Sutherland Survivor contestant on ultimate TV challenge

Australian Survivor 2021 contestant Laura Wells, on team Brains. Picture: Ten

Australian Survivor 2021 contestant Laura Wells, on team Brains. Picture: Ten

"It's the best game in the world."

That's why former shire resident Laura Wells signed up for Australian Survivor this year.

The 36-year-old, who grew up in Grays Point, is one of the 24 contestants vying for bragging rights and, of course, $500,000 in prize money on this year's season of the gruelling competition.

Setting this season apart from other years is not only it's setting in our very own Aussie outback, but also its theme: Brains vs Brawn.

Ms Wells is a member of team Brains.

"I have a degree in marine biology and in law, and I work as a science communicator," she told the Leader.

"I'm about all things ocean conservation and climate change."

The outback is far from the seaside life she grew up with, but Ms Wells said the chance to tough it out in such a notoriously challenging arena was more than worth it.

"Survivor is the ultimate challenge," she said.

"It's a space where you can put strategy, physical ability, mental toughness and emotional strength to the test in the one arena.

"It's so incredible to have been a part of it.

"It was incredibly tough and very challenging. We were completely dirty the whole time - it was impossible to get rid of the dirt.

"For me it was also a challenge because I love being near the ocean and being in the outback is such a different landscape."

Ms Wells said her plan was to play a social game and form friendships, which she felt she achieved.

She said Survivor was definitely all about strategy from "day one" but "getting comfortable with your surroundings is really important".

Some of the biggest challenges included the heat of the day, the cold of the night, the snakes and the complete separation from home comforts.

Ms Wells said one of the first things to go was everyone's sense of vanity.

"I also work as a model and have been doing that for 15 years," she said.

"So I'm used to having my hair and makeup done all the time. But in the outback there's no mirrors, not even a toothbrush.

"It's completely surreal but a really fantastic experience."

Ms Wells said with Sydney's current lockdown, there'd never been a better time to watch Australian Survivor, which kicks off this Sunday, July 18, at 7.30pm on Ten.

"If you're looking for a show that has intelligence, strategy, challenges and absolutely fun times, Survivor is the one to watch," she said.

"I really think being on home turf will being in new viewers - it seems so much more difficult with the landscape and all the challenges. It's gruelling and will really resonate and get people on board."

Ms Wells said she was planning on watching the premiere with her family - including her parents who still live in Grays Point, and her brothers in Jannali and Sutherland - via Zoom.