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The stakes are high for Geo Bustamante coming into Survivor. The 36-year-old was forced to quit his job to be on the show, so he’s aiming to come back home with his biggest paycheck yet. And he hopes he can do that by giving back to a show that showed him that your insecurities can make you shine, even if they’ll come to the forefront on the beach.
Read on for my interview with Geo, and make sure to check in with Parade.com 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 Geo from Survivor 43
To start, tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Geo Bustamante. I’m 25–wait, do I have to say my real age? (Laughs.) I’m 35 years old. And I’m an account manager for a telecommunications company. Well, I was an account manager for a telecommunications company. Unfortunately, because I didn’t have enough days to request off,I had to resign from my job to be here. (Laughs.) I was born in Peru, and I’m a military spouse. So I’m a gay Latino immigrant. And I’m here to play the game, to give everything I have, and leave everything on the field to win. I don’t have a choice now. (Laughs.)
Why are you here on Survivor?
Honestly, if somebody would have told me ten years ago, “Hey, you should go and apply to be on Survivor,” I would have said, “Hell no, you’re crazy!” Because I was too shy back then. I had too many insecurities. But now, especially after the pandemic, I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned that you gotta do what you got to do now, today. If you like something, forget about being shy. Forget about being nervous. Forget about your insecurities. Just go for it. Just live your life and do whatever makes you happy. And I decided to take my shot and apply for Survivor because of that. So I’m still nervous every now and then. But I’m overcoming all of my insecurities being here.
What’s your history with Survivor?
So I’ve watch every single episode of Survivor. I analyze the whole entire game. I’ve actually learned so much. It made me to be the person that I am today. I grew up with all these insecurities. Being gay, being Latino, having an accent, you grow up thinking the world looks at you in a certain way, or people laugh at you because you say things in a certain way. Survivor is a place where you can be who you want to be, who you are, who you truly are. And you can still shine, you can still win, you can still be the little people and shine as bright as the strongest person in the show. So that’s why I love Survivor. It’s like life, but in a show, condensed into a little battle that makes an amazing competition.
Give me one Survivor winner and one non-winner who you identify with the most.
So I’m a small guy. I’m only 5’7″. I think that Cochran would be one of them. Because at the beginning of the show, he wasn’t the strongest person. But he was very smart. And I think I’m very strategic because I have a lot of street smarts in me. That would be one of them. I can identify with Boston Rob as well. Because he’s very strategic; he’s very cutthroat. I don’t think I’ll be as cutthroat as him. But I’m very strategic as well. And I’m always thinking and analyzing and planning what’s my next move in the real world.
I have to say Sandra, because I love Sandra. A lot of people don’t like her. But I like how how direct she is. She’s a very strong woman. She’s the type of person that knows she’s probably bad at challenges. But she’s there, and she’s gonna let you know, “I’m here to win.” She’s the queen and she remains the queen!
What’s your favorite moment in Survivor history?
I think my favorite moment was a blindside of Erik, when he gave off his immunity necklace to someone else, and he ended up getting eliminated on the spot. That was one of my favorite moments because I love blindsides. I love things that impact the game, that makes people want to say, “Wow, I want to watch the next episode.” So I’m hoping to do the same thing. Hopefully not something as dumb as him. But something crazy and good that makes me win.
Next, check out our interview with Survivor 43 contestant Cassidy Clark.
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