Australian ‘Survivor’ contestant comes out as gay, says he thought it was already public knowledge

While we were busy celebrating the LGBTQ+ (and twunk) inclusive cast of Survivor 44 this week, we found out yet another franchise contestant was gay.

Guesting on the popular Sydney-based radio show, The Kyle & Jackie O Show , two-time Australian Survivor competitor George Mladenov was asked rather bluntly about his sexuality—but he didn’t seem to mind.

A 31-year-old public servant from the New South Wales capital, Mladenov describes himself as a “spin-doctor for the government” and was formerly the president of the Bankstown Labor Party.

With a career in strategizing and political maneuvering, he was well-positioned to succeed on a reality competition show like Survivor —and succeed he did.

His first appearance on the series was Australian Survivor: Brains Vs. Brawns , which aired throughout the summer of ’21 on the country’s Network Ten. Given his background, Mladenov was an obvious fit for the Brains tribe.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by George Mladenov (@kinggeorgeofbankstown)

He made for great television, too, playing a double agent and switching tribe allegiances—strategic gameplay that got him all the way to the finale, though he eventually was runner-up to Hayley Leake, his former Brain tribe member.

All of that scheming earned Mladenov a spot on the current season of Australian Survivor , Heroes Vs. Villains as… any guesses? Yep, he’s a villain, alright—a title the cunning contestant seems to relish.


“They didn’t know what to do with me,” first black, gay ‘Survivor’ contestant shares his frustration
Brice Izyah claims he was voted off, in part, because producers didn’t know how to portray a gay, African-American man.

During a recent episode, Mladenov’s fellow tribe member Shonee Bowtell fretted over the thought of him being removed from the competition, “I can’t lose my only gay,” which otherwise went unremarked upon.

But, on the radio show, host Jackie O repeated Bowtell’s words back to Mladenov and asked, “George, did you get outed on the show the other day?”

“No, absolutely not,” Mladenov replied with a laugh. “Thank god she said that—praise be Shonee.”

“Why did she say that?,” the host asked. “Are you gay?”

“Of course!,” Mladenov answered. As far as he knew, it was “public knowledge” already. It’s just that it hadn’t been spoken out loud on Survivor —or any other public forum—until now.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by George Mladenov (@kinggeorgeofbankstown)

Later in the conversation, Mladenov shared he doesn’t currently have a boyfriend, and that finding a partner isn’t something he’s “prioritizing right now.”

He is, however, looking forward to WorldPride 2023, which takes place in Sydney this year from February 18 through March 5. If you’re in town, keep an eye out for this Survivor legend.

Related: Sydney WorldPride 2023 will be an epic queer adventure. Here’s what you need to know from a local expert

Australian Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains is airing now on Australia’s Network Ten.

Top News