Blen­heim girl goes from surgery to Sur­vivor

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - EMILY HEYWARD

‘‘I re­ally had to fo­cus on re­cov­er­ing as quickly as pos­si­ble ... I spent a lot of time ban­daged up, re­ally sore and not able to use any of my up­per body.’’

A breast re­duc­tion op­er­a­tion months be­fore film­ing be­gan on Sur­vivor NZ wasn’t go­ing to stop for­mer Marl­bor­ough Girls Col­lege stu­dent Jose­fien Maas­dam from be­ing her ‘‘vi­va­cious’’ self on the is­land.

If any­thing, get­ting the call to con­firm she would be tough­ing it out in the Thai jun­gle with 17 other con­tes­tants gave her more mo­ti­va­tion to fo­cus on re­cov­er­ing as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Maas­dam, who had breast re­duc­tion surgery for health rea­sons, said she was no stranger to be­ing ‘‘chucked in the deep end’’ and over­com­ing chal­lenges, so this was no dif­fer­ent.

‘‘I re­ally had to fo­cus on re­cov­er­ing as quickly as pos­si­ble and not only that, but get­ting my fit­ness back be­cause of course I spent a lot of time ban­daged up, re­ally sore and not able to use any of my up­per body or do any kind of car­dio that in­volved jump­ing.’’

‘‘It was a chal­lenge but it was re­ally great be­cause it re­ally gave me a drive to re­cover quickly,’’ she said.

‘‘Ter­ri­fied’’ at what she had got herself into, Maas­dam said she found com­fort in know­ing she had over­come many dif­fi­cult chal­lenges in the past, , in­clud­ing mov­ing to New Zea­land from the Nether­lands as a child, not know­ing how to speak English.

‘‘There’s been so many mo­ments in my life where I have been com­pletely taken off guard and com­pletely taken out of my com­fort zone and forced to just deal with it. Sur­vivor was al­most like a com­fort­able place,’’ she said.

Maas­dam is set to bring en­ergy and pos­i­tiv­ity to the show and said she cer­tainly won’t be hold­ing back when it comes to tak­ing on the com­pe­ti­tion or let­ting her age defy her.

‘‘The sec­ond I get into a com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment, I hate los­ing and I hate let­ting any­one be bet­ter than me,’’ she said.

At 23-years-old, Maas­dam is the sec­ond youngest con­tes­tant in this sea­son of Sur­vivor NZ and she knows she has what it takes to take out the com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘One of my big­gest skills [is] my en­ergy. I want my pos­i­tiv­ity, my hon­esty and trans­parency to re­ally be my ally in the game.’’

De­spite hav­ing con­cerns about the spi­ders, scor­pi­ons and snakes in the jun­gle, she said she was most wor­ried about los­ing herself in the game.

‘‘The big fear was that I’d get sucked into Sur­vivor- land and not be some­one I could be proud of no mat­ter what.’’

And while Maas­dam is now re­sid­ing in Auck­land and work­ing as a pro­duc­tion as­sis­tant, she said she is stoked to have the back­ing of her home town of Blen­heim be­hind her.

PHOTO: SCOTT MCAULAY/TVNZ

Con­tes­tant Jose­fien Maas­dam says find­ing out she was com­pet­ing in Sur­vivor NZ gave her the push she needed to re­cover quickly from her surgery.

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