Nadiya Anderson talks Survivor: The odds were against me

Nadiya Anderson talks Survivor: The odds were against me
Nadiya Anderson getting her torch snuffed on Episode 1 of Survivor: San Juan del Sur

As reality show veteran Nadiya Anderson will tell you, once the cat is out of the bag, it is hard to put that feline back in no matter how hard you try.

For Nadiya, it is a case of history repeating itself. As on The Amazing Race All-Stars where she and her twin sister Natalie were the first to be eliminated, Nadiya has the infamous distinction of being the first castaway to be voted out of Survivor: San Juan del Sur.

When they were first cast for the second season of Blood Versus Water, The Twinnies were hoping their Amazing Race legacy wouldn’t follow them to the island.

“We knew we had to keep quiet about Amazing Race”

“We were hoping the cast would be some recycled reality people like us but when we showed up and there was nobody else, we knew we had to keep quiet about Amazing Race,” Nadiya told

Unfortunately for them, The Twinnies didn’t have the chance to play down their notoriety.

”We were introduced to the cast from Day One as The Twinnies from Amazing Race and then I was asked the question…From your two seasons on Amazing Race how would you evaluate your competition? So, from Day One, the cat was out of the bag and out of our hands,” Nadiya recalled.

To make matters worse for Nadiya, her tribe mate Dale Wentworth was an Amazing Race fan who had applied to be on the series with this daughter but never made the cut. He recognized The Twinnies immediately and used that against Nadiya to save his own skin. To counter that, Nadiya played up the team’s first leg elimination during All-Stars but it was a hard sell.

“It was a combination of people feeling it was unfair I was there because I had already gotten two chances at The Amazing Race and then also they were scared about the fact that we were good competitors,” said Nadiya of her eventual boot. “If you are a fan of The Amazing race though it is hard for you to see us any other way. The odds were against me for sure.”

With the tribe having lost the first two challenges, paranoia swept through camp before the Tribal Council vote. Nadiya claims she was the easy boot target despite being hard-working and a definite challenge asset, as her time on The Amazing Race proved. Looking back, Nadiya wishes she had pushed those points home before Tribal.

Nadiya and Natalie Anderson - twinnies
Nadiya Anderson (L) and Natalie Anderson (R)

“I gave them the benefit of the doubt. I assumed that because we had lost two challenges they would have wanted to keep the girl who was the most hands-on, carried the most logs, completed the most water runs and made the rice every night. I was the only girl who had anything to bring to the table,” she said.

It wasn’t the first time though the tribe ignored Nadiya’s advice and contributions. Many on the tribe were affected by a poisonous tree they decided to use for the shelter, despite Nadiya’s dire warnings.

”I grew up in Sri Lanka and when you see sap dripping from a plant it is usually a bad sign. I was like…Fine, don’t listen to the brown girl on the island,” laughed Nadiya.

If she had stayed in the game, Nadiya would have continued her alliance with Val and Jaclyn and possibly pulled in Wes and Alec. Nadiya revealed that Val had so much faith in her, she revealed the Hidden Immunity Idol clue to her.

Leaving her twin behind in the game was hard for Nadiya. They had entered the experience together as sisters and had so many high hopes.

“It was so hard.  Not only could we do bad ass stuff together on the beach, if we had made it to the merge, we could have really dominated the challenges and showed what strong women can do on Survivor together,” she said.

Having put their lives on hold for three years due to The Amazing Race and Survivor, Nadiya is looking forward to moving ahead with her future plans.

“We are working on opening a CrossFit gym in Sri Lanka and then who knows what God will bring. We will take every day as it comes,” she said.


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