It’s common for Survivor castaways to say they were fans of the show before appearing on it themselves. But from time to time, the producers find contestants who don’t have any prior knowledge of the reality TV competition and never considered applying. That was the case for New York native Joaquin Souberbielle. He competed on Survivor: Worlds Apart, which aired in 2015.
The Casting Department Found Joaquin Souberbielle on Tinder & Asked Him to Come on the Show
Souberbielle ended up on Survivor because he had signed up for Tinder. He received an unexpected message through the dating app during a trip to Los Angeles in 2014, as he explained to the LI Herald. “I was on vacation with some friends and family… And I got a message on Tinder from a producer on the show asking me to be on Survivor.”
Souberbielle had not been familiar with the reality competition before hearing from the producer. “I never watched the show and had no idea what I was getting myself into,” he told Entertainment Weekly
He previously explained to LI Herald that at that time in his life, he didn’t watch much television. “Between trying to balance work, a social life, staying in shape, and when I did it was pretty much all ESPN all the time.”
Souberbielle Initially Rejected the Offer Multiple Times Before His Cousin Persuaded Him to Reconsider
Souberbielle initially rejected the producer’s offer. The casting department wanted him to do an in-person interview while he was still in Los Angeles but Souberbielle said he wasn’t interested. “Reality television was never really my thing,” he told the LI Herald.
Instead, Souberbielle continued on his vacation, which included three days in Las Vegas. He said he fielded several calls from Survivor producers who hoped to change his mind. But it was ultimately one of his cousins who persuaded him to reconsider.
“I had a conversation with my cousin late one night, and he convinced me. He told me it was something I couldn’t pass up,” Souberbielle told the LI Herald. “Millions of people have applied to be on the show, but they just picked me. He said it seemed like destiny, and I couldn’t disagree with him.”
Souberbielle went back to Los Angeles to do the interview and meet with producers. They quickly offered him a spot on the show and he accepted.
On his season of Survivor, producers divided the contestants into three tribes: White Collar, Blue Collar and No Collar. Souberbielle was put on the White Collar tribe. Before the competition started, Souberbielle promised to show the audience something different. He included on his CBS bio, “I’m not like any prior contestants. It’s the first time you’ll ever see anyone like me. I promise you will enjoy this.”
Souberbielle Says He’s ‘Grateful’ for His Experience on ‘Survivor’
Souberbielle did relatively well on Survivor considering he had never seen the show before. He made it until Day 16. His tribe voted him out after he formed a bond with fellow contestant Rodney Lavoie.
As Souberbielle explained to People in 2015, the tribe detected a strong alliance forming and voted him out to break it up. “Everyone saw that we were the real deal, that we trusted each other and were tight. They had to get rid of one of us, and they chose me, which sucks.”
Souberbielle spoke positively about his experience on the show. He told People it was “one of the best experiences of my life. I took a chance to do something, and it was awesome!”
Six years later, Souberbielle’s fondness for Survivor has not abated. He told Entertainment Weekly he was proud of the experience and explained how he grew from it.
“Honestly, my proudest moment was going through the whole experience and not once giving up, regardless of what was thrown my way,” Souberbielle said. “The show strips you of everything that makes you human and pushes your body far beyond the breaking point. I learned that when you think you’ve had enough, mentally or physically, there’s still so much further you can push yourself. I’ve taken this mentality and implemented it into everything that I do in life. For that, I’m forever grateful for the experience.”
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