The 21 year-old model with the surfer dude demeanor Jud “Fabio” Birza took home the million dollar prize Sunday night (Dec. 19) on “Survivor: Nicaragua.” He tells Zap2it about his experience on the show and what he plans to do with the money.
How are you feeling? Is it just completely surreal?
“Dude, I’m so glad it came full circle. I think our finale episode was awesome, I think it tied together a lot of stuff. It’s been a long five months. I’ve had a good idea that I won the whole time, so I’ve been pretty anxious. It was fun. Last night was awesome and we met everybody’s family, I feel like it’s closure. I also feel like we have a very special cast, I love them, I loved the whole experience … It was the biggest life lesson I could’ve ever hoped for. Living on the beach of a month was awesome, I would do that anyways [laughs].”
Going into the final tribal, did you feel you had it sewn up, as Chase thought you did?
“I did! Yeah, I thought I had it by more than just one vote. Some people changed their minds last minute. It got closer than I would’ve liked it.”
Were you surprised the vote was so close?
“Yeah, dude. I looked over at Benry and I was like, “Wait a minute ….” I looked over at some friends with panic eyes. I really thought for a second that I could’ve been fooled and Chase won.”
What are your plans for the money?
“I want to start a production company that does really artistic, meaningful things. Short films, sketch comedy stuff, live music concerts, throwing really cool parties, really fun stuff. I get to live in my imagination for the rest of my life and that is a big blessing. I also want to bring awareness to things that matter around the world and connect people who are like-minded and appreciate life and aren’t doing bad stuff.”
Are you going to stay in Hollywood, work on your production company, keep modeling?
“I’m definitely going to ride this one out in Los Angeles. I just applied to all the universities in California, but I’m going to take next year off. I want to travel, ya know, hang out.”
What did you think of the “Redemption Island” twist?
“That’s crazy! I think it’s going to be the last season of ‘Survivor.’ I know Jeff has a show going on with Anderson Cooper and I think he’s milked this for all it’s worth, so I think the 22nd season will be the end. But maybe not! Maybe someone else will host.”
Any final thoughts/messages to your fans?
“Meeting all the fans and having them really excited for me felt really good. I was glad I got to win because it made so many people happy. It was a very special night, for sure.”