On Wednesday night, Sarah Lacina was crowned the winner of season 34 of “Survivor”.
In a season full of surprises, the appropriately-named “Survivor: Game Changers” aired one of TV’s most talked-about moments when Jeff Varner outed fellow contestant Zeke Smith as transgender, changing both the game and their lives forever.
ET Canada’s Erin Cebula was on the red carpet for the winner reveal where she caught up with Smith who hopes his outing will serve as a lesson to others.
“I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on anyone,” Smith says. During an appearance on “The Talk” in April, the “Survivor” castaway said he was given the opportunity to help craft the way the episode was handled. For Smith, it was important to use the moment as a teaching lesson and has since partnered with GLAAD to push LGBTQ acceptance and empowerment.
“Certainly when you have to confront great challenges and find it within yourself to overcome them, you do end up changing as a person. I am very proud of the man I have become,” he says, turning a very personal moment into a public cause. “I also don’t want any young trans person to believe that they are in any way limited and in the meantime, the journey might be harder but the adventure so worth taking.”
While he’s become an advocate in his personal life, Smith also had a hand in selecting the winner of “Survivor”, Lacina, who took home the top prize despite never winning an immunity idol in the game.
“I did it with no immunity idols, I did it with no Tyler Perry idol, no immunity wins, so how do you say I didn’t play the best game?” she asks Erin Cebula. A big gambler, Lacina jokes she might have to hit up the Las Vegas strip with her $1 million prize winnings.
“Going to Vegas, we’re doubling it down. I came here with nothing, I’m either going to leave with nothing or double,” she jokes, adding, “That’s not true! I have to buy diapers. That’s what I am spending it on.”