It may not have worked out the way Brandon Donlon imagined, but he fulfilled his childhood dream of playing Survivors.
“It was literally everything I ever wanted,” Brandon said parade in an interview published Oct. 5, a day after host Jeff Probst ended up extinguishing his torch Survivor 45 second episode. Brandon was one of 18 castaways who embarked on the adventure of a lifetime in Fiji in search of a million dollars.
When he joined the Lulu Tribe, Brandon was considered a superfan through and through. But the 26-year-old content producer from Sicklerville, New Jersey struggled for most of the five days he spent in the game. He had several challenge failures, including being “gassed out” and unable to pull himself up the ladder to secure the stock supplies during the opening competition. He also dealt with anxiety and acid reflux caused by stress.
He was a big target heading into the first Tribal Council after Lulu gave up the immunity challenge to Belo and Reba – the other two tribes, each joined by six players. However, he survived unscathed after Hannah Rose forfeited the game.
Nevertheless, episode 2 proved to be Brandon’s undoing. He failed to secure a security advantage without power when he was chosen to represent his tribe in a twist, which in turn caused him to lose his vote for the next Tribal Council.
Continuing his string of poor Challenge performances, Brandon then volunteered to take on the increasingly important role of puzzle solver in the Immunity Challenge. But when push came to shove, he and his Lulu tribemate Sabiyah Broderick were dominated by the other two squads in the tree puzzle.
The loss marked their second trip to Tribal in five days and spelled the end of Brandon’s run. Although Sabiyah, Kaleb Gebrewold, and Sean Edwards were seduced by the idea of sending Emily Flippen and her Chaos to Ponderosa, they chose to keep her with them to preserve their chances of safety.
Brandon proved to be too much of a challenge and was ultimately eliminated from Season 45.
Brandon seems excited to live out the rest of his life Survivors Fandom days as a viewer, not a player
Just because Brandon was second best doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be proud of his accomplishment. He beat thousands of people and was cast on the CBS series. And no matter how hard it got, he never threw in the towel. The experiences and memories Brandon has made are priceless.
In fact, he told it parade It was the most fun he’d ever had. But he’s ready to rejoin the community as a fan captivated by the show from afar, not on the beaches of Fiji.
“I can’t stress this enough. I understand, if you watch the show, it doesn’t look like I’m having any fun with it. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. I won’t do this again. But it was really all I ever wanted. I have felt an enormous amount of guilt over the last few months. No matter how bad things got, I got everything I ever wanted.
This is my dream. And I have to do it. And I got to do it in front of people I love and my family. I can’t believe any of this is real. It’s the worst case scenario, but I can’t stress enough that I got everything I ever wanted. I’m so overjoyed. I just don’t want to go away. I want to be in this community. I want to meet everyone. I want to see everything. I don’t want to go away. So if you want me, I’m here and I’ll be here until you tell me to leave.”
Brandon doesn’t hold any grudges towards his Lulu colleagues either. He understood their game-winning move and appreciated how they treated him as he endured the ups and downs of the overall experience, even when the barge challenge triggered a panic attack. “This is the group I should be a part of,” he said. “There is no doubt in the world. Lulu tribe, a disaster. But the five best people you’ve ever met in your life.”
Brandon stays active on X and posted about it Survivor 45 all season long.
Just as he did during his first vote-out and throughout his final words, Brandon has remained overtly positive, including a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor. “At Survivor 47 “I’m coming back as a precaution,” he said joked on the social media platform. “If you open up to me, I will automatically join your tribe and give my best to every challenge. Until you find the idol that I play and I do my best.”
While it seems like Brandon wouldn’t change his mind about returning to the series, I wouldn’t be surprised if the superfan found the will to answer CBS’ call in a few years.