“Survivor 41” represented the dawn of the new era for the beloved reality competition show. Not only did the latest season include new twists and new advantages, but it also included the most diverse cast in the show’s history, with over 50% of the contestants being People of Color and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Survivor 41” contestant Evvie Jagoda recently spoke to The Harvard Crimson about the importance of queer representation on TV.
Evvie Jagoda on the Importance of Queer Representation
On “Survivor,” Evvie Jagoda was the savvy strategist with a solid social game. In real life, she is a Ph.D. student at Harvard University and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Evvie is also the first non-binary contestant in “Survivor” history. She uses she/they pronouns. Evvie chose to keep her education under wraps but didn’t hesitate to share her sexual identity with her fellow castaways.
Evvie spoke to The Harvard Crimson in December 2021 about her experience on “Survivor” and the importance of queer representation in media. She told the publication that her decision to appear on “Survivor” was driven by her desire for more queer representation on TV.
“Part of the reason I wanted to do the show was to be able to put that message out there and be someone that people do get along with and wanna play ‘Survivor’ with, and be my full queer self, wearing rainbow boxers and a bow tie,” she told the outlet.
Evvie said that the decision to be open about her sexual identity on the show was never a question for her.
“Being loud and proud and joyful about my queerness is just 100% integral to who I am. I literally have a tattoo that says ‘gay’ with a rainbow flag on it. Because that is what queerness is to me,” she told the publication. “I think the only way that you can play ‘Survivor’ is to go in with as authentic of yourself as possible, because that’s how you connect with people and build relationships.”
Evvie opened up to The Harvard Crimson about how it felt to be a part of the most diverse season of “Survivor,” telling the publication, “It was really, really special to be a part of that.”
CBS Signed a Diversity Pledge
In November 2020, CBS announced a diversity pledge which stated that from now on, all unscripted programming will have casts “with at least 50% of the contestants being Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), beginning in the 2021-2022 broadcast season.”
CBS Programs like “Survivor,” “Big Brother,” and “Love Island” have been criticized in the past for their lack of diversity. Season 23 of “Big Brother,” which aired in the Summer of 2021, crowned the first black winner in the show’s history, and fans thanked the diversity pledge for making that possible. In November 2020, CBS executives released a statement letting viewers know the network will be more committed to inclusivity and diversity in the future.
“The reality TV genre is an area that’s especially underrepresented, and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production, and all phases of storytelling,” said George Checks, Chief Executive for the CBS entertainment group.
“Survivor 42” will air in the spring of 2022.