With Survivor filming for seasons 41 and 42 indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ETI is reaching back into the reality show’s past. We sent a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to Nick Brown to fill out with his thoughts about his time on the show as well as updates on what he’s been up to since.
He was on the number 1 TV show in America and the most-watched edition ever of Survivor. So previously anonymous Nick Brown had to make quite the adjustment when Survivor: The Australian Outback made him a household name. “It was great to be 23 and quasi-famous for a while,” says Brown. “Survivor was the most popular show around, and a pop culture phenomenon. And then people move on and life goes back to normal, which was also good.”
And while temporary fame had its perks, Nick also had to deal with how he was presented to 30 million average weekly viewers through the edit. “I was surprised that I got dubbed as not a hard worker,” he says now. “Having been out there working hard for 30 days, I never expected that. I just didn’t like to fish.”
What else does the then-Harvard law student and Morehouse Grad have to say about his time on the show, and what has he been up to since? We sent the seventh-place finisher from season 2 a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to find out.
NICK BROWN: It’s amazing how quickly 20 years goes by! Since the show: I finished law school, served in the Army as a JAG (including a year in Iraq), worked for the Department of Justice, served as General Counsel for Jay Inslee, Washington’s Governor, and now work in private practice. Along the way, I got married and had a couple of kids.
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
I think leading my tribe in the blindfold reward challenge. So much fun.
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
I don’t really have any. I was young and had an amazing adventure. If anything, I wish I had been more creative in my strategy. I think most of us thought of the game in terms of how the first season went — the tribe with the majority after the merge sticks together and boots out the other. Once Mike left the game after getting burned, my thinking was too linear.
What’s something that will blow fans’ minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
Ha, not sure there was much. All of the great stuff makes the show.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
You go on a reality show, you agree to be edited, so I can’t complain too much. I intentionally kept a low profile because I expected the big personalities on my tribe to burn bridges (which happened) so I expected that to come across on TV. But I was surprised that I got dubbed as not a hard worker. Having been out there working hard for 30 days, I never expected that. I just didn’t like to fish.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
It didn’t take long to readjust. I just went back to law school and picked up where I’d paused my life. But it was great to be 23 and quasi-famous for a while. Survivor was the most popular show around, and a pop culture phenomenon. And then people move on and life goes back to normal, which was also good.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
Never. I loved it. I was in awe of the experience and the people I met throughout.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
I haven’t kept in touch with most folks, but will still connect with Alicia from time to time. She and I were homies.
Do you still watch Survivor, and if so, what’s your favorite season you were not on and why?
I don’t think I’ve watched a full season since my show, but now I watch clips from past seasons with my kids. And I always check in to see who’s been cast, what the new twists are, and how the game is progressing. I’m a real fan of what Jeff and the producers have created and that it’s endured so long. But after playing the game, I never felt like I needed to watch a full season.
Who’s one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
How could you not want to compete against the best? Tony, Sandra, Rob, Tyson? And I’d love to play with Wendell. He and I both went to Morehouse College.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
Not one. Jeff knows what he’s doing.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
Any time. And I would win.
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