SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

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.

For many fans, Ozzy Lusth is Survivor. No player represents the live-off-the-land-and-water spirit and adventure of the game more than Ozzy. Which is why it may come as a shock to viewers that Ozzy's signature move is something he had never tried before ending up on the show. "I had never fully climbed a coconut tree before," says Ozzy.

But that's exactly what makes Ozzy Ozzy—having no fear while exploring nature to its fullest. It's a trait that makes Ozzy built for Survivor—and why he has been invited to play four times (coming one vote away from winning Cook Islands, and then returning for Micronesia, South Pacific, Game Changers) but also one which almost got Ozzy into serious trouble his first time playing the game. In his Quarantine Questionnaire, the fan favorite gives us an in-depth tour of the "transcendental" moment that almost shredded his body in the process. It's an incredible story, and one that could only come from Ozzy.

Speaking of incredible stories, Ozzy also shares a surprising one about what happened when he first tried to have sex after returning from the show. Just like what we saw on TV, everything's an adventure with Ozzy. Buckle up, folks as the Survivor legend takes us for a wonderfully wild ride.

Ozzy Lusth on 'Survivor: Game Changers'
| Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.

Since my time on Survivor, I've been busy with many things. I built and operated an amazing small batch beer brewery/event space/art studio in L.A. I helped open and was GM of a critically acclaimed California izakaya restaurant in Venice Beach. I am currently developing a boutique hotel and restaurant in Guanajuato, Mexico, and most recently have embraced my sexuality and now create adult content on Only Fans. Needless to say, life has never been more exciting!

What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?

From over one hundred days playing it's quite hard to narrow it down, but it's probably something so simple. I remember the first time I actually climbed a coconut tree in the first days on Aitu and realized I wasn't gonna fall and break my leg and make a total fool of myself on the world stage. I had never fully climbed a coconut tree before and took a big risk that ended up being one of the signatures of my game play. It was that or the immunity run we had as the Aitu four. Wow, all those wins felt so good because I had my back against the wall the whole entire time. The moment Penner and Candice stepped off the mat I knew one loss and I would be gone, so fighting my way from that moment into the final still makes me proud.

What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experiences?

One of the biggest regrets I have is letting the pressure get to me in the final puzzle in South Pacific. Typically, puzzles are a strong suit for me, and I knew I had the game won if only I could win that puzzle. My mind raced and was blank all at once. I second-guessed my tile placements and lost the lead and then it was just too much. Sophie is incredibly strong and athletic and honestly much smarter than I am—the only shot I had was utilizing the lead I built up. But, alas, my mind had other plans for me and I crumbled. Over a hundred days trying to get the ultimate win came crashing down. Hard to put into words the regret I felt. In any other circumstance, I would have breezed through that puzzle.

What's something that will blow fans minds that happened out there in one of your seasons but never made it to TV?

In the last few days before we merged on Cook Islands, I got the crazy idea in my head I was gonna cross the barrier reef and get into the ocean. The Cook Islands are an atoll, and the barrier reef is what protects the island from giant waves coming from very deep water. These waves crash on the reef and dissipate their energy and that's why the idyllic and tranquil waters on the interior are so peaceful.

Well, my crazy ass spent the last few weeks watching this reef and the waves were huge the whole time — over 10-to-15-foot massive swells. Maybe the day before we merged, the swell dropped off precipitously, down to about six-foot or so, and I figured this would be my last chance to take a dip into the deep waters outside the barrier reef. The reef is razor sharp lava rock carved with cracks and fissures by the unrelenting movement of the water, so if you fall on the reef, your skin will get shredded like cheese… bloody cheese.

So, I put my shoes on, grabbed my spear, mask. and snorkel and let the producers know I was gonna attempt to make the cross. Granted, they tried their hardest to talk me out of it but I wasn't gonna listen to anyone who wasn't Jeff [Probst] or Mark [Burnett]. Once in a lifetime chance ya know!? I didn't think too much about what would happen if I blew it and got dragged across the skin shredding reef, haha.

So the camera crew followed as far as they could before leaving me to walk out alone, and I waded out to the edge of the reef and found a good channel, and honestly, getting out into the fissure in the reef was fairly easy and I had good timing between the waves.

Once I made it out into the deep, I was blown away. I realized immediately I was in a potentially dangerous situation. I mean I was wearing shoes to get across the reef,  you ever tried to swim in shoes?! The scene was one that I will never forget though, before the peril set in…. The fish! The life! The massive schools of very large game fish and all the life in between... I was just in awe.

All I could do was float there drinking in the wonders and the abundance. At one point, I was circled by what I think was a school of Grand Trevally (something of that nature) and I had my spear with me. Maybe I thought I was gonna shoot a big fish to bring back to camp? One of these massive fish swims right up to me without a care in the world, it has no fear of me and in fact was quite curious, like, "What the hell is this thing flopping around in the deep?"

It swam right up to me and I had my spear cocked and ready to fire. This massive fish just looked me right in the eye, daring me to try and spear it, I was so tempted, but I also knew a fish that size would have taken me for a ride and I may have lost my spear and perhaps it would have swam me down deep where I'd have to let go.

That's the other thing, I realized I was on the edge of a sea mount. The Cook Islands poke out the sea like the tippy tops of a mountain. I was on the edge of very, very deep water. I could see the floor just falling away like I was sitting on the peak of a mountain. The massive fish, sharks, and the inky cobalt blue of the deep rattled me and it hit me just how insane I was and how dangerous things could be. If something happened to me, there was nobody gonna come save me, I was totally alone in one of the most wild places I've ever been in my life… wearing a pair of sneakers and holding a Hawaiian sling. Wow, still gives me chills thinking about that.

I decided after a fairly short amount of time I needed to get back in. The getting in was much harder and much more dangerous as I had to body surf in on the back of a wave and try and time it right. Well, I almost made it but as I stood up on the reef I turned around and a wave twice the size of me was about to crash on my head. Instinctively, I dove up into the wave as it crashed and I was able to keep my feet under me as the wave dragged me across the reef chewing up the bottoms of my sneakers. I barely escaped my journey to the deep and thus made my way into the final stretch of the game. That experience was transcendental and gave me a newfound appreciation for the wilds of nature and my own inner strength.

Survivor Ozzy Lusth
Ozzy Lusth on 'Survivor: South Pacific'
| Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?

Mostly pretty good. I think I was more fun than I came across though. I do wish I had been a bit more candid in my daily interviews. I feel like I held things back for some reason.

What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?

The first time was super rough. I had just spent 39 days living the ultimate adventure. I really felt like I had a chance to win, and I was so beat up from the day to day I was startled by my entrance back into "civilization." I had all these gnarly coral cuts that were on the edge of infection because they just couldn't heal since I was fishing every day. One thing that was immediately obvious was how my bed was way, way too comfortable and soft. The softness was alarming, and I just could not sleep in my bed, I had to sleep on the floor for a week are so.

Also, the abundance of food! Damn I really indulged once the game ended. I went into bacchanalian beast mode… eating, drinking, fornicating! It was the longest time I'd gone since my balls dropped (scientific term, right?) without some sort of sexual pleasure, self-inflicted or otherwise. The first time I had sex with my girlfriend when I got back was actually kinda painful and sensitive since things weren't used to all the friction. Too much info?

Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?

Never, nothing could be further from it.

Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your seasons?

I'm a lone wolf at times. There are many people I played with that I adore, and many in the greater Survivor family that I've had the honor to be friends with. But I'm also not great at keeping up with correspondence. I can't wait to see everyone again at the events of the future and hope to build back some friendships lost over the last few years and COVID crappiness.

Do you still watch Survivor, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?

Honestly, not as much. I watched season 40 and have to say I really, really enjoyed it. I go back and forth between wanting to move past Survivor, but also relishing the profound memories and opportunities it gave me. I do think I will be watching the next seasons to roll out since I do actually miss it and have accepted how much of an impact Survivor has made on me and my life.

Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?

Michelle Fitz, Tyson, Natalie, Boston Rob, Stephen Fish, Wendell, Jeremy, Julie Berry… there's a lot it seems. I just really enjoy watching these folks—from game play to the palpable love of the game they show.

If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?

Diversity. I think Cook Islands was the most diverse cast yet, and I'd love to see much more inclusion and representation of all the different types of people that melt into our culture. Not just different ethnic backgrounds, but all different walks of life, and lifestyle. The more visibility on TV, the better we will all be as a whole. In this divisive time in our history, tolerance and diversity are our greatest strength.

Finally, would you play again if asked?

Oh, you all know the answer to that… right… right?!

To keep track of our daily Survivor Quarantine Questionnaires and get all the latest updates, check out EW's Survivor hub, and follow Dalton on Twitter.

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SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning $1 million, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "Dig deep!"

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