Parvati Shallow Breaks Down 'Survivor: World Apart' Premiere, Reveals What You Didn't See on TV

18 Castaways

Survivor: Worlds Apart splits the competitors into three tribes around the new theme of white collar vs. blue collar vs. no collar. The white collar tribe (Masaya) is "known for making the rules" and includes a corporate executive, a retail buyer and a marketing director. The blue collar tribe (Escameca) is "known to follow the rules" and includes a postal worker, an oil driller and a contractor. The no collar tribe (Nargarote), is "the most unpredictable group" and includes "free spirits who are known to break the rules," including a coconut salesman, a sailing instructor and a YouTube sensation. 

Parvati Shallow is a Survivor champ and three-time competitor on the show. The OG Miss Survivor and Survivor Hall of Famer now covers health and wellness for CBS News in New York City. Find her on Twitter @parvatishallow.

This white-collar, blue-collar, no-collar twist brings up a poignant question: Do the roles society place on us (or in this case, Jeff Probst) harm or help us? And, how much does pressure from the outside world to fill a certain role influence our behavior?

Jeff is really excited about this idea — it was his idea after all so that makes it more fun anyway. Survivor has always been a kind of social experiment. Having millions of people around the world witnessing this experiment adds even more weight to the heavy pressure contestants are feeling to stand out, perform their best and make it count.

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In the show open, Jeff announces to the new contestants that they are being divided into three tribes based on their occupations. White collars, he says, make the rules; blue collars follow the rules; and no collars break the rules. With that, he poses a question to us all — which type of person is better situated to win Survivor: a cutthroat corporate executive, a salt of the earth construction worker, or a free spirited coconut salesman?

In seasons past, we’ve seen all types of people win the game, and I’m not so sure these people’s occupations are going to matter that much once we get into the swing of the season. But, for now, it’s a fun question to ponder.

From where I’m standing on the beach, (I was in Nicaragua with the press) it looks like the white collar tribe is a bit insulted at being called a bunch of "stiffs in suits." And, I have to agree. By the very merit of these ‘suits’ being out here on the beach competing in this great adventure, means they are just as open and excited about getting out into the wild and testing their mettle as the free-spirited sailors and artists on the no-collar tribe. I wouldn’t underestimate the white-collar tribe’s ability to get their hands dirty when they need to.

With that being said, we do see some striking stereotypes playing out here. The white-collar tribe is all wearing suits and office looking attire and they make a very deliberate choice quickly when Jeff poses the challenge of choosing a representative: Joaquin. The blue collar tribe, with the exception of postman Dan, appears to have hit more than a few cross-fit classes before setting out on the trip of a lifetime. They deliberate shortly and select the oldest member of their tribe as representative, because he brings “wisdom.” The no collar tribes, indicative of their free spirited, adventure seeking life style simply cannot decide who to choose. Finally, after some back and forth, they go with Will, the funny guy from YouTube who promises them sandwiches.

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Then another dilemma: they must select one more person to join the representative for some super top secret mission. Everyone watching this at home, no doubt is aware that a curve ball this early on in the game is meant to put a target on someone’s back. If you’re slick, you stay out of it. So, a buyer on the white-collar tribe, volunteers to be Joaquin’s No 1. In my eyes, So thinks Joaquin is attractive and wants a chance to make a bond with the hot guy right away. This wouldn’t be a bad idea if So was some unattractive, unthreatening schlump, but she is super hot and majorly threatening. Red hot alarm bells are ringing in the ears of all her tribe mates.

Awesome dance video break:


Ok, I’m back.

Where were we … oh yes, blue-collar tribe selects Mike, the lovable oil rigger who has somehow already lost his voice. Mike and postman Dan are fast friends, bonding over their shared love of doing a hard day’s work.

Then we come to the no collar tribe. Not wanting to look like a bunch of indecisive goons again, Will quickly picks down to earth, sailing instructor Jenn Brown to be his first mate.

Once the decisions are final, Jeff gives the couples a note and tells everyone to head off to their respective beaches.

Game on.

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The dilemma plays out on the tribe beaches: the representative and co have to choose between honest and a big bag of beans or deceive and a small bag.

Blue and no collars swiftly choose honest. It’s too early in the game to deceive, they say, and I agree. No need to raise suspicion about your character on day one.

Joaquin, in his freshest Brooks Brothers suit that he thoughtfully selected for this very experience of camping in the dirt for a month, convinces So to go with deceive. He doesn’t even consider honest. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — Joaquin’s ego will be his downfall. He wants to come out of the gates lying to his tribe without really thinking through the consequences. When So and Joaquin get back to their tribe, Shirin sees right through their piddly lie about choosing a “neutral” box. Target’s on So’s back here big time. This is a clear cut case of guilty by as-SO-ciation. Get it? See what I did there?

Not funny? Ok, moving on.

As the show unravels, we get to know some of these contestants a little more. Here are my favorite moments:

-- Blue collar Mike eating a scorpion. Say what you will, but we did not see any white collar people trying this move.

-- Vince putting the awkward, smelly moves on Jenn. The “are you attracted to Joe” speech— I mean, come on. The long, stinky hug? I’m betting Jenn will be they catalyst to a wonderfully watchable Vince/Joe rivalry.

-- Carolyn finding the idol that So and Joaquin chose to lie to their tribe about. Amazing. This woman is a hands down favorite right out of the gates.

-- Joe blasting through the tree puzzle. Again, I watched this in person in Nicaragua, and it was even more incredible than it looks on TV. Joe is simply genius, and that’s why Jenn loves him more than Vince.

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Here is my favorite move that you did NOT get to see on the show (don’t tell everyone I’m giving you all this behind the scenes scoop):

At tribal council, in the most elegant, well-spoken argument, Shirin went off on So for lying and throwing her under the bus. Apparently, there was a lot of back and forth at camp and So was particularly surprised and thrown off balance when Shirin came at her this way. Once Shirin’s tirade was over, it was clear that So was beaten. Then, Carolyn came in for the kill.

What I gleaned from watching the first tribal council in which So was voted out, was that Shirin is a major threat in this game. If she and Carolyn team up, there’s no stopping this power couple.

Survivor: Worlds Apart — I’m in.

Tweet me @parvatishallow with questions or comments.