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.
In an Australian Survivor first, Brawn superstar Simon Mee was spectacularly blindsided by his tribe after they deliberately threw an Immunity Challenge and sent him home with not one, but two Immunity Idols in his pocket.
The plan was orchestrated by prison guard Dani, who strategised to get close to Mee from the get-go, earn his trust and then blindside him when the time was right. Unaware of her duplicity, Mee confided in her and Chelsea that he was in possession of two Idols, immediately making him their prime target, whilst he was still under the impression it was Flick who was going to be voted out.
“I played my last 72 hours back in my head over and over again,” Mee told The Latch following his exit. “And I looked for my ‘What did I miss? What did I not pick up on at the time?’ And I couldn’t find it.
“I thought I might have found it in the episode last night. in the edit, but it wasn’t there. The entire tribe played such an amazing role in blindsiding me that I had no idea, it was so well-orchestrated.
“And in that moment when I caught Baden chatting to George, I thought they might have been stacking a split vote against Dani, Chelsea or myself in case the Flick votes didn’t go according to plan. But I didn’t realise that I was going to be the collateral damage.
“It was so clean and impressive. I was truly blindsided and amazed.”
Regardless, Mee insists that Survivor is still absolutely all about trust and says given his tine again, he still would have told Chelsea and Dani about his secret weapons.
“It’s an elimination game, and there is only one winner, but it’s a social game and you have to work with people to get yourself there because you can’t do it by yourself,” he said. “And the pure nature of that means that you have to trust someone, and you have to trust yourself at the end of the day.
“Because if you don’t trust yourself and back yourself, no one else is going to. But yeah, you do need to put your faith in someone in order to be able to make it through collectively. And it’s just the nature of the beast that you’re trying to navigate.”
What did you do with the Idols?
“I’m wearing them at the moment! I see pride and enjoyment before I feel hurt, I reflect and think ‘wow, that was a really amazing experience’.
“I loved every minute of what I was able to achieve out there so I feel that before I feel like, ‘Simon, you idiot! Why didn’t you play your Idol?’ and screaming at the TV. So, the good memories come first.”
How did you prepare before going on the show?
“I definitely re-watched as much of Australian Survivor as I could, because the past is the best thing if you’re trying to predict the future.
“I am a massive gym rat, but I spent a lot of time not in the gym in preparing for Survivor and more time swimming and rock climbing and at the trampoline park, working on my flexibility and agility and balance and even playing board games — things that would really help round out my skill set.
“I felt like my base level of strength and fitness was enough to have me covered there so it was time to put the work into some of my other skills to bring them up to scratch.”
If you could’ve taken an item with you into the competition, what would you have brought?
“There is nothing quite like the feeling of getting out of a hot shower or even out of the water and just being able to rub yourself down and be clean and I think a towel is the ultimate representation of that.
“You go for a swim and all you want to do is get dry, and it’s something you can sit on and not get dirty. I just would have loved a towel out there.”
What was your plan of attack after Merge?
“This is a really interesting one, I had been setting myself up as best as I could before we went to Tribe swap. I knew that winning (challenges) was going to be a really big part of it but that’s something you kind of can’t predict.
“If Emmet had gone, I might have been in with a real big crack at potentially running off the front of those individual immunity challenges, so I’ll be interested to see how Emmett goes from here.
“Aside from winning challenges, I knew I needed to have protection around me still. I mean, you saw how loyal I was with Dani and Chelsea. I needed them around me and I’d been working really hard with Hayley, Baden and Wei to be able to be in a position to work with them and bring strong numbers around me and go far into this game.
“So that, combined with a few prayers to the Survivor gods…it would have been interesting to see how far I got.
“But in this game, things never go according to plan, so I think the best players are the ones who can adapt and adjust on the fly into new situations. And I feel like I’ve really proven that, especially in the early game, and how I was able to land on the bottom and then turn my game around and kind of come back. So, you know, adapting to change is huge.”
What’s your top tip for the next group of Survivors?
“Keep your ego in check. Be real about everything that could happen and expect anything.
“Make sure your communication is clear and concise with everyone. You can never explain things too many times about who you are voting for, what your line will be like at Tribal Council, what we will be talking about and what facade you’ll be putting up or who’ll you’ll be trying to confuse.
“And, you know, just put some thought into the clothes you’re wearing! Take sensible clothes!!”
Australian Survivor: Brains Vs. Brawn airs Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 Play on Demand.