Meet the 'Survivor 43' Cast! Fashion Designer Cassidy Clark is Looking at this Season as a Second Chance

The 26-year-old Texas native credits the show and her intense fandom with getting her through her parents' divorce.

In a different world, Cassidy Clark would have already played Survivor. The 26-year-old had been cast for season 41 back in 2020 and was days away from playing before the pandemic hit. But the devastation gave her an opportunity to prepare harder during reapplication. Now the fashion designer is even more ready to hit the Tribal Council runway, hoping to represent her family on a show that has been such a constant to them all these years.

Read on for my interview with Cassidy, and make sure to check in with every day for interviews with this season's contestants and other tidbits. Survivor 43 premieres on September 21 with a special two-hour premiere on CBS.  

Related: Meet the Full Cast of Survivor 43

Interview with Cassidy from Survivor 43

Why are you here on Survivor?
I'm here on Survivor because this has been literally a lifelong dream of mine. I started watching the show back when it started when I was four years old at the time, and I never stopped watching it. I've never missed a season or an episode. I mean, this has been a lifelong thing for me. I grew up and evolved with Survivor as Survivor grew and changed along with me. This is something I've wanted to do since I was a kid. I can't believe it's here now. It's surreal that it's actually coming to fruition. I'm so excited. I'm so prepared. I have all the information you could possibly want to go into this game, just because I've just watched and rewatched the show so much. (Laughs.)

What's your history with Survivor?
So I started watching with my family when I was little. We'd make a big deal out of it. We'd have our weekly routine where we'd all gather together, stay up a little extra late before school, and we'd all watch as a family. And that was really special for me. Before my parents got divorced at an early age, that was really the most special memory for me, being all together as a family watching Survivor. The show really holds those values of family and being a whole single unit.

It was just something that was a constant for me, even when my parents did get divorced, and I started moving a lot, and things started changing for me. It became that constant in my life, that thing I could look forward to, that I could escape into. And then, as I got older, I continued watching it. Then I started participating in a fantasy league with my brothers and their friends who are all huge fans of the show. So we've been doing fantasy leagues for the last couple of years. My brother and I still uphold the tradition of doing a big feast for Survivor finales, which is what we did when we were kids. We all auditioned together, so it's been a real family experience for me. Now I get to play, so it's all come full circle.

Give me one Survivor winner and one non-winner you identify with the most.
I can give you two actually from the same season just to make it easy. First, the winner from the season David vs. Goliath, Nick Wilson. The reason I feel so connected to him is I picked him as my draft pick. And that was the only Survivor fantasy league season that I've won. (Laughs.) And I remember messaging him on Instagram and being like, "Oh, I picked you for my Survivor draft. I hope you win." And he was like, "Oh, I hope so! We'll see." It was just so epic because of his win and everything he had to go through to get to where he was. Him winning all those immunities in a row because he was on the chopping block every time, making it all the way to the finale that way, was just so impressive. It's such a fun season finale to watch.

Also, I know that he talked about his mother struggling with drug addiction, and I think she ended up passing away from like an overdose or something similar. And that's what happened to my sister. So I really felt for him in those moments when he was talking about it. Because I've also gone through that loss, and so that also connected me to him.

And then from the same season, Christian Hubicki, who didn't win, but I loved him so much. He was just such a fun character to watch. And he just had such a kind, sweet heart, but he's also so funny and intelligent. He really was such a well-rounded person for me, and I felt connected to him too. He's just a really awesome person. I think most people would agree with that.

What's your favorite moment in Survivor history?
So I'll just keep rolling with the Christian thing. There's one episode where he wins immunity. And he's just talking Jeff's ear off for five or six hours. And that, to me, is one of the funniest moments I've seen on Survivor. I just love that. And look, I'm not picking these moments off strategic gameplay or anything. They just stick out to me. (Laughs.) Another one was Tai, who is also one of my favorite players, with his chicken. Because I love animals. And so Tai having his little chicken as his best friend and bringing it to Tribal Council is so hilarious to me.

What's the one life experience that you feel has prepared you the most for the game?
If I'm allowed to talk about it, I was actually supposed to be on season 41. I went to the whole casting process in person and got picked to be on the season. And I was actually a week away from leaving in 2020 before the pandemic hit. Then once the pandemic hit and everything got shut down, eventually, they ended up reworking the cast, and I was taken off of it. I didn't know if I was going to have another chance to play. I actually had to reaudition and send in another video, go through the whole process again even to get back my spot back here.

And so going through that like, having my dream right there, so close, and then having it taken away, was a huge blow. It was devastating. But I knew I was meant to play this game. And if I wanted to have that shot again, I needed to heal from this, I needed to reframe my thinking, and I needed to get ready to get my spot back on the show.

And so having that experience, I think, really made me work ten times harder. And it made me make sure that I was way more prepared coming in a second time. Because when I got my spot back, I was like, "This is my second chance." It is so rare to be able to get that opportunity again. So I knew that I wanted to come into this game as prepared as I could possibly be. And just having my past and what happened in this roller coaster ride for the last few years that really, I think, prepared me the most for, you know, going and playing on the show now in this time of my life.

What excites you the most about this new era of Survivor?
It's interesting because now it seems nothing comes without a price attached. In the past, people used to be able to rely on finding immunity idols and things like that to save themselves in the game. But now, there are risks associated with everything. If you find an idol, it's a "Beware Advantage." You lose your vote, which is so crucial, especially in the early stage of the game and especially on a smaller tribe.

It's a little scary, but it's also exciting. Just knowing that the game is constantly changing and it's refreshed every season, it really allows you to go into it, be surprised, and be excited. I'm pumped up for that. And with this fast gameplay, I think I'm a player who can really adapt and be extremely flexible in this type of environment. I feel really ready for a fast-paced game.

What do you think people will perceive you as?
I'm a very bubbly, warm person. I like to make jokes; I like to just have a good time. But I also have a serious side to me. I think I'm intelligent; I hope so! (Laughs.) I don't want to toot my own horn. But I just really feel I'm a well-rounded person as far as social skills, intelligence, and physical strength. I really trained hard to be here. But I think just from my outer appearance and my personality, people may not really perceive those things about me as much.

And that is something that I plan to use to my advantage. Because when you're under a big spotlight all the time and people see you as a major threat from the beginning, it's really hard to play a good game. So going in and being underestimated is actually what I hope happens. Because then I'll be able to pull the strings from the shadows and puppet these bigger moves without so much detection or eyes on me. And so I really hope they underestimate me, honestly, because then they won't know what's coming.

What type of player are you looking for in an alliance?
I do want somebody that I connect deeply with. I think that is really important in an ally. Having that initial bond steers people more towards being loyal rather than being disloyal towards you. So I really want to find a genuine connection with somebody. I want somebody who is not going to make super rash decisions, who's not just going to be trying to do a million things at once and talk to a million people.

I want somebody who is able to step back, take calculated risks, and think things through. I want somebody who will work with me throughout every stage and who will come to me about any decision instead of making moves behind my back. And I honestly really hope to find somebody early in the game that I can play a good portion of the game with. I think that having that ally is really beneficial in the game.

What is the one thing you told yourself you wouldn't do in this game?
Well, let's see, there are a couple of things. (Laughs.) I think it's really important to forge relationships and build alliances really quickly. I think people make the mistake of going in and just waiting until you lose immunity and you're going to Tribal Council to really start making plans. But I think it's so important to go in and make as many connections as you can from the get-go.

So I told myself going in, I was not going to sit back and wait around for somebody to come up to me and try to make alliances with me. I'm going to go to each and every single person, talk to them, find some sort of connection, and really have as much information as I can about these people to make my decision about who I want to be in an alliance with. Honestly, just saying yes to everybody at the beginning. (Laughs.) And then I can kind of figure out where I want to go from there. But I also don't want to immediately go off by myself looking for idols or looking sketchy. I really want to look as though I'm taking things slower. But socially, I won't be. 

Next, check out our interview with Survivor 43 contestant Sami Layadi.