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NBC Insider The Traitors

Do Survivor, Big Brother Alums Use a Different Strategy on Peacock’s The Traitors? They Say…

As Season 2 of The Traitors heats up, so do the players' schemes to win.

By Stephanie Gomulka

While some viewers may think Survivor or The Challenge alums have any competitive edge on Peacock’s The Traitors compared to their Bravoleb, Love Island, or The Bachelor counterparts…the cast isn’t so sure.

The Traitors brings together its competitors stretching from different walks of life (or channels of reality TV) to a castle in Scotland where actor Alan Cumming plays host. The show features physically and mentally challenging missions, a growing cash prize, and delicious betrayals between the show’s two competing groups: The Faithfuls and the Traitors.

NBC Insider caught up with Season 2’s cast to find out if their past reality TV appearances helped them prepare.

The Traitors Contestants on if They Use Any Big Brother, Survivor Strategies in Peacock Show

Parvati Shallow, a recruited traitor, is known for her competitive edge in several seasons of Survivor. She was crowned champion in Survivor: Micronesia.

“It’s completely different in my opinion,” Shallow said. “The game itself has so many different elements than Survivor. Survivor is like how hard can you suffer and how quickly can you bond with people, and how can you adapt when things don’t go your way.”

Although she sees similar elements between Survivor challenges and missions on the Traitors, Shallow says the intensity of this show is “jacked up on steroids.”

“You’re also having to put your wardrobe together,” Shallow said. “You’re having to do your own hair and makeup. You’re performing, it’s a very theatrical experience, and on top of that, there’s multiple ways to die. You can get murdered, or you can get banished in one day.”

Alan Cumming points at photos of the contestants for The Traitors Season 2

Another difficulty with navigating The Traitors' tricky waters is the lies and deception, according to Shallow.

“You also have to bond with these people and work together with some of them to hopefully nail the right traitor, if you’re faithful,” Parvati said. “It’s wildly different from Survivor and requires…so many different layers of thinking and acting in my experience.”

A fellow Survivor alum and winner, Sandra Diaz-Twine found her favorite part of The Traitors take on a reality TV competition was meeting the cast members. Still, she found the whole game to be “nerve-wracking.”

“The missions are never my favorite thing,” Diaz-Twine said about her experience on the show. “I was terrified of every single banishment. I was uneasy about every murder and even just making it to breakfast, it was like very hard.”

For Big Brother alums Janelle Pierzina (The Amazing Race, Snake in the Grass) and Dan Gheesling, there wasn’t as much time to strategize during their time on The Traitors — so it was a completely different ball game.

“It’s like night and day because Big Brother’s so long, like we’d have long — probably three days to strategize and really figure out the right choice for yourself and your game,” Pierzina said. “In Traitors, I felt like I only got, like, 20 minutes every day and it just — for me, I was like, this isn’t enough time for someone that wants to use strategy and wants to do the right thing and I want to tell people what I think and what they wanna do.”

Dan Gheesling on The Traitors Episode 201

Gheesling likened competing on Big Brother to running in a marathon and being on The Traitors to running a sprint. 

“There were times when, like, you’re out of breath and you have to make an important decision and you need to talk to like, Janelle or MJ or whoever and you don’t have the time to talk to them and you’re like all right, I’m just gonna send it and make the best decision I can, so it was very, very fast-paced, which was an adjustment for me, for sure,” Gheesling said.

Even though he’s competed on TV shows for years, Gheesling viewed The Traitors as a completely new game with a “totally different dynamic,” which surprised him.

“One of the things early on that I ran into was the Housewives,” Gheesling said about encountering Bravo dynamics and relationships. “They’re very shrewd and I — you know — from day one, I felt like there was an extra set of eyeballs on me from the collective Housewives and you know my wife Chelsea’s a huge fan.”

A cast member whose reality TV background was looking for love on The Bachelor but came to ready to compete is pilot Peter Weber.

“It was one of the most stressful periods I’ve been through, but truly I enjoyed every single minute of it and kind of just lost myself, like, in the game,” Weber said. “I got so invested.”

Trishelle Cannatella is seen at The Traitors Experience on January 11, 2024

Trishelle Cannatella, who starred on MTV’s Real World: Las Vegas and later competed on The Challenge, was surprised by how many cast members had strong abilities to strategize regardless of their show backgrounds.

“Honestly, all the different shows and networks that I’ve worked with, [The Traitors] was by far my favorite show," Cannatella said. "I got to meet so many different personalities and backgrounds.”

To see how each of the players strategies play out, watch new episodes of The Traitors Season 2 every Thursday. Episodes are available to stream on Peacock alongside The Traitors: Postmortem aftershow.

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