After 47 gruelling days, 28-year-old Olympic pole vaulter Liz Parnov was crowned the sole survivor of Australian Survivor: Heroes v Villians, beating her three male contestants and taking home a life-changing $500k.
“I’m still extremely shocked,” the two-time Olympian told Mediaweek following her win.
“I’m on cloud nine. And I’m so excited about the whole experience and journey.”
This year, Australian Survivor went back to its roots in Samoa.
The setting was the backdrop for some of the most intense challenges, gameplay, and strategic thinking the series has ever seen.
The grand finale, which aired in front of 592,000, saw the most important vote the final four had done yet. In an explosive move that everyone seemed to be waiting for, Gerry, Matt and Liz all voted for George, sending him to the Jury. 650,000 watched as Parnov was crowned the winner.
Liz Parnov talks about getting her revenge
Parnov said it felt like “sweet, sweet victory” getting rid of George after he backstabbed her multiple times.
Despite her vengeance, there’s nothing but love between the pair. She said, “I love George. He’s an absolute legend of the game, and I couldn’t have done half of the things I’ve done without learning so many skills from him. So big credit to Georgie and his impeccable game.”
On being the only female in the final four, Parnov said, “I just felt really proud to be the last woman standing, and I really wanted to do the girls justice.
“The women in the season played amazingly, and I wanted to carry on that legacy and try to take the cake and thankfully I did. I was just really proud.”
How Australian Survivor has given her confidence
Parnov also opened up about the lessons she learned throughout the experience, revealing that the competition has given her new-found confidence.
“I feel like going into the show, I was quite introverted. I was a bit more reserved. And I feel like being on the show and being forced to really open up to strangers and get to know people has given me a lot of confidence.
“I feel like I’m a little bit less introverted now, which is nice. And it’s given me a lot more confidence now in the real world when I’m mingling with people, and that’s been really nice,” she said.
Parnov also credits her win to her years of Olympic training.
‘Without having all of those years of training under my belt and the skills that I’ve learned in terms of mental strength and pushing through pain, it definitely changed the game for me.
“I feel like without those skills, I wouldn’t have done nearly as well as I did in the challenges. So all of my Olympic training definitely came in handy.”
How Liz Parnov is handling life after Australian Survivor
With filming wrapped up in September last year, Parnov admits she’s jumped straight back into her routine.
“I lost a bit of weight, which is to be expected. But apart from that, I just slipped right back into my normal life. I really didn’t have any kind of downtime after we wrapped filming.”
On life after Survivor, Parnov says she has kept in contact with her fellow contestants.
“I’ve formed some really great friendships. You really connect with people out there like you wouldn’t expect, and we’re all actually quite close. We all have group chat WhatsApp messages, and we all stay in touch.”
And now $500k richer, Parnov revealed what she is going to do with the money.
“I don’t even know. It hasn’t honestly sunk in that amount of money. I know that I really want to use it wisely and invest in my future. And, of course, help my parents out after everything they’ve done for me growing up.”
If she had her time on the show again, Parnov says she wouldn’t change anything.
“I loved the whole experience, blindsides and all, I think it was just so much fun. The season had all the twists and turns that you could have ever asked for, and it kept us on our toes it was just an incredible season, and I wouldn’t change anything.”