For Survivor viewers, Joe Anglim requires little in the way of introduction, and even less in the way of names and titles. The “Dirty 30” cast of Survivor: Worlds Apart took care of the branding during their season: “Joey Amazing,” a hard-earned nickname, thanks to the challenge proficiency he first displayed in his very first immunity challenge, all the way through his final challenge loss in Survivor: Cambodia, in which he pushed his body all the way to the edge.
Given that reputation, it’s no surprise to see Joe as one of the four returning players on Survivor: Edge of Extinction, premiering February 20 on CBS. According to executive producer and host Jeff Probst, one of the production team’s goals this season was to find four veterans who embody the extreme measures required to succeed on Survivor. As one of the most popular players in the modern Survivor era, not to mention one of the most dominant challenge competitors of any Survivor era, Joe more than fits that criteria.
Now on his third time out, Joe’s return to the beach was only a matter of when, not if. In fact, as he freely admits, Joe’s third time out is only happening now because he opted not to return sooner.
“I did decline in the past,” he admits, speaking with The Hollywood Reporter on location in Fiji, days before filming on season 38. “It’s so hard. It really took a lot out of my sails. It’s hard to explain, especially because I had so little time in between my first and second season.”
Indeed, Joe had no time at all between his two runs at Survivor, as he shipped out for round two in the final moments of his first season’s finale. Now, three years after he lost in a head-to-head battle against fellow challenge beast Keith Nale, Joe returns to Survivor boasting some new secret weapons up his sleeve, and one right on his face.
Yes, obviously, we’re talking about the mustache.
“You can thank Sierra Dawn Thomas,” says Joe, gesturing at his curling facial hair. “I call it the Salvador Dali, but she calls it the Doc Holliday.”
Sierra Dawn Thomas, for those who need a refresher, is yet another Survivor alum, first appearing opposite Joe in season 30. Initially meeting on opposite sides of the Worlds Apart battlefield, Joe and Sierra left the game as friends. Eventually, their relationship, much like the game of Survivor itself, evolved.
“Obviously, she voted me out, which was kind of fun. She reminds me every day,” he says with a laugh. “I always knew Survivor was going to be a part of my life. I knew I was on a path, but I didn’t know I was on a path to find her.”
Hear more from Joe in The Hollywood Reporter’s preseason Survivor podcast, First One Out: