We sat down with #SurvivorSA Western Cape contestant, Jeanne Michel to get to know her a little bit better.
Jeanne is a self-confessed “class clown” and Survivor superfan who lists watching the show as one of her passions. She believes that being a student of the game is going to be her biggest strength in the series, as well as the fact that she practiced how to make fire with a flint before heading to the island. Jeanne admits that she is very opinionated and one of her weaknesses could be her inability to hold her tongue, especially when provoked.
How did you prepare for the show?
I didn’t really do any strategic planning for the show because I watched many Survivor seasons and I knew the game solely depends on who the castaways are. Your game should be fluid and flexible. But physically I slept on the floor at home so I could get used to not being comfortable and not getting a good night’s sleep. I taught myself how to make fire with flint. I also ate a bunch of coconut to get used to the taste, it didn’t work - I hate it even more now.
I’m also a nerd, so I had a vision board, or something like that with my goals and plans written out on my
mirror at home in whiteboard marker.
What was going through your mind the first time you watched it on TV?
This is crazy – I am watching a scene on my TV at home that I have seen on about 30 seasons of Survivor! It was also entertaining to watch as I don’t know the people on the other tribe or what they go through. I was also blown away by how good it looks. It is a new production company, Afrokaans who took over the show, and it is Stunning. I love how authentic it looks, sounds and feels. It is being produced by super fans of the show, and you can tell!
Have people been supportive?
Yeah, people have been so good! My social media has been bananas since the start of the show! I loved that
there are already some memes making the rounds. But I also love how people are supporting a local show, and getting behind their fav castaways. Someone even started the Hashtag #TeamJeanne.
What has been the most interesting thing to happen to you on the _outside_ since the start of the show?
The day the cast details were announced someone came up to me in a bar and said, are you Jeanne from survivor… I was surprised because it had only been a few hours since the details were public. He said that he knows Tom from PE and so he saw me on the website too, it was weird, but kind of cool!
What was the scariest aspect of the show?
Well, you don’t know what to be scared of before you get into the game and set foot on your beach for the first time. But the first night the “real-ness” of it sets in. It was so dark! And you hear things moving around in the pitch dark and then Marthunis started feeling sick and a bunch of us realised we were on an island away from help if anything goes wrong! Spiders, scorpions, and snakes, dangerous things in the ocean… But after the first few nights you just get on with it, and it becomes your new normal. But my biggest fear was being voted out first! I would have been so annoyed at myself!
Next episode coming out. Are you nervous?
No ways! I love it! I am terrible at waiting the 7 days to watch the new episodes! But honestly, it is reality TV and what you see on screen is me - the good and the bad. I guess I’m am quite interested to see if viewers will see me more in a hero or villain role.
Who surprised you the most after watching the first episode?
Oh, there were a few but Ace surprised me by being so overwhelmed by having to make a big decision that he ended up in tears. Charne surprised me too. Taking the bull by the horns and floating the idea of voting Seamus out. She was the architect of that blindside.
What kept you motivated throughout your participation?
I loved almost every minute of my survivor experience. But what kept me motivated was knowing that I was amongst a very select group of people around the world that was given the chance to play Survivor. I am a massive fan of this game, having watched and loved it for years. And for me to call myself a castaway on Survivor SA Season 6, was a huge motivator and got me through the hard times.
We loved your witty quips throughout the first episode. Would you say that the show was a good portrayal of what you are like _IRL_?
Yeah, pretty much. When people meet me for the first time they often say something like, “You’re pretty funny” but with that said, I also know that I can be pretty mean. So, I try not to hurt anyone’s feelings too much with my sarcasm. I never want to be a bully or a mean girl. I fully believe that sticks and stones break bones but we can also do massive damage with our words. I need to be aware of people who are not as outspoken as I am and give them their space to shine.
Any advice for others wanting to get onto the show?
Be yourself and be honest with yourself too. It is HARD. You need to ask yourself, can you survive without family, friends, food, comfort of any kind, toilet paper, bathroom facilities, a shower, soap? You are never fully clean and there is very little food. And the food you do have is HORRIBLE. Think about all that. If any of that makes you go NOPE! Then Survivor is not for you.
Are you tougher than Boston Rob, or Sandra? Think about it. They Suffered and cried - saying it is the hardest thing they have ever done. What makes you think it will be easy for you?! It isn’t. But if you still think you can do it, try!
This was my second time applying to be on the show. I didn’t let being turned down the first time, put me off applying this year. When you enter sell your best assets. Mine is being able to communicate well and being funny. Portray that in every part of your application. Tell stories and show your skills.
I had a time lapse of me doing a puzzle, and making fire. Those made it into my entry video, and if you watched the first episode, the fire thing mattered!
But my number one piece of advice is to watch the show. Watch every season of survivor you can get your hands on. It helps if you know what you are getting yourself into, and how you may be cast in the show. Villain, hero, class clown, alpha male, alpha female - where do you fit in?!
Catch Survivor SA on Thursdays at 19h00 on Mnet, DSTV channel 101.