Jeff Varner: Beyond Survivor
Greensboro’s Jeff Varner has been a contestant on two seasons of the CBS show, Survivor. His first time on the show was back in 2000 in Australia, then Cambodia and now his third season, Survivor: Game Changers, is premiering March 8.
According to Varner, this upcoming season has been the most difficult of his three experiences on the show.
“The game is based on who you play with so it can get ugly if there are ugly people playing,” he said. “The first time was great, we didn’t know what we were doing and it was just a fantastic ting. The second time was great because America chose me and it was nice to get back and do that after 15 years being out of it. Third time was all business, so it was difficult.”
Varner said that surviving the show’s challenges has left him a different person.
“It’s a very difficult thing to go through,” he said. “The person you are at the end is vastly different than the person who started and that’s incredibly valuable to me. I don’t care how I place. As long as there is some type of massive life change for me in the middle of it, then I win as far as I’m concerned.”
Like in the past, the upcoming season in Fiji has changed Varner.
“The third time has changed me drastically. Since it hasn’t aired yet, I can’t really talk about how. Just know that there is a massive event that happens that I’m in the middle of that will forever change me as a human being.”
The highlights of Fiji for Varner were the physical tasks. His biggest challenge was working with the other contestants.
“I’m in much better shape than I was before so I’m able to handle those and tackle those better,” he said. “The challenges are being able to maneuver around these people who are just impossible. This was a very good, strong group of people, the hardest cast I had to play with so far. I found trusting them, dealing with them, making deals with them was challenging on a whole different level.”
Varner gets inspired by nature, so he loved Fiji.
“Fiji was the most beautiful, most spectacular mystical place I’ve ever been in my life. I loved it, the water is crystal clear, you can see forever. It’s a dangerous place but its’ beautiful. So this time around I tried to take advantage of sunsets and sunrises and climbing mountains. I’m playing an ugly game but at the same time, I’m trying to capture all these visible images and emotions of where I am. I know I may never get this chance again.”
Beyond being a survivor, Varner works for a locally-owned Greensboro real estate firm, Tyler Redhead & McAlister. He is on the Kristen Hayes Team.
“I love the ability to help people help themselves in some way, which is why I love what I do as a realtor,” he said. “Part of my being a realtor is every time somebody buys a house from me, I give a gift out of my own pocket to a charity of their choice.”
Varner is excited for the show to air so he can move forward in his plans for the future.