‘I Have No Regrets’: George Mladenov Is Proud Of His Survivor Silver Medal

King George of Bankstown came runner-up of Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn alongside his Queen, Hayley Leake, who “snatched the crown” at the very last moment.

“I don't need the crown, or the title of Sole Survivor to know that I've played one of the most memorable strategic games in Survivor history. It just took such a fantastic player to beat me and she deservingly took that,” George told 10 play.

With a bold, fearless and impressive strategic resume, George was a tough one to go up against and his pitch to the Jury proved just how big of a game he played.

“I had the target on my back at 19 of 23 Tribal Councils that I attended, but I didn't get voted off because I struck a deal at the right time with the right people… I have no regrets. I navigated such a narrow, difficult path to get to the end… I worked the numbers, I influenced people to vote in certain ways that benefitted all of us. That was my vision when I entered the Outback, to be a strong, political operative.”

Knowing physicality wasn’t his strength, George focused on strategy and constantly took massive risks; from standing up to the Alphas and fighting for what he believed was right, to blindsiding eight of the nine members of the Jury.

“I didn't walk into the Australian outback, in my tennis whites to get voted off early... When I was acting as a stealth agent in the outback… when I was lying down in the snake poo-infested grass for 20 minutes listening to Haley and Wai discuss how they were going to vote me out over Emmett at the well… it was exhilarating for me.”

Nevertheless, George revealed that no matter how strong of a strategic game he played, he knew he wasn’t going to win in the end, because most of the Jury were Brawn members.

“I felt great making my pitch to the Jury because it was a chance to reflect on just how much I did to survive… At times, I felt like I was a Labor candidate running in Vaucluse. I put in the best possible shift on election day, but no matter what I said, or what I had done in the past, there were members of the Jury that weren’t going to vote for me.

“I knew that on the night, but it didn't make me waver in my conviction. They valued physical strength above all else. My strategic mastermind-focused game didn't have that, Hayley’s did.”

Although he wasn’t quite able to win the game for himself, George was really happy that it was Hayley who was crowned Sole Survivor.

“Haley is one of the most legendary Survivor players, not just in Australian Survivor history, but worldwide throughout the Survivor franchise. If it took such an iconic, legendary, phenomenal player, who is the epitome of brains and brawn to beat King George for the crown. Well, that is a silver medal that I will wear.”

He may not have won the game, but he won thousands of Australian hearts throughout the season.

“I am delighted that the that during the midst of a global pandemic, I have brought joy into people's living rooms. I've done that by just being me; a proud, wog from Bankstown who’s not scared to be himself and not scared of the consequences of taking risks in playing a big, bold, brash and what was a beautiful game.

“I played a game with no regrets. I took every opportunity by the skin of my teeth, and the audience at home revelled, or were repulsed by my game. But at least I brought people entertainment and joy during the global pandemic, and at least, I made sure that people kept watching Australian Survivor in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands!” he laughed.

George came on the show for two reasons; firstly, he wanted to show everyone just how good of a political operative and strategist he was. Secondly, “to win half a million dollars to clear my family's mortgage and their personal debt so my hard-working mom and dad could retire and… live a life of peace.”

His epic Survivor journey may have come to an end, but George has big plans for the future.

“If you thought I was good at fighting for my life on Survivor, you wait to see me fight for more and improved access to resources for my local community. Right now, I am going back to work as a public servant, but I'm very interested in continuing my television journey, whichever direction that takes me.”

And of course, he had one last thing to thank Macedonian Jesus for…

“I just want to thank Macedonian Jesus for looking out for me on those cold nights, for making me trust my instinct and my judgment, because whilst I might not have the best muscles on Australian Survivor this year, I did have the best strategic mind and that’s what got me to that second place right at the end!”