‘Survivor’ Millennial Hannah: ‘I’m Definitely Going to Have to Keep My Neurotic Side in Check’

Hannah Shapiro (CBS)

Hannah Shapiro (CBS)

XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X” needs. We’ll have interviews with all twenty of the new players to hold you over until the season starts. Then we’ll have full episode recaps, interviews with the players after they’ve been eliminated, and the return of the ever-popular “Survivor” Power Rankings. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.

Name (Age): Hannah Shapiro (24)
Current Residence:
West Hollywood, CA via Brookline, MA
Occupation: Barista
Hobbies: Skiing, scuba diving, eating. I can hula-hoop and walk at the same time.
Pet Peeves: A pet peeve of mine is someone who likes to kill people. Not sure why, that’s just such a pet peeve of mine! Also people who stick their gum on public benches or fart in small elevators.
Three Words to Describe You: Nerdy, competitive, and weird.

NOTE: Usually I get a good thirty minutes with each contestant before the game starts. However, this season I had to get through all 20 players in only two-and-a-half hours. So, these pieces will be short and hopefully sweet.

Hannah Shapiro: I can’t believe I’m talking to you! I keep doing these interviews, and everyone I talk to I say, “I know who you are!” I love your interviews!
Gordon Holmes:
Hannah, you’re only supposed to know me.
Shapiro: I was just kidding. I knew nobody else. I only read Gordon Holmes Power Rankings.
Holmes: There ya go.
Shapiro: I don’t even watch the show. I just read your articles.
Holmes: Like my mom.
Shapiro: Is that what she does?
Holmes: No, she actually watches. She gets furious whenever people can’t make fire.
Shapiro: (Laughs) I had to get my mom into “Survivor” so she would not just watch my season.

Holmes: We’re on a bit of a tight schedule, so if you can keep your answers short, I’d appreciate it.
Feel free to cut me off, I’m such a millennial that I don’t even know how to have a phone conversation.
Holmes: You can talk into this thing? I thought it was for texting.
Shapiro: I’m good in person. I can talk to people. But on the phone I never know if I’m interrupting or not.

Holmes: You cry when an authority figure yells at you. Do you consider Jeff Probst to be an authority figure?
(Laughs) I mean, in a way. It’s possible. I’m not afraid of authority figures. I worry that it gives the impression that I can’t lie. I can lie to an authority figure, it’s just my reaction. I remember I went to try to get out of a gym class in high school and the women yelled at me and I just burst into tears. But, I’m aware of it, so maybe I can use it to my advantage.

Holmes: You mentioned that you’ve seen men like you win the game. What did you mean by that? Because there’s always that societal thing where strong men are seen as heroes and strong women can be perceived as the b-word.
Yeah! And here’s the thing; I’ve been talking to friends about how “Survivor” is a sexist game. And it’s not that I think “Survivor” is a sexist game, it’s that society is sexist and “Survivor” reflects it. I think that men in society…in work environments are able to speak up and interrupt and get away with it. And when women do that, they’re bitchy and bossy. And I think all the rules that apply in the real world are reflected in “Survivor.” Men can be called strategic, where women can be called manipulative. Parvati (Shallow) is one of the greatest winners ever and she’s this manipulative black widow. So, I think “Survivor” is sexist in a lot of ways. I think men get away with a lot more when it comes to making moves. I did an improv show and I had a guy come up to me after the show and say, “Hey, maybe you should let the guy get his idea out first.”
Holmes: Oh…yikes.
Shapiro: And he singled me out in an improv troupe with like nine people and there were only two women. And tons of the guys were doing it. I’m used to being told “Shh…” I was a little kid and I was called a “Bossy little kid.” I don’t think dudes are called bossy.

Holmes: Are you comfortable lying in the game?
I am. I’m a writer, and while I feel like I might not have the best poker face, lying is sort of creative storytelling.
Holmes: What about flirting? Is that a tool in your tool belt?
Shapiro: Here’s the funny thing, no (expletive deleted)…that’ll be too long. I feel like a girl like Parvati or Anna (Khait) can talk to a guy and they’ll be like, “Was she flirting with me?” I actually think because I’m quirky and nerdy I get away with flirting a lot more. And I do flirt in my life. (Laughs).
Holmes: Is there someone back home who will be upset if they see you flirting?
Shapiro: No, I don’t have a boyfriend.

Holmes: How do you deal with being lied to?
I’m enough of a fan of the show, since I was fourteen, to know that people are going to lie to me.
Holmes: How well do you deal with hunger?
Shapiro: I’ve never really been hungry in my life. So, I guess we’ll see.
Holmes: How about sleep deprivation?
Shapiro: I’ve never been a good sleeper. I’ve been dealing with that my whole life. When my mom brought my brother home when he was a baby and he slept through the night, she thought he was dead because he was so quiet compared to me.
Holmes: Extreme temperatures.
Shapiro: I lived in Chicago when it was negative 40 and now I’m in L.A. So, I should be fine.
Holmes: Paranoia?
Shapiro: I’m definitely going to have to keep my neurotic side in check constantly. I think that’s going to be hard for me. I’m an over-thinker.

Holmes: Any thoughts on the other players?
I’ve only seen a few glimpses of them. But, I’m very aware of how I appear to them when I pass them. I’m aware that I seem nerdy and goofy. I’m going to play that up.

Holmes: If there is a twist, what do you think it could be?
Based on my casting, I think it’s some kind of liberals vs. conservative thing. Every time I mention how much of a liberal I am, eyes would light up in the room. I feel like with the election coming up that it makes sense.

Holmes: If you could align with any past player, who would it be?
The people I’d want to work with, I wouldn’t want to sit with at the end. I’m a big fan of (John) Cochran and Stephen (Fishbach). I think it’d be fun to play with superfans. Like (Jonathan) Penner just to hear him talk. Those are some of my favorites. But if I have to align with someone to take to the end, I’d want them to be pretty and stupid.

Holmes: Lightning round time. Cats or dogs?
Dogs. I’m allergic to cats.
Holmes: Beer or wine?
Shapiro: I like hard cider, so neither.
Holmes: Superman or Batman?
Shapiro: Spider-Man.
Holmes: You’re bad at this. Meat or vegetable?
Shapiro: Tuna…so meat.
Holmes: Here’s an easy one. Republican or Democrat?
Shapiro: I’m like even farther left than a Democrat.
Holmes: Books or TV?
Shapiro: I wanna write for TV, so TV.
Holmes: Swimming or sunbathing?
Shapiro: Swimming.
Holmes: Many casual friends or one good friend?
Shapiro: One good friend.
Holmes: Nice car or nice home?
Shapiro: Nice home.
Holmes: Smart or funny?
Shapiro: It’s the combo that gets me. I’m going to go with funny.
Holmes: Parvati or Boston Rob?
Shapiro: Parvati.
Holmes: Big TV or big vacation?
Shapiro: Big vacation.
Holmes: Working alone or with a team?
Shapiro: A team.
Holmes: Dragons or unicorns?
Shapiro: Dragons.
Holmes: Careful planning or fly by the seat of your pants?
Shapiro: Fly by the seat of my pants.
Holmes: Jeff Probst or Ryan Seacrest?
Shapiro: Jeff Probst, I’m not going to get in trouble.
Holmes: That last one was a test, and you passed.
Shapiro: Phew!

Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X,” Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 8pm

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