“Survivor” fans across the globe have been anticipating the upcoming season of “Australian Survivor” for months now, ever since it was revealed that legendary two-time American winner Sandra Diaz-Twine and her daughter Alanna “Nina” Twine would be competing on the show together.
Sandra, 47, and her youngest daughter Nina, 24, will be competing the ninth season of “Australian Survivor,” called “Blood V Water,” modeled after the American seasons of the same name. Recently, Sandra gave an interview teasing her appearance in the upcoming season, where she compared the differences between “Australian Survivor” and U.S. “Survivor,” and hinted at whether she might return again.
Sandra: Australia ‘Kicked My Ass, Physically and Mentally’
In an interview Wednesday with Australian newspaper The Age, Sandra referred to Australia as her “hardest location ever,” mostly given the wild volatility in temperature. Most fans know that Sandra has competed all across the world for “Survivor” – first in Panama for season 7, “Pearl Islands,” then Samoa for “Heroes vs. Villains,” and finally in Fiji, for her last three appearances (including season 39, where she did not compete, but took the role as mentor). Sandra said of her appearance on the upcoming season:
I feel like Australia was my hardest location ever because the heat would actually– I would feel a burn, a sting on my skin. And then the cold at night was a cold I’d never felt before – and I’m from Connecticut, where it snows. ‘Australian Survivor’ kicked my ass, physically and mentally.
“It’s so painful for so little!” Sandra said. “It wasn’t easy.” For those interested, the prize money for winning “Australian Survivor” is $500,000 AUS, equivalent to a little over $350,000 US as of January 2022. For someone with over $2,000,000 in the bank because of “Survivor” alone, it may be safe to assume that Sandra isn’t going back entirely for the money.
Sandra expanded on this point, noting that she went back more for her daughter than anything else:
I said I was retired and I meant it, but the minute it was blood versus water – my daughter has been dying to play. It was like, oh my god, this is her chance, even if it’s not in the USA, even if it’s longer, even if it’s less money: this is her shot.
When it came to any potential future appearances beyond this upcoming season, Sandra said, “For me to come back and play it’d have to be a cheque so awesome I couldn’t deny it.” However, she then added, “And then two years from now, you’ll be like, ‘Sandra, I thought that was it for you’!”
Australians Play Different Than Americans
When it came to the differences in style between Americans and Australians, Sandra said that she did indeed note differences, notably that Australians tend to play a lot nicer. “I feel like they were really, really nice,” she said. She added that “Australian Survivor” would be difficult for someone who doesn’t excel at the challenge portion of the game, like herself:
I feel like in the United States we play, you know, from minute one … I’d watched ‘Australian Survivor,’ and I lack the attributes to actively participate physically for my tribe, which is something that’s huge in ‘Australian Survivor.’ So I always felt like the minute I start sitting out, or the minute they see me messing up in a challenge, I’m freaking done.
Sandra is not the first American to compete on “Australian Survivor.” Back in 2018, notorious “Survivor” villain Russell Hantz competed on the fifth season of the franchise, entitled “Champions vs. Contenders,” where he was put on the “Champions” tribe. However, he became the first voted out of his tribe when he failed to play a Hidden Immunity Idol.
“Australian Survivor: Blood V Water” will premiere Monday, January 31 on Network 10 in Australia. American viewers will be able to watch the series on Paramount+, according to “Australian Survivor” host Jonathan LaPaglia.
American “Survivor” airs Wednesdays 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. Season 42 will premiere on March 9.