Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Kelly Wiglesworth regrets not letting Rudy Boesch win season 1
The final immunity challenge became a four-hour endurance battle between Kelly and Rudy. Had Kelly stepped down, everything would have been different.
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.
An astounding 51.7 million people watched Kelly Wiglesworth come one vote away from winning the million dollars on the finale of the very first season of Survivor. Had a single vote tipped the other way, then Kelly, not Richard Hatch, would have her name cemented in reality TV history as the first Sole Survivor.
But if you ask Kelly now what her greatest regret in the game is, it's not that she was unable to secure enough votes from the jury, it's that she didn't step down in the final immunity challenge and allow the late Rudy Boesch to win not just the endurance competition (which lasted more than four hours) but the entire game. "Not giving the win to Rudy," says Kelly about her biggest regret. Perhaps it sounds odd that Kelly wishes she had stepped down and allowed Rudy to take her spot in the finals, but not to those who know the free spirit.
Kelly returned to play Survivor 15 years after her first outing, being voted in by fans to compete on Survivor: Cambodia — Second Chance. Playing an above-board game based on strong social connections, Kelly made it to day 24 before being voted out and becoming the third member of the jury. At that season's final Tribal Council, she asked the finalists to pick a number between 1 and 10 — a perfect full-circle moment since she lost season 1 on Greg Buis' vote when he asked the exact same question.
And now it's time to come full circle with Kelly once again, as the Borneo runner-up presents her Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire!
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.
KELLY WIGLESWORTH: I've been raising my 7-year-old-son, Rio, and working on some exciting new projects. I can't mention anything yet, but I've recently signed with Armada Partners and Gersh Agency. They are a talent management and production company, and we are working on some great stuff together right now. I am also the new communications manager for Friends of the River.
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
Surviving myself and lasting the entire 39 days with never a vote cast against me.
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experiences?
Not giving the win to Rudy.
What's something that will blow fans' minds that happened out there in one of your seasons but never made it to TV?
We almost got blown off the island during a hurricane on day 9.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
I've never watched the show, but I assume I had a good edit as I've only received congratulations and praise for how I handled myself out there.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
It was TOTAL culture shock. I came back to Las Vegas, which was WAY too much for me to handle. I stayed for three days, then went and hid out on the Kern River all summer while the show was airing.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your seasons?
Gervase, because he's my brother from another mother.
Do you still watch Survivor, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
I've never watched Survivor. I don't watch TV.
Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
I don't have one since I have never watched the show.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
Bring it back to the original game. No immunity idols, no second chances, redemptions, etc. There's way too much food. Players need to hunt, build shelters and fires, etc.
Finally, would you play again if asked?