Although Parvati Shallow finished sixth in “Survivor: Cook Islands,” many fans dismissed her as a one-trick flirting pony. Those fans were surprised when Parvati was invited back for the “Fans vs. Favorites” season and even more surprised when she orchestrated a series of blindsides and power moves leading to a well-deserved million dollar win.
HitFix Interview: Parvati Shallow talks ‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains’
This season’s “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains” featured four former winners. Draw your own conclusions, but the two male ex-champs — J.T. and Tom — were categorized as Heroes, while the two female ex-champs — Parvati and Sandra — were categorized as Villains. And, draw your own conclusions again, the two male Heroes were eliminated relatively early, while Sandra and Parvati both faced the jury with a chance to become the first repeat winner in “Survivor” history.
Despite a season in which she dominated Immunity challenges, was the power-behind-the-throne to Russell and created one of the season’s most memorable moments when she shattered the Heroes tribe with the skillful dissemination of two Immunity Idols, Parvati came up short in the voting in Sunday’s (May 16) finale.
HitFix caught up with Parvati to finishing second, her record 114 days in “Survivor” and her relationship with “pet dragon” Russell…
Full interview after the break…
HitFix: Going into Sunday’s results, how were you feeling?
Parvati Shallow: Just anxious to get it over with.
HitFix: Did you have a sense of how the voting was likely to unfold?
PS: Yeah, I had a feeling after that Tribal Council that it was going to be Sandra, just because of what everyone was saying during their speeches. No one was really giving me any glowing reviews. Then when it came to Sandra, their eyes were bugging out of their heads and they just started making kissy faces at her, so I figured she was their pick.
HitFix: What do you think Sandra did that you didn’t do? At least in the jury’s eyes…
PS: I think the Heroes wanted to see somebody stroking their ego and telling them they weren’t stupid and that they would have stayed in the game, had they come with Sandra. That’s what she was telling them and that’s what they wanted to hear and that’s why they voted for her.
HitFix: So you’re not a huge fan of the jury’s decision?
PS: Well, I was of course disappointed that I didn’t win and that I wasn’t given any recognition for the game play that I did. I played, I think, exponentially harder than Sandra. However, the game of “Survivor” is a social experiment and it’s a testament to human nature and human nature is to reward a person who makes you feel good about yourself, I think. I don’t don’t begrudge Sandra her win. I think she did a great job at the final Tribal and I think she’s a good person. I’m fine with her winning. I just wish it was me.
HitFix: What does 114 days of playing “Survivor” mean to you?
PS: A lot. I did a lot more growing up in my three seasons of “Survivor” than I think I’ve done in like 10 years of my life. It’s intense. It’s testing yourself on all levels in such a short, concentrated amount of time. It really shows you what you’re made of.
HitFix: As a former winner, did you expect to be targeted as early as you were or did that surprise you?
PS: I knew was going to have a target on me because I’d won the game before and because of *how* I had won the game before. People were threatened by me. I didn’t realize how intensely people were going to come after me and how bad it was going to be and aggressively I would have to play in order to save myself. Every single time we went to Tribal, it was supposed to be me getting voted out. That made me snap into it and just get going right away.
HitFix: How much fun was it to watch and relive that episode where you distributed the multiple Idols at Tribal Council?
PS: Oh, that was cool. It’s always fun to be able to shock everybody and that was the first time I’d ever been able to really shock *everybody*. I didn’t tell the producers I was doing that. I didn’t tell any contestants I was doing it. Danielle was the only one who knew I had the two Idols. Nobody knew I was going to do it, so it was really fun to be able to pull that off.
HitFix: In your jury speech, you mentioned that since you needed protection, you chose Russell and made him your pet dragon. Of all of the available possible Villains, why was Russell the one you chose for those duties?
PS: Because Coach and Boston Rob wanted to vote me out. That’s the only reason. It was simple. He didn’t want to vote me out. He’s the one that I was working with. He’s the one I was trying to get to do what I wanted, get to keep me there. It was working and I could tell that I had him where I wanted him, so I just kept him there.
HitFix: Did you ever stop and think of what it meant to have a person like Russell be your only and best option?
PS: [Laughter.] I think I understand where you’re going. You’re saying he’s maybe not the most likable character on the planet?
HitFix: I’m only sayin’ that you found yourself aligned with a person who lots of people probably wouldn’t want to be spending quality time with.
PS: It was tough, man. It made me realize the depth of my patience and where my patience ran dry. And it ran dry a lot out there with him. He definitely had to deal with my wrath and my annoyance and my frustration. We blew up at each other like crazy, but for me playing the game, I stick very loyal to my alliances and he was my alliance, so I protected him.
HitFix: And you never had an opportunity where you contemplated shifting shifting away from him? Particularly after the merge?
PS: If I had ever felt really threatened, legitimately threatened by him, I would have targeted him and gotten rid of him. After he got Danielle out, that was it for me. I was done. I didn’t trust him at all. And I would have gotten rid him, had thought that was a good option for me, however I didn’t think that he was gonna really go after me that hard. Little did I know. But also, I didn’t want any of those Heroes in the end, so my best bet at winning in the Finals was taking Russell with me. At that point, it was too little, too late to get him out, even though I didn’t trust him at all.
HitFix: Given how frayed your relationship was at that point, was part of you surprised that Russell decided to keep you, rather than Jerri, going into the Final Three?
PS: I don’t know. Like I said before, I always felt like I had Russell right where I wanted him, so I might have a little shadow of a doubt that he wasn’t going to take me, but Russell’s kind of… for me, he was easy to talk into things. Except for taking Sandra. He was dead set against taking Jerri to the Final, because he thought for sure that he was gonna get Jerri’s vote. That’s why I assumed he was going to take me as well, because he felt sure of Jerri’s vote.
HitFix: If he’d gone the other way and kept Jerri and sent you to the jury, how do you think you would have voted?
PS: I think I probably would have voted for Sandra, honestly. For me, loyalty’s a really big deal in the game and I think sticking with your alliance is a huge deal for me. So if he would have voted me off, I don’t think I would have respected his game.
HitFix: Speaking of that game, on the Sunday show, Russell made a big point of saying that “Survivor” is what’s broken and not the way he plays “Survivor.” Do you give that any credence at all?
PS: I think Russell’s trying to make excuses for being a two-time loser, really. I think “Survivor” was made to be a social experiment and that’s exactly what it is and it’s a perfect social experiment. It just shows you human nature at every level, whenever you’re tested. What happens when you get voted off? Does logic rule or do emotions rule? And in this case, emotions trump logic in the end.
HitFix: You’ve always been known for that social game, but were you surprised at just how dominant you were at physical challenges, especially at the end?
PS: Yeah. I shocked myself completely. And I didn’t realize how badly at that point I needed to win those challenges. I was winning them just to win and I had no idea that everyone was trying to vote me out again every time. So winning them was a big surprise for me. But once I put my mind to something, I just get in a zone and I won’t quit until everyone else has quit.
HitFix: Did you prepare any differently for this season?
PS: I didn’t. I’m really athletic anyway. I do a lot of yoga and I was doing triathlons before. I knew I could handle endurance challenges and things like that. I honestly didn’t have time to do anything.
HitFix: Last question: Would you play the game again?
PS: I would not.
HitFix: What if somebody gets to 115 days on “Survivor”?
PS: No. I set the original record. That’s fine. If somebody wants to challenge me for it? Good for them.
Previous “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains” Exit Interviews: