Going from Big Brother to Survivor was a welcomed change for Caleb Reynolds.
The Kentucky native, known to many as Beast Mode Cowboy during his impressive 93-day run on season 16 of Big Brother, was going from a summer of living in the comforts of an air-conditioned, fully-stocked house in Southern California to the unknowns of the jungle in Kaoh Rong, Cambodia.
“Coming from Big Brother to Survivor, the biggest thing is the atmosphere,” the 28-year-old told ETonline, adding that “it was hot as heck out there.” “Honestly, the game and the strategy itself is a little bit more cutthroat than Big Brother.”
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For Reynolds, who is competing as part of the Gondol (“Beauty”) tribe, going on Survivor meant distancing himself a little from the Beast Mode Cowboy moniker he earned in the summer of 2014.
“Is [Beast Mode Cowboy] a character? Yes,” Reynolds said. “I didn’t want to be called Beast Mode Cowboy on Survivor. I wanted to go in as Caleb Reynolds and show everyone that I am a character, but at the same time, I have a lot more to me than that.”
“I did carry over the same [beast mode] mentality and it was not to give up, always push as hard as you can in the worst circumstances, even if I’m hot, even if I’m sweating, even if I can’t breath. Always go until you can’t go any more,” he continued.
In ETonline’s exclusive sneak peek from Wednesday’s episode, Reynolds follows through with his motto tenfold, breaking through the pack as the clear leader in the intense, water-based immunity challenge. That performance, he says, may be a preview of what’s to come.
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“Pretty much!” Reynolds promised. “This game is more up my alley because 90 percent of all your challenges all start out as physical challenges and this kind of game, starting off, you want to show that you’re really strong. My main thing was to show that I’m not a threat to my alliance, but [that] I’m a physical addition to our tribe.”
While viewers are just starting to see the start of Reynolds’ time on Survivor, he hopes that new and old fans will enjoy the Caleb Reynolds being portrayed here.
“I’ve been getting it a lot lately on social media: They like me better on Survivor -- even fans who have liked me on Big Brother,” Reynolds said. “It’s more my habitat. It’s more of my alley to be playing Survivor.”
“Going into Big Brother 16, some things had been said about me that completely weren’t true and a lot of people had doubts about me and my character and I believe that going into Survivor, the fans will see the same guy but I believe they’ll see a little bit of a personality change,” he added, admitting that his Big Brother experience has made him more aware of what he says and does in front of the camera.
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“More so than anything, I think the fans will see less of a Beast Mode Cowboy character, more of a humble guy who’s there to win and play a game,” Reynolds continued.
As for how his tribe fares as the season starts to unravel, Reynolds hinted that the Gondol tribe may go deep.
“For now, with where we’re at and what viewers have seen, you’ll see how good our tribe gets along and how happy we make each other,” he said. “We’ve been ready to go and we just clicked so well. Everyone will see how good we mesh and how good we play the game together.”
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.