“I will win because people like me,” Jessica “Sugar” Kiper told me in Samoa right before starting Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains. She’s right about people liking her…kinda. Sugar is an interesting type of Survivor contestant. Interesting in that she falls under the category of people that are very, very popular with the viewing audience, but less so with the actual contestants. There was a sizable Gabon contingent that really couldn’t stand her, and talking with the Heroes Vs. Villains cast before the game (which premieres Feb 11 on CBS), there were several people who did not seem to be too impressed with the pin-up/actress/burlesque singer. So I was worried about her ability to form solid personal relationships in this game. That worry was confirmed when I visited the Heroes camp on day two: While the other Heroes were all smiling and joking with each other, Sugar definitely appeared to be out of the social loop, sitting off to the side silently or lying down while the other contestants worked and chatted it up. Even J.T. (with whom Sugar may or may not have had a pre-game fling that she was looking to continue into the game: “There was something for a minute there. It might fizzle. We’ll see. I hope there’s a showmance.”) didn’t appear to be giving her any attention at camp. [The scoop on Sugar’s strategy, as well as exclusive on location video after the jump.]
Let me clear about one thing: I’ve spoken with Sugar a few times and have enjoyed our chats immensely. On a personal level, I have nothing but love for her. But I don’t matter because I don’t have a vote. And if she can’t win over her fellow castaways, she’ll be in big trouble. I also worry about Sugar’s strategy, or lack thereof. When I asked why she would win, she answered, “Because people like me.” And when I followed that up by inquiring as to whom she wanted out first, she said, “I don’t care, as long as it’s not me.” It’s exactly this lack of aggressive scheming or over-strategizing that makes Sugar so appealing to so many: She’s not there to slit throats or burn people’s socks (although she did orchestrate Randy’s embarrassment with the fake hidden immunity idol in Gabon). But I’m not sure how far that passive philosophy is going to get her in an all-star season.
Still, she made it to the finals once before and, as the video below clearly demonstrates, the woman can sing! (I’m not sure how that’s going to help her, but you never know.) Check out the video to hear Sugar’s pipes in action. (You can see video on all the contestants at our supersized Survivor video hub.) And make sure to check back tomorrow for the next in our continuing series of looks at all the players of Heroes vs. Villains as we profile Sugar’s best friend in the entire world, Randy Bailey from Gabon. (And in case you missed our previous installments, you can see Cirie right here and find out the skinny on Boston Rob here.) Oh, and to get Survivor scoop delivered right to your virtual door, you can follow me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss. Okay, take it away, Sugar…
Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS