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Outwit, Outplay, Outlast: BC Law Student To Compete in ‘Survivor 46’

When third-year Boston College Law School student Charlie Davis first watched Survivor in 2020, he knew he wanted to be more than just a fan of the show. 

This Wednesday night, Davis enters living rooms across the country as one of 18 contestants in the show’s 46th season.

“From the outset, I really just saw myself playing the game, you know, not just being a fan,” Davis said. “I was always imagining myself in the scenarios that they were getting in in the game, the different strategic crossroads that players would be at, participating in the challenges.”

In the CBS reality TV show, contestants build shelters, search for food, and compete in challenges while voting each other out as the game progresses. The winner of the show—deemed the Sole Survivor—receives a $1 million prize.  

Davis said he submitted applications to compete on Survivor every year starting in 2020, so finally receiving the casting call was a dream come true.

“When I found out I was on, it was just pure shock, joy, elation—just every adjective you can think of all at once,” Davis said. “I’ve been applying since 2020, so for years. For me to finally get that call and for them to tell me ‘Hey, you’re going to be flying out to Fiji to play this game,’ was absolutely incredible, you know, my dream came true in that moment.” 

This love of Survivor led Davis to build a community of fellow fans among his peers at BC Law, he said.

“I also have found so many friends through a shared love of the show, especially here at BC Law,” Davis said. “I’ve met dozens of people who are really, really into Survivor, and we meet every single week to watch the episodes on Wednesday.”

Survivor is, according to Davis, the greatest game in the world, given its intense reliance on physical, mental, and social strategy.

“Just from a gameplay standpoint, I’ve always said I think it’s the greatest game in the world,” Davis said. “There’s nothing that taxes you more physically, mentally, socially, strategically than the game of Survivor.”

Before going on the show, Davis said he expected his skills and experiences as a law student would offer an advantage.

“I imagined that being a law student would be really helpful—just in terms of being persuasive, being able to talk to people and connect with people, and really just think and process very quickly but also at a deep level,” Davis said. “Those are all skills that law students have, but you’ll just have to see if they suited me well on the beach.”

According to Davis, rather than trying to emulate a previous contestant’s playing style, his main strategy was to be as authentic as possible.

“The bottom line of Survivor is you go in as yourself,” Davis said. “You can’t emulate someone else. You can’t be fake. You must be just authentically who you are. So my strategy going in was to really just gather as much information as I could and trust my instincts because I can’t be a Tony Vlachos or Natalie Anderson, or a Christian Hubicki, I can only be Charlie Davis.” 

Davis said the uncertainty of the challenges included in each season makes preparing for Survivor a nearly impossible task.

“I think the most important thing is to just go in there with an open mind and confidence and mental toughness, and that’s going to be your biggest strength—that was sort of my philosophy going in,” Davis said.

Davis said being a cross-country runner in his undergraduate years at Harvard University prepared him for the physical discomfort and perseverance the show would require of him.

“I think being a runner really helped with that because running is really about pushing through pain and putting yourself in a state of discomfort and still pushing through,” Davis said. 

Davis advised viewers who are considering applying to Survivor to “just go for it.”“If you’re dreaming of going on Survivor, make a three minute audition clip and submit it,” Davis said. “You never know what can happen, you know? The worst is your life just stays the same. Best case, you could be going on a trip and the adventure of a lifetime to Fiji.”

February 25, 2024