For 15 months Nigel Brennan, an Australian photojournalist, was held hostage in Somalia between 2008-2009 after being kidnapped by Islamic rebels alongside Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout.
The 50-year-old went on to write a best-selling memoir about the traumatic ordeal, embark on a career in public speaking, and most recently appeared as a contestant on Channel Ten’s new reality show The Traitors, where he was forced to utilise his skills of manipulation, deceit and survival.
Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle about why he decided to appear on the show, Nigel explains that he was originally set to take part in a different reality TV competition.
“I was approached two years ago to do Survivor for the Brains V Brawn series and couldn’t do it because my second son had just been born,” he shares. “My partner had sort of said, ‘You make the decision, but just make sure you make the right decision’, which sort of told me that I was meant to regretfully deny the opportunity.”
However, Nigel stayed in contact with the show’s production company Endemol Shine and an opportunity soon came up for The Traitors.
“I really liked the concept and the thought of being in the first series ever,” he says. “So I absolutely applied when I heard that it was going into production, and then it all happened very quickly before we started filming.
“It was exciting but also daunting to be throwing myself into something for a month and taking time away from my two boys and my partner.”
‘Such an amazing experience’
Nigel, who was the last original Traitor to leave the game during Sunday night’s episode, admits he is “disappointed” he didn’t get to make it to the upcoming finale but he has no regrets about how he played.
“Life’s about experiences and taking risks and certainly going on a reality TV show can be risky, but from my point of view, I had such an amazing experience,” he says.
“The cast was unbelievable, such a big group of personalities and the majority of us are all very close and friendly. We had each other’s backs, which was a nice thing to see on a reality TV show for once where we weren’t really bitchy as you would see in other shows.”
As for who he wants to win this season, Nigel is hopeful that 57-year-old business coach Craig will take home the prize money.
“Craig and I sort of sparked up a bit of a bromance on the show,” he says. “We connected really closely and I think from my point of view, Craig is really deserving of it. He has a special needs daughter who's 21 and he wants to leave her a legacy when he departs this world.
“Who's likely to win? Look, Kate's playing an amazing game. In hindsight, maybe if we had got rid of Kate earlier Marielle and I might have survived until the end, but it would not surprise me if Kate takes out the prize at the end of episode 12.”
‘Never say never’
While his time on this year’s season of The Traitors has come to an end, fans could potentially see Nigel return to reality TV in the near future.
“Never say never,” he replies when asked about competing on Survivor in the future. “Life's about experiences and you should experience everything at least once in this life when opportunities come up.
“I'm so incredibly grateful to have been given this opportunity, and I did sort of um and ah over whether I wanted to go on a reality TV show. For me, my sole purpose was to win the money so that I could build a house for my family. A quarter of a million dollars would have gone a long way to facilitate that build, but coming out of the show and obviously not being the winner, I have built such amazing connections with people.
“I'm really hoping in a few years down the track there’s an all-stars Traitors cast. That would be insane.”
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