Strongman Jaden tells how he came to be on Australian Survivor – and how strategic he really is

What tricks does he have up his sleeve?
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It might have looked like Jaden didn’t have a clue about strategy in his early days on Australian Survivor. That’s because he genuinely didn’t.

“I didn’t know what tribe swap was, I didn’t know what merge was,” Jaden, 27, tells TV WEEK. “The whole ‘outwit’ part of the game, I actually had no idea about.”

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Jaden didn’t have a strategy at first.
(Image: Supplied)

The rugby-player-turned-strongman, who has hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok and Instagram, was approached by a casting agent last year and asked if he wanted to go on the reality show Rush. He didn’t end up being chosen, but then the casting agent contacted him again.

“She said, ‘I’ve got another show for you.’ I was like, ‘Don’t tell me it’s MAFS, because I don’t want to do that one!’ She was like, ‘Nah, nah – it’s Survivor.’”

On the island, Jaden used his lack of Survivor knowledge to his advantage, so that his tribemates wouldn’t view him as a threat and vote him off.

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Jaden changes tempo this week on Australian Survivor.
(Image: Supplied)

“I made it very clear to everyone that I had no idea what was going on,” he explains. “I milked that as much as I possibly could.”

But all the time he was listening and observing, making good use of the gym he built from logs and rocks, complete with an incline bench press and dumbbell rack.

“When I was training with certain people, that was a great way to have conversations one-on-one,” he says.

This week, viewers will see Jaden finally make a strategic move.

“I had a little moment I was quite proud of,” he says.

Having grown up in Sydney, with Chilean heritage on his mother’s side and Samoan-Fijian heritage on his father’s, Jaden was always called an “Islander” in Australia and an “Australian” when he visited Chile and Fiji. But something special happened when he arrived in Samoa to film Survivor and handed over his passport at the airport. 

“The lady [passport official] looked up at me and goes, ‘Are you Samoan?’ and I go, ‘Yeah, yeah’ and she goes, ‘Oh, welcome home.’ That was the first time I’d ever got that. It was a pretty amazing feeling.”

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