Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Mookie Lee chopped his finger to the bone with a machete
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.
Mookie Lee got both good and bad out of his experience on Survivor: Fiji.
Good: He made onto the show! Bad: He ended up on the Have Nots tribe, completely devoid of any creature comforts.
Good: He found and played a hidden immunity idol! Bad: He mistakenly played the idol for the wrong person, giving it to Alex Angarita instead of the actual target, Edguardo Rivera.
Bad: His tribe lost pretty much every single time, meaning Mookie attended 10 out of the first 11 Tribal Councils. Good: He also survived 10 out the first 11 Tribals, finally succumbing to a torch snuffing on day 30.
It turns out there is actually one more notable bad to add to that list: a gnarly injury that never made it to TV. We caught up with one of the Four Horsemen to get Mookie's take on his season 14 experience, so saddle up and ride along for Mookie Lee's Quarantine Questionnaire.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.
MOOKIE LEE: A lot has happened in 14 years, but most notably a career change — I've jumped into the world of restaurants and have opened two concepts in Chicago. Fresh Stack Burger and Poke Bowl Co. Personal life — still single!
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
Lasting as long as I did mentally and physically despite never having been on a winning tribe.
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
Not following my gut instinct and being too cerebral. I knew what was going to play out during Tribal Council, but for some reason didn't think it was proper for me to stand up and voice my thoughts!
What's something that will blow fans' minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
Nothing crazy. One particular thing they didn't show was when I chopped my finger to the bone with a machete.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
Fair. I think they depicted who I am pretty accurately.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
It was easy to adjust back to normal life for the most part. The one difficulty I had was around food. I have a natural love for food, so when I got back, and for years following, I found myself overeating constantly.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
No. It was a great once-in-a-lifetime experience and I met one of my best friends through the show.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
Alex Angarita. He's one of my best friends now and we hang out at least a couple times a year. I still communicate here and there with Rita and Anthony.
Do you still watch Survivor, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
I do not.
Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
My choices unfortunately are only from my season and prior, since I did not watch any seasons post 14. I'd have to say Yul, my fellow Korean. You spend a lot of down time on the island, so it would be great to hear his story.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
Particular to my season and the structure of the Have vs. Have Nots, it was brutal being on the Have Nots the entire time.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
It depends where I am in life at that moment!
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