Kim Wolfe's Journey From Survivor Contestant To HGTV Star

In 2012, Kim Spradlin Wolfe went on "Survivor: One World" and won the hit reality series and $1,000,000. Wolfe later told Entertainment Weekly that when she went on "Survivor," she was newly divorced and only 28 years old. In 2020, Kim, who was then married to Bryan Wolfe, decided to return to the series in "Survivor: Winners at War." While Kim did not win that season, she quickly bounced back in a big way. In March 2022, Kim Wolfe began hosting "Why the Heck Did I Buy This House?" on HGTV. After her first appearance on "Survivor," Kim fell in love with interior design and made a career out of it.

The Texas native explained to HGTV how this happened. She said, "My husband and I bought our first house [with the prize money from "Survivor"], which was a 1940s home in need of total restoration. It was the first real construction project I worked on." From then on, she and her husband continued to buy and restore homes. Kim then created her own business, Kim Wolfe Home. Likewise, she designed "Southern Charm" star Chelsea Meissner's house and was featured on the show in 2019.

In "Why the Heck Did I Buy This House?" Kim uses her knack for interior design to aid homeowners in the San Antonio area who have doubts about the property they purchased. While this might seem like a departure from "Survivor," Kim exclusively told The List that this couldn't be further from the truth.

Kim Wolfe found reality and renovation TV comparable

In the first season of "Why the Heck Did I Buy This House?," Kim Wolfe renovated seven homes in 24 weeks on a budget. She does not do this alone; her husband, Byran Wolfe, also stars in the series. He left his job to be involved in the show and Kim's interior design business. With this in mind, Kim has said that "Why the Heck Did I Buy This House?" and "Survivor" have parallels.

She told The List in 2022, "Honestly, this is just as hard as 'Survivor.'" She said, "We had to really get super gritty, and we worked our tails off, and there were a lot of moments where we wanted to quit and give up." Similarly, Kim explained to HGTV what lessons "Survivor" taught her that she uses for "Why the Heck Did I Buy This House?"

Kim noted to HGTV, "For both shows, I had to learn how to read people and figure out who they really are." She added, "I had to quickly kind of come in and assess the family, assess what their needs are and try to figure out what's going to absolutely blow them away."  The first season of "Why the Heck Did I Buy This House?" garnered an impressive 15.4 million viewers, according to a press release from HGTV. The second season is set to premiere on July 23, 2023.

Kim Wolfe's approach to interior design

In an interview with The University of Texas at San Antonio, Kim Wolfe Said, "I think a lot of times we just inherit the house and the spaces we get, and we don't feel the license and (courage) to reinvent it." Before adding, "(You need to) take the best of what you have and make it work for you, maximizing every square inch of potential." Wolfe, who lives in San Antonio, discussed her home with Southern Living and said nature and minimalism are her inspirations.

She explained, "I'm a nature girl — "Survivor" speaks to that. I looked for ways to bring the outdoors in — like installing skylights. I wanted our home to feel organic and laid-back but also modern and special." In addition, Wolfe told HGTV that animals are a must in the homes she designs. On a podcast for Hyundai, the mother of three said that her children have influenced how she decorates her home, saying that if something isn't functional, she gets rid of it.

Speaking to the San Antonio Report about "Why the Heck Did I Buy This House?," Wolfe said that she watches the episodes when they premiere on HGTV and that she gets nervous to see how her clients will react to their home's renovation. Moreover, she told the publication that she was inspired to go on "Survivor" twice to prove that women can do anything.