He’s watched contestants rise and fall, witnessed the twists and turns of the game, and has even tested some of the challenges, for four years running.
Now, self-proclaimed “city slicker” Jonathan LaPaglia is chucking in his two cents about gameplay, and all aspiring Survivors should take note.
Start Playing With Fire (Literally)
“First and foremost, you should know how to make fire.”
We’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it twice, but we’ll say it again and again - fire means life in the game of Survivor. Apart from the hypothetical sense (the tribal torches), knowing how to light a fire is an essential skill in the game. Fire = heat and food – need we say more?
Want more essential skills? Knowing how to build a shelter and how to do it right can change your whole mindset in the game. Build a shelter too close to the water? You’re screwed. Have a shelter facing the fire? Smoke bomb. Both classic mistakes, both easily avoided.
Prepare For Savage Weather
“It's really unpredictable; sometimes it's incredibly hot, sometimes it's quite pleasant, then other times the weather can just turn savage."
Look, JLP was pretty frank here - there’s no way to really prepare for the temperamental weather, but just know it’s gonna happen.
The weather can be one of the hardest things to battle, and it’s bound to leave you “drenched for hours and hours,” he stresses. “At some points, it becomes difficult to maintain your core temperature”.
You think it looks hard on TV? You know nothing. “You won’t really appreciate how difficult it is to get through”.
Never fear, JLP is safe and sound during filming at least. “It’s in the middle of the night… I’ll be woken up in my warm, dry resort room by the wicked storm and those poor guys are out there and they have to weather it".
Strength, Endurance and the Mind
"You want to have a certain amount of muscle and therefore strength, but I don’t think being lean is helpful on a show like this because it just takes a lot of fuel to keep that lean body mass going."
Top things to prepare for the challenges? Swimming, puzzles to “get you in the mode of thinking”, and yoga, because “balance becomes quite important”.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure your yoga teacher isn’t lying about their job...
Here’s a fun fact for you, JLP has gotten down and dirty with the challenges. “I get to test all of them but I kind of pick and choose because I’m a big sissy and I really don’t want to hurt myself – the producers don’t want me to hurt myself either”.
Social Strategy Is EVERYTHING
“I would try and be an all-rounder… be reasonable at challenges, reasonable at social strategy, reasonable at my social game but I think as an over-arching theme I’d try to keep everything slightly under the radar.”
What social strategy would JLP adopt?
“You want to be considered a valuable member of your tribe but you don’t want to highlight exactly how good you are at challenges. You keep that till after the merge, when it's an individual game and you need to win that immunity necklace to stay in the game. Keep it for then”.
Let other people “take the glory along the way”, let their “ego take over” but don’t shy away from making moves - just don’t “be flashy about them”.
Some final parting, and oh so wise, words from JLP:
“If someone makes a move against you or one of your allies, don’t take it personally. You gotta keep all your avenues open in this game. If someone crossed you at one point, be willing to work with them in the future, because they may only be your path forward”.