Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Ken Hoang relives the highs and lows of Gabon
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.
Ken Hoang is a gamer. The “King of Smash” has made a name (and a career) for himself in the world of video games, but he brought that competitive drive and mastery of strategy over to the reality competition arena when he was dropped off in the middle of Africa for Survivor: Gabon.
Kenny formed a strong partnership with Crystal Cox and then successfully manipulated his way into a power position in the game — convincing Sugar Kiper to vote out her biggest ally in Ace Gordon and then help them take out rival Charlie Hershel as well. Sugar would have the last laugh, however, when she took out both Crystal and Kenny on her way to the final three. While Ken may have received something of a villain edit, he took his blindside in good cheer and in stride, joking after his torch was snuffed that it was “Definitely game over for Kenny, and just like in video games, sometimes it doesn’t go your way and you lose.”
What does Kenny think now about his time on season 17? Did he ever regret going on Survivor? Does he keep in touch with anyone from his cast? And what kind of changes would he make to the show if he had the power? We asked the Earth’s Last Eden standout all that and more in his Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you’ve been up to since appearing on Survivor.
KEN HOANG: I've been just streaming on twitch and doing some freelance art on the side
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
Honestly, the proudest moment besides getting on Survivor, would probably be when I won an immunity challenge. That and helping Fang win our first immunity challenge.
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
Honestly, after rewatching and thinking about it, I think I should have just done things to try to get to the end. Hindsight is 20-20 so who knows, right?
What’s something that will blow fans’ minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
I don’t think cameras were around, but when I first got to Africa and started to explore the jungle, I saw this HUGE, HUGE snake just slither down to the river. Kind of blew my mind that, this is Africa and it’s pretty dangerous!
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
I felt like I didn't get the best edit and things didn't happen the way they should have, but I don’t regret my edit. There always has to be a villain, and especially when they themed my season with good vs. evil.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
After I got off the show, I realized I signed up for a tournament in Las Vegas and went to compete. I wasn’t supposed to be around lots of people or lights, but it wasn’t too hard to adapt when family and friends. I think being around people that you love helps a lot with adapting back to society. Also, food is great! 😄
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
Of course! Starving is never fun, and on top of that when I was on Fang we just kept losing. Morale was low and it was very hard to keep motivation up high. I think 15 days out there was probably the hardest days I’ve ever had in my life.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
Nope, I'm from Survivor: Gabon, where everyone just hates each other.
Do you still watch Survivor, and if so, what’s your favorite season you were not on and why?
Of course! Still love Survivor and still a fan no matter what. Cook Islands was my favorite season and always will be since it was my first season, but besides that, I loved Fans vs Faves 1, and Survivor: China.
Who’s one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
Yeah, I'd actually love to play with a lot of people! Peih-Gee, Spencer, Devens, David, etc…. I could go on and on, but I feel like they could be trustworthy and we'd just get along
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
I'm okay with twists here and there, not a big fan of Redemption Island and all these huge advantages. I kind of like old school Survivor with not too many advantages.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
Not sure, honestly. I think if I was in the right time and the right place. Couldn't say at the moment.