Survivor

Is Australian Survivor fake or real? Former contestants and crew speak out

Get all the info here from those who've lived it.

By Alex Lilly
If you're anything like us, you've probably sat back on the couch and thought 'I could do that' while watching the contestants of Australian Survivor battle it out.
But despite the cameras, it's one tough gig both physically and mentally. So for anyone out there who's wondered whether it's real or totally fake, these past contestants and JLP himself have some insights for you.

Do the contestants secretly sleep in hotels?

Host Jonathan LaPaglia deals with a busy schedule but always comes back to a nice Fijian hotel room. As for the contestants, you can bet they're living it rough if they want to win that half a million dollar prize.
Speaking to TV WEEK about the 2019 season, JLP revealed the Champions and Contenders were hit with a lot of rain and bad weather.
"It was hard on the contestants, because it was always at the most inconvenient time, which was at night when they were trying to sleep. So there were a lot of late nights for those guys, and it was pretty intense at times."
"I mean, I get woken up in my hotel room and I'd hear all the noise, and I'd think, 'Those poor guys are out there!'"
JLP may get a good night's sleep in a hotel, but the contestants are all sleeping on the beach. (Image: Network Ten)

Cut off from the outside world

Once you join the cast of Survivor, you can kiss the outside world goodbye. Until you get eliminated of course.
According to a report from news.com.au, season three's Rohan MacLaren said that he and his fellow contestants arrived in Samoa in vans with blacked-out windows and weren't allowed to talk to any of the other competitors until they'd landed on the island.
"It felt like I'd been abducted for the first five minutes, it was just missing the bag over my head," model Rohan said. "Then it got quite serene. It was a nice time to sit and think. I prefer the blacked out van. You really feel like you're in the wild."
Former contestant Rohan said he and his fellow contestants arrived in Samoa in vans with blacked-out windows. (Image: Network Ten/Instagram @rohanmaclaren)

Do the contestants really eat rice and beans?

If the weight loss transformations of Survivor contestants are anything to go by, you can bet their food supply is well and truly limited.
Season five's Monika Radulovic previously told Now To Love that aside from rewards, their diet consisted of a small portion of rice and kidney beans a day, plus whatever they can forage near camp such as fish, papaya and coconut. And the portion size was the real issue.
"After a while, the beans and rice especially with some toasted coconut on top of it tastes good. We just didn't have enough to satisfy us, we had a cup per meal."
Runner up Sharn Coombes also told TV WEEK, "In terms of appearance I was certainly shocked at my weight loss, I don't think I've ever seen myself that thin ever. I was also amazed at the muscles underneath there! That was kind of cool."
WATCH: Monika talks about her elimination from Australian Survivor 2018. Post continues after video...

Is the show scripted?

While everything the contestants say is real, like any reality show, there is some editing to spice things up when some drama is needed.
During season five, Contender Benji Wilson was eliminated as a result of a re-vote where the contestants were only allowed to vote him or Sharn Coombes out.
Viewers were made to thing that he was voted out after he was caught in an awkward lie when he told fellow contestant Brian Lake that Sharn was planning to vote him out, apparently forgetting Brian was wearing the immunity necklace.
"I don't think that moment was my downfall, that was a little bit of TV magic for you," Benji told Mamamia.
"That conversation didn't actually happen that way. I was actually saying that Sharn would come for Brian if he let me go."
It may not be scripted, but crafty editing plays a hand. (Image: Network Ten)

What do the contestants actually have to help them?

When you play the game of Survivor, you really are stripped down to basics.
"We had the clothes that we wore and then you could only have five other items. Five other clothing items!" 2018 Champion Steve 'The Commando' Willis admitted to NW last year.
"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."
Former Miss Universe Monika admitted she revelled in the fact that she was out of her comfort zone and didn't have anything.
"We didn't have shampoo, soap, toothbrushes or toothpaste, all I had was the ocean and some sand to exfoliate and that was the extent of my beauty routine and I loved it."