‘Survivor’ Contestant Parvati Shallow Says Producers Encourage Players to ‘Push Boundaries’

by Anna Dunn

Former Survivor contestant Parvati Shallow just revealed some inside details on how the show really works. Shallow is a four-time player of the show. She won Survivor: Micronesia, so she’s seen her fair share of behind-the-scenes work.

In a new interview, the contestant explained how production likes to encourage players to “push boundaries.” That makes for good TV. In an interview with Behind the Velvet Rope, the winner gave us the details about how production likes contestants to operate.

First, production will ask questions that don’t give anything away. But they may encourage contestants to think about things from a new perspective.

“They’ve asked me questions and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t even think about that. Like, wow, good question!’ They won’t feed you any information. They’re not like telling you stuff, but they’ll ask questions in [a way] that caused me to think about things that I wasn’t thinking about or seeing before myself,” she explained.

Why? Well, they want to make compelling TV. Of course, they do everything not to be so upfront that they manipulate contestants into making certain decisions. But sometimes, it’s clear that they want players to push boundaries and think outside the box.

‘Survivor’ Producers Actually Like it When Contestants Don’t Do What They’re Told

Of course, there are some rules that have to be followed. However, Shallow explained that there are some boundaries that producers actually want contestants to push. That makes things interesting.

“You don’t have to do what you’re told. That’s the thing about ‘Survivor.’ They love when you don’t do what you’re told, but like you still play within certain bounds. There’s certain bounds of play that’s appropriate, but they love when people push past, like when Russell went and started looking for idols without clues, they love that. And now they’ve integrated that as part of the game,” she continued.

So while producers won’t manipulate the show, it’s clear that they do try to keep things exciting. Considering that Survivor’s on its whopping 41st season, they’ve clearly found a balance that works. And they’ve definitely done that for this season, especially the last few episodes. The recent season of survivor has had some thrilling moments, though it would be nice to see it without as many twists.

It recently saw one of the season’s strongest competitors go home without even playing her idol, becoming the second person this season to do that. It’s also seen a fake idol move and some incredibly emotionally powerful moments. Now, it’s in the final six and has a unique and diverse set of people remaining.

If you want to catch up, you can find the episodes on Paramount +. New episodes air every Wednesday at 8/7 Central on CBS.