EXCLUSIVE: Zeke Smith Reflects on Reunion With Jeff Varner, Reveals What's Next After 'Survivor'
By Jennifer Drysdale
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Survivor: Game Changers may have come to a close on Wednesday, but Zeke Smith's plans have just started.
ET caught up with the two-time player on the red carpet at the Survivor season finale, where he opened up about sharing the stage with Jeff Varner for the first time since the world saw Varner out him as transgender during tribal council.
"I think it's been like a challenging 10 months for the both of us, and it was great to see him sort of at the end of the journey, that he has plans for the future, [and] how he has plans how he intends to use this experience to help others," Smith told ET. "I'm really proud that both of us have been able to find positive messages out of kind of a dark situation."
Since the controversial episode aired on April 12, both Smith and Varner have spoken out about the situation, revealing their experiences in powerful pieces for The Hollywood Reporter andETonline, respectively. Smith said he's glad that he and Varner have had outlets to express themselves, and get through to audiences and others involved in similar situations.
"I think it's really important, because on the show, we're just these two dimensional people that have like, little bits of time, but what people don't appreciate is how significant an experience like Survivor is for your life," he shared. "You really do learn a lot about yourself, and I think it's important to communicate what you've learned, and especially in a way that it can help others."
"I think it speaks very highly of the show that they have given us these platforms to share our messages," he added.
Though a source tells ET that Smith and Varner did not interact with each other during commercial breaks, the two reflected on the situation during the reunion show, with Varner announcing that he's started writing a book titled Surviving Shame.
"If he sends me a copy, I definitely will [read it]," Smith said. [But] I don't have any plans to currently write about my Survivor experience."
As for what Smith does plan to do post-Survivor, he said the sky's the limit -- but he's got his eyes on show business.
"As a kid I had these great dreams of Broadway, and you know, of kind of pursuing the spotlight a little, and when I transitioned, I sort of thought those doors were closed to me," he confessed. "I didn't think that those dreams were possible for me anymore, but with what I've learned from Survivor, and really the reaction from people to this whole experience, has kind of reignited my dreams. I think they're possible again."