I've got to admit: I have seen every episode of 19 seasons of Survivor. But I barely remember Danielle DiLorenzo, even though she made the Final Two. While I strongly approved of 16 of the 20 cast selections for Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains cast, I believed there had to be some mistake Danielle's name. Was she a hero or a villain?
That's why I was so pleasantly surprised when I met her at the Survivor 10th Anniversary Party. More than anyone else I talked to in the cast, Danielle seemed sincerely humble and honored to be included.
She looked me right in the eye and she was an open book. She honest about the reasons why a lot of fans have been skeptical about her return. But far from making apologies, Danielle
is making promises. We're going to like her this time.
I asked her why she failed to connect with the audience last time, and what was going to change. We talked about how - or if - great female athletes could compete against the dominant male challenge competitors, and how she approached teaming with untrustworthy villains.
Danielle, one of the things you're known for is that you're a great female athlete. Professional soccer player. But can you beat the best male athletes - Colby, James - in the challenges?
That's definitely a struggle. But I'm uuber competitive. You know? It's definitely difficult to go up against a Colby or a JT. As athletic as I am - and as competitive - they're still men. They've got the muscles and the stregnth. But every challenge is built different, so there's definitely a chance for a strong woman to beat a Colby in, say, a balancing challenge or - An endurance challenge. An endurance challenge. Right. It totally depends on the challenge, and
there is room for top women to compete. There is.
Are women better at endurance challenges?
Women would have to be better at endurance challenges, I'd have to say.
Why is that?
A lot of women have done dancing, and balet, and yoga. I don't think when men do basketball and football that stretching comes quite as much into play.
Did the editors do you an injustice last time in not showing us more about who you were?
Yeah, well, last time when I went in I don't think I knew as much about the whole game of Survivor. Surviving on the island was kind of a shock; and then trying to stay physically fit and mentally be in the game - it's a lot. You know? I don't regret the way that I played at all. I sat back a lot and watched how everyone was playing. But I think this time around you're really going to be able to see my personality.
Did you go into this season with a different approach to the TV side of it?
Yes. I definitely did. I was a little bit more comfortable in my own skin.
On a tribe of villains, how did you approach forming an alliance when you've got to figure you can't trust most of these guys?
It was really hard. You've already seen how all of those guys played the first time. Now they're All Stars. So it was really hard to trust anyone. But when you're out there you've just got to go with your instincts. You've got to figure out exactly where you stand and go with it.
What have you been doing between Panama: Exile Island and now?
I relocated after the first one. I was living in Florida so I moved out to Los Angeles. Currently I'm auditioning for acting. The rest of the time I teach pilates and bartend. So I do a little bit of everything.
Have you been working as an actor yet?
I literally just finished studying. I've been in acting school for two years. So this fall I moved to auditioning full time and hopefully all of that studying will pay off.
-Interview conducted by Henry Jenkins