“Survivor 42” contestant Omar Zaheer has one of the coolest occupations of not just the season but in the entire history of the show. The 31-year-old Ontario native is an exotic animal veterinarian, and he compares the unpredictability of his line of work to the game of “Survivor.” “It’s all about panicking, staying calm,” says Omar in his CBS interview. “You never know what to expect, and that’s just like ‘Survivor'” (watch below).
As Omar describes, he rarely has any idea of what type of animal he will be working with from day to day. “You can come in one day and see a tiny 18-gram canary with a broken leg that you have to use your micro tools, on the next day you could have your arm shoved up a rhino’s butt,” he quips. Omar intends to compare his tribemates to animals in his mind, explaining, “I’m gonna treat these people like, ‘Oh, you’re a guinea pig, you’re a rabbit, you’re a bird, you’re a snake,’ and try to suss out who they are.”
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He extends the animal metaphor further by comparing the adaptability of certain species to “Survivor.” In this twist-heavy modern era, the best “Survivor” players are able to adapt to the various twists and turns in the game. “I want them to see me as someone kind of stupid, a very simple animal, like maybe a pigeon that doesn’t really know what’s going on, it’s just there to have fun,” he notes. “But really, I want to be like a predatory bird that’ll strike them when they least suspect.”
Omar lists a number of former “Survivor” players he hopes to play like, from masterminds like Rob Cesternino and Cirie Fields to winners like Tyson Apostol, Natalie Anderson and Kim Spradlin. He hopes to take little pieces from all of their games, from Rob’s strategic prowess to Natalie’s laser focus, and implement a winning strategy for himself. Get to know all 18 contestants.
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