Survivor Island of the Idols cast assessment: Karishma Patel is here for her

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

It’s thanks to a new direction in casting that we’re seeing more stories in Survivor: Island of the Idols like Karishma’s, and we’re here for it.

For the longest time in the 30s, Survivor had been pushing casts younger and younger, with a cookie-cutter approach to telling stories of its characters. However, the past year saw two great groups of individuals from all walks of life emerge, and the trend of finding a great, diverse group of multiple personality types continues with Island of the Idols.

Karishma Patel aims to be one of the unexplored voices brought to the forefront of Survivor fans, as she is the first Indian-American castaway to compete. Coming to terms with what it means to represent your community, as well as what the community expects of her, is just part of her story, making it that much more compelling for her to be on the show.

As detailed in her cast video on Twitter, she’s here to play for herself, being “unapologetically here” for her and her only. This doesn’t mean that she won’t play a social game, but that she will be driven by her ambition and the opportunity to employ her skills necessary to win the game.

As described by Jeff Probst in his assessment of her, she is fighting the preconceptions of her culture and the fact that she’s going to be away from her family to pursue her dream. She’s not here to fit into a box; she’s here to win and deserves the shot not to prove others wrong, but to show herself she was right.

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Her being one of two personal injury attorneys of the season will give her the edge based on her skill set. The fact that she passed the state bar for three separate states on the first attempt, as she noted in her CBS bio, is a remarkable feat to be proud of and speaks to her combination of expertise and preparation.

Being direct and forward in her approach to the game, combined with the Probst-less start to Survivor: Island of the Idols, will make Karishma’s immersion into the tribe key to her long-term success. Lairo seems to be less physically adept than Vokai, and although many challenges come down to a puzzle (logical problems being a potentially easier task for lawyers), many of the early starts involve a group effort.

When it comes to potential first boots, I’m looking at people who hint at confrontation or out-there behavior. While I don’t believe she’ll rub people the wrong way a la Reem, I am concerned about the footage in Karishma’s video Twitter with her pointing and communicating with an unseen individual in a confrontational way.

Looking at Lairo, I see a strong group that’s just a step behind in strength over Vokai. With Survivor played between the margins, I see Karishma’s intelligent mind, passion for verbal discourse the way a lawyer would, and the potential perception of not being the strongest member of the tribe as reasons she could be one of the first boots in the game.

Even if she’s not the first, depending on her longevity, I see her story shared as either the cutthroat injury lawyer who will drive a wedge between her tribe’s cohesion or as a strong, proud, independent woman who’s stepping out of her shell in a manner that her detractors would decry her for unfairly. In my mind, it all depends on how long she lasts, and I don’t have a good vibe about her chance to win.

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Whatever the case may be, I’m sure as hell going to be enthralled by what side of Karishma we see. Here’s hoping for powerful stuff once Survivor: Island of the Idols premieres next week!