reality tv

The tough love advice Michelle Bridges gave Steve Willis before he left for Survivor.


Last night’s episode of Australian Survivor: Champions verses Contenders saw Steve ‘The Commando’ Willis’ torch snuffed out.

After being given the unfortunate title of Dead Man Walking (meaning he wasn’t able to vote at tribal council), the tribe decided to send the former Biggest Loser star trainer to the jury villa.

The 41-year-old didn’t go quietly though.

Steve was somewhat of a quiet character on the reality TV show compared to other louder and more opinionated contestants. But he did have a habit of speaking the brutal truth at the most opportune times, and his final plea to his fellow tribe members was exactly that.

From savagely reminding everyone that “you do not win Survivor… you are awarded it” to telling Brian to have some respect after making ageist remarks to 61-year-old Olympian Shane Gould, Steve went out leaving nothing unsaid.

That’s exactly the advice his wife and tough talking personal trainer Michelle Bridges gave him before he left for Survivor.

“Once Michelle makes up her mind, she throws herself into things and is a formidable force. She knew that I’d do reasonably well [on the show], but once we made the decision that I was going to do it, she was like, ‘babe, give it your all,'” the army veteran told Mamamia.

“She said, ‘don’t be half-hearted about it, get in there and really enjoy the experience and be present in every moment.'”

One of the more memorable moments from this season was when Steve broke down upon receiving a gift from his family from home.


You can watch the moment below. Post continues after video.

Video via Network Ten

The father-of-four’s gift from Michelle, and his children Ella, Brianna, Jack, and Axel included drawings, messages and photographs that left the ex-military man in tears.

When he returned home after filming, Steve said the reunion with his family was a really special experience.

“Rather than anything they said, it was more the embraces, the connection and big hugs, the ‘I love yous’, the ‘miss yous’ [that meant the most]. Sharing in our experiences and the things that have happened in each of our lives since I’d been away, they were going about their daily routine, but for the kids, especially the younger they are, everyday is a wonder.”

“Just enjoying that time when we came together was great, we went for a walk and everything was like new to me again.”

Steve’s eldest child 11-year-old Brianna is used to seeing her dad as The Commando character on The Biggest Loser, but for his younger children, it was their first experience watching their dad on TV.

“They loved watching me on TV. It was different to my Commando persona on The Biggest Loser, but three of my kids aren’t old enough to have seen that. Brianna is close to 11 and has more of a comprehension of my Biggest Loser days, but the other three don’t understand The Biggest Loser stuff.”


“For Jack, seeing me on Survivor was an experience, at school they all talked about it, the kids had a bit of a laugh about it, and they said the teachers asked them about me being on Survivor too. It’s been great to see how it was received by their peers.

“It can be a double edged sword [having a parent on TV] because kids can be a bit nasty about things at times, especially when it’s not their parent, but all in all, it’s been an amazing experience having done Survivor for myself and my family.”

A post shared by Michelle Bridges (@mishbridges) on


With five female and one male contestant left in the game, Steve said he thinks Brian will need to “sleep with one eye open.” Although he was voted out for being a supposed physical threat, despite not having one a single immunity challenge, Steve said there’s a reason why all the typical strong Survivor players like Zach, Mat, Robbie and Lydia are no longer in the running to win.

“I went into the game thinking this is an endurance race and it’s about making it to the final two. I didn’t want to go putting everything on the line for any one challenge and drawing too much attention to myself, I left that for others to do.”

“I’m in my 40s and you tap into some wisdom when you start to let perceptions go in life. You start to realise you don’t know all that much and it’s better to just sit back, be quiet and play the waiting game, have some patience, as we all get told when we’re young, right?

“I’ve had those years of being extremely competitive and it’s a lot more about the ego, but I don’t identify with that [physicality] so strongly anymore. Yes, it’s great to participate and be in the challenges and if you feel you can, get the upper hand, but that wasn’t my strategy.”

As for who Steve thinks will win Survivor, he said he had both Monika and Shonee pegged as dangerous competitors from the start.

“I was always cautious of Monika and Shonee, there was something intuitively earlier on when it was champions verses contenders where Jonothan asked Shonee a question at a challenge, and when she was talking, I thought this girl is trouble, and here she is right near the end.”


“Monika is such a sweetheart, but she’s kind of biding her time and shielding herself with people, she felt more compelled to use Brian as a shield instead of myself, and she probably picked up on the fact I was onto her.

“Then there’s Shane, she’s so crafty, she’s amazing!”

You can watch the next episode of Australian Survivor: Champions verses Contenders on Monday night at 7:30pm on Network Ten.

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