Exactly 10 years ago (on 26 November 2006) Vanessa Marawa won the title of Sole Survivor
in the first ever season of South Africa's Survivor, which was filmed in Panama. She survived 29 days and scooped a cool R1-million for her efforts.
I caught up with her at the launch of Shark Tank recently and discovered that she's moved from Cape Town to Durbs because of her parents. They live in Lu Lucia and she wanted to be close to them as they grow older so she's relocated and she's emersed herself into Durban life.
She's staying in Durban North and has a daily lifestyle radio show on VumuFM from 09h00 to 12h00 called Till Noon with Vanessa.
She's also going to be co-hosting M-Net's upcoming new gameshow Spellbound with former All Access presenter Jason Greer - it starts on Sunday, 20 November at 17h00.
In our chatter, I asked:
Tashi: What sort of long term impact did winning Survivor have on your life?
That people like you ask me questions like that. *laughs
* I think it was getting recognition as an adventurous spirit which has translated into a lot of things that I do. People expect me to take the risk or a leap of faith because I did Survivor.
Tashi: Like what?
Random things. They'll be like, "Oh, Vanessa will do it!" and some days I might not be in the mood. I think that sense of adventure and willingness to try new things is the legacy that I've taken forward.
I think also the curiosity that people have about what's it like.
Tashi: Is Survivor real? Is it staged? That sort of thing?
10 years on and everyone's still like, "Oh my God, what was it like?!" Which I don't mind telling over and over again because the whole group of us were pioneers in that particular genre of reality TV.
For myself personally, the idea that sometimes, when I think I can't do something, I do try because maybe I can. I'm not always right but that was one thing I didn't think I would do or survive and I did.
Every time I have a bit of self doubt, it reminds me: "Give it a try," - if I really want to do something that I'm afraid of.
Tashi: And what about the R1-million prize money?
s* No money left. 10 years down - what do you want from me?? You've probably spent a million rand in 10 years!
Tashi: What did you do with it?
You know when people enter a competition and you say, "What would you do if you won a million rand?" People say all these great things, "I'm gonna invest it," or "I'm gonna give to charity".
The reality of it is, life is real and stuff happens and I travelled so that was one thing that I did do that I probably couldn't have done at the time. I saw places that I otherwise wouldn't have seen.