Hello and welcome to the second part of my chat with Australian ‘Sole Survivor’ Pia Miranda. When we left off last week, Pia and just taken the plunge, agreed to do the show, after discussing it at length with her family.
Now read on…
SH: So, once the decision was made how hard was it keeping that secret?
PM: It was hard keeping the secret… especially I went to a theater opening and there were some actors there. And you know actors love to ask each other “what are you doing?”, “what are you up to?” And I said “I’m going away for a while” and so it was “Oh, what are you doing? What are you doing? Is it exciting?” and I was like “Yeah, it is exciting”, but I didn’t want to tell anyone – I wasn’t allowed to – so I just told people I was going to Fiji to film something.
SH: That’s believable, that’s logical.
PM: I did tell close friends and family because I knew they could be trusted and I didn’t want them to worry about me. Because you know there’s no email or phone contact out there. I actually directed a few people to Tash, my agent, so she got a bit bombarded with people going “Is she alive? What’s going on?”
SH: Yes, nowadays we don’t even consider not being in touch with everyone at all times.
PM: Yeah. Although I must say it was so much easier than I it would be, thanks to the producers. They say “No news is good news”. So, you know if you don’t hear anything from anyone back home, then everyone’s fine. So you kind of don’t miss it at all.
SH: Right. Obviously if there’s an emergency they’ll let you know. I guess it must boil things down to what matters and doesn’t matter.
SH: It’s an enforced digital detox.
PM: Yes, it was a really good digital detox.
SH: What training did you do beforehand, and what part of your training ended up being most valuable?
PM: I probably didn’t do the best training. I didn’t realize upper body strength was so necessary in Survivor. I should have done more weights I think, but I did do lots of yoga (which I do anyway). I did running, and mostly endurance training… which served me well in the end, but not so much in the beginning because all those team challenges are fast paced so for those, some F45 training would probably have been better.
SH: For explosive bursts of energy?
PM: Yes, so I generally did lots of running and swimming. I’m not a great swimmer so I did laps non-stop and took my bathers everywhere – I’d just go to MSAC (Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre) and do laps every time I had a break in recording voiceovers. I also did fire building, lots of fire building. Because when you’re a small woman in Survivor you get underestimated. I hear a lot of podcasts and a lot of the podcasts would say “Oh, well we know Pia couldn’t make a fire…” so I’m like “Oh yes, I could”. So, lots of fire making. And when I was doing my swimming, I also did a lot of jumping off diving boards, because I’m really afraid of heights.
SH: Good on you.
PM: I hired a guy called Tommy, who’s a diving coach at MSAC; so he trains Olympic divers. He basically trained me to jump off when I first started, I couldn’t jump off a 1-meter board he got me to jump off. We looked at some of the Survivor challenges and there was the ‘Tower of Terror’, which we worked out was 5 to 6 meters high. So Tommy said “you need to practice jumping off the 7 and a half meter diving board”, so I just jumped non-stop. I still hated it. I hate jumping and that feeling of falling… but it definitely served me well, because when we got to the Tower of Terror it was about 5 and a half meters. I was like “I’ve done 7 and a half meters, so I can definitely do this.” I didn’t enjoy it.
SH: Did your fire-making training come into play during the show?
PM: No, it didn’t…
SH: Good to have it, though.
PM: It was relaxing to know I could go into a fire challenge and hopefully not lose; I may not win, but at least I knew how to make one.
SH: You equipped yourself well.
PM: I think so.
And that’s where we’ll leave it for this week. Next week, we discuss Pia’s overall game plan in detail, and her victory in THAT endurance challenge – the longest-lasting endurance challenge that Survivor has ever seen! Sheesh!
Until then, then!