Tina Wesson is a fan-favorite among “Survivor” castaways, having played three times — the Australian Outback in season two, all-stars in season eight, and “Blood vs. Water” in season 27. But she was one of the former winners who was not a part of the latest season, “Winners at War,” something she has strong feelings about.
Read on to find out how she felt about staying home and if she’d ever play again, plus she reveals just how hard “Survivor” was on her — she’s not sure she ever fully recovered.
Wesson Says She Was Heartbroken to Be Left Out Of ‘Winners at War’
Wesson was all in for an all-winners season — the show reached out to her and she said absolutely. In fact, Wesson revealed during an interview with “Rob Has a Podcast” that CBS casting told her they were considering three different themes for season 40 and she agreed to play whichever theme they wanted her for, which she assumed was an all-winners season.
But when they told her she wasn’t part of the cast, she assumed the show went with a different them — something that stung a bit when she learned that it actually was an all-winners season.
“They called me back and said they wouldn’t need me this season, so I’m like, OK, I just thought they’re not doing an all-winners season. They’re doing something else,” said Wesson. “So then when it comes out that they are doing an all-winners show, oh, my heart was broken. Just absolutely broken. … I’ve always just dreamed and wanted more than anything to go back for an all-winners season, so yes, I’m extremely disappointed.”
She added, “Of course, CBS never, ever, ever gives you a reason behind anything. There’s no explanations, so I don’t know why I wasn’t chosen. But I wasn’t.”
A year removed from the premiere of “Winners at War,” Wesson still feels like she was “left adrift” from that season, but she recently told “Entertainment Weekly” that in all honesty, it might have been for the best.
“I was left adrift from ‘Winners at War,'” said Wesson, adding, “But looking back am a little thankful. It would have been like my all-stars season. Old schoolers targeted.”
Wesson Would Still Definitely Play Again
Despite having just turned 60, the season two winner told “Entertainment Weekly” that she would definitely go back on the show if they asked again.
“I hit the big 6-0 this year, but I still think I could give it a run for its money. It might not be pretty, but the heart of this ‘Survivor’ girl beats strong and ‘Survivor’ true,” said Wesson. “Heck yeah bring it!”
She also revealed the one player she would love to play with is Yul Kwon, which is especially sad that she missed out on that being left off of “Winners at War.”
“I have always said my favorite player is Yul,” said Wesson. “There was something in watching him play that resonated inside my being. His integrity, his quiet-spoken demeanor, and just how he seemed as a person. He gets life and the true meaning of it. It’s not about him, but about others. That’s the kind of human we all can learn from!”
Wesson Also Said She Never ‘Fully Recovered’ From Her First Season
It’s no secret how hard “Survivor” is on its contestants, especially the early seasons — they were truly left to fend for themselves. Wesson said she came back forever changed from Australian Outback.
“I had the most difficult time returning from ‘Survivor: The Australian Outback.’ I can honestly say I’m not sure my body has ever fully recovered. I rarely have gotten above 115 [pounds] since my return. I don’t eat very much still. It’s as if my stomach permanently shrunk,” said Wesson.
But she did say that the experience of knowing true hunger, knowing true cold, knowing true misery made her so much more appreciative of her life.
“Everything became relative. Now when I’m cold I can say, I’ve been a whole lot colder. If I get hungry, I can say I have been a whole lot hungrier. It also gave me the wonderful gift of showing me what my true grit really is,” said Wesson.
Maybe if “Survivor” does a “Legends” season, Wesson could be invited back for that. Or maybe they could do “Winners at War 2.0” and invite the other 20 winners who weren’t on the first one.
“Survivor” is back in production now. If the pattern holds, it should be premiering its 41st season the third or fourth week of September 2021.
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