Australian Survivor’s Amy & Khanh Ong Know What It Really Takes To Survive

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Australian Survivor: Blood v Water contestants Khanh and Amy Ong
Fierce, resourceful and socially strategic, Amy and Khanh Ong have kept their Australian Survivor: Blood v Water rivals on their toes so far. They're a joint force to be reckoned with, and the siblings acknowledge their upbringing has helped prepare them for what's one of the most competitive and challenging reality TV shows.
MasterChef Australia favourite Khanh moved to Australia with his family in the 1990s, after spending the first two years of his life in an immigration camp in Indonesia. His sister Amy was born in Australia four years later.
When Khanh was in his late teens, their father Tam lost his battle with cancer, which meant Khanh had to step up run the family's butcher business.
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From arriving in Australia with next to nothing, to keeping their family's livelihood afloat, their plight for real-life survival has made Khanh and Amy the resilient players they are on Survivor.
"My sister and I said coming into this that we're going to give it everything because our parents gave it everything," Khanh tells Refinery29 Australia. He acknowledges the sacrifices his mum and dad made to build a life of opportunity for him and Amy in Australia, one that they didn't have back home.
"They're super resilient and I think they instilled that into us," he continues.
"So we've always been really hard workers and in a game like Survivor, you have to work. You're on minimal food, you have to forage, build your fires and build your shelter. The conditions are harsh, the challenges are hard, and it's all about staying afloat.
"But I feel as though growing up the way that we did, and with everything we had to go through, that it's something we've dealt with before."
Like her brother, Amy wants to do her family proud, particularly her mother whom she's very close to.
"I know how hard my mum has had to work to raise us on her own and take care of us as a single mother," says the 24-year-old beautician. "It's made me so much stronger and I know I have to be strong for her and I'm doing it [Survivor] for her."
Khanh also recently opened up about his struggle growing up in a Vietnamese household as a young gay man, and seeing no one in the local media that looked like him.
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"I never grew up with an Asian refugee or a gay man, a gay Asian or a gay Asian refugee [on TV]. I never saw any of that," he told Refinery29 Australia.
"And now being a part of this TV landscape and being on the show makes me super proud. Because, when I was younger, I never even thought that I could do anything like this because I never saw it. But now it's there!"
Khanh and Amy entered Australian Survivor: Blood v Water as two of 24 castaways. This is the first time in Australian Survivor history that contenders compete alongside and against family members.
At the end of the day, there can only be one 'survivor' so will blood prove to be thicker than water? While we have to wait and see for now, there's one thing that's certain – Khanh and Amy's family would be very proud of them no matter what.
Australian Survivor: Blood v Water airs Sunday to Wednesday at 7:30pm on Channel 10 and 10 Play on Demand.
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