Parvati from 'Survivor' dishes on her new show, beating up 'Big Brother' contestants, and whether she'll ever return to the island
It’s not like Parvati Shallow is short on money, having already won over a million dollars courtesy of three appearances on Survivor (including winning Survivor: Micronesia). But that won’t stop the cheapskate from trying to travel the globe without paying a single penny. Starting on July 5th, she’ll be starring on CBS.com’s Around the World For Free, taking over for previous host Jeff Schroeder (of Big Brother and Amazing Race fame). On the show, Parvati will spend 100 days on the road — with rides, shelter, and meals provided by viewers themselves. (She gets four free flights along the way to handle longer journeys.) Viewers will also help determine where Parvati goes next on her journey via an online interactive map at cbs.com/world. I talked with the Survivor champ/minx to get the lowdown on her latest adventure.
Okay, Parvati, tell me what the hell you’ve gotten yourself into this time.
Basically, this is my dream come true from the day I was born. I love more than anything in the world to travel, and meet people, and learn about different cultures. And being able to do that and meet people from incredibly remote places like shamans in the Amazon rain forest or Bushmen in the Kalahari Desert, I am so excited. It’s going to open up this whole new way of life for me and for everybody that’s watching the show.
How many boys do you plan to seduce on this trip?
[Laughs] At least one in every country.
That’s how you’ll get around for free, I suppose then. So this show used to be hosted by Jeff Schroeder from Big Brother. Does that mean you’re now taking his sloppy seconds?
I never watched Jeff on Big Brother. Big Brother to me, I find it to be a little less than exciting.
I definitely think I’m going to make this my own. I have a very strong personality and very strong opinions on the direction I want to take this show in. It’s going to be much more focused on adventure, culture, meeting people in more remote places. I know Jeff kind of trekked around big cities, and I want to be in the jungle, in more uncomfortable places where people aren’t given all the comforts that we have in America. I want to experience life.
So what you’re saying, basically, is that you’re tougher than Jeff Schroeder.
I’m definitely saying I’m tougher than Jeff Schroeder! And if he wants to have a boxing match to prove it, I am down for that.
Your fellow Survivor villains Russell and Boston Rob also have new shows coming out. Why should people watch yours instead of theirs?
Because I’m cooler. Because I beat both of them! Also, with this show, I’m the first girl to do it — to go out there and travel on her own with no money. Basically, I’m independent. I’m relying on myself to get from place to place but I’m also building this huge team behind me to support me on this journey. It’s very raw and very real time and very in the moment, and that’s where I excel.
On this show, you’re really dependent on the kindness of others. Who is the former Survivor contestant that would be least likely to help you?
I think, honestly, every Survivor contestant would help me because they all want to be back on TV.
Even Sugar Kiper?
Definitely Sugar! I was thinking maybe Jonny Fairplay, but I know he would want to be back on TV so he would help me for sure. He would send me someplace horrible, but even sending me somewhere horrible is still helping me.
How shamelessly are you going to be pimping your new Santa Monica spa/gym, ESP Wellness Center, throughout the course of the show?
You can expect ESP Wellness Center to throw up all over your face. It’s a huge part of the show. I’m leaving, essentially, my home, which is ESP, that I’ve spent the past year-and-a-half building with my blood sweat and tears — and I’m leaving it. It’s like my child. So I’m definitely going to be checking back in, finding out what’s going on in the studio, and how our clients are progressing.
You told me earlier this year you were done with Survivor and I said I didn’t believe it and that you’d return one more time. Where is your head at now as far as appearing on Survivor again at some point?
I definitely think every thing I’ve done in my life has prepared me for this show. I think competing on Survivor three times has prepared me for being able to do Around the World for Free. I think that I’m moving in a new direction and I’m pretty much closing the book on Survivor, but I’m taking those lessons that I learned from that experience with me as I move forward and take on this new challenge.
You’re full of it, Parvati. You’ll be back.
Never! Well, I don’t want to say never, because we all know what happens when I say that.
Follow Dalton on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss. And enjoy a classic clip below of Parvati and Russell arguing over who should have won Survivor: Heroes vs Villains.