With CBS committing to more diversity last year, both Survivor 41 and Big Brother 23 had at least 50% people of color making up their respective casts. Things got interesting, though, when both shows manifested powerful all-Black alliances for the first time as a result of the change. We saw it play out on Big Brother first (since it was live during the summer), with a six-player “Cookout” alliance taking themselves all the way to the end. Naturally, a lot of comparisons were drawn when Survivor started airing episodes in September that showcased a similar but ultimately divergent strategy. Now, Survivor 41 fan-favorite Shan Smith is addressing those comparisons with new insight, as well as sharing her hope for Season 42.
An obvious similarity was that both “Cookout” alliances had a strong Black woman steering the ship. Namely, Shan Smith’s epic strategic moves throughout Survivor 41 put her at the forefront to win, and the same was expected of Tiffany Mitchell on Big Brother 23. But apparently, the comparison goes much deeper than that, according to Smith. She said on Rob Had A Podcast recently that she actually came up with the same “buddy” strategy that Mitchell created on her show, even if it wasn’t shown that way on screen. The notorious pastor revealed,
It was clear almost immediately that the rules of the game of Survivor were going to hinder its all-Black Cookout-esque alliance. Where Big Brother 23's team was able to crown the first Black winner, Survivor 41’s alliance eventually fell apart, starting with Shan Smith's own ousting. Yet, despite the endings looking different for the two shows, it all still holds meaning for Smith, who says she saw herself in Tiffany Mitchell and the rest of their team in the BB Final 6. She reflected,
Though the jury didn't crown a Black Survivor 41 winner, one of their Cookout alliance members Deshawn Radden did make it to Final 3. Erika Casupanan took home the title of Sole Survivor in a landslide vote, making her the first woman of color to win on the show since Natalie Anderson in 2014 and the first Canadian ever. As for Shan Smith, she hopes that what transpired can be built upon in Season 42:
The new twists and advantages started in Season 41 are expected to return again in Season 42, which spells more of the same difficulty for any future all-Black alliance hoping to outlast on Survivor. But if we get another Shan Smith in what’s to come, who has learned from the mistakes of the past, then we should be in for another treat. Stay tuned when Survivor 42 premieres on CBS on March 9 in the 2022 TV schedule!
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