With season 41 of Survivor delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EW is reaching back into the reality show's past. We sent a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to a batch of former players to fill out with their thoughts about their time on the show as well as updates on what they've been up to since. Each weekday, EW will post the answers from a different player.
While her mom — Tina Wesson — may be part of reality TV royalty after winning Survivor: The Australian Outback, Katie Collins definitely made her own mark in Survivor history. Not only did Katie and Tina become the first Loved Ones to ever share a tribe together on Survivor: Blood vs. Water, but Katie also became the first woman to be booted from a tribe after losing a rock-drawing tiebreaker, drawing the dreaded white rock on day 32 and then being defeated in a Redemption Idol duel by Laura Morett and, yes, her own mother.
But while Katie's big motivation for playing Survivor was really to help fulfill her mother's dream of returning to play a third time, she ended up embracing the experience — especially when she stepped up and won an individual immunity challenge. Now, in her Quarantine Questionnaire, Katie looks back at her Survivor journey, including a wild plan to find food as well as her bikini-clad assimilation back to New York City after it was all over.
Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images Katie Collins on 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water'
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.
KATIE COLLINS: After appearing on Survivor, I returned to New York City where I have continued my work in the hedge fund industry. I also have worked actively with non-profits and community organizations on the side, which has been very fulfilling! On top of working, I enjoyed multiple trips to Europe in the summertime, because the beauty and cuisine of Italy and France have a tight hold on me.
Since COVID, I make several trips to Palm Beach which is the next best (safest) trip for now.
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
Winning an individual immunity challenge was pretty exciting, as not everyone gets to experience that feeling. Of course, playing with my mother and building a deeper bond while competing on the show was priceless.
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
It sounds cliché, but I don't have any regrets from my experience on Survivor. I believe if you play to your true abilities and make decisions that mirror your goals, that you get the most out of the experience without regret. I'm sure many players look back and think, "I should have voted this way, or not trusted x person." That's part of the game of Survivor, so I choose not to live with any of those attached feelings.
What's something that will blow fans' minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
On our (Tadhana tribe) tiny little island in the Philippines, we had very little protein to hunt (i.e. chicken or fish) so we thought it would be great idea to kill the one animal that we were seeing, which is water buffalo. Unsure if you have seen a water buffalo, but they are massive… and have horns.
Caleb, who was a farmer in Alabama, thought the feat was attainable, so we spent all afternoon digging a massive hole in the ground to "trap" the animal. After expelling all of our non-existent energy digging the hole, we were told the water buffalo were a protected species and that we could not trap, kill, and eat the animal.
Looking back, that would have been ambitious and probably dangerous, but when your eye is on a buffalo burger and you are starving, you do crazy things.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
I'm happy with the edit, no major issues there.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
There were some adjustments coming back, especially to New York City from months on one little island. I believe I sat up on my rooftop in the West Village wearing a (clean) bikini for a few days, then gradually introduced clothing and socializing.
You really do also miss your tribe members and the island routines that you create when on the show. I do also remember being on the subway when I arrived back home and thinking — these people have no idea that I was eating bugs a few weeks ago! Lastly, you have to remember that you are without a cell phone and news updates for months, so returning media is another outside adjustment.
CBS via Getty Images Katie Collins on 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water'
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
I've never had any regrets being a part of the show. It is a once in a lifetime (or, in my mom's case, three times in a lifetime) experience.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
I generally keep up with folks from my season occasionally on Instagram, depending on what is going on in their lives. I like keeping up with people that way so I can virtually see what everyone is up to. I feel lucky to have been on the show with some really great people. To answer the question truthfully though, I talk with my mom the most, haha.
Do you still watch Survivor, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
Funny, there are times that I will watch old seasons and they seem classic! I liked watching Heroes vs. Villains recently.
I think COVID has inspired lots of people to start watching the show (old and new episodes) because I receive lots of messages from people that have just started watching Survivor seasons as they are stuck indoors and are also curious about outdoor survival shows.
Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
Boston Rob — he's a rock star. Plus, I was a cheerleader so I can catch him midair in my arms if he ever passes out again.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
Just throw us a toothbrush bone.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
To be determined, I think it would have to be situational if I say yes or no if asked again.