With season 41 of Survivor delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EW is reaching back into the reality show's past. We sent a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to a batch of former players to fill out with their thoughts about their time on the show as well as updates on what they've been up to since. Each weekday, EW will post the answers from a different player.
Peih-Gee Law is a crafty one. That's no surprise to any that are familiar with her obsession with games, puzzles, escape rooms, and anything else that needs solving. And when playing these games, Peih-Gee is smart enough to look for any advantage possible. It's a trait she clearly learned from her father.
That's because dear old dad helped Peih-Gee smuggle some food onto Survivor. The incident in question occurred on season 15 of the show. "In Survivor: China, my dad was my loved one for the family visit," explains Peih-Gee. "He's always been a bit of a clever trickster, and he managed to sneak a Kit Kat into my pocket when he hugged me goodbye. He told me that he picked a Kit Kat because it was square and fit into his back pocket without it showing. I ended up sharing it with Courtney and Erik back at camp, and it honestly gave us all such a huge morale boost. Thanks, dad! And thanks, Kit Kat!"
The amazing thing is that is absolutely nothing compared to the shenanigans Peih-Gee and her dad cooked up for her return appearance on Survivor: Cambodia — Second Chance. For the full scoop on all the items she smuggled onto season 31, do yourself a favor and dig into her Quarantine Questionnaire!
Monty Brinton/CBS Peih-Gee Law on 'Survivor: Cambodia'
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.
PEIH-GEE LAW: Geez, thanks for making me calculate the length of time since I first appeared on Survivor. Can you believe it's been 14 years since my first appearance on the show on Survivor: China? Tell me I'm old without telling me I'm old... waaah.
I think it's been about 6 years since Survivor: Cambodia — Second Chance… and it all still feels like just yesterday that I've smelled that jungle funk, burrowing into a mound of bamboo trying to sleep covered in sand and bugs, all the while plotting and planning.
As most people know, I have a jewelry business, www.loradorjewelry.com where I design, manufacture, and sell my own creations — high-end gemstone jewelry. Well, quarantine lockdown pretty much put an end to a lot of my business (I sold mainly in-person at different events and shows around the country).
To be honest though… I was THRILLED. I welcomed an opportunity to focus on some of my other interests like gaming and puzzles. So I started a Survivor Game Night Twitch stream! You can check it out on www.twitch.tv/peihgee. Most Survivors LOVE gaming, especially social deduction games (duh). We played a lot of Secret Hitler (we call it Secret Hantz) and games like Werewolf. I started a Patreon called PeihGeePlays, which has an amazing community of Survivor fans who love playing games, and they've honestly become some of my closest friends.
I'm also obsessed with Escape Rooms, and not only did I start writing reviews on roomescapeartist.com, I recently started a podcast! It's called Reality Escape Pod, and along with my co-host David Spira, we interview brilliant gaming and puzzle designers in the immersive gaming space, including Myles Nye, who consults on Survivor challenges.
On one of the first episodes, we had on Elan Lee, creator of Exploding Kittens. He's a brilliant game designer and a HUGE fan of Survivor. He told me that in his opinion, the best-designed games are ones that make the players entertaining — and that's why Survivor is the world's best immersive game, and I heartily agree.
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
Of course, I'm proud of the challenges I won, especially my second immunity win on China. Before the challenge, I was feeling the lowest I've ever felt on Survivor, just burned out emotionally and physically. I remember that hiking to that challenge (we had about a 40 min hike), I was lagging about 10 minutes behind everyone else, just because I was so tired and drained that day. When I saw the massive obstacle course that required us to slog through the mud, I literally thought they were pranking us. Somehow, I pulled myself together and managed to come from behind for the win. I learned a lot about myself that day — that I was capable of more than I dreamed was possible.
More than any one moment or challenge win from my time on Survivor though, I'm most proud of how I've been able to inspire a generation of Survivor fans, not only Asian American fans, but anyone who has felt underrepresented or has ever identified as an underdog. I think for a long time I was afraid of being a "role-model" for Asian Americans, not only because there's a lot of pressure, but because I wanted to be seen as myself, and not an ethnicity. However, with many recent events, I've since realized that it's important to claim your representation.
It means a lot to me when I hear some of the more recent players like Vince Moua, James Lim, and Gabby Pascuzzi tell me how much seeing me on the show inspired them to apply for Survivor. Representation matters! Seeing people that look like you in the media, as three-dimensional characters, really makes a difference in the dreams and imagined possibilities of underrepresented people.
I think my proudest moment is the time I received a heartfelt letter from a young fan telling me that he was a minority and had been bullied his entire life. He said that in those moments, he would think about the times when I was down on Survivor but didn't give up. He told me he was inspired by how I didn't quit, cry, or respond with anger, and instead just channeled those emotions into winning. To think that I might have helped even one person out there realize their own worth, that alone is my proudest moment.
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experiences?
My biggest regret from both my Survivor experiences was being close-minded to friendships with certain strong, brilliant, and incredible women until it was too late. I'm specifically talking about Amanda Kimmel on China and Tasha Fox on Second Chance.
They were both women who, for some reason, I ended up being on opposing sides from them. I never really took the time to get to know them until it was too late… When I finally had a chance to sit down and REALLY get to know them, I realized how amazing they were and how much I would have liked to work with them, instead of against them. I think if I had managed to be more open-minded to become allied with them earlier, my story arc in both seasons would have been drastically different.
Oh, and I probably regret not telling James to play the idol when he got voted out! Could you imagine if I had managed to get him to play the idol for himself and somehow gotten rid of Todd? (Don't be mad reading this, Todd.) To be honest, I think even if I had told him to play the idol at that time, he probably would have confronted his allies about it, with the end result being me voted off at 7th place instead of him.
What's something that will blow fans minds that happened out there in one of your seasons but never made it to TV?
In Survivor: China, my dad was my loved one for the family visit. He's always been a bit of a clever trickster, and he managed to sneak a Kit Kat into my pocket when he hugged me goodbye. He told me that he picked a Kit Kat because it was square and fit into his back pocket without it showing. I ended up sharing it with Courtney and Erik back at camp, and it honestly gave us all such a huge morale boost. Thanks, dad! And thanks, Kit Kat!
He was also instrumental in helping me design some accessories to bring onto Survivor: Second Chance. He gold-plated steel fishhooks and made them into earrings for me. We experimented with hairpins and chains that functioned as files and mini-saws.
I sewed a flint toggle button onto my cardigan that made it all the way onto the show but ended up getting confiscated by production. I remember one of the producers telling me that was the first time anyone managed to sneak a flint onto the show. He said he would have loved to tell that story, but that they just couldn't allow it. I think though, that if some contestants can bring on reading glasses (that they never needed) solely for the purpose of trying to start fire, why not my fire-starting cardigan?
Peih-Gee Law on 'Survivor: Cambodia'
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
I've always been thrilled with my edit! Representation matters. I'm a flawed, complex human being with flashes of brilliance and moments of idiocy, just like anyone else. I'm glad that I've been depicted as a multi-faceted character on Survivor, especially as an Asian American female. The edit showed me in equal parts of vulnerability, arrogance, determination, anger, desperation, and exaltation, and I think that's the human experience. Thank you, Survivor for not reducing me to a bland stereotype and allowing me to shine as myself.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
I know I'm probably an exception, but I adjusted very well. I've always been one of those people good at adapting to new environments. On Survivor: China, they all called me the "jungle queen" because I loved being out there so much. I was running around with mud on my face, bamboo in my hair, and turning half feral. When I was voted off, I went back to Ponderosa and promptly partied all night — drinking, eating, generally having a ball, and getting into all kinds of trouble. I think I got lucky because I was never blindsided by anyone I really trusted.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
Having been on Survivor has enriched my life only for the better. Zero regrets. It's introduced me to a community of diverse, amazing, interesting people — not only the other Survivors but also fans of the show. I love being part of this vibrant, invested community and all the opportunities it's brought me. Forever grateful.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your seasons?
I'm probably closest to Todd Herzog, winner of Survivor: China. We've always gotten along, even when we were butting heads, and despite my constantly trying to vote him off LOL. He knows it's because I respected his gameplay so much! I even created his wedding rings for him. Love him to bits.
Amanda Kimmel and I were very close, we even lived together for a while right after she came back from Survivor FvF. We had an awesome apartment on the beach in Venice, CA. I love that you can see the beginning of our friendship documented on Survivor.
My time on Second Chance was so short, but I'm still good friends with Kelly Wigglesworth, and all the people I went on the jury trip with — Shirin, Jeff, Woo, and Monica. I'm actually pretty close to Abi-Maria, believe it or not. Even though we bicker a lot, my relationship with her reminds me a lot of my relationship with my sisters.
Max Dawson is the Jerry to my Elaine, and he's one of my best friends in the world. We tried dating for a hot minute and even though it didn't work out, he still calls me the head wife.
Through the Survivor Game Nights, I host on Twitch, I've been lucky to get to know other Survivors that I've become really close with, including regular players John Carroll, Mama C, Figgy, Erik Reichenbach, Big Wendy, Adam Klein, Stephen Fishbach, Eliza Orlins, Gabby Pascuzzi, and Jenn Brown.
Do you still watch Survivor, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
I try to keep up but I'm not really much of a TV or movie person in general. If I have free time, I'm probably gaming, puzzling, or painting. Of the newer seasons, David vs. Goliath is probably my favorite. What a great cast of characters, great drama, and fun relationships.
Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
Am I allowed to pick an entire cast? I would have LOVED to play with the entire cast from David vs. Goliath. Something about their dynamic reminded me a bit of my cast from China. Everyone on that cast seemed really down-to-earth and friendly.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
I'd love to see more diversity both on camera and in production. A disproportionate number of Asian players are voted off pre-jury, and I think a large part of that is due to people wanting to align with those who feel "familiar." It's hard enough being a minority in any situation, but especially on a show like Survivor. When everything familiar to you has been stripped away, I think players cling to anything that makes them feel safe and secure, including shared culture and backgrounds. In that sense, minorities are already playing from behind.
I'd also like to see more of the players' relationships and camp life. Missing those old-school vibes!
Finally, would you play again if asked?
I think so. Survivor is the greatest immersive game in the world, and as we all know, I love immersive gaming! I think I've mellowed out a lot. I've learned to work better in a team, and I think being older gives you a different perspective.