Danny “GC” Brown was the first Survivor Gabon contestant I talked to, and I was the first reporter he talked to (there were a total of six media outlets there, including CBS’ official publicity crew). Danny is apparently going by “GC” on the show, although in our conversation he referred to himself as “DB” at least once. In some ways, that seems to reflect his search for identity, both in the game and otherwise. He does maintenance for an apartment complex in Portland, Oregon, but he told me that his true passion is music. “I produce beats, I rap, write raps, I record other people. But, that’s really my main passion. I would like to get in the music industry one day,” he said.
As to the game, he didn’t seem to have a clear strategy at all, which is arguably the best strategy for Survivor, but he also doesn’t really seem to have a day-one strategy, which could be problematic. “I’m going to try every angle I can, man. I’m not limiting myself to just one thing. Any way I can get in there to get that million, I’m trying to do it,” he said.
He laughed throughout our conversation, perhaps nervously, but also coming across as if he’s just thrilled to be there and isn’t bothering to hide it because he’s so excited. He’s 26, but came off as a lot younger because he didn’t seem beaten down by the world, even though he has plenty of reasons to be, like being homeless as a child. That’s why Danny ranks in the top tier of my list, because he was hard not to like and came across as completely genuine.
That said, he wasn’t exactly open, mentioning his difficult childhood only in vague terms, and saying he wasn’t sure whether or not he’d share his story with his tribemates. While he wouldn’t give me specifics about the “choices that weren’t the best,” he did discuss how being in boot camp prepared him for the game–and how he prepared himself by doing everything from practicing building fires to not eating breakfast. Listen to him talk about his childhood, game preparation, and name: