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Who is Survivor 41 ‘mafia pastor’ contestant Shantel Smith?

Survivor 41 contestant Shantel Smith.
Who is Survivor 41 contestant Shantel Smith? Pic credit: @shantelmsmith/Instagram

The game of Survivor has always been cutthroat. After all, the reality television show’s tagline is “Outwit. Outplay. Outlast.” so it’s only fitting that the contestants come ready to fight for the title of Sole Survivor.

This couldn’t be more true for Season 41 castaway, Shantel Smith. The Canadian pastor may preach love and peace in church, but when it comes to Survivor, Shantel isn’t afraid to make tough moves.

Fans have patiently awaited Survivor’s return, and it looks like CBS has come prepared to deliver a stellar season.

Shantel Smith says being a pastor gives her ‘the edge’

While speaking with Toronto Sun via video call, Shantel expressed that she believes her job as a pastor will actually give her an edge over her Season 41 competition.

“Being a pastor gives me the edge because I know people so well,” she shared. “For what I do, day in, day out, I think I’ve met every kind of person there is. I think when you’re able to play with a clear heart it gives you an advantage.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Shantel also seems fearless and ready to cut her tribe members whenever the time is right.

According to Shantel, her love of the game came from watching the show as a troubled youth while living in foster homes.

“I would watch Survivor even though my life was a mess,” the self-appointed Mafia Pastor shared. “[Jeff] Probst’s message of digging deep and how there’s more to you than you know really stuck with me. I just felt an energy from that show and it carried me through. It’s had a profound impact on my life.”

Over on her Instagram, Shantel revealed that she also has MS, but she doesn’t plan on letting that stop her from living her Survivor dream.

Season 41 to feature brand-new castaways, Shantel says being a contestant is a ‘different experience’

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has proved difficult for the Survivor production team. Early on, they faced major roadblocks when it came to filming in their usual destination of Fiji and many feared for the show’s future.

However, Season 41 is coming back with the same grit fans have come to love.

Shantel continued, “Being in the game and watching the game are two different experiences completely.”

“I’ve studied the game and it’s now being changed,” Shantel said in reference to the addition of a new twist to the game. “That’s a hard reality to face. I said a couple of prayers and we’ll see how it all works out.”

Survivor’s newest season is set to feature a new addition coined the Game within the Game, which has been described as “an interactive experience for junior, future Survivor players” by long-time host Jeff Probst.

There are sure to be plenty more twists to come as the new season unfolds. Fans will just have to tune in for all the fun.

Survivor Season 41 premieres Wednesday, September 22 at 9/8c on CBS.

Anita DeCecco is a freelance writer with a flair for all things reality TV. From watching the first season of Survivor as a kid, her love for guilty pleasure reality TV has been unmatched. She’s a...read more

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