Mellisa McNulty was cast to be on Survivor: Fiji, but withdrew prior to the marooning.

Although Mellisa appeared in all pre-game production and arrived on location, she suffered panic attacks prior to the game starting. Without a reserve contestant to replace her, the game started with nineteen castaways as a result.


Due to Mellisa not participating, her CBS profile was never published. However, in an interview, Mellisa revealed that she was raised on a farm in California until she was 14 years old. Since high school, she resided in Los Angeles. For ten years, she worked as a fashion model, and after ten years of working, she founded her own modeling agency, MCM Management. [1][2]


As one of 20 intended contestants for Survivor: Fiji, Mellisa was brought on location with the rest of the participants. During the traditional survival-training period that occurs prior to the beginning of each Survivor competition, she appeared to be fine, physically and emotionally. Like all of the other contestants, Mellisa was informed about how the show works and the isolation involved. She even posed for pre-game promotional photos, including the cast photo (in which she was cropped out from after she withdrew) and had pre-game interviews as well. However, being left in the dark about when exactly the game would be starting, Mellisa became overwhelmed and suffered a series of panic attacks. Minutes before the actual marooning, she consulted the on-set psychologist. It was decided that she was not mentally conditioned to undergo the rigors of the game, and was removed. Due to Mellisa leaving on the actual first day of filming, the producers were unable to find a replacement, thus the game started with the 19 remaining cast members.[3]

She was briefly referred to, although not mentioned by name, in the opening sequence of the season's premiere.

My number one trigger [for panic attacks] is being in a situation where I can't get out. I get a claustrophobia kind of panic, I had multiple panic attacks in one day, which I've never experienced before. I tried to pull myself together, but...

–Mellisa McNulty (on her evacuation)


  • Despite her abrupt removal from the game, Mellisa still received a mild notoriety for her affiliation with the show, including an FHM spread and an interview with TV Guide. A brief portion of her pre-game interview was shown on TV Guide Channel's Survivor: Fiji preview.
  • On August 13, 2016, Mellisa married her fiancé Aaron Vaughan.


  • The now-defunct Survivor: Fiji lie detector online game still included Mellisa's lie and truth as a bonus.
  • Like all of the players of Fiji (with the exception of Gary Stritesky, who auditioned), Mellisa was recruited.
  • Despite her not competing, she was still sequestered along with the pre-jurors.
  • Mellisa was cropped out from the pre-show images that feature the complete Fiji cast before she was pulled out of the game.


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