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‘Survivor’ Tina: Fame Isn’t All Good

October 11, 2001

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Fame isn’t fleeting enough for ``Survivor 2″ winner Tina Wesson.

``Knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel helps,″ she told her hometown newspaper, The Knoxville News-Sentinel, last week.

Since winning the $1 million prize last May, Wesson has been making numerous personal appearances and speeches. She expects that will wind down after ``Survivor: Africa,″ this season’s installment, wraps up in February.

Are fame and fortune what she believed they would be?

``No,″ she said. ``The fortune is not really a fortune. It allows you a bit.″

The $1 million prize is nearly spent, she said. Half of it disappeared with taxes.

``And fame? I can’t say it was what I thought it was. I thought on a scale of one to 10, it might be a three. It turned out to be more like a six or seven. That difference is huge,″ she said.

People point and whisper when they see her on the street now. ``I stare back,″ she said, laughing. ``It’s very uncomfortable and awkward and odd.″

Wesson has overcome a fear of public speaking and has been able to raise money for her causes, such as arthritis research. But there is a downside.

``I can’t afford to be as silly as I used to be. I miss that,″ she said. ``I miss the old me. I look forward to her return.″

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