BLACK & GOLD EXCLUSIVE: Inside the new season of ‘Survivor’ with Brooklyn-native Anna Khait

NICK VEGA, Staff writer

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In the show “Survivor,” contestants are isolated in the wilderness with a scarce amount of food to compete for cash and other prizes. Black and Gold recently spoke with Anna Khait, a New York native who will be featured on the newest season of the show when it debuts Feb. 17.

The show uses a system of progressive eliminations, allowing the contestants to vote off other tribe members from their assigned tribe. Once the remaining contestants get far enough in the show, all tribes merge together to form one big tribe and then players try to survive individually.

The show continues until there are three people left in the game. At the final tribal council, they plead their case to the jury (players who have already been eliminated) as to why they should vote for them to win the $1 million and title of “Sole Survivor.”

Anna can’t reveal how she did on the show, but her friends and family will certainly be cheering her on from week to week.

Newspaper and yearbook teacher Sean Chaffin met Anna in Atlantic City, N.J, over the summer at a poker tournament while working as a freelance writer for the Borgata Casino. Chaffin interviewed Anna and she later agreed to speak with the KHS student newspaper. Black and Gold spoke with Anna about her time on the show.

Anna Khait at the poker table in July in Atlantic City.

Anna Khait at the poker table in July in Atlantic City.

What was the toughest challenge on the show?

Bedtime was the hardest challenge for me. Between the torrential rain and the thousands of mosquitoes flying over your head and biting you, trying to get a good night’s sleep is awfully difficult. It didn’t help that I wore shorts out there and we slept without a blanket.

The meals seem to be rice and sometimes rewarded with beans. Was it a challenge adapting to the food and the scarcity of the meals?

There is definitely a limited amount of food once you start the game, and you have to ration every meal accordingly. But I didn’t really have a problem adapting to it. I prepared myself before I went out there by limiting my food consumption during each meal for a few weeks before I left. I also stopped binge eating past 8 p.m.  There were times when I would fall asleep with my stomach growling, but I reminded myself that it was only temporary.

On the show, do you become close to the people on your tribe because of how much time you spend together? And coming back from the show, did you have new friends from your tribe?

On the show you spend a lot of time with the other contestants during reward challenges and tribal councils, so naturally you build some really strong relationships with some of the other contestants. Even though we spent a lot of time together, there were certain people that I didn’t trust so spending more time with them affirmed my opinions of them.

Even though we spent time talking about our family and friends, we were in the midst of playing a game and there was always a chance that someone was lying. I had to read between the lines in every conversation.

Next season will be “Brains vs Brawns vs Beauty.” You are on the beauty tribe, Gondol. Does that tribe suit you, or would one of the others would have fit you better?

That’s a great question. When Jeff first threw us our buffs and said that this season was “Brain vs Brawn vs. Beauty,” I thought that I was going to be on the Brains tribe. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that I was on the Beauty tribe. I liked their decision because I was able to hide the fact that I played a strategy game for a living. I could have been on Brawn too, I think. I’m pretty athletic and am a fighter in my own ways. A lot of us could have played on different tribes.

After returning from the show, was it difficult to adapt back to society physically and mentally?

There is a period of transition once you finish the game. It takes a few days to get back to reality. Luckily, we are all provided with a psychologist which helps a lot. I would say that it’s harder to adapt mentally than physically.

I imagine your hometown of Brooklyn, New York, is always a tough place to be because of the people that live there and how fast-paced the city is. Did you have a hard time adjusting to the pace of the city after returning from the show?

Growing up in Brooklyn actually helped me on the show I think. The fast-paced tempo of life in the city prepared me for how quickly the game changes on “Survivor.” Every single day new problems and challenges emerged and it was important to stay on your feet. “Survivor” is a game of adapting to your current situation and making the best possible decision for yourself.

Away from “Survivor,” what are some of your hobbies? Is poker a full-time job or do you have an additional career path?

Poker is currently my full time job. I took a break from going to medical school a few years ago to pursue poker. Poker was always a passion I had and my biggest hobby for a long time. My other hobbies are playing handball competitively, reading, and singing.

What are some of your favorite television shows?

I actually don’t watch a lot of TV. I’ll watch a show if it gets enough hype or if my friends won’t stop bugging me about it. A few of the shows I was coerced into watching and am happy that I did were “Breaking Bad,” “Narcos,” and “Making a Murderer.” The one show I do watch religiously since I was introduced to it years ago is “Survivor.” My other favorite shows are “Brink,” “Mr. Robot,” and “Game of Thrones.”

Caleb Reynolds from “Big Brother 16” is supposedly on your tribe at the start of the show. Did you become close friends?

Yes, Caleb is a sweetheart. Not being much of a TV person, I didn’t know who he was when we started the show. I found out who he was from another contestant, but it didn’t affect our relationship in the game. He remains a good friend off the show as well. We had fun playing together and I am excited for you guys to see how it all played out.

“Survivor” Season 32 starts Feb. 17 on CBS at 7 p.m. Tune in for a special 90-minute premiere and root for Anna.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “BLACK & GOLD EXCLUSIVE: Inside the new season of ‘Survivor’ with Brooklyn-native Anna Khait”

  1. Crystal Huff on February 9th, 2016 3:20 pm

    Great article! Thank you so much for sharing! Awesome job Black and Gold News.

  2. Hope Smith on February 10th, 2016 2:11 pm

    Enjoyed reading the article! Good questions…informative & interesting. Keep up the great work!

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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BLACK & GOLD EXCLUSIVE: Inside the new season of ‘Survivor’ with Brooklyn-native Anna Khait