“Survivor” is back with new twists and a new group of castaways. The show premiered on Wednesday September 22nd after a long hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions. In July 2021 Jeff Probst posted a teaser for the new season on his Instagram, in which he compared Survivor 41 with “a monster in a horror movie”. In the video, Probst teases that the new season is more dangerous than ever and calls it the “dawn of a new era”.
The new changes in the game require a tougher group of castaways. One of those castaways is 34-year-old Shantel Smith. According to her CBS bio, Shantel currently serves as a pastor in Washington, DC. She describes herself as passionate, authentic and resilient.
What you need to know about Shantel Smith:
Shantel revealed to Entertainment Weekly that she is battling multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system. Shantel told the point of sale that she did not want her fellow shipwrecked to find out about her condition.
“I know when people hear that they often think of someone who is in a wheelchair or who is always tired, but I’ve worked really hard in life just to develop a lifestyle that will keep me strong … I don’t want that the other players know that because I think they see it as a weakness, but it’s actually my strength. ”
Shantel uses her social media platform to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis, commonly known as MS. In August 2019, she shared a post with a long caption on Instagram to celebrate that she is lesion-free. She wrote: “This girl is lesion free! No new lesions and no new disease activity. ”She ended the post with #mswarriors.
Shantel isn’t shy about sharing the more difficult parts of her condition. In March 2020, she posted a photo on Instagram with the headline “Lemtrada Day 3, last day. Last round. I feel so weak today, chills, aches and pains – but I urge you all – I can feel your prayers. ”
In an exclusive interview with the Toronto Sun, Shantel spoke about the profound impact Survivor had on her life growing up.
“I had a pretty rocky childhood. My mom lost me to child protection when I was very young, and I hopped from nursing home to nursing home … One of the channels we had was Global TV, so I sat in front of it [the] TV and I watched ‘Survivor’ even though my life was a mess. ”
Shantel said she developed “fighter energy” from watching the show, which inspired her to get clean and pursue higher education. She told the publication that she was “deeply indebted to the show and the series”.
In an interview with Parade, the “Survivor” star revealed that Jeff Probst was a “parent’s voice” in her life. She told the publication that she didn’t have many parents growing up and that Probst “kind of became that parent’s voice”. Probst’s message of “digging deep” inspired Shantel to work hard in life.
She told the Toronto Sun that her birth mother, who died in 2017, encouraged her to apply for the show. She told the point of sale, “I don’t know if I’ll ever … [applied to the show] If I hadn’t had this conversation with my mother. ”In her CBS bio, she revealed that her mother is her heroine.
“She has seen so much pain in her life and my childhood was dark, twisted and complicated, but she was an extremely hardworking Italian … she did her best and I am grateful.”
“Survivor” airs Wednesdays at 8pm on CBS.