Tara Pitt was on the brink of elimination from Australian Survivor when a show twist saved her from being sent home. Then, in the second half of the season, her social game picked up and the stay-at-home mum of three found herself in the final two with pal Jericho, who ultimately was voted the season two winner.
But Tara tells WHO she has no regrets. "I remember when Jonathan said, 'Jericho has just been crowned sole Survivor, how do you feel?'" Pitt recalls. "I remember I said, 'Look, I genuinely have so much respect and love for this guy that I feel we will be friends for as long as we can.'" Tara reveals more to WHO:
Q: How brutal was that final challenge?
A: I remember Jonathan said, 'OK, we've just been here for a half and hour,' I was already cramping up and I thought, 'A half an hour? Oh gosh, how am I going to carry on?' I don't know if you noticed, but I suck a lot during the challenges, so for me when this final challenge came along I was like, 'Come on, let's see if I can really get into it!' I was super proud. When I finally fell off and Jonathan said, 'It's two hours, 55 minutes,' it just seemed like I was there for 20 hours, but I did as much as I could. Definitely, for my own personal achievement, that was a proud moment.
Q: Was it important to have your sons, Jett, Zai and Nash, visit to see how tough mum had it?
A: Do you know, that was probably the best thing for my children. To try and picture how I lived and what I did, I felt like they probably would have never got it, that the fact that they got to come on my island and even if they were pretending to sleep on the bamboo.. they wanted to know where I go to the toilet and know where the shower is and it's like, it's nowhere. They were super-proud that mummy did this without a shower and a bathroom and a mirror, so it was a great experience to share with them.
Q: How did they handle the results?
A: I looked over to my family after the winner was announced to make sure they knew that I was OK, because they've put so much time and effort into this that I sometimes feel I need to make sure they are OK as much as I'm OK. My 10-year-old, Jett, said, 'Mum, you got second. That is pretty cool,' so the fact that they still think I'm amazing even though I was runner-up just makes the whole journey the best experience I ever had, like there was no disappointment, there was no crying or tears. The boys did so well and they took it really mature, and to me that sums up our whole Survivor experience.
Q: Going back to island life, in the end you were running around with a bikini top and shorts and looking pretty carefree.
A: When you have children, you tend not to look at yourself anymore like you did before you had kids because there are certain lumps and bumps and scars and things that you'd notice like, 'Eh, I could lose a few kilos,' and it's a lot to do with mind over matter. I just never really wanted to get fit. But I remember on Day 52, I just woke up and started walking around in my bikini and I just thought, 'Holy crap!' Like I just didn't even care. I feel great. And yet I'm stinky, I haven't brushed my teeth, but I felt the best I'd ever felt. That's the most bizarre thing. I didn't even have any makeup on, you know, and I am wearing the same clothes I had been wearing for over a month, but I felt the sexiest. It's definitely improved how I felt about myself for sure.
Q: Being on the show also helped you process the death of your dad?
A: You know, when I did apply for Survivor and I told my mum and my husband that this might happen, that I could be on the island on my own during this grieving process, I was worried that I was going to get quite depressed knowing that I didn't have my family and I did this too soon after the passing of my dad, but really it helped me grieve so much better. Even for my mum, because we were separated, we could grieve in our own way. I couldn't get off the couch before I applied for Survivor just because I was so depressed, and then to get up and be on the show and be in the top 2, this time last year, if you said you are in the top 2 on Survivor, I would have laughed and just said, whatever. It just seems so amazing that I got to have this experience even though it was at a very difficult time in my life.
Q: What's next for you?
A: I have just been named the 2017-18 ambassador for Mates4Mates. It was something that I found after my dad had passed, so if this gave me an opportunity to just achieve that out of my Survivor career, being an ambassador, then I'm very blessed and very excited for the future.
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