Find out why “Survivor” castaway Boston Rob Mariano feels that he owes Sandra Diaz-Twine a big apology for “Island of the Idols,” and also what he thinks he should’ve done before “Winners at War” to help his standing with her.
Mariano Says ‘Island of the Idols’ Could Have Been Very Different
In a recent interview on the “Surviving Snyder” podcast, Mariano revealed that “Island of the Idols” could have been very different, and it’s all his fault that it wasn’t. It all started when host Jeff Probst called him about returning to the game as a mentor — and appealed to Mariano’s ego by telling him about the huge statue they were going to build for him.
“I guess maybe three years ago now … Jeff called, and I talk to Jeff occasionally … once every couple months we’ll say what’s up. But he called three times in a week, and I hadn’t gotten back to him and I was like, ‘Oh, something’s up.'” recalled Mariano. “And he’s like here’s what we’re thinking about doing … we’re gonna make you the mentor, this and that. And I was like, ‘I don’t know dude, it’s not for me. I feel like I’ve done it, why?'”
“And he said, ‘Listen, we’re gonna build a statue of you, dude.’ I was like, ‘For real? OK, I’m in,'” Mariano said with a laugh.
And when they got to Los Angeles, Mariano was given a sweet offer for the season and he turned it down — and he’s pretty sure Diaz-Twine has no idea this happened.
“I’m gonna say something now and Sandra’s gonna maybe listen to this and she’ll die when she hears this but like — this is 100 percent true,” said Mariano. “Before we left [for Fiji], Jeff was like, ‘Listen, you guys don’t have to be out there every day. We can have you somewhere and we can boat you in when you need to be there, you don’t have to be like starving and living out there.'”
“And in my infinite wisdom, I was like no dude, that’s BS. That’s bulls***. If I’m gonna talk the talk, I gotta walk the walk. We’re gonna be there doing it,” said Mariano.
He did get to ask for a few things to help them survive on the island — they got rice, fruits and vegetables and construction materials for their shelter, and whenever a tribe won a reward, they got the same reward. But they were still living on the island, cooking for themselves on a fire and building their own shelter, which Mariano thought was great … at first.
“I was cool being out there doing it, or so I thought,” Mariano continued. “Like the third day in, before we had anything built, it’s pouring rain and I’m lying in the rain with Sandra and we’re trying to sleep and she’s like, ‘What did we get ourselves into? This is ridiculous,’ and in the back of my mind, I’m thinking man, we could’ve had it so much easier.”
“Sandra, I am sorry,” finished Mariano with a laugh. “Jeff did say it and I said no way and that’s why we got stuck with what we got stuck with.”
Mariano Also Thinks He Should’ve Given Diaz-Twine a Heads Up About ‘Winners at War’
Obviously, since “Island of the Idols” and “Winners at War” were filmed back to back, Mariano and Diaz-Twine both knew they were both going to be on it. But he didn’t tell her his wife, Amber Brkich Mariano, was coming too, and he feels like in hindsight, he should have.
“The only problem is maybe I could have massaged the situation with her had I told her [Amber was coming] because by not telling her, she just got so scared that she had to rally everything against us,” said Mariano. “I was hoping that she would just see [the two of us] and be smart enough to realize we need each other.”
But instead, Diaz-Twine and Brkich Mariano ended up on the same tribe, and Brkich was the first person sent to the Edge of Extinction. Diaz-Twine was not far behind her, and Mariano thinks it’s because on neither tribe did the old-school players work hard enough to stick together, so they got picked off one by one.
“Survivor” returns for its 41st season on Wednesday, September 22. The 42nd season will air in the spring of 2022.