By Dalton Ross
October 15, 2020 at 12:15 PM EDT
  • TV Show
  • CBS

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.

Without Brendan Synnott, there would be no Dragonslayer (or Dragonz, for that matter). That’s because Brendan Synnott was the Dragon of Survivor: Tocantins who inspired Benjamin “Coach” Wade to give himself yet another incredible nickname.

Unfortunately, for Brendan, he seemingly spent more time on Exile than on his tribe, and when his secret Exile alliance with Taj failed, Brendan’s game was over, and he became the first member of the jury. It wasn’t as far as Brendan wanted to go, but perhaps as far as he could have gone considering he wasn’t a fan of the show when he went out to play and had not studied the game before stepping out into the Brazilian highlands.

We sent Brendan — my preseason pick to win the game that season, incidentally — a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to get his take on his experience and find out what he’s been up to since.

Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

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

BRENDAN SYNNOTT: Since Survivor 18 in 2009, I've gotten married, had 4 kids, and started a chocolate business named Little Secrets and Earth's Favorite Clothing brand Pact.

What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?

My proudest moment was voting for J.T. to win the season. I thought he hustled, was authentic and strategic without be forceful. He was a great champion and great human being! I also really enjoyed Ponderosa after I was voted out. It was so gratifying and fun to get to know players outside of the game play.

What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?

Easily was not watching enough Survivor before I played! I didn't have enough perspective and experience on how aggressive other players would vote me off. That led me to be too confident and getting voted out while holding 2 immunity idols. Ughhh. Makes me crazy thinking about it still today. I also regret not staying with my "exile" alliance I formed with Taj. It was a creative wrinkle in the game that had big potential.

What’s something that will blow fans’ minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?

I was on Exile island for the majority of time I played the game. It was awful and it wasn't made clear watching the season quite how harsh the elements were. There was zero shelter, no food, torrential rains, and winds.  It sent me to the breaking point because of the total lack of sleep. It really broke me down.

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

I think the edit is 100% fair. At first, watching the season after you play I thought of many moments that were not included in the edit. But after thinking about it more, we are filmed for 1000s of hours to make 10 hours of primetime TV. Of course, things are left out! But I thought how they represented me and the other players was all true and not manipulated at all. I was actually expecting it to be more manufactured. Seeing the edit made gave me even more respect for the production of the show.

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

Coming back after the show I ate and ate and ate. And then ate some more. For months. Not because I was that skinny, but because I was so deprived from food being out on Exile for so many days. In addition, when I came back, I was splitting time between New York City and Colorado. After coming home from Brazil, it was 100% clear I didn't want to live in a city and wanted a lifestyle that was filled with wide open space, mountains, and sunshine.  I have been in Colorado ever since. I couldn't imagine living in concrete after being at camp and even being on Exile.

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

Never. Survivor invented reality TV for our generation and I thought it was the opportunity of the lifetime to be able to experience the show. Being on Exile for so many days, I definitely thought about quitting, but I figured the producers wouldn't let me die so I needed to tough it out.

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

I keep in touch with Tyson the most. He is one of the funniest, smartest, and kindest people I've met. Seeing him play was always a treat, and seeing him win a season was super satisfying. Even better was on the 40th season seeing his wife and kids the raw emotion he expressed was so pure and loving.

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

I never really watched the show before I did my season. Since then, thanks to my wife, I've watched nearly every season. I am addicted to it now. I have so much respect for Jeff and how he manages the storyline. He is really gifted at what he does, and it is impressive to watch both on TV and behind the scenes.

I've also loved the modifications they have made to the game. I feel the velocity and energy of play continue to increase and new strategies are being introduced faster than ever. The game has evolved, players have had to adapt, and the fans get the benefit. Because of all this, my favorite season was 40.  Seeing all the winner battle and game change in front of our eyes was thrilling.

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

There isn't a player that I would want to play against, but I think it would be fascinating to see Mark Burnett in the game that he created. Seeing the master of reality TV in his own creation seems fitting at some point.

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

Nothing. It is an institution and I hope Jeff and the great producers stay involved for a long time. They do an amazing job.

Finally, would you play again if asked?

100%. I'd love to play again. I love how many more variables there are in the game play and think it would be amazing to get another shot to help change and win the game.

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

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