‘Survivor’ 41 Star Shan Smith Talks What She Believes Is a Double Standard

by Maria Hartfield

CBS Survivor contestant Shan Smith isn’t shy about speaking her mind on the different challenges women face as opposed to men on the reality show. Warning, spoilers for Season 41 of Survivor below.

The Emmy Award-winning series is back after 20 years. The reboot features 18 new castaways stranded in the beautiful islands of Fiji. Divided into three tribes of six, the newest season is arguably one of the most dangerous in the history of the show. Players must choose between personal risk and reward while competing in mental and physical challenges amidst constant social conflicts. The last one standing is rewarded with $1 million and the title of Sole Survivor.

34-year-old Shan Smith is possibly one of the best contestants on the show, mostly due to her passion for the competition. Originally placed on the ill-fated Ua tribe, Shan developed an alliance with Ricard Foye as well as fellow Yase tribe member Liana Wallace. Smith strategically manipulated her tribemates moving her into a position of power. In the end, Shan fell out of her tribe’s good graces and was brutally blindsided by her former ally Richard.

‘Survivor’ Castmember Speaks Out

Upon elimination, Shan weighed in on how women have to navigate the game versus men.

“I think there’s always room to grow, for sure, and stuff to learn from how you play Survivor,” Shan said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “But I know myself, and I know I wouldn’t have gotten as far in the game as I had, had I not been a good listener. I wouldn’t have been able to pull off the stuff that I did, had I not been a good listener. So I know that I’m capable of listening. It gets tricky when you’re working with alpha males, or men who are particularly sensitive, and I honestly will stand my ground on that. I really do feel like that was the case here [with Ricard Foye and Deshawn Radden], because I didn’t have that issue with Danny. I didn’t really have that issue with Liana [and] I didn’t have that issue with Genie, or Brad, or anybody else.”

Basically, Shan’s saying that CBS edited the series to turn the tables and make it seem as if she was the tyrant. She mentions that she was criticized even after she went along with not only Foye’s plan but also Radden’s.

“Ricard [Foye] didn’t want to do Heather,” Shan explained. “He wanted to do Naseer, and we talked about it like we always do. We fought about it like we always do, and I voted with him. You know what I mean? The same thing with Deshawn [Radden]. Deshawn threw a whole tantrum at Tribal. I’ve never once seen a man kneel before a woman in Tribal and say, ‘What do you want to do? I’ll do whatever you want to do,’ And it goes their way. I’ve never seen that. And I did that in Tribal, knelt before him and asked him what he wanted to do, and that I wouldn’t vote outside of him. And I didn’t. I voted with him.”

Tune in to Survivor on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST via CBS.