Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Joaquin Souberbielle on his journey from Tinder to 'Worlds Apart'
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.
Not all Survivor contestants end up on the show after applying year after year while studying every second of every episode. Some players are discovered outside the traditional application process — players like Joaquin Souberbielle. "They found me on Tinder while on vacation in Los Angeles," Joaquin says of his discovery by the casting department. "I never watched the show and had no idea what I was getting myself into."
Which is why some of the strategic subtleties of the game were lost on Joaquin when he showed up in Nicaragua for Survivor: Worlds Apart. Considering he still almost made it to the merge (being voted out on day 16), just imagine how far he could have gone had he actually known what he was doing! Now, Joaquin relives the highs and lows (including almost "breaking my leg in half during the first challenge") of his Survivor journey in a Quarantine Questionnaire.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.
JOAQUIN SOUBERBIELLE: My life has changed drastically since my time on Survivor. I decided to take a year sabbatical from work directly following the airing of my season to travel around the world. Upon coming back to the States, I decided to leave the medical industry and moved into New York City to begin my career in tech. I currently work for a security company called Skopenow that essentially keeps all your favorite brands safe.
The pandemic hit New York City pretty hard, and I decided to leave in early April to embark on a workcation, as they call it now. I traveled around the U.S. for five months, working from Airbnbs and enjoying U.S. national parks. After wrapping that trip up, I moved to Mexico for a few months and proceeded to work. I then moved to Nashville to live with my girlfriend, who is wrapping up medical school for a few months, but have since returned to New York City.
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
Honestly, my proudest moment was going through the whole experience and not once giving up, regardless of what was thrown my way. For those of you who don't know, they found me on Tinder while on vacation in Los Angeles. I never watched the show and had no idea what I was getting myself into. The show strips you of everything that makes you human and pushes your body far beyond the breaking point. I learned that when you think you've had enough, mentally or physically, there's still so much further you can push yourself. I've taken this mentality and implemented it into everything that I do in life. For that, I'm forever grateful of the experience.
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
My biggest regret was sitting out during my last challenge. This is where my team purposely threw the challenge so they could vote me out at Tribal Council the day before individual immunity. Going into that day, Joe and I were the strongest at challenges, and they didn't want to deal with two challenge beasts.
What's something that will blow fans' minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
I was inches away from breaking my leg in half during the first challenge as it slipped off a rung on a ladder. I also had to play the season with the top of my sneaker completely burned off after it was set on fire while drying off near the bonfire. This list can go on and on.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
I'm not mad at the edit I got. I's not who I am, but I understand their job and why they did it. At the finale, the editors came up to me and said that I had some of the funniest outtakes they ever saw. I wanted to be good TV, and that's what I did.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
The first couple of days were pretty difficult and it took some adjusting, but that disappeared rather quickly.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
Never. I loved every minute of the struggle. I call it my beautiful disaster. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and regardless of the outcome you're truly blessed to have been chosen to have such an epic life experience.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
I still speak to So, Carolyn, and Max. I was able to spend two weeks with them recently as I was traveling around the U.S. and had them come down to Tulum while I was in Mexico. I used to speak to Vince often and see him a few times every year when he would pop up in NYC, but we've lost touch over the last two years.
Do you still watch Survivor, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
I started seriously watching Survivor after I went on the show (another regret). Heroes vs. Villains, Cagayan, and Samoa would have to be my top three, and if I had to choose one it would have to be Cagayan. Such an amazing cast of players who knew how to play and were there to win. I was rooting for Woo the entire time and was heartbroken when he chose to bring Tony to the end (lack of brainpower after 30-plus days will do that to anyone). The season offered tons of excitement, twists, and kept you on edge the whole time.
Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
I would have loved to play against Ozzy. I'm the type of person that wants to play against the best of the best. It pushes you to work harder, smarter, and reach new heights.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
I think I can speak for everyone when I say let's never do another Redemption Island ever again, please.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
All jokes aside, I'd leave right now. I don't need any notice, call me.
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