WATCH MAGAZINE_October 2021_Nate Burleson

SURVIVOR | FOCUS

JP: When we lay out a season, we do our best to ensure that the challenges will feature dierent types of skills, whether that be strength, balance, puzzle-solving, or some random skill set. It forces tribes to make strategic decisions about who to put in which position. When we test our challenges, I always try to sort out which role the tribe would put me in. It’s quite humbling how many times I arrive at the conclusion that I’d probably be the person they sit out. Of all miserableweather conditions over the years, whichmo- mentmade you think, “What the heck am I doing out here?!” JP: Nothing makes me happier than having weather play a part in a challenge—and I mean nothing. It’s a visceral reminder to the players and audience that Survivor is 100 percent real and you must find a way through “it,” no matter what “it” is. For my money, the heat is the most dicult to endure. Personally, I’ve had many days when the heat was so brutal and the challenge was so long that I struggled to think clearly and keep track of the score. And I’m fully fed and well-rested! Deep down, do you hold a season closest to your heart, or do you love them all equally? JP: Everybody loves to rank things, and I’m no dierent. I will say Survivor 41 had an electricity in the air from the moment we started, and it continued to the very end. You know, a lot of people binged previous seasons during quarantine. What does that say about the show’s popularity? JP: I was so happy to hear of people discovering it because I have always believed that if we could get more people to just watch one episode, they would find some- thing about the show that appealed to them. It’s such an intoxicating cocktail of ingredients: You have the epic scope of adventure, giant physical challenges, and then you have the fascinating study of human behavior. I think that’s a big reason why so many fans end up becoming players. You study the game until the fuse is lit and the drive is set. Gotta ask: How many button-down shirts do you pack for each season? JP: This question always makes me laugh! So, in the first season, we bought some safari shirts at a store in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. They were all huge and the same color but got the job done. Then I watched the season and looked like I was a kid wearing my dad’s shirts. Now we buy them, dye them, and then tailor them to fit my body. The total price per shirt is probably way more than people would want to spend. But if that’s the look you want, that’s what it takes!

Parvati Shallow Parvati was the first female player to use her charm as a weapon, masking her brilliant strategic mind under a series of flirty smiles. And during her four stints (starting with Cook Islands ), too many players underestimated these powers—ahem, her award-winning all-female alliance formation in Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites —and regretted it.

Rupert Boneham OK, so he never won the whole shebang. But the bearded, tie-dye-wearing gentle giant certainly gave it his all during his four go-rounds—especially in his maiden turn in the Pearl Islands as he swiped his opponents’ footwear and bartered them to locals. Besides, he scored the $1 million fan vote for All-Stars .

S EPT EMBER / OCTOBER • 202 1

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