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Finishing the season of blindsides on the top of the pile was Parvati Shallow, a boxer and model from Los Angeles who has now earned her place in Survivor trivia as the girl who formed a successful all-female alliance when it counted. We caught up with Parvati in a conference call on the day after the finale, and a rough voice attested to the fact she hadn’t slept the night before and had been through the press ringer all day. Congratulations, Parvati!
Q: What’s it like to wake up a millionaire?
A: I wake up in the morning—and it’s excellent. Actually I don’t know because I didn’t go to bed last night!
Q: How did you celebrate?
A: All the girls went out—everybody was there, we drank champagne, it was great.
Q: Ozzy was pretty sore at you at the last jury. How was it to sit there and hear him unload on you?
A: Pretty rough. You just go through that whole experience, and it’s so draining, and then you have to go there and face up to what you’ve done in the game. And everyone’s pretty angry, and the backlash—Amanda got some too—isn’t pretty.
Q: Have you tried to mend that bridge?
A: I haven’t really put myself out there to talk to him. I didn’t want them to think I was trying to schmooze him over. But Ozzy’s a cool guy, and mature; I think he can distinguish between the game and real life, and realize “It’s Survivor, everyone’s there to win,” and not hold it against me that I wasn’t there to hold on to Ozzy ‘till the final two and let him win.
Q: What were you feeling and thinking when Natalie asked you how you translated your flirtatiousness into the bedroom?
A: I think she was honestly trying to lighten the mood at Tribal Council because it was so bizarre and heated. I don’t think she was that serious about it. But I was a little bit confused, and I didn’t know what to say, so I did my best to give them an honest answer.
Q: Someone said you played the flirt card beautifully. Do you credit your flirtatiousness with edging out Amanda?
A: No. I think the reason I got a couple more votes than Amanda is that I owned up to the moves I made, and Amanda didn’t do that. She tried to please the jury, and I gave it to them straight.
Q: What are your plans for the million?
A: Everyone keeps asking me that question. I don’t know…yet! I kind of like my car, it’s old and crappy but I like it, so I’m going to keep my car.
Q: On top of winning, how does it feel to be part of Survivor history, on top of all those blindsides?
A: It’s awesome. We worked our butts off. Those girls that I was with are brilliant strategists. Cirie is amazing, Amanda is a fantastic manipulator, and Natalie can sell ice to an Eskimo. It was great being able to work with them. Being able to pull off some of those blindsides was fantastic.
Q: How much did the thought of a final two play on your mind?
A: I really didn’t think it was going to happen, and when it happened, we were just so sad because we had all fought so hard to get there, and we did everything together to get there. We were just really upset, and we didn’t realize that was going to happen until Jeff didn’t say, “This is as far as you can get in the game,” when we got to the final two.
Q: Whose vote in your favor surprised you the most?
A: I could not believe that Eliza voted for me! My arch rival—the entire game we were out to get each other. But I guess in the end she respected that, that we gave each other a run for the money.
Q: Were you surprised that Amanda decided to take you over Cirie?
A: No, I wasn’t surprised, which is why I didn’t give my heart and soul to that last immunity challenge, because I didn’t want to be in that position. I knew either one would take me.
Q: When you blindsided Ozzy, Amanda was not in on the plan. So how did you get her to get past that betrayal?
A: I think she realized that it wasn’t a betrayal of her. I told her that day, “I know you feel like you’re out of the loop, but you’re not; you’re still in this, you me and Cirie to the end.” I don’t think she really had any choice but to trust us at that point.
Q: When you were on Exile Island, why didn’t look for the idol just in case?
A: I did! And I found it. They decided not to show it—because I left it there on Exile.
Q: Why did you do that?
A: I knew that back in camp, it would create more problems than it would help. I had Cirie and Amanda, and I figured that either Eric or Natalie—they can’t both win immunity, and if I bring that idol back, one of them’s going to want to use it, and it’s going to get crazy.
Q: Since there were eight members on the jury, what would have happened in a tie?
A: Nobody knows!
Q: Are you the new president of the Changed Women’s Man-Haters Club?
A: I love men! What are you talking about? I just think girls are craftier, and I wanted to play with them.
Q: What did you think about Ozzy’s speech?
A: I think Ozzy took some things personally. His ego got bruised and he got took down a peg. He was hurt that he wasn’t thinking. And the things he said came off as pretty childish.
Q: Did you depend on Amanda to take you to the final two?
A: We’d spoken about it right before the immunity challenge. We knew right from the beginning that Amanda and I were so tight that we would take each other.
Q: Coming back as a favorite had to be a lot fun. But was there a lot of pressure to perform better than the fans?
A: I put a lot pressure on myself to perform better than everybody! I didn’t want to be just written off as a flirt, or someone who can be taken at face value—I wanted to run the game!
Q: Did you have a relationship with James, or a friendship, or was it an alliance?
A: It wasn’t an alliance—it was a friendship and a relationship… and an alliance.
Q: Were you afraid that that was going to hurt you in the game?
A: Because of the way I set it up with Amanda and Cirie in the beginning, I didn’t think that my relationship with James would impact anything.
Q: When Cirie and Amanda kind of went at it there—was Cirie correct in thinking that she was at the bottom of the alliance?
A: Cirie was walking around with her eyes wide open. She’s very perceptive and she’s very good at reading people. I was confused about where that fight came from, but I think Amanda was just worn down and at her snapping point. She called Cirie out for playing to the jury, but I don’t think she was playing to the jury, she really was on the bottom.
Q: What was it like to sit there as Jeff was reading the votes?
A: It just doesn’t feel real at all. While he’s reading them, you’re thinking, “No this isn’t really happening”—because it’s so long in the making, and at the end it’s so fast, you can’t really believe it.
Q: Did you read anything on the internet where you were predicted as the winner?
A: No, not really, I thought Amanda, probably, would win. I figured I had the girl vote, that had Cirie and Natalie and Alexis, and Amanda had Ozzy, James, and Eric, so Eliza and Jason were the toss-ups.
Q: Amanda has gotten to the number two spot twice now. What is it about her that she can’t close the deal? How come she goes so far but falls apart at the end?
A: I think what Amanda doesn’t realize, what she doesn’t portray in her final speech, is that she actually did play the game, and she didn’t own up to the moves that she made, and how she played the game, she kind of skirted around the issue, and the jury wanted honest answers, and someone who was going to stand their ground. When you vote someone out, they want you to be like—“Yeah you got me, but admit it, and you’re a good strategist, so I’ll give you my vote.”
Q: Way back in the beginning, when Johnny Fairplay went out, before he went out, it looked like you were going to be the first to go.
A: It might’ve been me to go out first—it was either me or Eliza. That scared me into having to start to play the game very aggressively and very quickly.
Q: What were the differences between this time and the last time you played Survivor?
A: This time I played to win. I didn’t care if I didn’t have food, or if I didn’t have water—I was going to play my heart out to win; I was going to make big moves to make that happen, and get to the end. Last time, I was kind of like, “This is fun, so exciting and new;” I learned a lot from last time around.
Q: Do you have any regrets or anything you’d change this time around?
Q: Are there any things you’re proud of?
A: Yeah. Those conditions were hard—people were getting infections, and getting sick; and not only did I survive the elements, strategically I played a really good game as far as bringing together those women, and being the pinnacle of that alliance, and pulling off those big moves. Everything!
Q: Do you think you got a fair edit?
A: Yeah, I think so—they left out a lot of stuff, and tried to make me look like a swing vote; like with Ozzy I was not the swing vote, that was my idea. That was just a good story. But otherwise, I am who I am; they can’t really edit you to be someone who you’re not.
Q: You mentioned infections—back when you smashed your lip, how did you avoid infection?
A: Actually I didn’t smash it open, it was just a big hideous bruise.
Q: How long did it take to heal?
A: It was purple for I think two weeks, but I didn’t have a mirror, so I couldn’t tell if it was gone or not. I just kept asking James, and he just said, “Oh, your pretty lip!” And I was like, “Shut up, idiot!”
Q: Food-wise, what did you crave the most out there?
A: Quesadillas! I wanted quesadillas so bad—I just wanted cheese.
Q: What did you dislike the most?
A: I didn’t like the island! There were rats and bats, and it rained all the time--the elements were rough, especially coming from the Cook Islands, where it was so gorgeous.
Congratulations to Parvati from Fans Of Reality TV, and many thanks to CBS for granting us access to the Survivors this season.