Jessica ‘Sugar’ Kiper Talks Upcoming Survivor Format Changes

Sugar shares her thoughts on the upcoming Survivor changes.

Photo: CBS

After what felt like forever, Survivor is almost back, much to the delight of fans all over the world. Survivor’s return, however, comes with notable changes that may or may not sit well with fans: dropping the titles in favor of just the season number and reducing the game to just 26 days.

We asked some Survivor fans from a couple of local fan groups (Survivor Superfans – Philippines & Official Pinoy Survivor Fans) if they’re okay with a 26-day game setup and found that out of 216 responses, 59.2% felt the shortened days won’t be a problem, while 20.4% said they prefer the usual 39 days. The remaining 20.4% don’t really mind.

Then a thought occurred to me: how would former players react to these changes? So I reached out to some of our favorite Survivor players to find out what they think about these literal game-changers.

Jessica ‘Sugar’ Kiper

Gabon, Heroes vs. Villains

How do you feel about the show dropping the subtitles for the upcoming seasons?

I think maybe they’re going in a new direction now… like the first 40 seasons will be memorable and more easily identified by their titles. Many of them, especially Gabon, are very different. To fans, I think the themes helped. I mean, 40 seasons—that’s A LOT to remember. The die-hard fans will eat up anything that they throw at us, especially now, because of the long pause due to the freakin’ global pandemic.

I don’t expect it to be TOO different because “you don’t fix what ain’t broke,” but it’ll be possibly more intense (if that’s possible), and people will watch… that’s for damn sure. I’m excited to meet the new cast when it’s all over and they’re in their most insane phase of their life. That will be fun. It’s a WHIRLWIND.

How do you feel about reducing the number of days to just 26? How do you think this will impact one’s gameplay?

At first, I was upset by the idea of them not doing the full 39 days because the people that make it to the end have not had the full exposure to the insanity that everyone else had to go through. Apparently, they don’t give them any rest days… so I guess we’ll see on that one.

Photo: CBS

I know crazy eyes when I see them. My crazy eyes appear pretty early on in Gabon. I was holding a lot of power and only I knew it and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. So I used it to kill bad guys the second I had the chance. I’m looking out for those crazy eyes in [Season] 41. They literally push you to the edge in that “game.” I hope they all make it out okay. We weren’t allowed to do social media directly after, back in my day when it barely existed. This will be interesting.

How have you been since the last time you appeared on the show?

I’ve gone through tremendous growth since Survivor 17 & 20, but I don’t think I can thank them for that. They pushed me over the edge, so it was a long journey back. I did get to dance with natives in Africa, so that part was very cool. I really appreciated that part.

Producers of Survivor will make money off of other people’s pain for the rest of their lives, while the contestants just deal with the outcomes. I prefer scripted shows with residuals and craft service. I never applied; that’s a whole different story. I’m done spilling all of my beans for free on reality TV. I live in Los Angeles with my husband and 5-year-old daughter and I’m on cloud 9! I love being a wife and mom, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Instagram/Twitter @sugarkiper.

Written by


Wowie is a copywriter and brand strategist based in Manila, Philippines. He’s been a Survivor fan since 2001, after seeing a rerun of Colleen’s boot. Since then, Survivor has become a major influence in his life: wrote a thesis on Survivor: The Amazon, started a blog, tried out for Survivor Philippines (and failed), and went on to seek out life’s (mis)adventures.

5 responses to “Jessica ‘Sugar’ Kiper Talks Upcoming Survivor Format Changes”

  1. I just love the fact that someone from PH is a contributor and I am not alone of being a fan of the show since 2001

  2. Is there any way to receive or watch the season ( don’t remember which one) that was an app on the phone. An it showed what happened right after they got voted of.
    Right into car, to lodging, weigh in etc.
    That was a great extra of the show
    I believe Sprint had the app.
    Thanks in advance

  3. CBS’ streaming service (I believe it’s called Paramount) carries all the seasons of Survivor. The videos of the players after they were voted out were called their Ponderosa videos, they were only made of the jury members I believe. So Sugar would never have had a Ponderosa video because she made it to final 3 on her first season. On her second season she was voted out before the jury was started. I hope this helps.

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