Survivor star on what you don’t see on TV: ‘Mind games never stop’

Everyone knows that Survivor is one of the hardest games in the world; living away from society for over a month with limited resources, brutal physical tasks and extreme weather conditions.

Recently eliminated contestant and Survivor Australia super fan Janelle Durso knew all of this when she signed up for the reality show, but she definitely didn’t expect the tough mental challenges she would face.

Janelle on Survivor.
Janelle said she was familiar with mind games through playing poker, but Survivor was another level. Photo: Channel 10

The mother-of-three became the first member of team Brawn to be sent home after her tribe turned on her in Monday night’s episode.

Janelle told Yahoo Lifestyle that she was “gutted” to leave so early, adding that the experience wasn’t anything like she had anticipated.

“I knew it was going to be physically hard, but the mind games never stop,” she revealed. “I didn't realise how hard that type of gameplay was going to be.”


The 43-year-old went on to say that there was “no rest for your mind” while competing on Survivor.

"Even when you're closing your eyes you're going, ‘Should I be going to sleep? Is everyone else going to sleep? Is somebody going off and strategising with somebody else?’,” she said.

“You’re sort of asleep but your ears are working to hear if anyone's going to sneak off to strategise without you.”

Janelle getting eliminated.
Janelle admits that she found it extremely difficult to trust anyone in the game. Photo: Channel 10

Janelle admits that it was difficult to work out who you could trust in the game, which was evident when people she thought she was close with voted for her to leave the tribe.

On TV, it appeared that Janelle had successfully managed to group the girls together to blindside health coach Emmett. However, her ‘allies’ had other plans.

“It was really bad because I thought I had a few people in my pocket and they voted for me,” she reflected.

“That was hard because face to face, what you think a person is doing and who they are aligned with is so not what the case is.”

Janelle posing.
Janelle says she has no ill feelings towards her tribe for blindsiding her. Photo: Channel 10

The Queenslander also confesses that she didn’t expect it to be so tough at tribal council when you have to plead your case to stay in the game.

“It’s really horrible because you’ve made friends with other people in your tribe and you don't want to throw them under the bus, but it's like, throw them under the bus or you're thrown under the bus.

“You’re trying to pick little faults out with everybody else but you sort of don't want to either because it could be a double-edged sword.”

Despite her shock exit, Janelle holds no animosity towards her former competitors.

“We're all on the same boat out there,” she said. “We’re all trying to manipulate, we're all trying to win the hardest game in the world, so I wouldn't say everyone's character is their full character outside the game.”

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