Meet the 'Survivor 45' Cast! Hannah Rose Talks How Becoming Sober Will Inform Her Game

Hannah Rose is filled to the brim with experiences, from covering herself in "super impulsive" tattoos to learning discomfort at summer camp to becoming sober at age 20 to starting to pivot from a career as a therapist. She believes her personality, which is as loud and colorful as the ink on her body, will make her the comic relief of the tribe, an underestimated "tween" in a 32-year-old body. But she'll hopefully be the one to get the last laugh, earning the million dollars and a hug from her beloved Jeff Probst.

Read on for my interview with Hannah, and check in with every day for interviews with this season's contestants and other tidbits. Survivor 45 premieres on September 27 with a 90-minute premiere on CBS.

Related: Meet the Full Cast of Survivor 45

Interview with Hannah from Survivor 45

To start, tell us about yourself.
So, I am from a town called Woodbridge in Connecticut, and I came down to Maryland for college. I went to Goucher College, which is a tiny-ass liberal arts school. And I've been in Maryland ever since. So, I've lived in Maryland since 2008. And I live in Baltimore City now. I got my Bachelor's in Psychology, and I always wanted to be a therapist. So then I went and got my Master's at Johns Hopkins, somehow, in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. [Laughs.] I was a therapist for about five years in different settings, and then I moved into private practice just to work for myself.

Then I decided, "I don't think I want to be a therapist. I am burnt out on holding space for everyone else's stuff. I love my clients, but I love public speaking. I love musical theatre. I love singing. I want to do that." So, I own and manage a group private practice. So, I transitioned into group, and I hired about 12 therapists. And they all see clients, but I just manage the practice. And I'm kind of figuring out what I want to do next.

Such an interesting journey. So what made your theatre-loving self decide to tread the boards of Fiji on Survivor?
What has led me to Fiji was COVID, essentially. I needed a show to binge-watch. And I had never watched Survivor in my life. And I love reality TV. I live for it. I'm a big Big Brother fan, [love] The Challenge, and I just never watched Survivor. And I saw that they put a couple of seasons on Netflix. This was about a year and a half ago. And I was like, "Oh, this is everything psychological, endurance, physical, emotional, spiritual." And I was like, "Yeah, I'm just gonna apply for that."

And I sent in a 30-second video on my phone. [Laughs.] And I was like, "Yeah, this is why I think I should be on Survivor." And I just turned it over to the universe. And I was like, "We'll see. If it's meant to be, it'll be." And then, I commenced this casting process. And every step of the way, I was like, "There's no way this is happening. This can't be real." I didn't plan or prep for this in any way. And now I'm sweating my ass off in Fiji! It's the most humbling. I can't believe I'm here.

So when you say you didn't prep in any way, is that literal?
So when they gave me the, "Yes, you're on 45," and a little bit before that, just in case, I tried intermittent fasting, and failed because I am a hungry bitch. [Laughs.] I tried. And I have a Peloton. And so I did harder classes. I tried building up some endurance; I did a lot more physical strength stuff. For me, a lot of the prep has been emotional. I purposefully read books that were about resilience, in terms of emotional resilience, physical resilience, mind over body kind of stuff. And then a lot [of] just grounding, mindfulness stuff, because I think that's gonna give me a huge edge. If I'm able just to stay grounded out there, because I think people lose their marbles.

So I know you're a recent convert to Survivor. But can you give me one winner and one non-winner who you identify with the most?
I feel like my right brain is Kelley Wentworth. My left brain is Aubry Braco. I am their child. I'm like, "Hello, hi! I'm both of you."

I do see you have a bit of Aubry glasses on!
I do. And she's strategic. I mean, I hope I'm these things, but her whole vibe, and then especially on her first season, her anxiety. I'm just like, "Girl, I relate to you." And then Kelley sees fear, sees resistance, and is just like, "[expletive] that, I'm walking through it. I'm going for it." Like that iconic Tribal where it's like, "Wentworth, does not count. Wentworth, does not count." I want to be you! I'm obsessed with you. So I think I'm their love child. Weird fanfiction happening, but that's what I am. I don't know how either one of them hasn't won.

In terms of a winner, honestly, I'm gonna throw it back and say, Amber, Boston Rob's wife, and also a full human being that doesn't only have to do with Boston Rob. But I feel like she was able to kind of lay low a bit, but not play it safe. And obviously, this was before the era of "advantagepalooza" just driving everyone crazy. She did perform in the challenges, but she was strategic. But it wasn't a loud "look at me" strategic. It was more sleuthy, and that I identify that and also want to emulate.

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What's one life experience you feel has prepared you most for the game?
I would say almost all of my life experiences. When I did get cast, my family was like, "Yeah, this tracks for you. None of us are surprised." And the way that it happened also, me just being like, "Hey, I'm applying to Survivor," and then it's like, "Hey, I'm going on Survivor." [Laughs.] They were just like, "Yeah, okay, Hannah." But I think for me, in terms of the physical discomfort, I think working at and going to a sleepaway summer camp throughout my childhood, and then formative years. Summer camp totally changed my life and also taught me that I can do hard things and sustain the elements. Obviously, it wasn't as intense by any means. But I do feel like my experience at camp is gonna help me. And this is camp! I mean, this is the epitome of summer camp, just on TV.

A very cutthroat summer camp at that! I want to get into something that wrote in your bio about being sober since you were 20. Can you talk to me more about what prompted this lifestyle choice?
I would say that me getting sober at 20 wasn't necessarily just a good idea that I had. It was very much against my will. It was very much like, "My life is over. This [expletive] sucks. I don't want to get sober. I'm only 20 years old." But I was in so much pain from my alcoholism and the consequences. It wasn't like, one day, I was just like, "I'm gonna get better." The funny thing is a lot of my peers go to rehab and go to detox and all these things. And I was in a musical at the time in college. I was in Rent. I was Maureen, no big deal.

I was going to say you have big Maureen energy. [Laughs.]
I know, which is very much a compliment. And also not a compliment, because she's super borderline personality. But it's fine. It's fine.

She'll put on a hell of a performance no matter what!
She does. She's amazing. But so I was in Rent. And I had a drinking thing, horrible. Just things happening and lots of consequences. And my parents were like, "We're taking you out of college. You need to get help." And I was like, "You can't. I'm Maureen in Rent. I'll go get sober." And I didn't end up sticking to it. But that was my first introduction to recovery circles in my area, and it planted the seed. And then I studied abroad in China, and [expletive] got really bad there because of my drinking. And then I came home, and I returned to those recovery circles. And yeah, I've been sober since August 28, 2011.

Congratulations! That's so great to hear. On a different note, how do you think people will perceive you in this game?
So my hope is that besides my natural resting bitchface, I think people are going to look at me as bubbly, non-threatening. I look younger than I am. I'll be honest about my age, but I look young; I can kind of sound young. There's a huge part of me that's like a tween, and I really want to appear non-threatening. I have colorful tattoos, all of which are super impulsive with almost no meaning behind any of them, like a cartoon sloth. [Shows arm.] Why? I don't know, because it's cute. [Laughs.] And I think people will hopefully see me as someone they want to be around and someone who can bring some comedic relief. I'm not strategizing all the time, and I want to let other people take the reins at first and me just kind of be like, "Oh, yeah, that's a good idea. I'll do that." And then I'm gonna come out like a viper and be like, "Bah!"

What do you desire in an alliance partner?
I desire someone–and it shouldn't be my number one thing, but it probably is–that I can just have fun with. Just come up for air because this game is suffocating. It's just so intense all of the time. And I want someone that I can remember to come up for air with and have fun and trust, which is fickle in this game, but trust on a personal level. Someone who I would be friends with outside of here because I just like their vibe. I want to surround myself with those people. And it may not be the most strategic, but I want to be as authentic as possible while also lying about a bunch of different things. And hopefully, my authenticity attracts authenticity, real recognizes real to an extent in this. And I think my pre-sober characteristics of being manipulative as hell, I'm gonna use those to get further in the game. [Laughs.]

Interesting. I want to talk about your occupational skills from being a therapist. We've seen people like Denise use them to win the game. Is that something you're hoping to bring with you?
I think so. I mean, it's interesting when [I'm] asked this question. To me, being a therapist isn't who I am. It's a branch of who I am, because it's what I've done. But I was this way before I became trained as a therapist in terms of being person-centered. And so I think my training might help, but more so, it's the getting sober piece. It's the camp counselor piece. It's all these different parts of self, I think, that make me who I am. And Denise killed it. But the recent therapists on the show, I feel like, almost underestimated all the other castaways because of their therapist identity. They're like, "Oh, no, I'm better because I'm a therapist." And I think that's bullshit. I think there needs to be a level of humility there that your training doesn't make you better than everyone else at all.

Related: Everything to Know About Survivor 45

When it comes to perceptions, is there anyone in this time before the season that you're eyeballing as people you do or don't want to work with?
100% to both! There are a couple of people that I've absolutely pinpointed. I have a roster in my journal. I have my fantasy draft. I'm like, "These are my top picks; these are my maybes." But my definite "Oh my God, I hope they get voted out first," and/or "I hope they're on my tribe, because then I can put like a target on them" are two specific people who are very center of attention, even in this nonverbal Ponderosa setting. It's very much like, "Look at me, pick me. I have to go out of my way to be seen." And it's like, "Bro, stay in the middle of the pack. We get it." They're just very loud. And I'm loud physically, but this is all part of the game. Also, people who go up for seconds before everyone else has eaten. Bro, it's just manners.

That could actually end up playing out at camp, if people eat more than their share of the food.
There's this one Russell Hantz-looking guy who walks around like his muscles are too big to handle. He will probably provide, and he will catch fish, and he will build the shelter. If he's on my tribe, I'm going to aim to be like, "Let's get him out because he's going to be angry."

What is your hottest Survivor take?
[Gasps.] Okay, this is weird and maybe supernatural, but does Jeff Probst age? That's my take. Jeff Probst is immortal.

[Laughs.] It could be something in the beaches of Fiji, for all you know!
Oh my God! [Laughs.] I love Jeff. And I'm gonna respect his marriage, but I love him. I love him. I'm going to try to hug him. My other hot Survivor take is that "advantagepalooza" sucks. Boil it back down to maybe some idols, and that's it. Having all these different advantages flying around all the time, it's a lot. And maybe I'm just saying that because it's scarier for me because it's more unknown. It's fun to watch. But it's more things to manage. And that's very stressful.

When it comes to advantages, how active will you be in looking for them?
[Makes odd sounds, then laughs.] I think I'm actively searching for them, but hopefully in a really tactful way. I mean, maybe I'll just tell everyone that I have to poop all the time and just look for idols. I don't know. [Laughs.] But I want to find the advantages.

[Laughs.] People are gonna really be side-eyeing whatever you're eating, like, "I don't know if I want the fish she just had." Finally, what celebrity or fictional character would you want to bring out for a Loved Ones visit?
Ted Lasso. I could come up with so many other things. But that's what just came up because I need that level of emotional support. [Laughs.]

Next, check out our Survivor 45 interview with contestant Emily Flippen.