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'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villians': Runner-up Parvati on flirting, cuddling with Russell

May 17, 2010 |  4:06 pm

Parvati Parvati Shallow may not have won this season of "Survivor," but she proved to many viewers -- and her own tribe mates -- that she was much tougher than everyone thought. After dominating a number of physical challenges, she showed she was a strategic player by making bold moves like playing two immunity idols. Her downfall? Aligning with Russell Hantz, the show's most infamous villain. On Monday, we talked to Parvati -- who was admittedly bummed -- about why she thought she deserved to win, how she read frenemy Amanda so well and how -- oh, how? -- she could cuddle with Russell.

How are you?

Oh, I’ve been better.

So you’re disappointed?

Of course. I played so hard. I fought so hard to be there every single day and they tried to get me voted out every time we had a vote — even before we had a vote. It was a big old bummer not to be recognized as the best player.

Do you think being aligned with Russell is what got you in the end?

I think that had a lot to do with it. I didn’t inflate anyone’s ego. I didn’t try to make anyone feel good about themselves. Amanda and Candice sealed my fate. They didn’t want to see me in the end, and they certainly didn’t want to see me win again.

What’s up with you and Amanda? Are you guys friends?

Amanda and I have serious trust issues. We have a real problem actually believing what everyone is saying, so we don’t have a solid foundation for a friendship. We haven’t really had a friendship since the game — after I won, she really had hard feelings because we played that game together from the first day to the last day.

How were you so sure you should play the two idols after having that discussion with Amanda?

Amanda is so readable. Everything that she’s thinking is plastered across her face. “Oh, babe, I’m so confused, my head hurts!” And I’m like, “God, you’re a bad actress,” because I know how smart she is and I played with her before.

Everyone says you’re such a flirt. Do you think that’s a fair assessment?

I think my personality in general is just warm and friendly and I can connect and form a bond with pretty much everyone. I think some misconstrue it as wanting to go home with them.

Speaking of flirting: How could you cuddle with Russell? That’s wrong.

It was freezing out there. Like, freezing. I have a good friend that’s a NAVY Seal and he goes in pools where the water is 60 degrees, and he jokes you get over your homophobia real quick. I would have snuggled with a rat. I didn’t give a ....

You’ve played “Survivor” for so long now. How has it affected your life?

I always say I went to Survivor University for grad school. I’ve learned so much more about life and myself and how relationships work in such a short amount of time. I’m extremely thankful, but I’m also thankful for it to be over.


It makes my hair fall out. My nails break. I gain weight and lose weight. I feel like I’ve puffed out.

Speaking of looks, why does everyone get so dolled up once they’re on the jury?

I mean, that’s pretty much the only thing you have after you’re voted out.

You know Russell maybe better than any of the other players. Why do you think he’s so stubborn about admitting he’s bad at the social aspect of the game?

I mean, think about it. Russell has played back-to-back games. He just snapped. The way he plays is so balls to the wall, he can’t pull back at all. He started out at a full spring on the first day, and on the last day he’s going to explode.

Why didn’t you ever back down from him?

Not much scares me. I came from boxing. I’ve kind of been everywhere. I grew up in a commune. I’ve met a lot of different types of people and no one intimidates me. No one is going to fluster me and make me paranoid.

What’s next for you?

I’m starting a wellness center in Santa Monica, Calif. called ESP Wellness. We’re shooting to open maybe in the beginning of August. I just signed the lease. I’ll teach yoga. I do raki and other different classes.

-- Amy Kaufman (follow me on Twitter @AmyKinLA)

Photo: Parvati Shallow was the runner-up on this season of "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains." Credit: CBS.


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