Shan Smith: Watching Back ‘Survivor’ ‘Wasn’t A Great Experience’ For Me

Shan Smith and Liana Wallace in Survivor 41

CBS Shan Smith and Liana Wallace in "Survivor 41."

“Survivor” can be known for having somewhat misleading or controversial edits. Sometimes this can result in fans developing a different perspective on the characters and game than the contestants or jury members themselves, or it can lead to a warped view of certain people and plot lines entirely.

Canadian-born pastor Shantel “Shan” Smith was arguably the star of “Survivor 41,” with many fans assuming she had a “winner’s edit” up until the episode where she was voted off. Her friend and top ally Liana Wallace, on the other hand, received considerably less airtime, despite being a key part of Shan’s alliance and overall game.

Both spoke out recently about their edits, and what it was like watching themselves back on television. In Shan’s case, it turns out having such a high-profile edit was not exactly what it’s cracked up to be.

Here’s what you need to know:

Shan Was ‘Blindsided’ By What Her Edit Showed

Shan opened up recently in an interview with Lauren Beck about how some elements of the game were really difficult for her. However, she also spoke in the same interview about how it was even difficult simply watching the show once she had returned home. “This might sound arrogant,” she explained, “but…I just didn’t really think I’d get that much screen time.” She went on:

It was hard talking with some of my cast mates, because every time I’d bring something up, it was like, ‘but you’re getting a great edit, it’s like the Shan show!’ But that’s also really hard because it means that you’re in the spotlight most of the time, and then there’s a lot of criticism that follows.

Shan added that she was “blindsided” by some of the things about her personal life that production decided to include, possibly referring to the inclusion of her battle with multiple sclerosis. She explained:

I was blindsided by some of the things that were shared, like my family stories and stuff like that…and yeah it was all really beautiful, everyone’s like ‘it’s so beautiful!’ But it’s also still my life! The math makes sense because Ua was always going to Tribal…so it makes sense why it was what it was, but it was still hard.

“It wasn’t a great experience to be honest with you,” Shan said of her overall experience watching the show. “It was really hard.”

Shan: Deshawn Was ‘Very Insecure’

Shan Smith and Deshawn Radden in Survivor 41

YouTubeShan Smith and Deshawn Radden in episode 10 of “Survivor 41.”

Although she was vocal about how Deshawn Radden’s betrayal of her was “deeply triggering,” due to the social and cultural bonds she thought they had developed external from the game, Shan also talked about how Deshawn’s attitude during the game could also be very difficult to deal with.

She mentioned that the “hardest part” of watching the show back was seeing Deshawn saying she wasn’t listening to him, because she was genuinely trying to, and that that was what she did for a living. “I really do feel like I listen to people,” she said. “Like that’s what I do at work, I spend a lot of time listening. With Deshawn, I read him so quickly as someone who was just very insecure, and that would just really need a lot from me to feel like he was absolutely seen in a game where it’s moving so quickly.”

She went on to say that she put in genuine effort to hear him out, but he simply kept refusing. At first, Shan explained, “I felt bad, but then it became like a thing that was on repeat, to the point where I’m kneeling down in front of this man at Tribal Council and I’m saying ‘I’ll do whatever you want to do.’ It’s like…I feel like I really had his back…and then for him to kind of hold together this narrative that I wasn’t listening to him was just really, really hard for me.”

Liana Believes Her Edit Portrayed Her As ‘Naïve’

Liana Wallace also expressed how watching the show back was difficult for her, given that she felt she was portrayed as “naïve” and “kind of chasing around Xander the entire time” when the reality is that there was so much more that actually happened that fans didn’t get to see, given the necessary limit producers have when editing the show.

“Based on the edit I could see why people would think a certain way about my gameplay or strategy and stuff,” Liana explained. “The person who I am on TV is not the person who I am in real life, and I think all the moments that you don’t get to see is what makes the person, and you don’t get to see that.”

Liana went on to say that being perceived this way can be particularly difficult since being on “Survivor” is the dream of so many of those who apply, so seeing yourself portrayed in a less-than-flattering light can be hard to digest. “You just move on and it makes you stronger, you make peace with it,” she said. “And you realize that this snippet of a person that people get [to see] is not who you are, and they don’t know you, and that sucks. But it’s okay.”

“Survivor” airs Wednesdays 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. Season 42 premieres March 9, 2022.

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Lydia Robinson
Lydia Robinson
4 months ago

I think people don’t like themselves after watching themselves. They’re blaming it on the edit but I think they don’t like who they really are when they see it on TV. It shows them the ugly truth…

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