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‘Survivor’ Winner Slams Show for Making Players Compete in Underwear

“Survivor” winner Parvati Shallow is tired of watching players compete without swimsuits.

The three-time competitor spoke about her time on the show on the October 24 episode of “Rob Has a Podcast,” hosted by fellow former contestant Rob Cesternino.

While discussing the new season, 41, Shallow spoke about how frustrating it is that the show still has contestants compete in their underwear and no longer provides swimsuits. 

Shallow said she previously put up a ‘huge fight’ to try to avoid competing in her underwear 

Parvati Shallow with her loved ones on the Tenth episode of SURVIVOR: WINNERS AT WAR

Parvati Shallow during the loved ones reward on “Survivor: Winners at War.”

Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images

Shallow spoke about how a lot of things have changed on “Survivor” in its 41 seasons, but players “are still in their underwear” and they “need to get bathing suits.”

She said that when she competed on season 40 she was a new mom and tried to push back with producers about the underwear situation. 

“I put up a huge fight. I was like, ‘I just had a baby, I can’t be out here in my underwear,'” she said. 

Shallow said she was told that production feels it’s “more authentic-looking for people to be in their underwear.”

She argued that it wasn’t and “everybody knows it’s a show” — especially because “Survivor” sometimes shows the people who are holding cameras on screen — but she didn’t win the argument.

The show still has players competing in their underwear, and Shallow didn’t get a swimsuit that season.

Shallow added, “Let people wear their bathing suits, give them some dignity.”

Players used to receive swimsuits, and it’s unclear why they stopped getting them 

Up until season 36, which aired in early 2018, players had gotten swimsuits. 

“It was a whole era of ‘Survivor’ where it was bathing suits, and then all of a sudden, they switched to underwear … ,” Shallow said on the podcast.

She’d previously been able to compete with a swimsuit in her earlier seasons.

It’s unclear why players stopped getting swimsuits, but one theory involves actor and director Tyler Perry, a fan of the show who has previously contributed ideas to it.

In May 2018, host Jeff Probst told The Hollywood Reporter that Perry suggested that “filthier” swimwear that looks more run-down make it onto the show.

Season-37 competitor Davie Rickenbacker — who confirmed his 2018 season didn’t receive swimsuits a few months after Probst’s comment — previously told Insider he blames Perry’s supposed influence.

He said he believes bathing suits “were withheld” because Perry suggested the show “look more authentic.” 

Shallow isn’t the first to call out the lack of swimsuits, which can lead to serious health risks 

survivor karishma

Former player Karishma Patel told Insider she got a severe UTI on the show.

CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

As Cesternino mentioned, the decision to keep contestants in their underwear this season has led to a “lot of not-so-great press.”

Multiple “Survivor” players have spoken to Insider about the embarrassment and health risks they faced by being forced to wear their underwear on the show for up to 39 days. 

And Urologist Dr. Premal Patel previously told Insider that constantly wearing a “less-than-hygienic kind of clothing” for such a long time is bound to come with many health risks.

For example, poor hygiene on the island combined with the warm, moist environment created by wearing wet clothes for a prolonged period can increase one’s risk of contracting a UTI, especially for players with vaginas. 

Multiple contestants told Insider they experienced severe urinary tract infections on or shortly after the show — some said they required hospitalization. Players also spoke about feeling vulnerable and exposed on camera when they tried to clean and dry their one outfit. 

Multiple players have encouraged CBS to consider bringing back swimwear. 

Representatives for CBS and Parvati Shallow didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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