Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Natalie Bolton reveals silent promise before Micronesia
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.
“I had the most harebrained idea.” That is how Natalie Bolton first approached Erik Reichenbach with the audacious idea for him to give her his immunity necklace — an act which would ultimately become Survivor’s signature moment and be chronicled in an extensive oral history.
But that was just one day out of 37 for Natalie Bolton on Survivor: Micronesia — Fans vs. Favorites. What else does the Black Widow Brigade member have to say about her time on the island? What’s her proudest moment? What is her biggest regret? How does she feel about her edit? We fired off a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to the fan-turned-favorite, and you can read on for her answers!
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you’ve been up to since appearing on Survivor.
NATALIE BOLTON: At the time of Survivor for me, I was a personal trainer. I have since been building a skincare practice integrating my knowledge of wellness and health from training with my skincare. I love what I do.
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
I think I have a few. But the most important one was a silent promise I made to myself before starting the game. I made a promise to myself that I would never shed a tear and feel sorry for myself no matter how bad the conditions got. Not that that’s a bad thing if that’s someone’s experience, but I know myself well, and I knew had I gotten into a negative headspace it may be the end of the game for me. So not once did I shed a tear until I got to see my mama for the family visit, and those were tears of joy.
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
Hmmm…I have a few, but none at all-at the same time. If I truly had one regret it would be not even considering the fact that it would end up being a final 2. We all just assumed it would be the 3 of them for the vote. Had I thought further, I would’ve teamed up with Cirie and taken on Parv and Amanda. Because we all knew the pecking order which was not favorable for me or Cirie. We could’ve tipped the scale on that.
What’s something that will blow fans’ minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
The real understanding the we had constant, chronic diarrhea for the entire and I mean entire game. Sorry, haha. Or was that just my reality?!?! Eek...haha.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
I think the producers are genius! They are the best at what they do. For me, because I played such a low-profile game in the beginning, I’m sure it was challenging to show me full picture as I started to open up and bloom towards the end. And because we are watching on a screen as the viewer, for the edit, it would be extremely difficult to capture each moment, each mood change, each truth…. I would’ve loved to have other aspects of myself shown that maybe are, in my opinion, the better parts of me, but they definitely captured a very real aspect of me. Competitive. :)
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
I was so frail and thin that I went to Texas for some TLC from my family and to eat my mom’s home cooking. I was in Texas for a month. I think emotionally and physically and mentally there is definitely a re-integration process. There is actually a freedom in not having a mirror for 37 days. Your identity is shattered yet deepened all at the same time. There’s an internal relationship that forms that wasn’t there before the one you build with yourself on the island. That would probably be my reality of the re-acclimating process as I remember it.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
I absolutely never regretted going on the show. Not one bit. Quite the opposite. I was gifted such a beautiful opportunity to get to know myself and my inner workings. A sort of self-actualization, if you will. I do wish I would’ve done a few things differently in the game. I also somehow wasn’t prepared for how people (strangers) would yell my name down the street. I’m an introvert by nature, so to live a season of your life in a fish bowl was interesting for me to navigate.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
I still talk to Parvati. She’s an incredible human, and it has been such joy watching her grow into her motherhood with such ease and grace. I keep up with Alexis via social media. But that’s about it. Ami and I touch base from time to time. I’m not the best with staying in touch. :(
Do you still watch Survivor, and if so, what’s your favorite season you were not on and why?
Season 40 was incredible!!! So many twists and turns…it makes one think, “Could I be quick enough to adapt to how this game has evolved?!?!? GEEZ!"
Who’s one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
I gotta say, I’m pretty partial to the craziness that was the castaway bunch that is Micronesia season 16….so I’ll stick with them. But I would definitely be in awe to watch up close and personal the genius and grit of Natalie Anderson.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
Hmmm…I really enjoyed the inside look into each player that season 40 really allowed for. It just pulls you in to liking characters that you may have not identified with before. It offers a sort of humanness and connection getting to know more of the history and background of someone. Their character, their struggles… you find yourself rooting for each of them for a certain reason. Something just pops out at you with everyone.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
Yes. I think I would be ready now.
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!"