“You Don’t Stop Thinking”: ‘Australian Survivor’ Star Janelle on the Toughest Part of the Game

Janelle Survivor Australia 2021

Welcome to the ‘Survivor Five’ — where we asked each contestant eliminated from Australian Survivor: Brains vs Brawn five questions about their time in one of the most gruelling reality competitions in the world.

Janelle Durso from the Brawn tribe was the second person voted out of Australian Survivor: Brains vs Brawn, despite her insistence that it was Emmett that needed to go. Unfortunately for the mum of three, after losing the puzzle challenge that would have granted the Brawns tribe immunity, her teammates decided she was the weakest link and needed to be voted out.

“I’m obviously devastated,” Durso told The Latch. “But, if I was a 20-something-year-old personal trainer, I probably would have voted myself as well.”

What did you do to prepare before going on the show?

“I didn’t really change my lifestyle too much because I just didn’t see the point of it. I’m happy with my fitness and everything at the age I am.

“I did eat a lot of extra food because I wanted to put a bit of weight on before I went in because obviously if you get to the end you’ve lost a lot of weight so I wanted to have a bit of backup resource there.

“I’m not a food-driven person so I think the hardest thing to have gone without would have been like creature comforts. A warm shower, toothbrush, soap…more the hygiene side of things because some of the contestants were definitely getting stinky!”

If you’d been in the game longer, what would we have been able to see from you?

“I wanted to play a really quiet game, just go into the background with social and just keep a good alliance until merge, and then the fiery redhead was going to come out. What you saw at tribal (council), was going to come out and then it was game on.

“I really wanted to wait until merge to bring out crazy, nutjob Janelle, but national TV won’t see that now.

“I think people also would have seen an older woman reach down to her deep dark depths of strength and doing it for her family. Showing that there’s no barrier with age because I suppose the younger ones in the Brawn tribe haven’t realised that yet.”

What are your thoughts on this season being filmed in the Australian outback?

“I absolutely loved it, loved the idea. Even when COVID goes, I hope they continue with Australia because we are contributing to the economy here and creating jobs.

“We’re also showing off how beautiful our country is. It is the hardest environment, it’s definitely Australian Survivor worthy. It’s the hardest environment in the world,  honestly believe that. So I think Survivor should dig down foundations and stick in Australia.”

What was the most difficult or surprising element for you?

“I’m a Survivor fan and I’ve watched nearly all of the seasons but I didn’t realise how hard the psychological and emotional side of the game would take a toll on me.

“You just don’t stop thinking. You go to bed thinking, you’re half asleep still thinking, you wake up halfway through the night, do a headcount to make sure no ones disappeared.

“You’re just thinking constantly, there’s no downtime.”

Who do you think is going to win, and who would you like to see win?

“I would love to see Gerald win. He is a really lovely guy and I can’t sing his praises enough — even though he voted for me last night, I mean, that’s part of Survivor, you have to vote people out. He’s so smart, he’s so funny and such a gentleman.

“The top two, I think, will be Gerald and George.”

Bonus question: What’s your top tip for the next group of Survivors?

“Can I give myself a tip because I want to be back out there again?!

“My top tip would be to read a lot of books on how to read people. The psychologist has definitely got a game edge there. It’s not necessarily all about strength, the social side is huge so if you can read people and know they’re genuine with their comments, I think that is a massive advantage.”

Australian Survivor: Brains Vs. Brawn airs Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 Play on Demand.

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