Survivor 41 Contestant Evvie Jagoda Discusses The Importance Of Queer Representation On The Show
Survivor 41 added more inclusivity and diversity to its list of changes for a new era.
Survivor 41 was a season defined by a lot of firsts. First season to be only 26 days instead of the traditional 39. The first woman of color to be crowned Sole Survivor since Season 29 (Natalie Anderson in San Juan del Sur). It was also the first time LGBTQ and people of color made up the majority of the cast. Now that it's all been said and done, contestant Evvie Jagoda, who identifies as queer and non-binary (they/she), reflected on the importance of queer representation on the show this year.
Evvie Jagoda actually made one of the biggest impressions in the early days of Survivor 41 with their decision to confide all the secrets of their tribe with outsider Deshawn Radden. One could argue, too, their solid social game was a literal lifesaver when that decision came back to bite them. Unfortunately, Jagoda didn't make it to the end – but they did make it to the jury. And the Harvard PhD student in Human Evolutionary Biology recently spoke to their alma mater's newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, about how they wanted to make their mark in Survivor's history in a significant way. They stated,
CBS indeed followed through on their diversity initiative for their television lineup this year. But Jeff Probst helped set the more inclusive tone of the Survivor 41 season by asking the cast upfront if his standard greeting, “Come on in, guys!” wasn’t appropriate anymore. Ricard Foye – who would open up about his and his transgender husband’s background later on – spoke up and Probst declared that it would be changed permanently. Evvie Jagoda would eventually share her own story and address LGBTQ viewers directly, saying, “Any queer kids out there: Be yourself. You’re amazing. Love yourself.”
Some Survivor audience members and alums have vocalized criticisms of the perceived “woke” changes. Nevertheless, Evvie Jagoda learned first-hand the power of representing their identity. They revealed that they heard from many LGBTQ fans after the season stating that their message “meant a lot to them.” The Survivor 41 contestant continued,
Seasons 41 and 42 were filmed back-to-back earlier this year. So the upcoming season will likewise be shortened and equally as diverse, with some of the controversial new advantages returning as well. To find out who exactly will carry the baton from the likes of Evvie Jagoda, Ricard Foye, Genie Chen, et al, tune into CBS for Survivor 42 on March 9 at 8 p.m. EST!
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