Survivor contestant Tarzan. Picture: Nigel Wright
Survivor contestant Tarzan. Picture: Nigel Wright

Our Survivor star used to look very different

One Survivor: All-Stars tribe was rewarded with a trip down memory lane during Wednesday night's episode, with a trip to a 'Mama's Kitchen': A hearty meal, some red wine and a picture each from home showing their beloved mums.

But all eyes were on couple of contestants' radically different appearances in their throwback photos.

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Toowoomba lime farmer Mark 'Tarzan' Herlaar, 51, has earned his nickname thanks to his long hair, grey beard and preference for faded tie dye clothing.

Mark ‘Tarzan’ Herlaar is a quiet achiever on the show.
Mark ‘Tarzan’ Herlaar is a quiet achiever on the show.

But as his fellow contestants discovered last night, just a few short years ago 'Tarzan' was clean-cut, check-shirt-clad and looked like he'd be cast as the romantic lead on McLeod's Daughters.

 

Yep – that's Tarzan on the far right of the picture.
Yep – that's Tarzan on the far right of the picture.

Also unrecognisable in his shot from home was Adelaide wedding DJ AK Knight, 32. "I'd be 15 in that photo," he told his tribemates, explaining that he had a lot of romantic interest at the time: "I used to pull!"

 

AK on Survivor.
AK on Survivor.

 

AK at 15.
AK at 15.

AK last week shared another very buff picture of his younger self on Twitter, as part of a thread of tweets opening up about his body image issues - and some of the nastier comments about his appearance he's received from Survivor viewers.

 

"Over the past week I have seen a lot of body shaming and people making fun of my weight on social media," Knight wrote.

"The funny thing is, I was once that person. (*Not attacking people on social media) but never understanding why someone would let themselves not be 'jacked' or 'ripped' and become overweight.

"Please listen to me when I say that there is more to life than always fighting yourself to look thinner, or more ripped. I am truly happy, I've never been happier in life and I am truly content with who I am as a person and the way I look," he wrote.

 

Survivor contestant AK: “There is more to life than always fighting yourself to look thinner.”
Survivor contestant AK: “There is more to life than always fighting yourself to look thinner.”

"Commenting on someone's appearance reflects more on you and your inside beauty than the person you're commenting about. The only reason I am writing this is because as much as I have thick skin and can laugh off the comments … I know for a fact that other people out there are constantly being bullied and made to feel ashamed for their body. Please stop. Please be a kind. Please bring others up around you. True beauty is how you treat others," he said.

Knight's comments were applauded by many fans of the show and by some of his fellow contestants.

"AK is the greatest bloke you will ever meet and the biggest boss in the measured and open way he deals with demented trolls … He's also hilarious and he's my man-crush," wrote fellow All-Star Nick Iadanza.

 

Survivor: All-Stars continues 7:30pm Monday on Ten


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