She braved 42 days of starvation, boredom and backstabbing, yet Survivor: The Australian Outback's $1 million victor, Tina Wesson, is finding it difficult to outlast another menacing foe: The media. Last Tuesday, after five days of non-stop interviews and appearances, the 40-year-old Tennessee nurse passed out after boarding a flight en route from New York to Los Angeles.
"It has just been very, very busy," Wesson tells TV Guide Online. "I've talked to my family like 10 minutes since I won. It's just you get up in the morning and you go until bedtime — it's a lot harder than I anticipated."
After being checked out by doctors, Wesson — who says her mini-spell can be partially blamed on a mild sleeping pill she had taken — was able to make the cross-country trek. However, she admits, "I still kinda feel like I've been hit by a train."
Well, if Wesson thinks she has it rough, the soft-spoken mother of two should step into the shoes of fellow castaway Colby Donaldson. While the 27-year-old Texas heartthrob didn't take home the grand prize, he has nonetheless emerged as the breakout star of Survivor 2. Surely, Wesson has to be a little miffed that she's not dominating the spotlight a la Richard Hatch, right? "Not at all," she insists. "I am glad for him because he deserves it.
"I am so happy with my life as a wife and mother," she continues. "I went to Australia for the adventure and not for all this hoopla. So, I'm glad for Colby. He wants a career in this business and he will do wonderful."
The frustratingly-pleasant Wesson also has nary an unkind word for another man in her life: Uncle Sam. He'll claim 47 percent of her $1 million — and Wesson wouldn't have it any other way. "I don't care at all about the taxes," she says. "I am proud to be an American and live in this country, and if costs me 47 percent, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world."
Speaking of the green stuff, we're just dying to know: Is she really going to fork over some of her winnings to charity? "Yeah!" Wesson asserts. "I want to start up our own Survivor fund and have people donate to it. And people who are in Survivor situations — whether it be surviving a flood or hurricane or their house burned down — the fund will be used for that."