5/12: Former Atlantan Parvati Shallow wins “Survivor: Micronesia”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Sprayberry High School and UGA grad Parvati Shallow Sunday night won “Survivor: Micronesia,” the first person with local ties to win the long-standing CBS reality show. She pockets a neat $1 million.
This was arguably the best “Survivor” season in years, thanks to a series of strategic blindsides during tribal council, more than any other series to date. This culminated in what is now known as the dumbest move in the show’s history, as Parvati noted: doe-eyed Leif Garrett lookalike Erik Reichenbach believed that giving up his immunity idol would help him gain respect with the ladies when in fact it simply exposed him to being voted off last week.
Parvati, 25 and now living in Los Angeles, came in sixth during “Survivor: Cook Islands” in the fall of 2006. She was known as the flirt and was popular among viewers.
So when producers were compiling a list of “fan favorites” to compete against “Survivor” fans, she made the final list and came back, planning to play a more aggressive, strategic game.
In the end, she did. She quickly set up an alliance with two other favorites: “Panama” fourth-place finisher Cirie Fields and “China” third-place finisher Amanda Kimmel. And she stuck with it, although she also hooked up with two popular, physically imposing players James Clement and Ozzy Lusth.
Partway through the game, though, Parvati realized Ozzy and James were real threats to her making it to the final three. So when the opportunity came to get rid of Ozzy, she ran with it and Ozzy was blindsided — with an immunity idol tucked in his bag, unused. She had done the flirt-thang with James but was also ready to throw him over the boat when necessary. Fortunately for her, James had an infection in a finger and had to be medically taken off the show.
Near the end, Parvati helped orchestrate the infamous Erik blindside. And though she made some enemies, her moves ultimately helped her win five of the eight votes from the tribal jury over Amanda, despite the fact Amanda won the last two immunity challenges. I personally thought Amanda had the votes but was wrong. Clearly, her weaker ability to socialize and connect with the other players compared to that of Parvati hurt her in the end. It’s the same problem Amanda had in China when she only got one vote from the jury.
UGA fans had to love the fact she wore a Georgia cap for much of the final episode. There, she was a broadcast journalism major, class of 2004, with a specialty in public relations. She was part of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. She became a boxer and waitress in Los Angeles afterwards and has since become a charity organizer, according to her label on the show. She moved to the Atlanta area at age 11 after growing up on a commune in Vero Beach, Fla. and graduated Sprayberry High in 2000.
Amazingly, “Survivor” has been on eight years and gone through 16 incarnations, spawning dozens of imitators, from “The Apprentice” to “Big Brother” to “The Amazing Race.” Ratings have been drooping in recent years with this season averaging about 13 million viewers, down from 21 million three years ago. But CBS has given the show a green light for another two cycles in 2008-09 and it’s still a top 15 show.
I plan to interview some of her friends and hopefully, Parvati herself, in the next couple of days and will post their reactions.