After 24 contestants arrived in Samoa in much too clean clothing, host Jonathan LaPaglia sorted them into three tribes — Saanapu (blue), Vavau (yellow) and Aganoa (red) — and put their feet to the fire to get fire in the opening challenge of Australian Survivor on Ten.
Perhaps Aganoa's flooded canoe and failed foraging attempts in those early moments foreshadowed doom — the red team were the first to go to tribal council and blamed their immunity challenge loss on Des and Kat, who bickered about puzzle solving and everything in between.
While Perth-based brand manager Kat had positioned herself as a leader in the tribe, plain-talking retired Army sergeant Des's hang-back vibe was interpreted as laziness, and his pre-tribal push to improve the camp's shelter was greeted with a mix of appreciation and suspicion.
In the end, Aganoa ousted Des Quilty. WHO caught up with the colourful 59-year-old Queensland courier driver on being the show's first boot.
Q: You said before the show started that you wanted to play the villain role. So…too soon?
A: Yeah, look, I saw the show myself for the first time last night and I thought, gee, I come across as a fairly lazy sort of person in the show. I didn't expect that. I don't know that I got to do anything really villainous but I was too busy trying to save my own skin.
Q: In hindsight, should you have shown folks how to build a proper shelter earlier?
A: Perhaps I was perceived as somebody who wasn't 'all-in,' trying to do everything, but from Survivor in the US, most of the time, somebody steps up to take the lead gets chop down pretty quickly, so I didn't really want to take that position even though I was definitely the most experienced person out there. I tried to sit in the background for the first 24 to 48 hours and let others go to the front. Obviously that wasn't a winning strategy!
Q: Kat seemed to rub you the wrong way right from the get-go. True?
A: Kat on the show last night even said she was pretty happy to get the 'dictator award' from her own work, so I thought that was very telling about how Kat was planning to play the game. So yeah, I may have come across as maybe not happy to take orders from a lady, but I've been married for 38 years, I'm fairly used to taking orders, no worries about that!
Q: What did your wife think about your Survivor experience?
A: I think she was pretty happy that I just sort of made the show. She didn't expect me to get a go at it and I did. She was obviously hoping that I would bring home the bacon, but I did stop at the butcher on the way home and bought half a pig but that probably wasn't the right thing to do either! I think she's pretty happy. I survived, she survived, she probably didn't get the holiday she deserved without me, but it was all good.
Q: Did you make friends in the time you were there?
A: There's a number of people I met in the three days of the game I was there who I would be more than happy to sit down with and have a beer in the yard. I got on fairly well with Kristie and Lee and Evan.
Q: Any hopes for one of your Aganoa tribe members to go far?
A: I think Lee's an all-around good guy and when he takes his shirt off, he's a bit like a chiseled Adonis. He's popular across all different generational areas and he's an international sportsman as well, so he's a real down-to-earth, good Australian sort of bloke, I reckon. And El, the Army corporal, she knows what's going on in the world, so I think she'll play pretty well.
Q: What did you love most about being in Samoa?
A: I think it was an awesome Contiki tour holiday for me. I went with a bunch of people under 35. I probably should have gone on a cruise, but it was an out-of-body experience. I really enjoyed the experience and it's something I can tick off my list and if I ever got the opportunity to do it again, I'd be there in a heartbeat. I think the show will do really well and I'm definitely going to be watching the rest of it because I'm a fan of Survivor generally and I think the efforts they put in to make the show properly, for want of a better word, are tremendous. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the show coming on. I'll be watching tonight because I want to see who gets booted out next!
Q: What's next for you?
A: I'll sit by the phone and wait for the commercial endorsements to come. I might be waiting a while, hmm.