Watching the new Survivor with Eliza from Survivor: Vanuatu and Micronesia Fans v Favorites sheds light on reality tv stars. Aside from having been on Survivor twice, Eliza is a fan of reality tv programs in general and has some unique insights. Her answers to questions I came up with, while watching the new Survivor with her, can help viewers understand not only Survivor but also other reality TV programs and reality TV stars.
What have you noticed about truth-telling and lying on the show compared to the person's character outside of Survivor.
I don't think someone who lies during the game of survivor is necessarily a liar in real life. I think many people see it as a game and look at it like bluffing in poker or something. However, people who cannot lie in the game are most likely pretty honest people in real life as well.
I noticed that Sash was a bad liar during his season, for example. And having met him, I think he seems like a truly decent guy. What cases have you seen in which someone is a real rat on the show but is awesome in person? Russel? Fairplay? Other big villains?
Fairplay has come off like a bad guy on his seasons of survivor. He plays the villain but that's just what it is. Playing. He is actually a great guy, a great friend, and a great dad to his daughter, Piper.
Which would you choose if you could be good at only one and not good at the other: physical strength or mental ability, for purposes of challenges only.
Personally I would choose to be the strongest mentally. I think even if I were physically strong, in challenges where they don't give out two immunity necklaces (which is most of them), a woman isn't going to win a physical challenge. But I'd rather be able to know I can beat anyone in any puzzle, memory game, etc.
Ideally I could choose a combination of both - because then I could do things like win the car and a visit from my mom, as I did on Vanuatu.
Who has the advantage on Survivor, men or women?
I would say men have the advantage. The strength challenges are geared towards them as are water challenges.
Based on your knowledge of the show which are stronger alliances: those among men or those among women?
Women are inherently distrustful, I think. Women backstab one another and aside from on Survivor: One World with Kim, Sabrina, Chelsea, Alicia, and Kat, we have never seen women stick together.
When there is an obvious leader, why don't players typically vote off that person?
Sometimes you want to keep a leader because you want to keep the focus off of yourself.
If someone flips, does it make that person likely to stay at the bottom of the totem pole?
Usually it does. There have been rare instances where someone who flips is able to break into the top of their new alliance but usually they stay on the bottom.
Talk about tribal. How long does it really go? Do people or groups ever say out loud, "Let's change our plan?"
Tribal is at least an hour. Sometimes two. Sometimes more! On TV it can look like Jeff Probst just asked a really pointed question but in reality he asked 10 that led up to that one and that's the only one you see.
I don't think many people change their plans at tribal. Most voting plans are set long before you get to tribal.
What do you think is the more important: food or shelter?
Being able to stay dry in the rain is huge. So a good shelter is amazing (and really only possible if you win a tarp during a challenge). Or, like in Micronesia, we had caves to live in.
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What questions do you have about Survivor or any reality TV stars?