Alumna Kellee Kim (‘08) is out to prove that she is the next sole “Survivor.”
Kim is one of 20 castaways on the 39th season of “Survivor: Island of the Idols,” premiering on CBS on Wednesday, September 25.
Being on “Survivor” was a relatively new dream for Kim. She started watching the show in late 2016 when a friend of a friend was on the show. Soon, she was addicted.
“I did some research and had the fleeting and flippant thought that maybe they needed a last minute Asian woman for the upcoming seasons,” she said. “Through my Internet browsing, I realized that I had a better chance of getting on because fewer women and fewer minorities, let alone Asian Americans, apply.”
She submitted a video to casting in the summer and hoped it would fit into her schedule. But she didn’t get cast the first time and had to reapply the following year.
“This time, I really focused on why it was important for me to be on the show -- not to win, but for Asian American and female representation,” she said.
At the time of filming in Fiji, she was finishing up her MBA at The Wharton School in Pennsylvania.
“The show actually filmed while I was at Wharton and perfectly coincided with the [fourth quarter] academic calendar,” Kim said. “I had fulfilled a lot of my credits early and with a couple independent studies, I was able to make it work and graduate on time.”
Kim is currently working in real estate at LPC West.
Her time at Sage Hill prepared for the game of “Survivor” in a somewhat surprising way.
“I knew going in that I would have to use my acting experience at Sage in this game! Lying is just another form of acting, and in ‘Survivor,’ you have to lie at one point or another,” she said. “I was a huge athlete, but my sophomore year at Sage, my favorite teacher encouraged me to branch out and try acting. I participated in a One Act, and I was hooked.”
While waiting for the show to begin airing, Kim said it hasn’t been too hard to keep quiet about the experience or outcome.
“I want people to be surprised -- good or bad!” she said. “It'll be fun to see my friends’ and family's reactions when they see what happens to me.”
But is there anything she can tease about the upcoming season?
“Hahahaha, I wish!”
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS