Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Shonee Fairfax was yelled at for 'boob nudity' on Australian Survivor
With Survivor filming for seasons 41 and 42 indefinitely postponed 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.
After 40 seasons on the air, Survivor has established itself as a mainstay in American pop-culture. But the show is a huge cultural institution in other countries as well. Not only does the original incarnation air all over the world (I once watched Survivor: Samoa while in Samoa for filming on the Survivor: South Pacific season), but several international productions have popped up as well.
We started the Survivor Quarantine Questionnaires as a way to catch up with former players from the franchise, and now, with over 100 SQQs under our belt, we thought it would be fun to check in with a few players from international editions of the show. What were their experiences like? And how is the show different there as opposed to the one we know here?
EW has assembled our own international all-star squad to partake in our first International Week of Survivor Quarantine Questionnaires. Up today, we have half of the famed Shonella alliance, as Australian Survivor favorite Shonee Fairfax checks in to regale us with stories of tons of things that never made it to air during her run on the Champions v Contenders and All Stars seasons, including one particular All Stars scene that was too revealing for TV.
“When Brooke and I were eating the lollies at the auction, we tried to hide some to eat later,” explains Shonee. “We were stuffing them in our bikini tops, as well as stuffing our faces. They stopped filming, and a production guy came on set and was legit SCREAMING at us because we had ruined the footage with a lot of boob nudity. It’s probably why none of the footage of us getting the lollies was used, haha.”
Of course, there was plenty of footage of Shonee that did get used, making her one of Australia’s most popular players. Whether teaming up with Fenella McGowan in Champions v Contenders, or partnering with Nick Iadanza and Harry Hills in the Little Rascals in All Stars, Shonee excelled at finding ways to cause chaos, even if she happened to be out of power in the minority alliance. That never say die attitude along with her bag of quotable quips made Shonee must see TV and a must have for our International Week of Survivor Quarantine Questionnaires.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you’ve been up to since appearing on Survivor.
SHONEE FAIRFAX: I have been living in London with my husband, and recently became a full-time chiller due to COVID. Lol. Fenella and I have a podcast called Just Shonella Things! So we have a lot of fun with that!
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
Ahh it’s hard because I have so many! In my day-to-day life I’m not exactly sporty. I mean, I love going to the sauna and pilates, but that’s about it. So when I see these crazy physical challenges, it’s my mind that gets me through them. To be able to tell myself, “Of course I can tread water one handed for over two hours!” and then to go ahead and do it makes me so, so proud! People overlook me and I love showing these sporty people that I can out-sport them.
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experiences?
Not convincing Harry to give his advantage to Nick! At that stage, our tribe wasn’t winning many challenges, so we didn’t know if cancelling Tribal Council that night would send us to another tribe challenge — putting us in danger if we lost. I wish the script said that we could merge earlier.
It wasn’t shown on TV, but Dave did an AMAZING job at making us believe he was on the bottom of his tribe — which lead us to believe there was a high chance he would be going that night. This part is a little complicated as it wasn’t shown on TV… but when Brooke and I were on the Bloody Mary reward, Brooke was given Dave’s fake idol so that she could hand it back to him if his tribe lost the challenge, so that he could pretend he had an idol and try to save himself. Which is very funny now knowing that he was actually on top.
In my opinion, Dave is the best winner so far! I actually still get shocked every now and again that people actually wanted to go to the end with him — what the actual f---?! Also, another side note… in both my seasons I have been voted out instead of the person who goes on to win! Isn’t that crazy? Maybe if I play again, people might listen to me when I tell them who will win if they vote me out, haha.
What’s something that will blow fans minds that happened out there in one of your seasons but never made it to TV?
I don’t know if this is very mind-blowing, but it was funny. When Brooke and I were eating the lollies at the auction, we tried to hide some to eat later. We were stuffing them in our bikini tops, as well as stuffing our faces. They stopped filming, and a production guy came on set and was legit SCREAMING at us because we had ruined the footage with a lot of boob nudity. It’s probably why none of the footage of us getting the lollies was used, haha.
Another thing that makes me laugh now is that one night after Tribal Council, the night producer legit made us walk in above knee waves in the complete dark (carry a HEAVY torch and all of our belongings). There was a massive log rolling amongst the waves and everyone was tripping over rocks and roots. It’s actually pretty funny how angry we were.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
Everyone is the main character of their own narrative, so I don’t think anyone is ever 100% happy with how the story is told. I’m pretty close to that though, and I completely understand sometimes a bit of strategy gets missed because at the end of the day it’s an entertaining reality show — not a documentary.
I felt like my edit was very accurate of who I am. I had teachers and high school crushes I haven’t seen for a decade tell me they can’t believe my personality and sass is still just as they remembered. I said “Why am I like this?!” a million times because sometimes I can’t believe my own sass.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
It was just small things like typing the passcode into my iPhone and feeling like I was a 99-year-old women using technology for the first time. Or when you drive somewhere on the island and you see an amazing green coconut and you get hyped up. Then you remember you don’t need to find food anymore.
Other than little things like that, my adjustment very smooth! For me I’m not the world’s biggest Survivor fan, so it’s very easy be like: Okay, that was a couple of months of my life, it’s not my whole identity. I flew into London on Saturday and went back to work on Monday.
If anything, it’s lovely to return to life and have some alone time without trying to figure out why someone and someone else are going to the well together.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
Not regretted, but I hated the anxiety of the episode days. It’s so scary not knowing what will be played or how it will be edited together. I’m sure fans can pick up that sentences are cut together, interviews from different stages throughout the game can be used at any time. Or even sentences can be used about different people completely. I wish they let us watch the episodes before they air.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your seasons?
Fen is my numero uno, we chat every single day or at least every second day. I actually called my sister (who was on my allowed to call list) when I was in Jury Villa and got her to send me Fen’s number so I could tell her everything.
Nick is absolutely hilarious, so I talk to him a lot too. He’s a Taurus too, so we have a very similar sense of humor. Other than that, we have a group chat with Harry, Brooke, AK, and Locky. The group chat is mostly everyone taking the piss out of Harry. (Big topic at the moment is a joke that he looks similar to this guy who’s very obsessed with him, and that the stalker will take his identity and we won’t notice, lol.)
Who is one player from a season of your own country’s version of Survivor that you never got to play with that you would love to share a season with and why?
You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw Sarah Tilleke wasn’t on All Stars! I was so certain she would be there because I think she’s such an amazing player. I know they have to have a variety of cast types, but for sure I thought Sarah would have been asked.
What’s your favorite season of Survivor you were not on?
Australian Survivor season 4 is my favorite! I didn’t get to finish the season as All Stars started! But I watched most of the remaining episodes in Jury Villa. I can’t watch episodes live because I know what the editing is like and I don’t want to be fooled, it’s too stressful. So even when season 4 was airing, Fen would have to tell me who got evicted before I would watch the episode.
If you could make one change to any aspect of your country’s version of Survivor, what would it be and why?
Why am I never allowed to bring my silk pillowcase?! I’m such a hustler though. Benny, my husband, and my family always have strict instructions when it comes to presents from home. I tell them it needs to be something useful. Season 3, I got an additional bit of clothing (stoked) and season 5 I got sunglasses! I actually asked him to send me a hot water bottle, but they didn’t let it through though.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
I actually had a dream last night that Benj, Mat, and I were playing again! It would depend what was happening in my life. Life is for living so you never know.