Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Crystal Cox on why Survivor needs more minority editors
With Survivor filming for seasons 41 and 42 indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EW is reaching back into the reality show’s past. We sent a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to a batch of former players to fill out with their thoughts about their time on the show as well as updates on what they’ve been up to since. Each weekday, EW will post the answers from a different player.
Crystal Cox is not exactly thrilled with her edit on Survivor: Gabon. “My edit sucked as the angry female,” says Crystal. “I am already an intimidating, statuesque female that folks are intimated by because of my height — but to add the mix of angry female was a classic stereotypical representation of most of the few minority females cast on the show.”
But Crystal has a theory as to why that may be, and she has a solution to help make sure it does not happen again in the future. “Because there's limited representation in the editing room, many minority female castaways are edited as angry, loud, intimidating, and outspoken,” Crystal points out. "But if there is representation in the editing room, maybe our other strengths can shine through and we are given a fair shot and reap the rewards of being on reality television, like many of our white female counterparts.”
While we wait for more representation both in front of and behind the camera, feel free to reap the rewards of Crystal’s Quarantine Questionnaire, as the track & field Olympian and sixth-place finisher from Survivor: Gabon (who now goes by Crystal Cox-Walker) fills us in on her proudest moment, her biggest regret, and much more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you’ve been up to since appearing on Survivor.
CRYSTAL COX-WALKER: Since appearing on Survivor (2008) hummm… a lot has happened in the last 12 years. I've gotten married in 2011 (to Ret. Mst Sgt. Harry Walker), I've traveled the world with my daughter to watch her compete in volleyball, and I am working for one of the best health care systems in the state of North Carolina.
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
My proudest moment ever from playing Survivor is believing in myself that I can survive in the wilderness. The game of Survivor is not for the faint at heart, it truly is hard. So to make it through on the bare minimum was an accomplishment in itself for me.
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
My biggest regret from my Survivor experience was being too outspoken. I said what everyone else was thinking, especially at Tribal Council. There was no gray area in where my alliances stood. I truly regret not having a better poker face.
What’s something that will blow fans’ minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
Too many to name, but keeping the focus on me, I was actually a nice person — even though my edit depicted me as an angry castaway. The fans only know what they see, so when folks approach me on the street, they either like me or hate me.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
My edit sucked as the angry female. I am already an intimidating, statuesque female that folks are intimated by because of my height — but to add the mix of angry female was a classic stereotypical representation of most of the few minority females cast on the show.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
Coming back to regular society was culture shock. Immediately off the plane, I wanted to eat. So, my family took me to the Golden Corral buffet restaurant. Outside of eating, it made me appreciate the little things like toilet paper and fresh running water. Though very minor for our developed country, this is reality for many third-world countries, having something as simple as toilet paper. Whereas on the Survivor set, you use what is provided — leaves (laugh).
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
There was never a point, during or after, that I regretted going on the show. From day one, I was a fan of the show. It looked intense while watching, but even more intense playing it.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
From my season, I communicate with Kenny. We developed a genuine friendship on the show and still have one to this day. Kenny and I did not have an instant connection, but our friendship evolved to one of the greatest duos in Survivor history.
Do you still watch Survivor, and if so, what’s your favorite season you were not on and why?
I do not watch Survivor as much as I have in the past. I know the producers of Survivor are always trying to keep it fresh and exciting for the fan base. I may have watched one or two seasons after mine, but now I know we are inching past 40 seasons, and I was part of Old School Survivor (season 17), so life and time has not allowed me the capacity to sit and faithfully watch.
Who’s one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
I wish I could've played against Jolanda Jones (Palau) because of her athletic past and being a former track and field stand-out. I also always wanted to play with Cirie Fields. She has been on multiple seasons and I love her Black Girl Magic (BGM). And who wouldn't want to play against Vecepia Towery (Marqueses). She's been the only African-American female winner, and should not be forgotten. So I would definitely want to play against or with any one of these amazing females.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
If I could change any aspect to Survivor, I would allow more room for talented minorities on set, in front of, and behind the camera. Because there's limited representation in the editing room, many minority female castaways are edited as angry, loud, intimidating, and outspoken. But if there is representation in the editing room, maybe our other strengths can shine through and we are given a fair shot and reap the rewards of being on reality television, like many of our white female counterparts.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
Hmmm, if asked ...would I play again? I would definitely give it another shot. I have the heart of a champion, last time I made it to the top 6, so I feel I have more to prove. Yes, it’s been 12 years, but the desire has not changed. I am definitely older, wiser, smarter, and hungrier than I was 12 years ago.