Countdown to 'Survivor: Redemption Island': Meet Grant Mattos
On Monday, we introduced you to Southern California native David Murphy, competing in the new season of “Survivor,” premiering at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Today, we'd like you to meet another West Hollywood resident you’ll see trying his hand during the “Redemption Island” season.
I caught Grant Mattos, 29, on the phone while he was riding a train to San Diego to visit a friend. Originally from San Francisco, Mattos made his way to Los Angeles by way of a football scholarship at USC. He even played in the NFL before becoming a yoga instructor.
Like Murphy, who had never seen an episode of “Survivor” before being cast, Mattos admitted that he wasn’t a huge fan before. So he watched more to “try to figure out a loophole” but didn’t want to follow any particular person’s strategies.
“I dug how Ozzy (Lusth, “Cook Islands,” “Fans vs. Favorites”) played. Just from a physical standpoint, it was fun to watch,” Mattos said. “I knew going in you can’t emulate someone, that you just need to be yourself. People asked, ‘How you gonna play it?’ You don’t really know for sure 'til you get there and see who you’re playing against.”
Mattos had a leg up on Murphy, though, in former castaway and good friend Natalie Bolton (“Fans vs. Favorites”). She’s actually the reason he auditioned -- that story and more after the jump.
All of Mattos’ friends and family were stoked, and he even had some huge “Survivor” fans “come out of the woodwork” as he prepared for the show. Speaking about his preparation, he said he tried to gain weight by eating more but only put on 8 pounds. His experience in the NFL prepared him more than anything.
“It helped me overall and while doing all the auditions in L.A.,” he said. “There’s a lot of stress in training camps and not knowing whether or not you’ll still be there [after cuts]. I’m grateful for that.”
Favorite TV: “When I do watch, it’s the Discovery or History channels. I love documentaries, anything to do with nature. Loved ‘Planet Earth.’ ”
Favorite movies: “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Vanilla Sky,” although Mattos still enjoys some “Ace Ventura.”
Favorite music: “Little bit of everything. Love R&B, soul and classic rock. Raised on classic rock, and Dad listened to a lot of Motown. Nina Simone, Maxwell, Steely Dan, the Eagles, Allman Brothers, Carl Thomas, Donell Jones, Jon B. The list goes on."
Normal life: He and his wife live close to the Grove and walk there often, as well as around West Hollywood. They don’t eat out that much because “my wife’s a madwoman in the kitchen.” And, trying not to give plot details away, Mattos said he’s a “big softie. I’m not a crier, but I am a Pisces.”
Come back Wednesday to throw out crazy bets and make random assumptions about the new castaways before the show premieres!
— Anthony Williams
Photo: Grant Mattos in the first episode of "Survivor: Redemption Island." Credit: Monty Brinton / CBS