We're now days away from an all-new season of "Survivor" on CBS. The iconic reality series premieres its milestone 45th edition and kicks off extended 90-minute original episodes on Wednesday.
The dynamic individuals competing this season are from diverse backgrounds and bring fresh perspectives to this new era of the game, with the same ultimate goal: to outwit, outplay and outlast. And in the end, only one will remain to claim the title of Sole Survivor and win the $1 million prize.
One of the new fall castaways is from right here in Colorado. 31-year-old bartender Kendra McQuarrie is a Steamboat Springs resident. She took time ahead of the premiere to Zoom with CBS News Colorado anchor Mekialaya White about her experience on the show.
"I love to experience everything you can in life, that's kind of my thing. I like to travel. I'm just an experience seeker," McQuarrie said.
McQuarrie says she rekindled her love of "Survivor" last summer.
"I literally stayed up all night, finished an entire season in one night, and was there at seven o'clock in the morning like, 'I could win this -- This is the next adventure for me!' That's how I ended up on the show."
"So, anyone who wants to be a competitor should brush up on their seasons before they interview?" White asked.
"Definitely," said McQuarrie with a laugh.
She says playing sports throughout her life naturally also made her a fierce competitor.
"I have this weird, natural competitive drive. I earned myself a reputation in Steamboat from being over competitive. I play on a beer softball league, so I don't take myself too seriously, though. I've always worked with teams as well, so I know how to work with people. So, it's like I'm strong here, this is where I'm weak. Self-awareness and practice and skill is what makes me a good competitor."
She also told White she feels like she's been preparing for "Survivor" her whole life.
"I think it's a little different living in a mountain town. Our culture is around doing outdoorsy things. When I got the initial call, I was in Spain, walking with nothing but a backpack, carrying my heavy weight every day. When I got home, I spent a day eating chocolate cake in bed. Just doing things that I knew I was going to dream about."
"The biggest thing I would say is you're really just out there. You're out there in the middle of the ocean and we are truly fighting for our own food. Trying to forage or hunt or whatever. Although I know it's part of the game, it's just startling when you're out there with these strangers. And now we have to rely on each other, but I also have to lie to them and beat them, but I also want to be their friend."
White asked McQuarrie what her favorite part of the experience was.
"I loved being out in nature. Just waking up on the beach in Fiji was a dream come true," she said. "I love living simply. It was really, really wonderful to just be out there. And ... it was super fun taking part in the challenges."
Meet Kendra and the full cast of the new "Survivor" here. Season 45 premieres on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Mountain Time on CBS and Paramount+. Check the CBS Colorado program guide to see when the show will be on TV after that.
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