Bum pus and extreme weight loss: David Genat told me exactly what happens to your body after Survivor.

When I sat down to speak to Australian Survivor winner Dave Genat the morning after he was crowned 2020’s Sole Survivor (over the phone because, social distancing), I didn’t expect the conversation to go in the direction of… bum pus.

But here we are.

On Monday night, the 39-year-old international model was voted the winner of Australian Survivor: All Stars, beating Melbourne-based barrister Sharn Coombes and former AFLW star Moana Hope to take home the $500,000 cash prize.

WATCH: We got all the villain goss from Survivor’s Dave when he came into the Mamamia office last year. Post continues after video.

Video by Mamamia

Dave outwitted, outplayed and outlasted 23 other Survivor Australia contestants, existing on nothing but rice, beans and hidden immunity idols for 50 days. When he played in 2019 on Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Dave only made it to day 34. But as I found out, those extra 16 days do a lot of strange things to your body.

“Somehow I got out the Champions vs. Contenders season unscathed. I lost 11.6kg the first time but for the most part, I was healthy. This time I lost 14.6kg… it was extreme,” Dave told Mamamia.

“My first visit to the doctor when I got out of the game, when they were doing the physical check-up… if you thought I made some great faces on the show, you should’ve seen my doctor’s face.”

While Dave said pretty much “nothing is disgusting” by the end of Survivor, he played through a bunch of injuries and illnesses throughout the season, on top of all the usual Survivor difficulties like not being able to shower, brush your teeth, eat regular food and use regular toilet facilities.

“Seriously, nothing is disgusting by the end. The toilet paper shortage in Australia right now…. a little wash in the ocean does the job. Also, you’re not consuming sugar anymore. There’s nothing going in your body so you get into this pure state,” he said.

“Yes, after challenges, people got a bit stinky and there were definitely some people [on the island] who had their own brand of scent, but for the most part, the smell of the campfire disguised everything. The most disgusting thing for me, and this might be too much information, was when a spider bite on my left butt cheek turned into an abscess.”



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For those who aren’t aware, an abscess is a collection of pus. And the thing about abscesses is they can… burst.

Dave further elaborated, saying, “When I would wake up in my big balloon pants I slept in, the whole back of my pants were filled with pus. My morning routine was: get up, hobble over to the ocean, and clean the back of my pants out with saltwater and wash the wound. It got pretty gnarly.

“There were a couple of times when I had to ask people if they could help me because something weird was going on with my butt… we got a little too close for comfort. It took about a month for that to heal after I left the show, it was bad.”

Aside from the bum pus (how many more times can I mention the word ‘pus’…?), two spider bites, a dislocated knee cap, the flu, and stitches for a shin wound were just some of the physical effects playing Survivor had on Dave’s body.

“The spider bites got to me the most – I had one on my face that was pretty scary and the one on my butt was the worst. Now I definitely have a good side back there. In the final challenge with Brooke, I dislocated my knee cap which led to me rupturing my ACL. And the weirdest thing [that happened to my body] was, because I lost so much weight, I didn’t have any fat caps on the bottom of my feet, so I was walking around on just bone. I was feeling it in that final challenge when I had to balance on the rocks,” he recalled.

“I also had to get stitches on day one when [former NRL player] Matt Rogers ‘unintentionally’ caught me with a stick on the shin. I’d never had stitches before and there I was bleeding out in the first challenge, my shoe was soaked with blood and I felt like I wanted to give up. I genuinely nearly quit the game, I didn’t think I could handle another 50 days of that crap.”


LISTEN: Mamamia’s entertainment podcast The Spill spoke to Dave about what playing Survivor was like the first time around. Get it in your ears below, post continues after audio.

Thankfully for all of us watching at home, the idea of leaving Survivor over a couple of stitches was enough to keep Dave (and his ego) in the game, which he went on to win. But this year, the finale looked a bit different.

Because of guidelines set out by the Australian Government to slow the spread of COVID-19, Dave and Sharn had to wait three long months to find out who would become the Sole Survivor. Host Jonathan LaPaglia announced the winner during Monday night’s finale live via satellite video as he was unable to travel to Australia due to the coronavirus, and the finale was filmed without the energy of a live studio audience.

Dave said, yes, his finale moment was a little anticlimactic under the circumstances, but he’s just glad they were able to film a finale at all.

“I think we’re in a time when people are going through so much horrible stuff, so even the fact we were able to film a finale, I was so happy with. We felt pretty fortunate we even got to do that just before the non-essential travel ban came in. At the end of the day, I have the title and I win. It was a little bit of a deflation to not have a live audience – I love being in front of a live audience – it was a little bit disappointing but compared to what people are going through, I felt like I was happy with the result.

“It was tough though because there was a huge time gap this time between the final tribal council and the finale. It was three months of waiting to find out if I’d won. I didn’t 100 per cent know if I’d win but I felt confident enough, but there were a lot of sleepless nights. I’d wake up at 3am thinking, ‘did I do this?’, ‘have I won?’, ‘did that really go how I thought it did?’. Then after I won, I sat on the finale result for a week.”

Keeping his final two a secret for 90 days after they’d finished filming was “pretty brutal,” but Dave said considering he managed to keep secrets from his tribemates for 50 days, it “was a piece of cake”.

What wasn’t so easy? Getting his kids to keep the secret, too.

“It was pretty tough… we kept it very quiet from the kids, especially my boys in Perth. The kids were kept on a need-to-know basis but obviously [my daughter] Rei got to experience coming to Fiji, which was a bit of a giveaway that Dad’s done pretty good. And then the call with the boys [at the start of the final challenge] made it obvious I’d made to the end, but they were really good and cool about the secret,” he said.

“It was tough for the boys at school because so many of their friends watch the show, so every time I spoke to them I’d say, ‘remember boys, you can’t tell anyone!’.”



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Now, Dave is living in Australia with his wife, movement coach Pearl Christensen, and their daughter, Rei. He’s also able to live near and spend time with his two sons from a previous relationship, Winston and Hugo. The move couldn’t have come a moment sooner, with their previous home state of New York in lockdown fighting a serious outbreak of coronavirus.

“My dreams came true. Moving to Australia had been on our minds and our mental load for a while. Having the kids growing up in different cities has been pretty heartbreaking for us. We’d talked about it for a long time but being financially stable now gave us the ability to do it.”

The move will obviously affect Dave’s career as an international model, but for now, he’s focusing on moving into the television industry with some acting and hosting gigs.

So, does this mean we’ll see Dave replace the one and only Jonathan LaPaglia as the host of the next season of Australia Survivor?

“Could anyone fill those shoes? I don’t know if anyone can,” Dave admitted. “I’m also not sure if I can get my biceps to his level.”

Feature image: Ten.

Did you watch Australian Survivor? What did you think of how this season played out? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!