‘Survivor’ Season 1 Winner Richard Hatch Reveals the Real Reason Why He Was Naked the Entire Season

Survivor Season 1 winner, Richard Hatch had a strategic reason for shedding his clothes and it had nothing to do with the temperature.

Hatch recently revealed how opting to be naked worked to his advantage. “I chose to be naked from one perspective because all of the camera crew were straight guys,” he explained on For Real: The Story of Reality TV on E!. “So they were following me and literally I’d watch them go, ‘ugh.’ And turn away and go somewhere else.”

Richard Hatch and Sonja Christopher chat on 'Survivor'
Richard Hatch and Sonja Christopher | CBS via Getty Images

Being naked was a strategic move for Richard Hatch

Hatch knew that the camera crew’s unease would allow him special privileges not granted to other cast members. “I realized, oh if I’m not wearing any clothes, they’re not gonna follow my ass around. I got all kinds of things, close to people’s conversations that I never could have if I had a film crew following me.”

He also admits that being naked in front of others doesn’t bother him either. “I’m not an exhibitionist, but I don’t care either, so I’m often naked. It’s just the way it is,” he told People in 2020. “I don’t give a crap about how people feel about how I look.”

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Hatch also dished about the infamous speech delivered by Sue Hawk. Hawk’s speech where she called Hatch a snake and Kelly Wiglesworth a rat was not as dramatic for the cast as it was for viewers.

“You know what folks didn’t see, Sue Hawk made those type speeches, regularly,” Hatch laughed. “So we had to endure things like that through the entire season. But that speech was so off-putting that some of the contestants in the jury, even though Sue was asking them to vote for me, did the opposite. Even though they were going to vote for me initially. So I won by a hair.”

But being naked wasn’t Richard Hatch’s main strategic move

While being naked for most of the show allowed for Hatch to move in on conversations untracked by cameras, his best strategy was to create an alliance. The Survivor alliance became a foundation for not only the series but on other reality television shows.

Despite the goal being to win the game, Hatch was the only contestant who had an end-game vision of taking it all. His strategy (beyond playing in the buff) was to control the vote by building an alliance within the group. He ultimately gained the trust of three other players, two being Hawk and Wigglesworth. He also brought in the eldest member of the group, Rudy Boesch. Hatch emerged victoriously and he provided a blueprint alliance to be formed going forward.

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Not every strategic move worked seamlessly. Hatch said host Jeff Probst had an issue with his insistence on being naked. “The truth is he was part of everything that happened in the shows and what got edited and what didn’t. And now he’s in charge of that,” Hatch told US Weekly. “And if he didn’t want me to be naked or anyone else in a challenge, they just have that rule. Can’t be naked in challenges. It’s simple.”