'I Went Home And Bawled My Eyes Out': Why Nick Iadanza Originally Turned Down 'All Stars'
Nick Iadanza takes the cake as the biggest superfan who's ever made it on to 'Australian Survivor'.
A fan of the American series from the very beginning, Nick has had 'Survivor' themed birthdays, he'd mimic challenges in his backyard as a kid and even has his own collection of souvenir buffs.
The game is like his religion and the Survivor Gods are very real and very present in his life -- even if they don't care for timing.
One day as he was leaving work Nick got the call inviting him to compete on 'All Stars'.
"I was leaving work, I got the phone call and I actually said ‘no' at first," he told 10 daily.
"I just was like, 'oh my god I don’t think I can do this right now' -- I'd just had a kid and we were in the middle of a renovation, the house looked like a bomb site," he added.
Nick was told by the show's executive producer to sleep on it, and he promptly went home and "bawled [his] eyes out".
"My wife came home and she said to me, ‘oh my god, what’s wrong, why are you crying?’ and I said, ‘I have to go and play Survivor’ he said, mimicking his tearful reply.
The school teacher and new dad was torn between his responsibilities and the thought of his 12-year-old self who would be absolutely gutted if he knew he'd turned down 'All Stars' as an adult.
Nick's wife told him he'd regret it for the rest of his life if he didn't sign up to play with the best of the best, and he made a promise that he was going to "do this properly and... do this for them," in deciding he was out to win the $500,000 for his young family.
Nick made a name for himself as a snake in the first season of 'Australian Survivor' but this time around, he's using his experience -- and his trustworthy image as a dad -- to his advantage.
"I was just this young goofy guy last time," he told 10 daily. "This time, I’ve got my dad bod, a six-month-old daughter at home -- I’m connecting with the parents on a whole other level," he explained.
This is exactly what Harry tried to do with his fake son -- Oscar Nathan Hills -- in Season 4, build trust with the mums and dads on his tribe.
While Nick's daughter Paloma is definitely real, this pivot in strategy shows that the avid student of the game is trying to improve on his first 'Survivor' appearance.
"The first time you play, you’re like this wide-eyed child, who’s like, ‘Oh my god, Jonathan!’ ‘Oh my god, is that a torch?’ Tree mail, wow!" he said of being blinded by the bright lights of the tiki torches in 2016.
"When I was given my buff for the first time… all that excitement, it kind of overloaded my circuits," he explained.
But in 2020 -- it's a very different story for Nick.
"Coming back, you’re over all that, it’s just, let’s get down to brass tacks here, let’s go and win.
"I came here to win."