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Parvati breaks down her Traitor feuds, being the show's meme queen & her new super queer life

Parvati breaks down her Traitor feuds, being the show's meme queen & her new super queer life

Parvati Shallow on The Traitors season 2

Parvati spills the tea with Out about her time on The Traitors season 2 — from bonding with Sandra because of Peppermint to being annoyed by Peter Weber’s gameplay.

Peacock’s The Traitors season 2 had a star-studded cast featuring various reality TV legends. Among them was Parvati Shallow, known as one of the fan-favorite contestants in the Survivor canon.

After competing for the first time on Survivor: Cook Islands and getting to the final six, Parvati returned for Survivor: Micronesia and won the season — solidifying her place in reality TV history. Parvati came back once again for Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, where she managed to finish as runner-up but started a long-standing feud with costar Sandra Diaz-Twine. In 2020, Parvati and Sandra faced off again on the commemorative, all-winners season dubbed Survivor: Winners at War.

Even though several gay Survivor fans had already become obsessed with Parvati over the years, it still came as a pleasant surprise when she announced in Dec. 2023 — almost in time to ring in the new year! — that she was now dating comedian and actor Mae Martin (Feel Good), which essentially served as Parvati’s coming-out post.

During an interview with Out, Parvati explains how she identifies under the LGBTQ+ umbrella and updates us on her relationship with Martin. She also breaks down all things The Traitors season 2, such as how Peppermint helped her make amends with Sandra, how her feud with Peter Weber escalated throughout the season, and the main differences between this series and Survivor.

Keep scrolling to read Out’s interview with Parvati Shallow — and tune in for new episodes of The Traitors season 2 every Thursday on Peacock.

Out: How would you describe your experience on The Traitors season 2?

Parvati: It was a wild ride. It was full of intense moments and really funny moments. Overall, I loved it. And I also hated it [laughs].

You've competed four times on Survivor. Did you face any challenges on The Traitors that you didn't necessarily have to deal with on Survivor?

Yes, so many! Traitors is completely different from Survivor. First of all, it's a theatrical performance. It's like you've got to show up, and you've got to play a character, and you've got to keep yourself in-character the entire time. You don't get to drop it, ever, if you want to do well in the game. So there's that element of it that requires a lot of emotional investment and energy, which Survivor doesn't have at all.

Then there are these challenges on Traitors that are like the 'bug house' and the 'rat house.' Creepy stuff! You're also dealing with Bravo Housewives, and Speakers of the House and Parliament, and Bachelors! We don't usually have those kinds of personalities on Survivor. these over-the-top, big-diva personalities. You maybe get one or two in a full cast of Survivor, but you don't get five or six.

We don't get a Tony every season. Just some seasons!

Yes, exactly.

As an LGBTQ+ publication, we have to acknowledge that you caught us all by surprise when, almost on New Year's Eve, on Dec. 30, 2023, you dropped the announcement that you were dating Mae Martin. We're obviously very happy to welcome you to the LGBTQ+ family! Do you have any particular label in the acronym best describes yourself, or do you prefer not to use any label?

I've talked to Mae about this. I'm trying to get the right one. I think the one that works for me is queer. I think I'm queer. I always say this to Mae. I'm like, 'Okay, well, I'm gay anyway,' or, 'I'm queer!' Mae thinks it's so funny that I have such a playful attitude towards it. For me, it's really fun.

I'm so happy that I'm in love with this person and [the label] doesn't really matter that much to me. But I think that's a privilege that I have, not having grown up being gay or being queer, for most of my life. I didn't have a lot of adversity around who I was and my sexual preferences. Now, I'm like… established in myself. I'm 41 years old. I've gone through marriage, and I've gone through divorce. I've processed quite a bit about who I am. I'm in this place where I know who I am, I really like who I am, and I also don't take myself so seriously. People can say whatever they want to say about me and it's like… that has nothing to do with me. That's on them. I'm like, 'Yeah, I'm super queer.'

Love to see it! When did your queer journey start? Is this something new, or is it something that's been lingering for a while?

Oh, gosh. So, it really broke… oh, I'm writing a memoir, so you'll get some in-depth stories in there. It'll be published in the summer of 2025, so I'm still completing it and going through the edits. I'll let you know more in the memoir.

So we'll do a follow-up interview to promote the book!

Yeah, let's do a follow-up! This is a bigger conversation that we should have.

Last question before we head back into Traitors: How are things going with Mae now? We love Mae Martin in this house!

Yeah, so do I [bright smile]. Things are great.

Back to Traitors. You and Sandra have had a lot of history on Survivor. That ongoing feud did come up during a few episodes, but generally speaking, I felt like you didn't really clash too many times. Why do you think you and Sandra were able to get along this time around?

Peppermint brought us together in the very beginning and said, 'Hey, you two need to work together and drop this.' It was like a guardian angel moment. I could not be more grateful to Peppermint for her leadership in that critical moment in time, because that was all it took for Sandra and I.

We're both gamers. We're both strategy-oriented. We both like to do well in these games. We realized in that moment, in an instant, that we would be better served supporting one another than being adversaries. And it's really stuck since then.

That is the power of Peppermint for you. That's why so many Drag Race fans were shocked when Peppermint went home so early. I mean, everyone loves Peppermint!

It's really unfortunate with these games. I've seen it happen in Survivor, too. If there's any one person that sort of sticks out and can be thrown as the 'sacrificial lamb,' that will happen sometimes. It's the mob mentality. That was super sad, because I love Peppermint, and everyone loved Peppermint. It wasn't like anyone had an issue with her at all. It was just the fear and the paranoia in the castle.

I'll do my best not to be too biased here, but I felt some type of way when fans were riling up behind Peter Weber as he was trying to take out Dan Gheesling. People got very excited about Peter for a while. But as someone who's covered a lot of reality TV and is familiar with The Bachelor, Survivor, and Big Brother, I was NOT rooting for Peter. So when he turns against you and the public shifts back to not loving Peter so much, that was kind of a trip for me to see. Can you break down this feud with Peter? I mean, the guy became obsessed with you.

Peter is a dog with a bone [laughs]. It's very hard for him to drop something once he is got it in his clutches. Peter took on this mentality of being 'the leader of the Faithfuls, the savior of the Faithfuls.' I think that is his detriment in this game: not being able to kind of let that go.

I think he would've had more fun if he said yes and joined the Traitors. We could have made some moves happen. But he just wasn't able to, at least in this game. I don't know, maybe he learned something from his experience with this game later. Who knows, when he gets interviewed? But he just wasn't able to drop that sort of 'moral' and 'ethical' superiority that he claimed was guiding him.

Other men were also jumping on board with that sort of mentality, so it became this galvanizing, sort of cult-y group inside the castle. It was like, 'We are the cult of Peter, which means it's the cult of we're the righteous ones. We're the protectors and saviors of good, and we will destroy evil.' It was like a Marvel action movie, except that he's annoying.

…which is such a weird strategy for reality TV!

Right! This is reality TV. It's a game, and you're meant to play these kinds of villains and heroes. You're meant to have fun with it. That's how I approach it, anyway. Maybe I'm unique to other people in this approach that I have, but I think it's more fun to play it that way… when there's flexibility and adaptability. You're not doing it as like, 'I'm going to prove to the world that I'm a good person.' That's a dangerous move to make: to play reality television to prove that you're a good person. It's going to backfire on you.

Trishelle even argued, 'If everyone is aware that Parvati is a Traitor, let's take out Phaedra first and then we can take out Parvati later.' But he was just unable to let go of that, even if it would've been a better move. Just kind of annoying.

It was so annoying!

Were you able to develop some good friendships with this cast of The Traitors?

I'm friendly with all of them, but I don't know if I would hang out with a lot of them as friends… like go to dinner and stuff like that. It was hard for me to make real bonds and connections with people knowing that I was lying to everyone. I think that now, after the fact, we've all hung out together in New York for the junket, and I'm friendly with everyone. I will hang with them, but I didn't super bond with anyone necessarily.

Before I let you go, I have to ask: what has been your reaction to all these hilarious memes of you squinting in the castle? Oh god, I hope you're having fun with the memes!

Look, I have asked people in my life [laughs], I'm like, 'Mae, do I make that face? Is that my normal face? Is this something I need to know about myself? Do I walk around squinting and glaring at people?'

Mae was like, 'I've only seen you make that face once when we got into our one argument in our relationship, which was what we're going to have for Christmas dinner.' I was like, 'Okay.'

My photo library is literally all Parvati on The Traitors. There's literally a meme for every single context. It's perfect.

It's so funny. When fans make those little videos of me and they'll mash up the squinting face and the headbands and the faces that I'm making, I always repost them because I think it's hilarious.

I especially love… there's a guy who made a video of him with the headband with a glass of wine. The picture is like, 'No one:' and then 'Parvati:' and it's him opening the fridge and peeking in. I was laughing so hard. I think it's hilarious.

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Bernardo Sim

Bernardo Sim experiences and explains queer multiverses. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.

Bernardo Sim experiences and explains queer multiverses. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.