Back in 2018, Johnny Eastoe won the hearts of Australian Survivor fans across the nation as the loveable larrikin with the mullet. Now, Johnny is back — although notably sans mullet — for the inaugural season of The Challenge Australia.
Chatting to POPSUGAR Australia, Johnny explained how he came to be on the new competition reality series, which sees reality stars from across the board — think The Bachelor Australia, Married at First Sight, Big Brother Australia, MasterChef Australia and yes, Australian Survivor — all living with one another as they compete for the win. The winner of The Challenge Australia will then compete on The Challenge: Global Championship against the winners of The Challenge: Argentina, The Challenge: USA, and The Challenge: U.K.
Asked what drew him to compete on The Challenge Australia, Johnny replied: “I wasn’t doin’ much with me time! I was over in Indonesia and production reached out, and they said ‘are you interested in making a goose of yourself on television again?’ and everyone I know seemed to have a bit of fun watching me make an idiot of myself — not just in front of them, for a change, but in front of everyone — so I thought ‘bugger it, why not?!’. And I mean, when opportunities like that come knockin’, you’d be silly to say no!”
Admitting to doing a fair bit of speculating about who his fellow competitors would be, Johnny said that he “had a fair idea of who was gonna be there”, but in the end, it didn’t make much difference.
“I’ll be honest with ya, right, when I got cast on the show, I thought ‘I bet you that wanker Ciarran Stott’s on there!’ and I mean, whether or not we got along in the end is neither here nor there, but I think one of the first things I did say to him was ‘I always thought you were a f**king wanker on telly’, but, BUT, it remains to be seen,” he recalled with a laugh. “But hey, a lot of people probably say the same bloody thing about me. You’re never gonna be everyone’s cup of tea, are ya?”
“It didn’t really matter to me [who was there] because I didn’t really know anyone,” he said, adding: “I like to think that I get on with most people anyway, so it didn’t really matter.”
Once he got to Buenos Aires to film the series, though, he soon realised he was in for an entirely different experience than the ones he had filming his two seasons of Australian Survivor, due in great part to the egos of some of his fellow contestants.
“With Survivor, you went on there with either absolute f**kin’ nobodies like myself, who are just out there havin’ a bit of a laugh, and then you had your really accomplished people like, you know, Matty Rogers, you had Janine Allis, all these accomplished people,” Johnny explained. “And then you go to something like The Challenge, and you have people who think they’re accomplished because they’ve been on, f**kin’, Married at First Sight or The Bachelor! It’s a different kettle of fish completely, don’t you worry about that!”
With two stints on Australian Survivor on his résumé, Johnny said that one of the advantages he had going into The Challenge Australia was his experience working with his tribe and within alliances to further his position in the game, something that the stars of some of the other shows didn’t have.
“Look, moreso than anything, I think going into a game like this compared to MAFS or Bachie or something like that, they’re very solitary-minded, you know what I mean?” he said of the way that contestants compete against one another to reach their goal at the end.
“We worked in alliances on Survivor, on Big Brother, so in that sense, the gameplay aspect is a massive advantage for us, because we’ve been there, done that,” he explained, before taking a pause.
“I mean… who knows what’s in store?” he added, with an ominous tone. “They’re pretty conniving, that Bachelor lot, I’ll give you the tip!”
As for whether we’ll see rivalries form between the alumni of each show for an Australian Survivor versus Bachelor nation showdown for the ages, Johnny said that “naturally you’re gonna gravitate towards people you know, whether or not you’re friends with them”, but teased that perhaps things wouldn’t stay that way.
“Without saying too much, people definitely gravitated towards people that they knew, early on, and yeah, it just sort of evolved from there,” he offered.
With his third stint competing on reality television under his belt, we had to know if there were any other shows on Johnny’s bucket list for the future.
“I don’t know, mate!” he exclaimed. “Put it this way, I won’t be applying for anything. I mean, if it comes to me, that’s all well and good, but I’m pretty happy to just plod along through life and not do anything at the moment!”
One thing we definitively won’t be seeing, though, is Johnny appearing on any kind of dating show.
“Oh, absolutely not,” he said. “Absolutely not! I don’t think I could lower myself to a dating show, with all due respect to everyone who’s been on a dating show! I think once you’ve done that, that’s sort of a one-ticket item, you’re living with that for the rest of your life, you know?”
The Challenge Australia premieres at 7.30pm on Monday, November 14, only on 10 and 10 Play on Demand.
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