Christina Cha appeared on season 24 of the CBS hit reality show “Survivor”. Christina talked recently with Media Mikes.com about her experience on the show and also about some of her current projects.
Adam Lawton: What first prompted you to try out for “Survivor”?
Christina Cha: I had been a fan of the show since I first saw it back when I was still in high school. I thought it was amazing to see a show that takes someone from their normal adapted elements and puts them into these really harsh environments. I also am a very competitive person and I love playing games. In about 2010 I was working in corporate America and due to the economy I got laid off twice. I felt really sorry for myself as I didn’t understand why this happened. I took it very personal which is something I normally never do. I saw an open casting call for “Survivor” and did it absolutely last minute. I think there was only about 48 hrs. left to submit a video. I thought that it was something I had to do and I knew it was something I could be good at. I took my phone and shot a video of me being as obnoxious as I could be. (Laughs) From there I started going through the audition process and ended up on the show.
AL: Can you tell us anything about the audition process?
CC: I can’t say too much about the audition process. There are multiple stages that you have to go through. You start with your video and go from there. I had got through on my first try but I have talked with other people who have applied a bunch of times and they didn’t even get a call. I had gone in to a couple interviews and I also did one over the phone.
AL: Is there a certain memory that sticks out for you from the show that the viewers didn’t get to see?
CC: There were parts. When they are taping these reality shows they are taking about 3 days of footage and condensing it down to a 40 minute segment. There was a lot of stuff missing. You didn’t get to see me strategizing a lot which had fans thinking I was the most clueless player on the show. There really is no way to be a clueless player and make it as far as I did. I think the editing on me was a little unjust because I am not the type of person who likes to speak ill of anyone. That’s just something I don’t do. I tried to play the game very honest and true. What I did in the game was to not give out any information. I am a terrible liar so I would just stare at people. I really was just trying to figure out what was going on in the game and figure out my placement from there.
AL: Was having the cameras around the entire time one of the more difficult parts of the show for you?
CC: In the beginning it was really weird. There were questions like where do you go to change your clothes? Or where do you go to the bathroom? A lot of times I would just say I need to use the rest room and swim out in to the middle of the ocean. Strategizing was difficult also with the cameras around. My name came up so many times that it made things even harder. Every time the camera was on me they thought I was strategizing. I never got a break from anyone. You get paranoid all the time.
AL: Did you find that the producers were often trying to stage conflicts or issues between players?
CC: Of course! That’s their job as a producer. If they weren’t doing things like that then they wouldn’t be doing their job at all. I was pretty aware of what they were doing as I have some friends that are also in this industry. I think that’s a lot of the reason why my edit was so unjust because they wanted me to answer things a certain way and I didn’t do that. In the back of my mind I wanted to win a million dollars so I didn’t want to leak any information out. I also knew there was life after “Survivor”. If I didn’t win the million dollars I would need to find a way to make myself look good. Whatever I did on the show would stick with me for the rest of my life. You have to be careful of what you say. Talking badly about someone as a form of strategy I thought was just bad taste.
AL: Is “Survivor” something that you would think about ever doing again?
CC: I love the game so I would definitely consider it. I think I would play it a little differently as I would want to make some big plays and strategize more. When you play the game the first time after watching it as a fan you think you know everything thats out there. Now that I have a little bit better understanding of things I think I would definitely play the game again.
AL: What types of things are you currently working on?
CC: I am still doing some recruiting and consulting on the side. I also am doing marketing and social media for a bunch of companies and I want to get in to hosting. I studied broadcast journalism in college and have a few shows that I also wrote that I am working on. I am really excited about some of the things that are happening right now.
AL: Is writing something that you have always wanted to do?
CC: I have been a life style journalist for the last 3 years now. In about 2008 I was talking to a client and he asked me what I was doing there? I was there selling a software platform so I asked him what he meant. I gave him my job description and he told me I didn’t look like I belonged there and that I looked like I belonged on television. I looked at him and started crying. I told him I had been doing the job for X amount of time because it’s safe. He happened to be a publisher and he told me he is always looking for really good writers. He then asked me if I would be interested in being an associate editor and write about travel and various luxury products. I took his offer and have been writing for him and some other online publications. I am writing for about 12 online publications and I have my own blog. Hosting has been a side thing lately and I have some stuff also on the web. Survivor has been a wonderful stepping to help me get acknowledged more.