By Christopher Rocchio, 09/15/2009
Survivor: Samoa castaway Elizabeth Kim claims she encountered a "shocking" obstacle during the show's filming this summer.
"In this era, it surprised me very much that people can be racists," Kim told the New York Daily News in a Monday report.
"Being a woman of color, and living in New York, where everyone is so progressive, that experience heightened the awareness that other parts of the country are not necessarily as progressive as New York," she said, adding that the experience was "just shocking."
The 33-year-old urban planner is one of 20 castaways competing for the $1 million grand prize on Survivor: Samoa, which will premiere Thursday at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.
"I didn't think of it as a TV show. It was more like the ultimate competition," she told the Daily News. "The fact it was a real-time live game, interacting with other humans - that was the part that got me."
Since she had a hard time dealing with the alleged racist views of her fellow castaways, Kim added she's uncertain if she'd be able to do Survivor again if asked.
"I love the game aspect, the challenges, I would totally do that all over again, minus the people," she told the Daily News, adding that it's a double-edged sword.
"I couldn't survive on a deserted island all by myself, and that made it much more interesting. Yet, at the same time it made it much more daunting, much more aggravating and much more annoying."
Kim said those aggravating and annoying people she was constantly surrounded by taught her something about herself.
"I learned I can be patient," she told the Daily News. "I learned that I have little tolerance for other people's impatience and short tempers. It's such a stark contrast to the way I'm hard-wired."
In addition to the problem she apparently had with her fellow castaways, Kim said "elements of Mother Nature can be a bitch" -- but she was able to overcome that aspect.
"I'm fairly outdoorsy, I'm very active and competitive," she told the Daily News. "It just spoke to those characteristics I'm drawn toward. Especially when I heard what the location would be."
Kim added it's also been difficult keeping the show's outcome a secret before the season unfolds for home viewers.
"It was hard, very, very hard not to be able to share this experience with others I worked with every day," she told the Daily News. "I think they might have guessed, but they were nice enough not to ask."