• Jack Vita

'Survivor's Jay Starrett on 'The Challenge' 36, 'Survivor' 33

Dubbed "The Future of 'The Challenge" in an article written by Jack last week, Jay Starrett visits the Jack Vita Show to discuss his latest run on The Challenge (The Challenge: Double Agents), his rookie season (The Challenge: Total Madness), his time on Survivor 33 (Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X), how to prepare for reality television, what life on The Challenge is like, how it compares to life on the island, where his drive and love for competition comes from, what Survivor contestants should go on The Challenge, what's next for him, and so much more!

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Amazon | iHeartRadio | Stitcher | Pandora | TuneIn | Listen Notes | Podtail | Podchaser | Hubhopper | Audio junkie | Himalaya | Podcast Addict | Available wherever podcasts are found.

Check out other Survivor contestants on the Jack Vita Show:

1) Survivor: China contestant Leslie Nease on her Christian faith and reality TV (October 28, 2019)

2) Jonny Fairplay talks "dead grandma" lie, faith, and life after 'Survivor' (February 18, 2020)

3) 'Survivor' Contestant Reem Daly on the 'Edge of Extinction', 'Winners at War', and social distancing (April 6, 2020)

4) Former 'Survivor' contestant Albert Destrade previews ALCS, NLCS (October 12, 2020)

5) 'Survivor's Jay Starrett on 'The Challenge' 36, 'Survivor' 33 (February 13, 2020)

6) What if 18 MLB players competed on 'Survivor'? (Feat. Albert Destrade, 'Survivor: South Pacific') (February 20, 2021)

7) 2021 MLB preview: Survivor's Albert Destrade previews the NL East (March 25, 2021)

8) Survivor: South Pacific's Albert Destrade talks Braves, Cubs, MLB trade deadline, injuries (August 4, 2021)

9) Stephenie LaGrossa Kendrick talks 'Survivor', life and Philly sports (September 21, 2021)

10) Orestes Destrade, Albert Destrade recap ALDS, NLDS; preview ALCS, NLCS (October 15, 2021)

11) Survivor: Africa's Teresa "T-Bird" Cooper on Braves, World Series (October 26, 2021)

Follow Jay on Instagram (@jqskim), Twitter (@Jay__Qs), and TikTok (@jqskim), and visit his shop, Stay Loco, and pick up some swag from his new clothing line!


Jack Vita 2:18

This guy came on to The Challenge. He came in hot, and he's done fairly well over the first couple seasons. And he did really well on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. I believe he finished in sixth place. Last week I wrote a piece on him on my website jackvita.com, dubbing him the future of The Challenge. Please welcome Jay Starrett!

Jay Starrett 2:45

What's up! Welcome to the Jack Vita Show. The one, the only, the greatest. First of all, I do want to say, Jack, I did read the article that you wrote about me. It was very long, very in detail. And very, very good. if I do say so myself; probably the best article I've ever read, considering I don't read very many of them. And also the fact is you just crushed it. So thank you so much.

Jack Vita 3:08

Thanks. I really appreciate that Jay, and I hope I didn't misrepresent you. And I didn't want to paint a bigger target on your back for these future seasons that you have potentially coming up.

Jay Starrett 3:20

I don't mind, the target was already on my back anyway, so it's totally fine.

Jack Vita 3:24

So what happened this past season? Was it exactly how the show depicted - we saw the story of what happened - why you got the boot. Was it accurately depicted? Was there more to it? What happened this time around?

Jay Starrett 3:38

Yeah, you know, this season? Um, it was definitely depicted correct. I mean, I know a lot of people always blame editing or they say editing this and they did this. But bro you played your own game, you did what you did, they got it on video, you got caught. It is what it is, like just go with the flow and stop crying over editing and spilled milk. So, um, with me, I messed up cuz I didn't follow my gut. My gut was like, tell Cory and tell Cam. But instead, I went with the other half of my brain that was like, "Hey, man, you're totally fine." Just do whatever you need to do. This is a game at the end of the day. You don't need anyone's permission or an explanation for anything that you're doing. I mean, for a million bucks. You overthink and you overanalyze. So, you know, I just played a little bit aggressive this time, and it was awesome.

Jack Vita 4:34

That's awesome. And that's the thing. It's unfortunate. I feel like you were penalized for playing the game. I mean, you and Leroy were the only two competing in that daily challenge, at least from what we saw on the screen. You were out there competing and you ended up getting penalized for playing the game, and that's why I wrote that piece. You saw how TJ reacted to you and everything that's been going on. They've clearly been upset. It's like tanking in sports. They want people to go out there and be aggressive and give them what they want; go out there and compete. I thought it was emblematic that you and Leroy were really the only two men out there competing, and you got penalized for winning, essentially, because you won the previous challenge. You put blood on your hands from what you did the week before.

Jay Starrett 5:25

Yeah, it was great. Because like, last season, you know, um, I didn't really get to play the political game at all. So last season, I went in, they threw me in, you know, elimination after elimination. So every single time I had to prove myself and they're always like, oh, rookies, got to prove themselves. I'm like, Alright, well, I'm proving myself three times in a row, how many days does it take? And then this season, everyone left me alone. But I got to play a political game, and I finally won one of my first dailies ever, which was a $6,000 win, let's go. And after that, I was like, man, I didn't get to play last season. So why don't I just, you know, start the game really, really aggressive. And then it came back who got me and, you know, I, the first time didn't get to play political had to just win eliminations, the second time, I didn't get to win any eliminations and I just got to play political so hopefully the third time's a charm. If they give me a call back. We both really well, and you know, get a title. And then be a champion of one of the damn shows that I've been.

Jack Vita 6:36

And prove me right to for that matter.

Jay Starrett 6:39

Yes. Because your article is on point. I even had to look something up because you compared me to the newest, one of the best draft picks for the quarterbacks. I forgot his name. That's right, Trevor Lawrence. Yeah, he looks like Sunshine from Remember the Titans. I go to my room and ask my roommate. And I'm like, "Hey, man, who's this football player?" So I started doing like research on him. I was like, "he compared me this guy." And then I checked him out. I was like, wow, you are giving me huge props?

Jack Vita 7:09

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I meant it, I wouldn't have, you know, to be fair, I wouldn't write anything overly critical and negative of anybody on my side. That's not what I do here with with my brand. But, I mean, I watched that episode. And it was very much - even though you were out - it felt like they were really elevating you and building you up. So I'm glad you came out of it with a lot of positive feelings.

Jay Starrett 7:33

Oh, man, you know, I take these shows as a blessing because I have the opportunity to go out there and compete. And a lot of people wish that they could go out there, they wish that they could continue competing. After you go on Survivor, usually that's it, unless they give you a call back. And I got lucky and blessed enough, from the universe and God, or whatever everyone believes in, to get to go back and compete. I'm so grateful, you know, because I get to continue, I get to continue competing. I love doing this. I'm an adrenaline junkie. So doing this stuff, like they're like, "Jay, hang off the helicopter." I'm like, "Alright, let's go."

Jack Vita 8:15

Now, you had mentioned you're not a big sports fan. Did you grow up playing sports?

Jay Starrett 8:21

So growing up, we always played backyard sports. I was never like, in team sports in high school. I was always at the beach going skimboarding or going skating down parking garages and running from security guards. And like, you know, just getting into trouble basically, I was always just doing my own thing. So I didn't get too involved with sports in high school. But I mean, I did. I was on the swim team. I did play like, you know, little league for pretty much every sport, but backyard sports was always my thing. There's no coach to be like, "you can't fight after that play."

Jack Vita 9:04

Well, you you mentioned skating and skimboarding. I gave that little plug at the beginning. Did you ever watch Rocket Power as a kid?

Jay Starrett 9:11

Oh, what? The shoebies are still on the beach. I love Rocket Power. That was that was the show, man.

Jack Vita 9:18

I got a sign over here on the other side of my room. It says "no shoebies".

Jay Starrett 9:21

Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. I think it was like three years ago. I worked at a bar. And some of the some of the bartender's were like, my friend, Carly. She was Chucky from Rugrats, and then I was Otto Rocket. And this girl I was talking to you at the time. She was Reggie from Rocket Power. So we crushed it,

Jack Vita 9:44

I was thinking that as I was doing this plug, I'm like, "Oh my gosh, J could have been one of those Rocket Power kids if he was growing up in California."

Jay Starrett 9:52

For sure. But I grew up in Florida. So a lot of people in Florida are just like, "You're from California, right?" I was like, "No." And then when I moved to California, everyone was like, "Where are you from? Are you from here? You're confused."

Jack Vita 10:06

Where does the love for competition that you have come from?

Jay Starrett 10:11

Probably just my family man, like growing up, we always played a lot. I mean, I just played a lot of board games and a lot of card games, you know, you don't want to lose, we're all Spanish and just, you want to win, and then the whole family's against you. And we're all just talking crap about each other, like, you're gonna lose this game of spades real quick, and then just backyard sports with our friends. You always want to just go out there and give it your all. And that's the same thing with like, if you're longboarding down a garage, it doesn't matter what anyone else is doing. You're doing it. If you fall, or you eat it, it's on you, because you messed up. So when I go into these challenges, too, it's like, as much as people like to blame other people for things that they're doing, at the end of the day, I lost to Leroy. Leroy didn't beat me, I lost to myself because I didn't go fast enough to beat his time. So the only other time probably is like, you know, even a hall brawl. But even then, if you're faster on your feet, if he hits you and rocks you and you're just faster running out - Nelson almost got Fessy the very first round, but then the second round, you know, because he was like, "Well, I'm just gonna make sure you don't get up."

Jack Vita 11:26

Right. So speaking of this season, what was it like preparing for your second time around? Did you have a feel for how you should be getting ready for this thing? And then you also had COVID complicating the matter as well?

Jay Starrett 11:41

Yeah, the first season I went on, I was training, going to the gym, going to the rock climbing gym, you know, just basic, normal life. I thought, "Alright, I'll just train normal and I should be alright." Got out there, and it was the first daily, I'll never forget. They're like, "Alright, you got to tug on this huge crate, before TJ runs over with a tank. And it's 100 yards out and I'm like, that should be no problem. I grab the rope. start pulling. I'm like, "Oh my god, am I gonna go home my very first day? No. I need to bulk up. I need to eat more. I need to really take this seriously, because it is a hard game like Survivor." So training for the second season, it was like, "I gotta get serious. I got to start running. I really got to start getting my cardio up." I started getting a lot stronger. Because my cardio has always been good, but just getting stronger in general, lifting heavier weights. I'm now coming off my second season, I went straight into the gym. So I had to really take it serious. And I really went for it and was training like two to three times a day. So it was good. It was worth it.

Jack Vita 13:43

And that was during COVID. Right?

Jay Starrett 13:45

Yeah, so super easy to train because no one's bothering you. No one's like," Hey, man, I got a party next week."

Jack Vita 13:57

In terms of sending you out there you go out to Iceland, what were the COVID protocols? How did it differ from last season in terms of getting ready and getting out there?

Jay Starrett 14:07

I mean, last season, you just got on a plane and started playing. This time was we had to quarantine. They had to test you. We had to make sure that everything is good to go. And we quarantined and we got tested every other day. So it was great. And you always felt safe. And then coming back to the real world. You know, you're seeing people and you're not accustomed to like people wearing masks all the time now because you're out in Iceland, quarantined with your bubble. And then coming back, you're like, wow, I need to be careful. I can't just hang out with whoever I want. Because on the show, you're all safe. You all know you're COVID-negative. So you're fine.

Jack Vita 14:51

Yeah, that's really interesting. I hadn't thought about that.