Survivor

EXCLUSIVE: Australian Survivor's Nick reveals the heartwarming way playing the game has changed since becoming a dad

“I didn’t leave my eight-month-old daughter at home to come out here and not play big. I wanted to make her proud”

By Erin Doyle
In tense scenes in tonight's episode of Australian Survivor, high school teacher Nick Iadanza was sent home after friend Dirty Harry was talked out of using his secret advantage - which would stop the votes being read out at Tribal Council - to save him.
Left defenceless and without an idol in hand, Nick was voted out by his entire tribe.
Following his exit, the villain-turned-rascal spoke to Now To Love about his "heartbreaking" elimination, how different playing the game is as a dad, and why he found it so frustrating that he couldn't convince anyone to vote out David Genat.
Nick was the latest All Star to be eliminated. Image: Network Ten
How are you feeling after your elimination?
I'm feeling about as good as anyone would be feeling when they get voted off the day before the merge. It's pretty crazy, I didn't play to make the merge, I played to win. But God, to be one day off is heartbreaking because the game opens up. Last season I was voted off because no one wanted to play with me but this season I had people who wanted to play with me but they were all on the other freaking side.
David is one of the people who was behind your demise in the game. Do you think people are starting to catch on to him?
It's crazy because the hard part about Makuta for two weeks there, I've been feeding this line that we've got to get rid of David and no one wanted to do it. Phoebe didn't want to do it, Mo didn't want to do it – they just wanted to get rid of each other. Tarzan would only do want Mo said. No one wanted to do it and it baffled me to this day. I don't know what else I could have said. It was like Henry 2.0.
Was that incredibly frustrating for you? Especially given it's All Stars and people should be making big moves?
I don't want to say people weren't making big moves because they were, but let's look at the history; we know that he was the rat, we know that he was the mole. He's got friends on the other side as well. Like what are you doing? Come on, guys! Take a shot! Let's weaken him. I think everyone wanted to hide behind him and I get that. You want to hide behind the big threats but it just seemed crazy to me. I wouldn't have wanted to go into merge with him. The hard part is that he just had so many people just blindly doing what he said. David had his hand so far up Zach and Tarzan's butts that literally they would do whatever he said and I didn't understand it because Tarzan speaks about playing honourably yet he aligns himself with the biggest villain in the history of Survivor. So your credibility is now shot.
You made some big moves yourself, do you regret making any of them?
Look, I was really happy with the game I played. The only thing is that I wish I pushed Phoebe to tell me more about the idol clue. She told me she had the idol clue but she wanted to find it on her own. Kind of what she told Dave but Dave kept pushing her until she told him. Had she have told me - I knew where that termite mound was, I checked it so many times at the beginning of the game. It's frustrating, I could have found that idol for her. And the only other regret is not really putting the screws on Harry at that challenge, saying "Hey guys, I'm really in trouble here, give me the advantage". But Harry wanted to hold on to the advantage in case they sent them back to Tribal.
WATCH: Australian Survivor: All Stars' David Genat plays The Tribe Has Spoken. Story continues below...
Nick was frustrated that no one was willing to vote out David. Image: Network Ten
Do you have any resentment knowing that he could have used his advantage to help you but didn't?
Harry and I have had quite a few conversations about that. He's an amazing player but God, the one time I need him to be Dirty Harry was the one time in his entire game he wasn't. I think the problem is the ambiguous wording meant that they were worried they would go back to Tribal and there would be another Tribal before merge. So I understand it but that doesn't mean I haven't had some terse words with Harry.
As well as being close to Harry, you were also quite close to Shonee and the three of you have been dubbed "The Little Rascals" by fans. What was it like having that reaction from Survivor fans?
It's insane because in season one, the response was "I hate you, you are the scum of the earth" which went to "Oh wow, you're a great player". People loved The Little Rascals. The number one thing I left with is this amazing alliance of The Little Rascals. Harry and Shonee and I basically ran around causing mischief, giggling and having so much fun. I'm so proud they're still in the game. I would have loved to get to merge and have the ultimate underdog story continue. Who knows? Maybe one day The Little Rascals will be three-way team on the Amazing Race and have another go at a reality show. We've got a Little Rascals What's App group and that's where we share the funny memes fans tag us in. That's where the real juicy stuff goes down.
Nick was part of the Little Rascals alliance with Shonee and Harry. Image: Network Ten
You're a school teacher – what do your students think of you being on the show?
The students are so great, they absolutely love it. Every day at school, straight away they give you the feedback. Like, "One, you're an idiot, you should've done this" or "why didn't you do that?" They give you very honest feedback but it's so great because I've got a group of year 11 and everyday I walk into class and they're like "Yep, another two days!" They're counting the days I'm there. It's going to be very sad to walk into school tomorrow and have them say "28 days" but they're very proud about it. I think it's definitely a strange experience for them to see their teacher run around in his underwear and short shorts on an island and flying around in capes but they get behind it, they love it!
Do any of them use what you've done on the show as justification for their own behaviour?
I once asked a kid why he hadn't done his homework and he said "Can I pull out my immunity idol?" [laughs] They're very creative.
One of the other things you were remembered for on the show was being quite emotional about seeing a video from your wife and baby daughter during the Survivor Auction. What was it like getting back to see them after so long?
Oh my God, playing Survivor as a dad is a completely different experience to playing when you're dating. It basically gave me that charge to keep going. I made no secret about no enjoying my time on Mokuta – I had very few allies. Seeing that video was like a shot in the arm. I didn't leave my eight-month-old daughter at home to come out here and not play big. I wanted to make her proud so that one day when she watches back the show she can be like "Hey that's me and my dad did miss me and he's there for a reason". Now whenever my daughter cries about having to go to sleep, I'm like "Oh you're getting a big head after your 15 minutes of fame." Once she's old enough, I'm going to show it to her little smiling face. That video is something we'll keep forever.
Nick with wife Christina and their eight-month-old daughter Paloma. Image: Instagram

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