From Survivor to Wildflower
Suvivor winner to race at the Avia Wildflower Triathlons Festival
Posted: Thursday, April 9, 2009
Bob Babitt | Competitor Magazine
Parvati Shallow took sixth place on Survivor Cook Islands. Then she received the opportunity of a lifetime – the ultimate do-over.
Imagine that you get a second chance at one of those big opportunities in life that usually only come around once. The best job ever... that you walked away from. The free trip to Europe to watch what turned out to be Lance's first Tour de France win... that you turned down. The one year you were chosen in the Ironman lottery... but didn't feel you could be ready in time. The three-and-two, big-as-a-watermelon fastball with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, your team down by three runs and you with the opportunity to be the hero... that you took for strike three.
‘What if' goes through your head whenever something or someone reminds you of those opportunities lost. You remember exactly where you were when you made those life-altering decisions, and if you could kick yourself you definitely would.
Parvati Shallow was born in Vero Beach, Florida; she was a University of Georgia Bulldog and now lives in Los Angeles. She is one of the lucky ones. Not only did she get a chance to be on the CBS show Survivor, she got a chance to be on Survivor TWICE.
Yep, after finishing out of the money during Survivor Cook Islands, in a show that aired from September through December 2006, she was invited to Micronesia to play once again for the 16th season: Fans vs. Favorites, which aired from February to May 2008.
"It was a whole different game for me," she admits. "The first time, I really didn't know what I was getting into, I was so wide-eyed and bushy tailed. I was going for the adventure. I was like ‘Ooh, everything's so new, we're on this beautiful island and we have all of these people to hang out and play with.'"
Parvati is obviously a quick study. This time around, she looked at Survivor as a job and she was there to win. As a woman who loves to box, being competitive is not much of a stretch. "I'm really not normally a cutthroat girl," she insists. "I'm not one of those people who will stab you in the back to get ahead. But in Micronesia, we had to set up alliances from day one because everyone was trying to get me - I had three people gunning to get me out as the first person. So I had to turn on my heels and play the game really hard and set up alliances with pretty much everyone at some point."
Ten people returned from different Survivor shows and Shallow had two others from the Cook Islands season to deal with. Bad blood boiled to the surface right from the start. But when the dust settled, Parvati was the one with the big smile on her face and $1,000,000 in her pocket.
Now she has a new goal and a new sport. She competed in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon last fall and in May, with the help of her coach (Competitor University contributor Jim Vance), she will be giving The Avia Wildflower a go. To let her speak for herself, here are some fun sound bites taken directly from our interview with Ms. Shallow that you can listen to at www.competitorradio.com.
• What wears you out the most, more than not eating and not sleeping, is the paranoia that takes over anyone playing the game because you can't trust anyone.
• There is so much downtime; people at home have no idea. We're there for 39 days if you go all the way, and the cameras are on top of you 24 hours a day. People just go crazy. The worst part is all the downtime.
• The challenges would be a piece of cake if you'd had a good night's sleep and a peanut butter sandwich in your belly.
• The worst part for me during the Cook Islands Survivor was being physically uncomfortable and dirty. You just can't get clean no matter what because you bathe in salt water, which makes you dirtier.
• There is a team of three: a cameraman, a soundman and an interviewer/producer. They have one crew for every three or four contestants. If you go off on your own, no one will follow you. But if you go off with at least one other person, they have to follow you. They are always there, always in your face. You can never lose those guys. The best part was that they smelled good. We wanted to cozy up to the camera guys as much as we could because you could smell their cologne, their shampoo and their clean clothes. When you get that smell, you're just in heaven.
• Jeff Probst (the host) was always making fun of people and he's such a jerk. He shows up in his big speedboat and he won't get in the water. There was one challenge where we all had to get in the water and go from platform to platform. Jeff got someone to bring his speedboat around so he wouldn't get wet and he's standing there under a shade umbrella. He's such a diva now.
• The actual filming of a Tribal Council can take two to three hours. The final one with Amanda Kimmel and myself took about five hours.
• They wanted to show me as the flirty girl who was just playing the social game. (Laughing) That was about 87 percent true.
• They didn't want to show me as being very good at surviving in the wilderness, so they cut out any footage having to do with me actually doing work on the island and getting food for people. They showed me laying out and getting a tan.
• I'm not kidding, when you get voted off, it is heaven on earth. Everything you could ever want they have for you. You're put up at a five-star resort and they have a chef on call, making anything you want to order. People are taking showers and getting massages... it's unreal.
• When they bring some of the jury folks back for Tribal Council, it looks like they have gained 10 pounds. They are so shiny and clean, their hair's all curled and pretty and we're just sitting there on our stumps glaring at them.
• When you get home from Survivor, a lot of us are crazy. Because we didn't have any food for so long, you find yourself stashing food in your pockets, in your purse and in your car.
• When you fly back home to the U.S., here are 20 contestants who just got off this island and everyone stops to get food in every restaurant in the airport. We'd go to the pizza place, the burger place, the ice cream place and we're just wolfing all of this down. Then we'd get on the plane and ask for like 20 bags of peanuts.