Survivor Edge of Extinction cast assessment: Victoria Baamonde has studied up

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

The young waitress looks to have people doubting her abilities in Survivor: Edge of Extinction, but Victoria Baamonde has been studying up before her trip.

You never want to be the first one voted out of any season of Survivor. Though the potential to enjoy a month away from home on a paid vacation in Fiji sounds like a delight to most, you start with a 5% shot or better of becoming a $600,000-aire (after taxes) by just being cast for this game. Edge of Extinction’s Victoria Baamonde plans to not be one of those players, and she has studied specifically to avoid that position.

As indicated in her ET Canada interview, in preparation for this season, Victoria rewatched core seasons of her favorites but, additionally, watched the first episode of as many as she could. That way, she learned what convinced others to vote the first one out of each season, with the primary reason that they’re annoying to their fellow castaways.

Though watching Survivor seasons isn’t a unique approach, specifically picking out debut episodes to find an edge in the early game and learn from the mistakes of others is impressive stuff. It’s using established knowledge of a known entity and applying forward thinking to solve a problem the first losing tribe will be confronted as early as Day 3. That shows dedication to the craft, signaling a true superfan.

Studying is just part of Victoria’s modus operandi, as her CBS bio shows that she was a valedictorian in college with a perfect 4.0 score. In addition to rewatching past seasons, she also listened to past castaways’ advice, such as Chaos Kass’ recommendation to read How to Win Friends and Influence People as well as Malcolm Freberg’s advice to prepare with two small meals a day.

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Victoria has taken that advice to get accustomed to the ins and outs of Survivor life before arriving to play, meaning she might be more prepared than other castaways (not naming returnees). She also has a strategy of having others tell stories about themselves to establish bonds, showing that she may be prioritizing social play over strategic play.

Not only that, but Victoria has worked on core Survivor survival skills, including finding help from a worldly traveler to learn how to make fire even in an urban setting. She’s also been practicing on balance boards to prepare for balance-related challenges; something that’s become an increasing need for a skill that players should have.

With all the amount of preparation Victoria has heading into Survivor: Edge of Extinction, I’d be surprised if she didn’t make the merge, if not make a deep run. However, considering the returnee dynamic, a big part of how she does might be how well she works with the returning players. They are able to establish a cult of personality early and going against the family grain might be a deadly mistake.

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Furthermore, the strong a player becomes in Survivor, the better chances they have of being picked off. She does have the chance to come back from the Edge of Extinction, and I do think she has a shot at winning this season, but if there’s anyone that’s giving me strong vibes early, it’s Victoria. Those strong vibes can be a blessing and a curse, as rarely does the strongest social, strategic or challenge threat player win a season outright.