St. John native Jason Wilder Siska hopes to make his home island proud with his appearance on “Survivor – Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites,” the next installment of the reality show which challenges participants to “outwit, outplay, outlast.” Siska will draw from his experience growing up on St. John in hopes of being the last man standing to win the show’s $1 million prize.
The show, which was taped in the fall amidst the Rock Islands of Palau, Micronesia, will premiere next month. The upcoming installment of the popular reality show comes with a twist — 10 super fans of the series will be competing against 10 Survivor veterans, including the popular Jon “Johnny Fairplay” Dalton from Survivor: Pearl Islands and Yau-Man Chan from Survivor: Fiji.
When Siska heard the next season of Survivor would pit fans against veterans, he knew he had to be a part of the competition, the St. John native explained.
“I’ve always been a fan since day one,” said Siska. “Ever since I saw the first episode, the show really appealed to me because of the whole outdoors and wilderness aspect.”
John’s Folly, Coral Bay Childhood Memories
Siska, who was one of the first scheduled births at the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center in the early 1980s, fondly recalls spending his youth in John’s Folly and Coral Bay.
“Living out in John’s Folly, I grew up running around naked as a baby, chasing chickens and stuff like that,” said Siska. “Once I got into high school and we were living in the states, I’d come down to the island with friends and we’d camp at Cinnamon Bay. We roughed it in the tents, which could definitely help prepare you for a game like Survivor, where you’re surviving out in the wilderness.”
The Survivor contestant, who currently lives in Fox River Grove, Illinois, where he works as a student teacher, still enjoys visiting family and friends on St. John.
“I love the island and I can’t wait to get back,” said Siska. “I love to hitchhike around the island and meet people, and go spear fishing in non-V.I. National Park waters.”
Siska hopes to return to St. John some time in March, when he plans to host a gathering at a yet to be determined local bar where residents can watch that week’s episode of Survivor with him.
The Survivor contestant could not comment on his experience on the reality show per his contract with CBS, however his godmother Tutu Singer, owner of Tutu Much near Chateau Bordeaux, is confident that Siska will do well.
“He’s a winning kid whether he wins Survivor or not,” said Singer. “He’s been coming to visit me forever, and he’s a wonderful kid. He’s been like one of our own children for so many years.”
Survivor – Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites will premiere on Thursday, February 7, at 7 p.m. on CBS.