SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

With season 41 of Survivor delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EW is reaching back into the reality show's past. We sent a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to a batch of former players to fill out with their thoughts about their time on the show as well as updates on what they've been up to since. Each weekday, EW will post the answers from a different player.

When it comes to big Survivor personalities, we haven't seen many bigger than Brandon Quinton. For the player, that has been both a good and a bad thing. While Quinton considers himself "extremely proud that CBS chose to have a really flamboyant (out) gay character on the number-one show in the country," on Survivor: Africa back in 2001, he also notes that due to his 'immaturity" playing out on national television, he actually regretted appearing on the series for most of his twenties. "I wasn't a beloved character, and people weren't always too nice."

But that was in his 20s. Now, at the age of 45, Quinton looks back at his eighth-place finish on season 3 of the franchise, revealing that his biggest and boldest move — one that ultimately led to his ouster — actually came together before the game even started. If memories of Quinton's movie date night reward with Frank Garrison randomly pop up in your head from time to time — and why wouldn't they? — then you are the perfect candidate for a deep dive into a Brandon Quinton Quarantine Questionnaire.

Brandon Quinton on 'Survivor: Africa'
| Credit: Louise Gubb/Corbis via Getty Images

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update on what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.

BRANDON QUINTON: After Survivor, I really spiraled out of control with drinking and other vices. I spent several years like that until I hit bottom and decided to make some big changes. I went back to school and became a registered nurse. Now I work in the home health industry and it is my great privilege to help elderly people age at home. 

What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?

LOL. Did you see my season? Despite my behavior, I am still really proud that I was able to get through such a tough season. I'm also extremely proud that CBS chose to have a really flamboyant out gay character on the number-one show in the country. 

What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?

Sigh… so many. I was really immature for a 25-year-old and did not drink in the experience like I should have. Also, I didn't play to win — I played to make the jury, and that was really dumb. 

What's something that will blow fans' minds that happened in your season but never made it to TV?

We had a layover in Amsterdam on the way, and they watch everyone really closely, but Lex [van den Berghe] and I made eye contact. He knew I was scared to death. I'd never really done anything, and we just had an unspoken bond from then on. The vote that happened later where I saved him [instead of Kelly [Goldsmith] was decided before I ever got off the plane in Africa. 

How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?

Edits are bulls---. I said it, I did it, I was an a--hole. I'm not like, "I'm such a sweetheart… blah blah blah."

What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment?

Yeah, I gained a bunch of weight and have been on a diet ever since! I didn't have too much of an adjustment, but it was 20 years ago, so I really can't remember. 

Brandon Quinton (Survivor: Africa – season 3)
Brandon Quinton on 'Survivor: Africa'
| Credit: CBS

Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?

Yeah, I regretted it for most of my 20s. I wasn't a beloved character, and people weren't always too nice. God, I am a hypocrite! I whine that people weren't nice to me because of how I acted on TV, and yet I do the same thing when I'm watching Drag Race and The Great British Bake Off. Burn in hell, Kim-Joy! LOL, kidding. I loved Kim-Joy. 

Whom do you still talk, text, or email with from your season?

I am not on Facebook, just Instagram, so I only keep up with people on there mostly. I've talked to T-Bird [Teresa Cooper] a couple of times this year. We had a Zoom with quite a few of us, and it was amazing to see everyone.

Do you still watch Survivor, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?

I stopped watching after Yul [Kwon] won Survivor: Racist Island [Survivor: Cook Islands]. Then I watched Heroes vs. Villains and stopped watching again. Last year during quarantine, I started watching where I left off and got to fall in love with Cirie [Fields] and Todd [Herzog] and Coach [Benjamin "Coach" Wade]. Heroes vs. Villains is the best I've seen. I am up to One World. I love Coach's Redemption Island season (South Pacific). That was awesome too. 

Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?

Ozzy [Lusth]. My god, I could watch him all day.

If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?

I would love for the locations to be more celebrated. The early seasons were as much about the locale as the game. 

Finally, would you play again if asked?

Only if it was a Gays Against Straights season! Psst… they would never ask me to play again. Not in a million years. 

To keep track of our daily Survivor Quarantine Questionnaires and get all the latest updates, check out EW's Survivor hub and follow Dalton Ross on Twitter.

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SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning a million dollars, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "DIG DEEP!"

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