It was fifteen years ago yesterday…

… that my seventh – final – episode of Temptation went to air, on

Wednesday August 24th, 2005.

Judi and I were living in Sydney, and had been diligently keeping The Big Win secret for a couple of weeks by this stage. Well, I  had been, anyway…. I began to suspect Judi mightn’t have been quite so discreet when Mikey, our friendly neighbourhood greengrocer, started greeting me by saying “AH, G’DAY EINSTEIN! WHAT CAN I GET YOU?!”

Thankfully, the news didn’t seem to have spread much further, although I’m sure the few friends Judi invited over to watch the final episode with us had a pretty good idea. Unbeknownst to me, she’d made a number of T-shirts for them all to wear on the night. The shirts all had different slogans on them, saying things such as “Neighbours of The Champ”… but my favourite one featured something I’d said to (host) Ed Phillips, when he’d asked me during the show; “You’re way ahead of your opponents – why aren’t you buying anything from The Gift Shop?”

The garment’s a little worse for wear, but hey, it is 15 years old…

And despite all the different messages on the T-shirts’ fronts, they all featured the same image and words on the back:

I was so touched that Judi went to all the trouble to create these (still am!), and it did make me laugh when friend after friend showed up at our door that night wearing them, and beaming.

I remember feeling extremely excited and nervous as we all settled down to watch the show start – its opening theme instantly brought all those pre-game emotions flooding back. I also remember getting stupidly annoyed with some people for talking over some of the more tense moments of the game. That was petty of me. This was a party, after all; what was I worried about? Of course I knew that I’d already won, but I couldn’t help it…. the powerful emotional memories of the experience tended to drown out any logic.

On the night, we had to patiently wait for the broadcast time of 7 PM, and then wait through all the commercials, as the game unfolded. But today you don’t have to; if you’re interested in watching the episode, you just have to click on the ‘Play’ button in the centre of this image:

 

Watching the game play out that night was a bizarre, joyous, out-of-body experience. Although I obviously knew how it would all end, I couldn’t help feeling nervous, anxious and excited on behalf that red-headed fella buzzing his way through round after round of questions. And on behalf of his mum and sister in the audience, too. (After all, there was rather a lot of pressure on him, and the stakes couldn’t have been higher.) And the happiness and excitement in our lounge room was just electric. In fact, I find myself tearing up even now as I write this. It truly was one of those moments in life where I found myself thinking “what could I possibly have done to deserve all this good fortune?” Although that evening was essentially a replay of The Big Moment from a fortnight earlier, the excitement in the room that night, and the joy, and the… well, the love… was simply overpowering.

If you’re interested, you can read more about the making of the episode – of what it was like to ride through the eye of that storm – right here. Here’s an image from the final, celebratory moments of the show, when my dear, dear Mum joined me up on the main stage…

and a pic that was taken a couple of minutes later, for TV Week

and a photo I recently rediscovered taken back at Mum’s house afterwards…with that same champagne and bunch of flowers.

In Mum’s kitchen, just after getting home from that life-changing episode. I have no recollection of where my sister got the crown from….

But I digress.

On the Wednesday when the episode went to air, it had only been over for a couple of minutes when the congratulatory calls and texts started to come in. There was so much happiness and so many good wishes flowing my way, it was absolutely mind-boggling. In the coming days, there were cards and letters, there were various newspaper interviews….

There was an interview with A Current Affair (for which they also talked to Mum), and all the while, various smaller prizes I’d won along the way kept arriving at our house.

A big screen TV? Thank you very much indeed. A telescope? Don’t mind if I do. A Swarovski crystal vase? Sure, why not? It felt like some sort of Bizarro-World-Upmarket-Christmas-in-August.

And then the cheque arrived. What a staggering, astounding, once-in-a-lifetime moment that was. To hold in my hand a cheque for such an amount… and for that cheque to be made out to me! I made a photocopy of it, which I still have, somewhere. I clearly remember the excitement of depositing it at the Bondi branch of my bank (which was in Hall Street, as it happened). I’d been speculating about what the teller’s reaction would be when I handed the cheque over, but he had the perfect poker face. He stared, expressionless, at the cheque for a couple of seconds, and then stamped and processed it, as though this was the most regular, ordinary, commonplace thing in the world.

Well, it wasn’t to me. To me, that cheque changed EVERYTHING. Profoundly.

For someone brought up in a single parent family, and who’d then gone on to be a freelancer in the entertainment industry, this provided security… and it provided options. I could help my family, I could make plans, I could invest for the future.

And when Judi and I joyously welcomed our daughter Lily into the world less than a year later, I can’t tell you how great it was to have that security. To know that things were going to be okay; that I had provided, and that our brand new happy little family was off to a wonderful start. To this day, we still drive the car that it bought (I never took delivery of the Volvo – I sold it back to the dealership instead), we still live in the house that it bought… and there have been so many other benefits, far too numerous to count.

And they all come from something I did over a handful of days, fifteen years ago. In some ways, it all still feels like yesterday. I was, I am, and I always will be so very, very grateful. And so very glad that I decided to embark on my quiz show journey, all the way back in 1994. Crikey – that’s 26 years ago now! The rewards just keep on coming, from that day to this, and I know they’ll continue to do so, into the future. So if you happen to be considering diving into the world of quiz shows / game shows, all I can say – loudly, enthusiastically, and fairly unsurprisingly – is…

GO

FOR

IT!! 

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Australian Survivor’ WINNER Pia Miranda – Part VIII – The Conclusion

And now, please enjoy the final instalment of my interview with the inspirational Sole Survivor…. Pia Miranda!

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SH: Just before we wrap up, Pia, for Howtowingameshows.com I always ask people “what would your tips be?” Do you have any tips for people who’d like to do exactly what you’ve done? 

PM: My tips would be don’t go on a game show unless it’s your passion. I don’t think you’re going to win it unless it’s your passion. I don’t like camping or being in the outdoors. 

SH: You don’t eat raw coconut all the time?

PM: No, funnily enough! But for some reason, when I watched that show, I had this instinct and passion to win it… and I’ve obsessed about it for 20 years; “I just know I can win this!”

I think go in with a game plan BUT don’t be afraid to be malleable with that game plan. In other words, trust your instincts but move with the flow, because you’re going to have to change it up. 

SH: Pivot. 

PM: Yes, you’re going to have to pivot. And also know that the camera doesn’t lie… the editing can lie! Boy, can the editing lie – the editing lies quite a lot. But the camera doesn’t, so there is no point in being too aware of the camera if you want to win. I think if you want to recharge your career, or become a personality then that’s one reason to go on a game show, but if you want to win… just forget about the camera and play to win. 

SH: Be yourself.  

PM: Just forget about the repercussions, because they’ll be mixed anyway, if you’re a winner. Just go and play… and play hard!

SH: Play hard! Yes! Thanks very much for your time today, Pia. 

PM: Thank you. 

SH: And again, congratulations! It couldn’t happen to a nicer person. 

PM: Thank you. Well, tell that to Survivor Facebook! (LAUGHS). 

SH: Yikes! (LAUGHS) 

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I’d like to thank Pia so much once again for her time, and so freely sharing so much of her Survivor experience for HowToWinGameShows.com.

Remember, you can follow Pia on Twitter, on Instagram, and you can also catch both of us now in Series 3 of Mustangs FC!

See you next time, with something completely different.

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Australian Survivor’ WINNER Pia Miranda – Part VII

Hello and welcome to the penultimate instalment of my eight part interview with Australian Sole Survivor Pia Miranda. When we left off, Pia had just beaten all the other contestants, to win $500,000… in a moment that looked something a little like this;

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PM: It’s a big thing, winning that amount of money. 

SH: It’s absolutely life-changing. I think back on it all the time, and its benefits continue… and will continue, all the way through. 

PM: Our kids will benefit from this. We bought our house late, because we’re actors – we just don’t have money. Just that whole idea that we’ve now fast-forwarded our lives and we’re in that position. Even if I got in a great television show and I was the lead, I still wouldn’t be in this position! There is no point in time that I ever thought that amount of money would fall into my lap. It was weird because right before you go on Survivor, they put you in this little hotel room with no TV or anything and you’re just stuck there for three or four days by yourself. And you go to shoot the promos and you see who else is there…  

SH: Lots of athletes?

PM: It’s not just athletes, I felt like that little kid at school on their first day at a new school and everyone is kind of cool… I just regretted it. The last thing I said to him – and he was trying to pump me up, going “you can do this”. So I said to him “Okay, right now I’m going to go out and win us this money,” and then I hung up. 

SH: And sure enough…. fifty days later, there you were! How was it to decompress and return home after all that privation and starvation? 

PM: It’s bad. You should see the WhatsApp groups that various players had with each other after the show. For 3 weeks, they were just all about food. 

SH: Like “what are you eating?” “What are you eating?” “What are you eating?” 

PM: Yes! Totally obsessing about food. It is non-stop food. I spoke to one of the dads at school (where my kids go) and he said “In the army, we generally reintegrate you into society after you’ve been through something like that.” When I got out, I missed out going to jury villa decompressing with everyone and talking the game or having that bonding experience. I just got thrust out and had that weird guilt of “Oh, I won – sorry about that guys.” The night I got let out, they gave me a meal. I said, “I just want a bottle of wine.”  

SH: At least!  

PM: I drank wine. I was trying to tell Luke everything that was going on. I had a shower, and just fell asleep in bed with the kids – it was amazing. My head was spinning and Janine’s husband and my husband spoke and discovered me and Janine were going through the same thing. I had to come back and work on Mustangs two days later. 

SH: Just two days later? Wow. 

PM: It was just hard to look anyone in the eye. There was an energy about me; I couldn’t connect with anyone, I was talking a million miles an hour, I was super overstimulated. The whole time you’re there, you only see Tribal, you see the beach and you see the challenges. In between that, you see nothing, you don’t hear music; there is no external stimulation at all. I couldn’t stop eating. We just talked about food the whole time and we’re talking about Hungry Jack’s at the airport. I had this massive thing of Hungry Jacks in my lap on the plane. Then I saw one of the other contestants walked onto the plane with his Hungry Jack’s. 

SH: Did it make you sick? 

PM: Sick for days. I had the runs for like two weeks. I was bingeing, runs, bingeing, runs (LAUGHS) it was just this cycle… One day I woke up and said “Okay, this has to stop”, and then it stopped. Actually, I found out I had an autoimmune disease when I was out there and went to a naturopath and she was like “don’t eat this or this”. I was on this restrictive diet, so that stopped me – no more burgers. The weird thing was though, when you are that starved – I don’t have a sweet tooth at all. I don’t like ice cream and all that kind of stuff – but when you’re out there, your body starts obsessing over and thinking about sugary food cakes, ice creams, I guess your body is just looking for a quick calorie hit. 

SH: A bit of energy. 

PM: Yes, one of the first things I did was to have gelato… which I’ve never eaten (LAUGHS).

SH: Okay. I’ve already asked you what you’re doing with the prize money… 

PM: Yes, mortgage and Disneyland. 

SH: Disneyland!

PM: When I was up on that big endurance challenge, Jonathan was “So, Pia what are you going to do with the money if you win it?” I was crying, “I’m going to pay off the mortgage. I’m going to take the kids to Disneyland.” and then I pulled myself together and added “And I’m going to buy a Chanel bag, Jonathan.” He was so impressed he just nodded and said “Nice.” 

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Next week, as we wind up the interview, Pia gives her very Top Tips for any aspiring Survivor contestants out there. So if you’re dreaming of, thinking of, or applying for, your very own Survivor experience… you can’t afford to miss that.

Until then, then! 

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Australian Survivor’ WINNER Pia Miranda – Part VI

Hello and welcome to part six of my eight part interview with Australian Sole Survivor Pia Miranda. In the closing stages of her game, Pia made an observation about the different versions of the global franchise that is Survivor. It was an observation that I wanted to follow up on…

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SH: In your final appeal to the jury, when discussing your strategy, you said, “Australian Survivor is very different from American Survivor”. What did you mean by that? 

PM: I think Australians in general are different to Americans. Americans like bombastic behaviour and they like big moves; they’re very much willing to follow someone who shows themself to be a leader. Whereas in Australia, anyone who we think is getting too big for their boots – or seems like they’re on top of the pack – we’ll cut them down. So you’ve got to play a really different game. America rewards a brash game; you need to find an idol. It’s really hard for a woman to win American Survivor at the moment. I don’t think one’s won for 14 seasons or something. 

SH: Really? 

PM: Mm. So you have to make moves – because you want to have something to tell the jury – but you cannot let people think you’re on the top of the pack. Even when I was on top of the pack in the Contenders Tribe, I made sure everyone thought I was at the bottom of the three girls. Which was not true; it definitely was Janine and I running the show and then Abbey was following what we were doing. But I would tell the contenders that I didn’t know what was happening and they would tell me right before tribal “I’m just here to make friends,” that kind of thing. 

SH: So that was on your mind all the way through? That was your whole game plan. 

PM: They didn’t show this much, but I was really friendly. One of my biggest game plans, I learned from Cochran who is a super fan who played once played terribly, played second time played amazingly. Cochran and Sandra are my two people that I learned from. Sandra’s big thing was “don’t talk strategy unless you need to”. Don’t be running around camp all-day talking strategy, because it will come back to bite you in the arse. Cochran was really like “make real relationships with people, but then be willing to vote anyone out”. My social game was to really actually become friends with everyone and they were truthful relationships. I didn’t fake any of those relationships. When I got to jury in front of them, I could honestly say that I was really friends with every single person in that jury. And pretty good friends. I made an effort with them. 

SH: And voting them out is the game – it’s not personal, it’s just strategic. 

PM: Yes. Even Janine. I didn’t want Janine to go, but I kind of knew she had to go for me to win. I’m just glad I didn’t have to do it because I wouldn’t have put her name down. 

SH: Yes. It’s been a while now, since it all happened. Would you go back again for an Allstars version?

PM: No, (LAUGHS) I wouldn’t do it again. Winners get voted out pretty early. I’ve only got somewhere to fall now. And people know my game now.  

SH: So you can’t surprise them. 

PM: If America had an “All winners” season, I might do that. That’d be fun. And also, the American challenges aren’t as hard as the Australian challenges. Honestly, those challenges…. I would turn up for those challenges with a knot in my stomach thinking “What the hell?!” I was fine once I got to the merge and they were individual challenges. Those team challenges I found traumatizing. I felt my game was always to be likeable but strategic and then come out at tribal council and obliterate my competition and just be really aggressive. I’d have to think of a new game plan… I mean, there are tribals that go for 2 hours. 

SH: Really? 

PM: Yes, even people yelling at me “YOU ARE S**T!” 

SH: What? 

PM: That’s the job of the jury! To tell you how bad your game is, and why you don’t deserve it; your job is to fight. People are like “why were you getting so angry?” (in tribals). Well, they get angry at you for two hours, and it’s really intense. They only show a smidgen what really happens. But yeah, I definitely wouldn’t play Australian Survivor again – they would vote me out. Because I won it the previous time. 

SH: Back to what you were saying before – you’d have a target on your back, just by walking in the door. 

PM: Yes. Also, I won the half a million! I don’t know if I could fight as hard to take that away from someone else who hasn’t had the chance to win it. 

SH: Someone else’s turn. 

PM: It’s someone else’s turn. If I won it twice, I’d feel a bit guilty about that. I don’t know if I’d have the passion inside me – there’s 23 people going in, and someone else deserves a shot at this. 

SH: Absolutely. The only way is down. I felt a bit like that after Temptation. They had these Quizmasters (Champion of Champions) series. I did go on one, but I shouldn’t have… because I lost and it was embarrassing (LAUGHS). But after my big win I was flushed with success – I was riding high and my ego was doing strange things. Based on that, I also decided to go on Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster. As it turned out, I did just scrape through, although I probably didn’t really didn’t deserve to win. 

PM: The passion goes because you won or something.   

SH: It does feel a bit unfair – it’s someone else’s turn. It really is. 

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Next week, Pia and I discuss how winning this life-changing amount of money has…

erm…

changed her life.

See you then!

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Australian Survivor’ WINNER Pia Miranda – Part V

Hello and welcome to part five of this eight-part interview.

And just as we reach the final stages of our chat, we’re also reaching the final stages of Pia’s Australian Survivor experience…

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SH: Now we’re getting down to the pointy end of the show… when Baden took you – and not Harry – through to The Final Two with him. I remember watching it, and at that moment, I thought ‘Pia’s got this’. I thought if Baden were to have any chance, he should have taken Harry; Harry had made himself unpopular in various ways along the way, so at least Baden would have had some chance against him. But when Baden chose you instead, did your heart soar? 

PM: It was complicated… because Harry didn’t play a great game up until maybe the final eight and then he played a fairly a good game. Whereas I played a really good game up until the final eight, and I had been on the bottom before, so I was struggling to survive. Baden didn’t see the first three quarters of my game (before the merge) so he didn’t know what game to play– 

SH: He was on the other tribe then, of course. 

PM: And I’d been working with Baden a lot to get him to take me through. I’m like, “you can’t take Harry, because you both play the same game”, yada-yada. So, I was pretty confident Baden was going to take me; that’s why I didn’t have to beat him in the challenge. But my heart did soar, yes! Harry and I had told each other we weren’t going to take each other… but we also thought we could lose to Baden because this is Australia and Australia loves an underdog and Baden is sweet. He annoyed people, and he was a blabbermouth – that was probably his worst trait, but that was the trait he owned and was part of his game. But I thought you could totally lose to Baden because it’s that thing where people can vote with their heart sometimes and be like “Oh, he’s a sweet kid, let’s give him a shot”. I loved Baden, but Harry and I both though that losing to Baden would be very traumatic. 

SH: Yes, because you worked so hard and you gave it your all. 

PM: Yes, so we definitely had a moment where Harry and I thought ‘it could happen, because this does happen sometimes in Survivor‘. My heart did soar a little bit, though, because when I looked at the jury, there were a couple of people I was convinced would vote for Baden…. but when I was counting in my head, I thought ‘I think I can count on five votes here’. 

SH: Yes, you needed five out of nine to win…. but as it turned out, you got nine out of nine votes! That’s never happened before. 

PM: Nine has happened a couple of times in America, but I’m the only female in the history of Survivor to get a nine-zero vote, which gave me legendary status on Twitter – that’s where it counts! 

SH: I imagine that when the votes were being counted and they told you that you won… that you didn’t learn about the number nine until well after all the hoopla. You only needed five. 

PM: Yes, I was expecting to do that thing where they create jeopardy… you know, “that’s two votes Pia, two votes Baden….” and build the suspense as they go.   

SH: But they didn’t, because they couldn’t – they didn’t have any Baden votes to add into the mix. 

PM: They did “two votes for Pia” and then I expected two votes for Baden to come up… but then they went to “three votes Pia, four votes Pia”… I think you can see my face getting really confused. I’m just so shocked. And then I’m like “I’m going to need one more”. When Jonathan said “you’re the winner”, I just didn’t process what had happened… but then when I went into the interview afterwards, they said “you’ve got every single one. You’re the first female in history to get every single vote.” I was just like pretty overwhelmed. 

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… and here’s the picture of that moment, which Pia shared with her son James.

What a LEGEND! Next week, I ask Pia about the differences between Australian Survivor and American Survivor and whether she’d ever consider returning to the franchise as part of an All Stars season…

See you then!

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Australian Survivor’ WINNER Pia Miranda – Part IV

Hello and welcome to part four of my exclusive interview with Australian Sole Survivor Pia Miranda! Before our interview officially began, Pia had mentioned that there were two challenges out there that really tested her...

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PM: The first challenge that was the hardest was the first Tower of Terror, where you had to grab the peg. Because there are a couple of challenges in Survivor that if you’re short, you’re at a real disadvantage. 

SH: Yes, we noticed that, while we were at home, watching you… 

PM: Yes. And it wasn’t just because the peg was high up; it was also very far out, so I just couldn’t get it. I did that one 14 times in a row…. which was painful! Slamming into that water every 6 minutes is painful. I was literally lying on the floor of that tower just waiting for my turn, with no breath, going “Physically, I can’t do this”…. 

SH: And yet you did. 

PM: I eventually did it. And the other one there was the Stepping Stones. Ross broke his ankle doing that one. There were these big poles you had to run over, and they were so far apart. 

SH: So again you were at a disadvantage. 

PM: Yes. I think I fell off of that about 12 times too. 

SH: So that’s just a built-in unfairness in those challenges. If I were to do it, for instance, I would find it much easier than… 

PM: Shaun just stepped over them. (* Shaun is 201 cm tall). So the taller contestants aren’t running and jumping and falling like I was. 

SH: Of course.  

PM: So, you get through that stuff. I think the Tower of Terror was the worst one for me, but you get through that stuff, you go through all this pain and your family is there that really propels you because I’m looking at my husband going “I really want to win this money for us!”, you know. 

SH: Yes, when I was watching that final endurance challenge at home, putting myself in your shoes, I found I was also putting myself in your husband’s shoes, watching you endure that stuff. If I was watching my wife do that, I’d find it pretty challenging. 

PM: Yes, he said it was hard not to just jump in and take me off. 

SH: Yes, you’re suffering – he wants to help end your pain. 

PM: Yes. 

SH: So, you earned your money!

PM: Yes, medical came up to have a chat with me because my feet were getting  too swollen, but I didn’t want to get off and he said that it was tough knowing that medical actually stepped in. I did it and I beat Harry. 

SH: You did it!

PM: But it’s okay; I’m flying Harry out for the holidays. I only made two promises on the beach. 

SH: What were those? 

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My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Australian Survivor’ WINNER Pia Miranda – Part III

And now dear reader, Part three of my exclusive interview with ‘Australian Sole Survivor’ Pia Miranda, in which we discuss the longest-lasting endurance challenge in Australian Survivor history….

… Which she won, by the way!

But before that, I wanted to talk strategy…

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SH: You mentioned you’ve been a fan of the show all the way through… presumably you watched all the seasons of Australian Survivor so far?

PM: Yes, I watched every one and had seen all the American ones.  

SH: Did you have an overall game plan before you started or just a vague sort of idea? 

PM: My game plan was to play really low key for the first two weeks, but that didn’t come to fruition… because I was almost voted out on the first day! So I had to play so hard. I just hit the ground running and I was playing hard and fast early. My plan was to find one person that I would bond with, not lie to and have as an ally… which I did find in Janine. And it really does save you when you have one person you can trust, because they’re going to keep an ear out and let you know things they hear. So, you get way more of a vibe of what’s going on around camp when you have two sets of eyes and ears. Then maybe I regret it, but I really decided to just play hard and not play for TV, not play to be liked, not play to do something great for my career… I really just went “I’m going to play to win!” 

SH: When you say “playing hard”, how do you define “playing hard”? 

PM: Just playing to win. Not making big moves just to be exciting. I wasn’t going to do anything crazy to create “crazy fun TV”. I figured if I was going to leave my family for seven weeks, the only thing I’m concerned about is winning the game.  And that was good, because every week, rather than thinking about how I am being perceived, I just thought about getting to the next trial; about surviving that next tribal. That was my only aim. 

SH: Eyes on the prize. We mentioned it earlier, but at the first tribal, you said “I’m either going to be the first one voted out, or I’m going to win the whole thing.” What made you think that? 

PM: I think I’m a bit of a slow burn with people. I don’t open up that easily. I was always the new kid so I think being a new kid you know when I’m put into a new situation, I am good at it but I do take my time to work out where I fit. I’m small. I don’t look athletic. I think like I’m pretty sassy and kind of dry, but I don’t really show that when I first meet people, so I come across a little bit vanilla. 

SH: You play your cards close to your chest?  

PM: Yes, totally, so I felt like it would take me at least a week to really get a crew together. I thought the fact that I’m a bit awkward in new groups and the fact that I’m probably not the most physical will probably put me on the chopping block early… and it did. 

SH: And it did. BUT you came through and did the second thing you said; you went through and won the whole thing!

PM: I know! Thank God. I was so scared I was going to go home the first. 

SH: Well, somebody always has to be the first one to go home, and you always feel for them. 

PM: The Survivor nightmare. I did feel bad for Anastasia (the first player voted out) because I got along well with her, but I had to cut her throat because it was either her or me. 

SH: Whoa! (LAUGHING) Now, the last physical challenge… Good lord! You mentioned endurance training earlier, but surely even that couldn’t have prepared you for this… Am I right in thinking it’s the longest-lasting Survivor challenge ever? 

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My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Australian Survivor’ WINNER Pia Miranda – Part II

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…

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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. 

PM: Yes. 

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? 

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My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Australian Survivor’ WINNER Pia Miranda – Part I

Hello! This week, I’m really pleased to bring you the first part of my exclusive interview with the latest winner of Australian Survivor; the marvellous Pia Miranda. Pia’s a brilliant and popular Australian actress, who I had the pleasure of working with on three seasons of Mustangs FC, where we we played proud parents of two of the teenage soccer players on the show….

See? There was a lot to talk about with Pia’s recent ‘Sole Survivor’ experience, so I thought I’d better start at the beginning….

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SH: Pia, thanks so much for talking to me about your Survivor experience for HowToWinGameShows.com!

PM: My pleasure!

SH: Now, you’ve been a fan of the show for many years…. 

PM: Yeah. 

SH: So how did your getting on the show come about? 

PM: So, I did a TV Tonight interview and, as part of it, they asked “what’s your guilty pleasure?” I said “I’m a massive Survivor fan; I’m obsessed with it. I haven’t missed a season since it started”. And then the next question was “if you could be on any TV show, what would it be?” I responded with something quite highbrow,  because I thought that’s what people want to hear. 

SH: What was the highbrow thing? 

PM: I think it was something like The Handmaid’s Tale you know, a worthy drama. I did also wonder if I should’ve put Veep, because I like comedy. But when I wrote my answer and I looked at it, I had this ‘authentic’ New Year’s Weirdness (it was New Year’s Eve), and I just deleted it. I thought ‘actually, if I’m honest, I always talked about being on Survivor.’ Because I was really obsessed with being on Survivor for years. 

SH: Did you ever apply? 

PM: I tried to apply for the American one in my twenties, but you have to be an American citizen. 

SH: Okay.  

PM: So, I just wrote Survivor. I thought it was actually truthful and it’s funny, and maybe not what people expect from an actor. So I sent off all my responses to the interview questions, and didn’t think any more about it, and then I think the story ran on New Year’s Day and then two days later, they emailed me and said “Come play!” and I was like “I didn’t actually mean I wanted to play…” 

SH: “Joking, guys!” So, how did you go from this flippant answer to making the actual decision to dive in? 

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