Survivor: Island of the Idols

Episode 8 & 9 – Hot or Not

A special message from Ali & Gus.

Photo: CBS

Hello everyone,

Due to the sensitive nature of last week’s episode, we feel it’s inappropriate to give a traditional Hot or Not. We would like to change this week’s Hot or Not format to reflect the extreme circumstances of this episode.

Survivor typically provides escapism from week to week, but at the moment, it is a shocking and devastating look at the way assault and harassment are treated across the board. Part of our love for this show stems from its ability to reflect the world at large, and sometimes that reflection is ugly. Sometimes that reflection shows us that we need to do better.

There are no words that can really capture how we feel at this moment, especially given that Ali is a sexual assault survivor who wasn’t believed when she spoke out. All we can ask in the wake of this episode is that we all take a moment to reflect on how we treat others and to make a commitment to listen to one another more fully.

To Kellee, who bravely spoke up about her experience in the midst of enormous risk, we would like to award a Hottest.

To Janet, who sought to defend Kellee and the other women on the tribe, and received incredible backlash for doing so, we would like to award Hottest.

To Jamal, who was at times an imperfect ally to the women on the show, but defended a woman’s right to be heard when it mattered most, we would like to award a Hot.

To Karishma, who kept her humanity in a cutthroat game, shielding Jamal’s body from the sun and expressing love for Janet in a time of need, we would like to award a Hot.

To those who have stood by others at their lowest moments, providing love and support even in the midst of backlash, we would like to award an honorary Hottest.

To those triggered by this episode, you are the true definition of survivor. You are loved. You are valued. You are believed. You deserve better. A wise teacher once told Ali, “what happened to you is a part of you, but it doesn’t define you.” We would like to award all the survivors who have had the courage to speak out, and to those who valiantly soldier on in private, an honorary Hottest.

Be kind to one another,

Ali and Gus

Written by

Alexandra Shields

Alexandra “Ali” Shields is a sketch writer and playwright from Chicago and a graduate from Northwestern University. Alexandra has published humor articles with The Second City Network and Alexandra’s play, Twelve, won first place in the Jackie White National Memorial Playwriting Contest in 2018. Ali writes Inside Survivor’s weekly Hot or Not feature with her fiancé Gus.

Gus Schlanbusch

Gus is a Chicago-based theater artist and Survivor fan. He and his fiancée Ali also co-run a small theater company and produce a podcast about The Wheel of Time called “Wheel Takes.” When he’s not busy with all of that, he’s probably playing board games. Gus writes Inside Survivor’s weekly Hot or Not feature with Ali.

3 responses to “Episode 8 & 9 – Hot or Not”

  1. Thank you for this blog today. Last episode was heartbreaking and infuriating.
    Ali, I am so sorry that happened to you. I commend your courage in finding your own personal way through Hell and not letting it stop you from doing awesome things like your blogs. You GO, girl.

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