [in English].”
Dan DaSilva (a.k.a. The Wardog)
“They won’t know I live in L.A. and go to law school, and that I finished two years of law school. So my backstory is that I just got out of the Army a year ago, I’m back in New York, which I know well, and my mother’s a real estate broker, which is the truth, and she wants to get me into the real estate business, which was a truth some years ago before I decided to go to law school and follow in my sister’s footsteps who’s a lawyer.
“For some reason, lawyers and cops are the two most threatened jobs in Survivor. It’s something that doesn’t make sense. You could be a neurosurgeon and be one of the smartest people in the world, and you’re not a threat. No, you’re a doctor. You’re a good person. But you’re a lawyer or a cop? It’s just the worst.”
“I’m definitely 100 percent me at all times. I don’t know how to be anything else. A lot of people question whether I should tell people if I’m an attorney or not but I know that I can’t go 39 days without telling stories that I had been through without saying that. I’m going to be me to a T and I hope people respect that, and that’s probably the quality I hope will help me do well in this game, is being honest, being me, and never questioning whether I’m not being real to you.
“I think I’m a good liar and I’m still going to lie. I didn’t become an attorney because I wanted to tell the truth every day, but I think lying is also, how harsh is that lie? Is it against someone as you are as a person on the inside, or is it just to get you to the next step? How much does it really tear apart that other person? I think that’s how you judge a lie, not by whether it’s truth, but by how it affects the other person.”
“I’m in door to door sales. I manage a team that knocks on doors for commission. So, there’s techniques. I train people on the art of persuasion. I train people on that stuff. Do I want anyone out here to know that? Hell no! I’m coming out here just a regular dude, fishing guide, dive guide, it’s what I did before I moved up in my career, and weirdly enough, it’s less of a threat than being a sales manager.
“I would be the worst fishing guide of all time if I didn’t catch fish out here, saying that. But the good thing is, I grew up by the water. My uncle owns a diving company. I’m a certified dive master, and so that’s what I did is I taught people how to dive, how to spear fish, how to feel okay in unknown territory — uncharted water, so to speak.”
“I don’t want anyone to think I’m smart. It sounds silly, but if you come across as being super intelligent… as James said in seasons past, the talkers are the ones to look out for. I don’t want anyone to see me as a strategic threat. At least not off the bat. Eventually they’re going to find out because I’m going to be a strategic threat, but I don’t want people to look at me and think that.”
“The one thing that I did question was just whether or not I would tell them that I do go to Duke, just because it’s one of the top schools in the nation and people would think that, ‘Oh, he’s got the smarts. He’s a threat.’ Which does make you a threat, at least later in the game. But I think I’ve decided that college is such a big part of my life now that if I try to hide that from them, I’m hiding over half a portion of myself and if you’re going to hide everything coming out to this game, that’s going to do you wrong because you can’t be any sort of authentic to people because you’re hiding yourself.”
“I don’t need to sit there and be like, “Me, me, me” the whole time. I think people like to talk about themselves more than hearing about somebody. They kind of tune out after a while. So I’m more interested in learning about who I’m playing with, and hearing about them, and asking them a bunch of questions. But do it with sincerity, because I do like learning about people. I love it. I could talk to a wall for hours. I just like to talk to people.”
“I’m gonna be pretty open. I think in order to build trust, you have to be that way. At least I do. I don’t think I have the capacity to live a total false identity out here. I’m not that good at lying. And I actually do really want to get to know these people and I really do want to develop some meaningful relationships. This is a unique opportunity, to be in such a crazy situation with, presumably, all these really interesting people. I don’t want to squander it, I actually do want to get to know them. I want them to get to know me. I’m gonna be really open in that sense.
“I think, probably, the thing that I would want them to know least about me about is that I am really out here to win. I really do want to win. If I can somehow convince them that I am not that interested in winning, that would be a good thing. If they can really believe that I’m just out here to play Mowgli, you know, and befriend a dancing bear and build a tree fort, that would be great for me if I could convince them that that’s all I’m here for. So I’m gonna try to just be my normal, carefree, friendly, happy self and hopefully that’s the impression they get.”
“Actually, before coming out here, probably about a week before we left, I got a call from the medical school that I’m attending, Rutgers University, and I actually got a full tuition scholarship. They amped it up from a partial scholarship to a full tuition scholarship and their reasoning was because they felt that I was such an enthusiastic person and they felt that I was going to be an influence for their school and for the community moving forward. So I probably won’t share that I’ll be getting a full tuition scholarship, because some people might ask, ‘Why does she need to be here?’”