‘Survivor’ Contestant Shan Smith Talks Comparisons to Another Reality Show

by Jacklyn Krol

Former Survivor competitor Shan Smith spoke out about the comparisons between the hit CBS show and Big Brother.

In an interview with Rob Had A Podcast, Smith discussed how the network has been committed to more diversity. Both reality series had at least half of their casts as diverse, non-White people. Big Brother aired first and fans praised the depictions of all Black alliances, something that was not seen often before. Similarly, Survivor 41 committed to the diversity inclusion and also showcased alliances. This was discussed amongst numerous fans on Reddit threads and fan forums.

“The strategy of the [Big Brother] Cookout was very similar to that of the [Survivor] ‘camp-out,’” she explained. Each of the contestants locked on to a fellow contestant to serve as their friend, companion, and ally. She had her rock, Ricard Foye while Danny McCray had Syd Segal. Evvie Jagoda had Liana and Deshawn had Heather Aldret.

“So basically, all we have to do is keep our people close and then just kind of go down that. So we just talked about that as being strategy,” she continued. “But we didn’t push it as much as I think the Cookout did. [Ours] wasn’t as marketed as their strategy, that’s fine.”

‘Survivor’ and ‘Big Brother’ Conclusions

As always, a warning to our Outsiders, spoilers are ahead if you’re not caught up with either CBS series.

Big Brother 23 finally crowned their first-ever Black winner, Xavier Prather. Survivor 41 crowned its first Canadian winner, Erika Casupanan. While the second show didn’t see a Black winner to some people’s disappointment, Smith said that it was still an epic season and had a great impact for viewers.

“It was really moving for me to see just how well that [Cookout] strategy was executed,” she gushed. “Everyone in the final were all people of color. It was really, really beautiful to see the final six, all Black people, in a year where Black people were just at the bottom.” She referred to the past year with the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19 deaths.

“It was just such a beautiful moment,” she added. “And it was hard, too, because I knew where Survivor was going and I knew how Survivor ended…our whole thing gets cannibalized, and it just felt like I had worked so hard for nothing, and it was hard. It was really, really frustrating.”

Overall, she learned a lot during her time on the show and so did viewers and contestants.

“We learned a lot. One victory, one lesson, so Big Brother was the victory and Survivor was the lesson. I hope they get it right in 42. I hope it’s a great season in 42. The bigger thing is, can we work together? So there’s a lot to learn there,” she concluded.