Exclusive: Parvati Shallow talks about her 'Survivor: Micronesia' win
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/13/2008
Parvati Shallow readily admitted to outwitting, outplaying and outlasting her fellow castaways, and they awarded her for it.
The 25-year-old former Survivor: Cook Islands castaway from Los Angeles, CA won Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites during Sunday night's finale broadcast of the CBS reality series' sixteenth edition. Parvati defeated former Survivor: China castaway Amanda Kimmel via a 5-3 jury vote to claim the $1 million grand prize.
On Monday, Parvati talked to Reality TV World about how she went from being the most beatable castaway to convincing the jury she deserved to win; the numerous blunders Amanda made when addressing the jury; how she had a tighter bond with Cirie Fields than Ozzy Lusth and James Clement; why she feels Ozzy exaggerated their previous relationship; and what her plans are for the $1 million.
Reality TV World: This morning you said on The Early Show that you were "shocked" to beat Amanda. Why were you so surprised?
Parvati: It just didn't feel real to me. Everything was just happening so fast. I couldn't believe it was actually happening finally. It was just surreal.
Reality TV World: So did you think you had a chance heading into that final Tribal Council? I talked to Cirie today and she said everybody thought you were the most beatable when it came to the jury vote.
Parvati: Everyone did think I was the most beatable because I made so many people angry.
I thought though that I did have a chance because I knew how I was going to position my arguments in the final Tribal Council. I knew I was going to have to go with, "Hey, you need to stand your ground. I made the moves that I made and not going to apologize for them. It's outwit, outplay outlast. That's the name of the game." That's what I did.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when you heard James say that Amanda had the jury vote "in the bag?" Did you spend the last five months thinking he was right? Do you think he might have said that just to rattle you?
Parvati: In that case, when James said that, I was taking it as Amanda had James' vote in the bag.
Reality TV World: Okay, so you didn't think he meant that she had the vote of the majority of jury members?
Parvati: No, because she didn't. I knew that [Natalie Bolton and Alexis Jones] were going to vote for me.
Reality TV World: You just talked a bit about your strategy heading into the final Tribal Council. Did you consciously want to position yourself as the game's power player? Were you surprised that Amanda basically ended up agreeing that was the case during her own Tribal Council comments?
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Parvati: When Amanda said that in response to Cirie's question I think it was -- or maybe it was Alexis... I don't remember. But when she said that I looked at her like, "Wow?! What is she doing? She's arguing for me to win?" (laughing) It took me aback. It definitely took me aback.
Reality TV World: Why do you think that -- for the second Tribal Council in a row -- Amanda was reluctant to portray herself as a "schemer?" Do you think that ultimately cost her the $1 million?
Parvati: I think it definitely cost her. I think when you play this game, people's feelings get hurt and especially when you get towards the end and you vote people out to the jury. Those people were upset. They were pissed off, and they didn't want someone pussyfooting around the issue and basically saying, "I'm sweet. I didn't do anything wrong. But you guys are all sitting there and I'm sitting here."
They wanted real answers, and they weren't getting that from Amanda. I think honestly that's what pushed me over the edge and got me the vote.
Reality TV World: Having seen Amanda go through two final jury partner decisions and final Tribal Council jury sessions twice now, would you agree that she doesn't seem to be very good at them and that's the biggest weakness in her game? Why do you think that's the case? Do you think it was in her best interest to take you?
Parvati: Yeah. I don't think Amanda could have won against Cirie. I think honestly I probably was the most beatable for Amanda.
I think she lost at that final Tribal Council just because of how she played the jury. When you screw around the issue and you don't except responsibility for what you've done, it makes them feel like you think they're stupid. That's the last thing that they want. (laughing)
Reality TV World: What were you thinking when Natalie asked you that odd final Tribal Council question?
Parvati: I think she was trying to pick me up. Maybe take me on a date when I got back, I don't know.
Reality TV World: Did you have any idea what she might have really been talking about?
Parvati: I was confused. I was a little bit confused by the question. (laughing) But I had told them in the beginning, "Ask me anything and you'll get an honest answer." So I answered it truthfully.
Reality TV World: Do you think the way you answered Cirie's final Tribal Council question -- and the poor way Amanda answered hers -- helped to clinch the jury vote for you?
Parvati: Yes. Definitely. I think Amanda was so emotionally distraught about Cirie and I think she felt intimidated by Cirie. When Cirie got up and asked that question Amanda wasn't prepared to answer it. She didn't do very well.
Reality TV World: Why were you all so surprised that there wasn't a Final 3? Weren't the facts that the Final 4 Immunity Challenge took place a day early, wasn't a classic endurance challenge, and wasn't proceeded by the usual "Fallen Comrades" march some pretty big hints that there was going to be another Immunity Challenge?
Parvati: Well yeah, we were shocked. As the game's been going, it's been a Final 3. We started with 20 people and we were like, "Yeah, it'll be a Final 3." We made it this far, we were like, "Yah!" Then we get back and we're like, "Okay, something's not right." [Survivor host Jeff Probst] didn't say, "This as far as you can go in the game." It was like, "What's going on?"
Reality TV World: Do you think you still could have won if it was a Final 3 with you, Cirie and Amanda?
Parvati: Umm... I don't know. I think so because of my relationship with Natalie and Alexis.
Reality TV World: What made you bring up the idea that Cirie would never be able to beat Amanda in the Final 2? Did you begin to regret it after you mentioned it? Was there some sort of strategy behind it? It seemed like a pretty dangerous comment to make.
Parvati: I don't know. I was so honest out there, I was just saying whatever I was thinking. (laughing) Sometimes I probably said the wrong things. I'll just say what I think.
Like when I was talking to James, and he was like, "Who are you gonna take to the finals?" I was like, "Girls." And the girls -- Natalie and Alexis -- were like, "Well we can't beat Amanda." I was like, "I'm not voting her out." (laughing) Those are the kind of things you're probably not supposed to say. But sometimes I just have no filter.
Reality TV World: Did you know Amanda was going to take you to the Final 2?
Parvati: I did not see any situation where she would take Cirie.
Reality TV World: Did you buy Amanda's tears and claims that it was an incredibly tough decision to boot Cirie? It certainly looked like the jury members didn't.
Parvati: Yeah, I think Amanda did have a really hard time. We all were so close and we fought so hard to get to [the Final 3] together and we thought it was over. Then we got shell-shocked with another [Individual Immunity Challenge] and I think Amanda just cracked.
Reality TV World: Before the Final 4 Tribal Council, did you and Amanda ever discuss taking Natalie and booting Cirie?
Reality TV World: Okay, so you two had always planned to take Cirie to the Final 3?
Parvati: Yeah. You saw when we're on the boat together on Day 3 or something and we were like, "Okay, this is it. Final 3. Done." Never once was I... I know I said a few things like I was going to take [Natalie and Alexis] to the Final 4 and I never told anyone how close I was with Cirie, but I had a solid, solid bond with Cirie from the beginning of the game that really wasn't depicted in the show. I respected her so much that there was no way I ever would have turned on her. That's a testament to her game play too. She's good.
Reality TV World: Was it tough to hear Ozzy basically call you a bad friend during the final Tribal Council?
Parvati: Ozzy exaggerated our friendship -- like very much so. We weren't the best of friends at all. I would see him randomly and we would say hi and talk a little bit. We didn't hang out, we didn't go out. I was surprised at how hurt he was. I guess I just had a different picture of how our relationship was.
Also I was playing the game and separating friendship from strategy, and I think he wasn't able to do that.
Reality TV World: I know Ozzy said he didn't want to hear anything from you and you'd probably written off his vote before the final Tribal Council even began, but did you try pointing out the game is different from real-life?
Parvati: Yeah, and I think now he sees it. But then, it was like such a shock. He was the first guy [that got blindsided]. He felt betrayed and I get it. It hurts.
Reality TV World: Last night, there was a confessional were you mentioned that, although Micronesia taped before China's finale aired in December, you already knew Amanda had also made it to the end of China. When did she tell you that? Did she tell anyone else?
Parvati: I think Amanda told me that right in the beginning.
Reality TV World: Did you think that was a smart move on her part?
Parvati: I knew she did well because she was brought back as a Favorite and all those people who were brought back had some serious skill.
Reality TV World: Did Jeff or anyone else ever tell you what would have happened if there'd been a 4-4 jury vote tie?
Reality TV World: Wow, you did? So did you take it with you back to camp?
Parvati: I left it on Exile. (laughing)
Reality TV World: Okay, so you were that secure in your alliance that you didn't think you'd need it?
Parvati: I was that loyal to my girls -- Cirie and Amanda. If I would have brought that back it would have caused mass chaos. We had the numbers so there was no reason to bring it back, but I just wanted to find it.
Reality TV World: How did your alliance with Alexis and Natalie form? Was it something you strategically planned or did it just sort of happen since you three ended up on the same tribe after the swap?
Parvati: It was a little bit of both -- a little bit of strategy and a little bit of, "Wow. I really like these girls and we really get along." It was so easy and it just kind of happened. I was like, "They trust me. Perfect! I need the numbers right now because me and James were in a very precarious spot over there and needed to make sure that we were safe."
That's why I formed that bond and then I came back after the merge and my ENTIRE alliance was still there. I was like, "Well okay. I've got to do something because I can't take Ozzy and James." It just made sense to bring the girls together.
Reality TV World: Did that so-called "couples alliance" you were in with Ozzy, James and Amanda really form on Day 1?
Parvati: Yeah (laughing). It just was like instant... James was just so amazing to me. He was like Superman! I would watch him karate chop trees down. He built a shelter in 10 seconds. I was in awe.
Reality TV World: Were you two actually interested in each other or was it basically a strategic relationship?
Parvati: It was both.
Reality TV World: How hard was it to go against that alliance to blindside Ozzy? Did you think blindsiding Ozzy would damage your relationship with Amanda in the game?
Parvati: I wasn't as concerned about my relationship with Amanda because I knew that would be a separate entity. That girl can play the game and I wasn't worried about that.
But I was worried about Ozzy and how he was going to take it and what was going to happen afterwards -- especially had he played the [Hidden Immunity Idol]. He would have been out to get me with a vengeance. It was a scary move. It was a big risk, but one that I felt I had to make at that time.
Reality TV World: When we talked to Ozzy and James, they both said they never really considered Cirie to be part of your alliance. I know you've already said you were close with Cirie, so does that mean you don't agree with them?
Parvati: I considered myself aligned with Amanda and Cirie first and foremost. But James and Ozzy had a different picture. They assumed -- just because we were all getting along, the four of us -- that that was a tight alliance. But we weren't talking strategy.
Reality TV World: So that's why you basically chose to keep Amanda and Cirie over James and Ozzy?
Reality TV World: How were you cast for Survivor: Micronesia?
Parvati: I got a call and they said, "Do you want to do it again?" I was like, "Oh my God! Are you kidding?" They were like, "No, we're serious." I was like, "Absolutely. I'll do it in a second."
Reality TV World: Jeff has mentioned how some of the Favorites began talking about alliances and strategies before they even knew that they'd be coming back for sure. Did you partake in any of that?
Parvati: I didn't. I didn't know who was coming back and I felt like that's just so presumptuous. And it's always going to be different once you're out there, you just have to wait and see what happens when you get there.
Reality TV World: So once you did get there, what was your reaction when you discovered it wasn't going to be a full All-Stars edition? Were you disappointed or happy?
Parvati: I didn't know any of those Fans, and I was like, "Oh, this is going to be interesting." They all looked pretty athletic and pretty in shape and like they knew what they were doing... Which, we found out later wasn't the case.
Reality TV World: During the finale you mentioned how your strategy heading into the game differed from the first time you participated in Survivor. You also described your game as "a lot more cutthroat and more cold blooded" than Amanda. Did you go into the game wanting to play that way?
Parvati: I didn't think I was going to have to play so aggressively right off the back. But as soon as [Jonathan Penner] called me out and was trying to get me voted out I realized I'm going to have to play my ass off and I'm going to have to make sure I'm on the right side of the numbers and I'm going to have to do this all the time. Once that game got going and once Jonathan outed me, I didn't stop.
Reality TV World: So what's next for you? What are your plans for the $1 million?
Parvati: I'm working with a boxing charity. It's called Knockouts for Girls. We put on events and boxing matches and raise money for scholarships for underprivileged girls. We shot a swimsuit calendar, so that's going to be released in June. I'm just like building up the charity and helping it out.
Reality TV World: Any personal plans for the money?
Parvati: Just go shopping and take a few trips here and there.