Beef Jerky Gate
Jerri is the original villainess of Survivor, but it’s funny to think it all started over something so innocent. Jerri accusing Kel Gleason of smuggling beef jerky into the game is met with so much vitriol from fans that you’d think she murdered someone on TV. It’s a defining moment of The Australian Outback and creates this perception of Jerri as the “big bad” of the season (even though, nowadays, everyone, including Jeff Probst, is convinced Kel really did have beef jerky).
The Cowboy & The Femme Fatale
No Survivor rivalry has had as storied a history as Jerri and Colby. It starts with candy-based flirting before becoming a bitter personal feud that carries over Australian Outback to All-Stars. But the pair’s story takes an interesting turn in Heroes vs. Villains, as we get to see a more well-rounded version of these characters. A once bitter feud ends with Jerri voting out Colby once again, but this time with tears in her eyes, having patched up her differences with the Texan cowboy.
If you want to know how hated Jerri used to be by fans, just watch the All-Stars reunion, where she is literally booed off stage. It’s a grim scene and another example of how bitter and nasty All-Stars became. However, there is a happy ending to this story. After a fourth-place finish in Heroes vs. Villains, Jerri ends the season a fan-favorite, to the point where she is cheered by the live crowd at the reunion show. It’s a beautiful turnaround for someone who was once America’s most hated woman.
What we think
Even though her actions are tame compared to many later villains, Jerri is the OG bad girl of Survivor. She is a constant headline-grabber throughout The Australian Outback, both within the game and outside it. And her romance-cum-rivalry with Colby is one of the greatest multi-season story arcs of all-time. While remembered more as a character, Jerri is an underrated player who came incredibly close to winning Heroes vs. Villains. Jerri is a welcome addition to the Island of Icons.