Reality TV

Survivor’s Commando Steve spills: ‘You should see what people do to stay warm in the jungle!’

NW caught up with the fierce Survivor competitor to get all the behind-the-scenes info.
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Former Biggest Loser trainer Steve “Commando” Willis ditches the gym for the jungle, in the upcoming season of Australian Survivor.

NW snatched him for a pow-wow about the important things, like clean underwear and what his partner Michelle Bridges really thought about him sharing body heat with his fellow castaways.

Did you hesitate before agreeing to do this?

Commando Steve: Definitely. There were a lot of things I needed to weigh up – I have four kids who need to be tended to. Michelle and I are rather busy people and we had to weigh up whether me being away for a long time would be good for the family and each other.

Once you go into the game of Survivor, phones are gone, and the only people you can converse with are your tribemates. And the stronger you are as a tribe, the better off you’re going to manage in the long run when it’s not just the social or the mental game, but when it comes to the physical game.

Do you think you’ve made some lifelong friends out of it?

Commando Steve: Oh, definitely. There were a few of us that kind of gave our word to each other early on and we stuck by that word and it’s amazing.

Now, is it true Michelle Bridges had a ‘no cuddle’ rule for you going into the show?

Commando Steve: [Laughs]. You watch previous seasons of Survivor and you see what people do to keep warm and the like, but it was a joke. I think it’s been blown out of proportion a bit. And Michelle feels it’s brought the attention onto her when it should probably be about me being on Survivor.

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Did you go in with a game plan?

Commando Steve: Well, the game plan was to go in and be as authentic as possible and be as relaxed as I can in all the challenges.

I wanted to fly under the radar because, coming from a military background, I just felt that my reputation might hinder me so I just tried to remain on the periphery.

It wasn’t until the first day that we all got to size each other up and that’s when the anxiety kind of kicked in and a bit of stress cause you’re all trying to sort each other out. It’s like being thrown in the deep end of the pool and told “Swim” and you’re treading water trying to keep your head above.

Were you restricted with what you could take with you?

Commando Steve: Yes. We had the clothes that we wore and then you could only have five other items. Five other clothing items!

You couldn’t take a pocket knife or a torch or a book or a pillow or any comfort items. You had your clothing items, and a little bag to carry your stuff in, and a water bottle.

So, by the end did the Commando have to go commando?

Commando Steve: [Laughs] I’m not going to answer that! You need to watch the show and see what happens at one of the reward challenges.

Nothing untoward or anything like that, it was just quite funny – something that happened among a group of us.

This looks more relaxing than Survivor! The Commando and his then pregnant partner Michelle Bridges.

What would winning mean to you?

Commando Steve: To be awarded and then crowned The Survivor for that year would be amazing and the kitty that comes with that – half a million dollars is nothing to sneeze at! It would be great to pay off debts and alleviate some stress.

Will Michelle get a good pressie if you get the cash?

Commando Steve: [Laughs] I’ll give her a hug! Nah, definitely. If I was to win I think there’d be quite a few people getting some nice presents.

What’s tougher, doing Survivor or negotiating with a two–year-old?

Commando Steve: Yeah, two-year-old [laughs]. Especially the way he is at the moment. I should have taken him with me. I reckon it would have calmed him down. I reckon he would have worn everyone else out. I could have hidden behind him – he could have been my decoy. He would have had everyone doing things for him: “I want this. I want that.”

Do you and Michelle plan to have any more kids?

Commando Steve: No. We’re at a point in our lives where four is full house and we’ve got plenty on our plate like everyone else.

Would you and Michelle ever do TV together again? Maybe The Block?

Commando Steve: The Block – so funny! I’d definitely like to work with Mish again. I think we worked well together when we were doing The Biggest Loser and you never know what’s around the corner. I don’t know what will come off the back of Survivor.

Survivor premieres 7:30pm Wednesday on Ten.

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