SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols
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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.

It’s one of the best fake-outs in the history of reality television. When the two tribes of Survivor: Thailand were sent to live together, everyone — both players and viewers — assumed it was a merge. So Shii Ann Huang, who felt on the outs with her original Sook Jai tribe, openly considered defecting to the rival Chuay Ghan side. Only problem was, it was not a merge, and when Sook jai lost the next immunity challenge, Shii Ann was unanimously voted out for her lack of loyalty.

But she wasn’t done. Survivor’s first female Asian-American player, Shii Ann also became (and remains) the only contestant from season 5 to play again when she was invited back for Survivor: All-Stars. In her return, Shii Ann became the final remaining member of the Mogo Mogo tribe, outlasting folks like Richard Hatch and Colby Donaldson along the way. And while she never won the million dollars, she did get a new car, thanks to being picked to receive one by All-Stars winner Amber Brkich for delivering the winning jury vote.

How does Shii Ann feel now about her appearances in the game? What are her proudest moments and biggest regrets? And what has she been up to since? We sent the old school fan favorite our Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to get those answers and more, and Shii Ann reveals that she may be the one responsible for getting her biggest enemy cast on the show!

Shii Ann Huang Survivor
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS Photo Archive via Getty

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you’ve been up to since appearing on Survivor.

SHII ANN HUANG: Oh boy, this would be a very long answer, but here's a short version: Since appearing on Survivor, I've built a successful career as one of the top NYC real estate agents with a medium sized team at Compass. Most recently, I did a deal with Ryan Serhant on Million Dollar Listing. I've traveled a great deal and now have a lovely family. Survivor allowed me to buy a house in NYC, (which most people don't have the luxury of doing) so I've been very fortunate and grateful for the experience.

What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?

When I won the water bucket challenge on Survivor: All Stars. That felt as great as it seemed on screen. ;)

What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experiences?

Hmmm. I regret not paying attention and realizing it was a fake merge in Survivor: Thailand.  I also regret throwing some of the challenges in that first season. Beginner's mistakes!

What’s something that will blow fans minds that happened out there in one of your seasons but never made it to TV?

I had an alliance with Ken Stafford in Survivor: Thailand.  I also helped get Robb cast on the show, because during casting they asked me who I thought was "hot" and I named Robb!!! I thought he was cute.

How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?

I liked my portrayal on the show. I thought it was fair and accurate to that specific time in my life. I should probably watch the show again. I am sure there would be moments I'd be more embarrassed about now.

What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?

It was very hard to come back to real life. I would wake up in the middle of the night and see a blue light (the cameras had a little blue light that was always on when they were filming).  I also hoarded food for a long time. I was very, very skinny after the show and it took a bit to get back to normal.

Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?

Nope. I am not a person that regrets a lot of the past. There is nothing you can do about the past choices and I am glad I did the shows. What great and unique memories.

Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your seasons?

I keep in touch some of the survivors.  In the past three years, I've DM'd with Ethan, Boston Rob, Helen, Tanya, Stephanie, Rich Hatch, and Jenna M. I also did an interview most recently with T-Bird and Rob. It's pretty sporadic, but occasionally we will just say hello. I really don't know any of the survivors who were not on my seasons. Oh wait, except Dave "the Golden God" from Australian Survivor: All Stars. I actually know him in real life. He is good friends with one of my good friends and we chatted before he was cast on the show.

Do you still watch Survivor, and if so, what’s your favorite season you were not on and why?

I haven't ever seen any other seasons of Survivor. I half joke when I say the show brings up some PTSD. Even the soundtrack makes me nostalgic. Plus, I really don't have time to dedicate to the show. There are so many good shows available now. I lived through this one and so I choose to watch those I've never experienced.

Who’s one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?

Hmmm...maybe Yul Kwon. He seems like an all-around great guy.  Wouldn't it be nice to be in an alliance with Yul?

If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?

Better sunscreen.  Or post Survivor sun-damage lasering. My skin has been damaged by Survivor!!! lmao.

Finally, would you play again if asked?

Never say never. If it happened in a place I'd never been (like Fiji) I probably be on the next plane out. ;)

To keep track of our daily Survivor Quarantine Questionnaires and get all latest updates, check out EW's Survivor hub, and follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning a million dollars, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "DIG DEEP!"

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