When the newest season of “Survivor” premieres on CBS tonight at 8 p.m., students at Florida Gulf Coast University may see a familiar face on their television screen. Among the competitors will be senior communication major and FGCU lacrosse player Alec Christy. The 22-year-old fishing enthusiast disappeared with his 25-year-old brother, Drew, this past summer to compete as castaways on the island of San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua.
When Christy first learned that he would be a contestant on the show, he was on a bus ride coming home from a lacrosse competition in Atlanta. He and Drew had interviewed for their positions in Los Angeles just weeks prior, but he was not supposed to say anything to his friends or family.
“We had sent in videos and they liked our competitive brotherhood,” Christy said. “So the next thing we know we are in Cali and although the process seemed like a long one, I had a good feeling when we were out there. When we got that call back, we just couldn’t believe it. It seemed so surreal.”
Christy said that interviewing for his spot on the show was not as hard as keeping his whereabouts a secret. Because he was out of the country, he missed a lot of lacrosse practices and had to drop his summer courses. A lot of people grew curious.
“All summer people were blowing up my phone like, ‘Where’s Alec?’” Christy said. “Later when the cast was released to the public, no one could believe it.”
Because the show has already been filmed but has not yet been aired, Christy is not allowed to reveal any information that will be might hint to the season’s results. When talking about what viewers can expect, Christy refers to anything that he went through as a mysterious event that will happen in the future.
The theme of “Survivor” season 29 is “Blood Versus Water”, which means that nine pairs of loved-ones will compete against each other throughout the competition, but only one individual will win. Alec and Drew will ultimately be pitted against each other if they make it far enough into the challenge, even if they are placed in the same tribe from the beginning.
“I want to win, but I want Drew to be in the game too, so it’s tough,” Christy said. “You also have to have the mindset that this is an individual game, but there are so many loved ones in Blood versus Water that it’s so different from the normal.”
Christy feels that his biggest strength in the competition will be his experience and awareness of living outdoors in nature. He feels that surviving will be the easy part, but the social context of the game will be the real challenge. His competitive nature between he and his brother may also be a driving factor throughout the show as well. In an interview with CBS, Alec and Drew shared what they thought the other’s biggest weakness would be throughout the competition.
“I see his mouth being a liability,” Drew said about Alec while sitting next to him. “He has diarrhea of the mouth sometimes, and he just needs to learn when to shut the hell up.”
Alec responded immediately by saying, “Well you know, Drew thinks he has it all figured out sometimes, and he definitely doesn’t. That can piss me off.”
Executive producer and game show host Jeff Probst, shared his opinion of each duo in the competition in a preview for the show. When it was time to discuss the Christy brothers, Probst predicted that Drew’s persona might make waves with his competitors.
“He’s cocky, he’s got a swagger,” Probst said. “I think Drew’s biggest obstacle will be Drew. I think he can rub people the wrong way, but it’s unknown if he can quickly reassess and adapt and become a little bit more low key. Alec, I think, is a bit of a dark horse. Sometimes the younger brother rises above and surpasses.”
Christy says that his plan going into the game is to avoid becoming a target. He doesn’t want to come off too strong, but he wants to be socially embedded into the game to keep going.
“Our mindsets will probably change,” Christy said. “It’s Survivor, and anything can happen, so we are just hoping to play as hard as we can and hope for the best. We are going to play hard and smart and get through the tests of physical, emotional and mental strength.”
Although Christy isn’t allowed to discuss the outcome or any specific details from the competition, he can share how it changed his life. His appreciation for his friends and family as well as simple things such as running water, ice cubes and comfort foods like Oreos were almost overwhelming when he first arrived back in the United States.
“I am just so thankful for everything that my parents have provided,” Christy said. “People live in poverty there and to see them not live much better than we did, it was such a realization. You get home and try to live normal again and it took a while. My buddy was about to throw the corner of his sandwich out and I stopped his hand and ate his sandwich. It’s crazy, but that’s how hungry I was out there. It was such an experience and I didn’t realize how strong I was. It was not easy but it was awesome.”