Izak and his trusty red speedo.

Over two years after he came second in Mamba’s 2007 Sexiest Man Survey, actor and singer Izak Davel has returned to our TV screens, boasting an even hotter bod and a skimpy red speedo. The 26 year old dance-trained hunk began his career starring in musicals, but first came to national attention in the role of Scab on the soap Egoli.

He has since gone on to record an album, get married and become a sex symbol; among both gay men and straight women (in 2007 he was also voted as the No 1 Local Celeb on Heat’s Hot Top 100).

Now he’s grabbing attention once again in Celebrity Survivor, stranded on the Mozambican island of Santa Carolina with a rag-tag group of South African “celebs”. We caught up with Izak to find out about his Survivor experience and to get the lowdown on that red speedo.

So Izak, has it been hard to stay quiet about what happens on Survivor? Do you find yourself wanting to tell people?

Not really, simply because I’m curious about what they’re going to broadcast. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

Why did you decide to take part? Were you always a Survivor fan?

You only get an opportunity like this once in a life time. I was a fan of the previous series but wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it.

There has been some criticism that a number of the contestants aren’t really celebrities and most people have no clue who they are…

The producers were very clever – they chose people from a very broad spectrum and each person is a celebrity from a different medium. We had Afrikaans actors, hip-hop stars, models and fashion designers. They each have their own fan base.

Well we’re not too sure about Gigi the exotic dancer being a celeb, but do you think most celebrities were too scared to take part in a show like this and expose their true selves to the public?

If there were people that were scared then I don’t blame them, and I understand if they said no. The show is definitely a personality tester.

Did that ever concern you – showing yourself warts and all on television?

Not really. One of the reasons I did it was to show that celebrities are also human after all.

Everyone is talking about the red speedo. Why did you pack a red speedo of all things to wear?

The function of the speedo was to replace normal underwear. The speedo dries quickly and in 40 degrees – in the shade – of constant heat, in and out the water, it became a very clever purchase!

Did you ever feel a little shy wearing so little all day long?

Definitely – especially as I started getting thinner as the days went on.

Do you normally wear a speedo when swimming or at the beach or pool?

Absolutely not! Board shorts are way safer.

You must have known it would turn heads – especially among your gay fans…

I knew there were going to be comments, but six days into the game I just didn’t care. It was an issue of functionality and practicality.

I guess ultimately what people are actually looking at is your body, not really the speedo! You have clearly been working out, right?

Thanks! I’m an active guy and try to get to the gym at least three to four times a week, so yes, working out is part of my lifestyle.

Did you decide to buff up specifically for Survivor?

Nope. I just kept on doing the same routine that I always do.

What kind of exercise/gym routine did you do?

Weight lifting, spinning classes and then I also dance a little in the shows that I do.

Would you ever considering going completely naked for a film or stage role?

No! The speedo was the limit!

Damn! What was the best and worst part of your Survivor experience?

The worst was not having my wife Mericke with me. And the best was that I made awesome friends, even though we were playing against each other.

You shed a tear or two (so sexy, by the way) when you were beaten by Okkert Brits in a challenge. Would you say that you’re an emotional kind of guy?

I am an emotional guy. I felt guilty that I couldn’t provide for my tribe… And I get very emotional when I’m hungry!

Is it really as hard it seems to be?

It’s WAY harder! You go in with a preconceived notion that you’ll have toilets, some food and some protection from the elements, even if the production team stated otherwise. But they were spot on: we were left to fend for ourselves. It was real all the way! But so worth the struggle.

What would you say you learnt about yourself?

I learnt to control my emotions. That’s my weak point.

Did you pig out on food when you got home?

Pig out is an understatement! It got so bad that Mericke got sick just watching me eat so much!

Why did you choose Ons Huis Trust (a residential and activity centre for mentally challenged people in Pretoria) as your charity? Is it something close to your heart?

When I walked in there the first time I just knew that those beautiful people needed support and awareness. They also want to enjoy the little things in life.

Would you ever take part in another celebrity reality show again?

No thank you. I’ve done it once! Then again, if they pay me a hell of a lot of money…

We saw you modelling at your fellow Survivor contestant Craig Jacob’s show at Joburg Fashion Week. Have you two stayed friends?

We’ve stayed in contact, but we’re all busy and don’t see each other very often.

Did you enjoy the modelling experience? What do you think of his clothes?

His clothes are funky! But I battled to keep a straight face; I kept wanting to burst out laughing all the time.

What’s next on the horizon for you – and will we be seeing you in speedos again in the future?

I’m going to get back into TV and I’ll keep on singing. As for the speedo… I’ll be auctioning it off on the M-Net website, so keep watching. All the proceeds will go to my charity.

Celebrity Survivor Santa Carolina is on M-Net on Wednesdays at 7.30pm.

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