Truck driver Sabiyah Broderick enters Survivor with a plan to gather a convoy of allies. It's understandable the 28-year-old comes in with a battle plan, considering she was in the Marine Corps up until two years ago. She hopes her experience will carry over from foxhole to spy bunker, as she hopes to join up with "innate followers," disarm with her southern charm, and bite with the power of a Mamba.
Read on for my interview with Sabiyah, and check in with Parade.com every day for interviews with this season's contestants and other tidbits. Survivor 45 premieres on September 27 with a 90-minute premiere on CBS.
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Interview with Sabiyah from Survivor 45
To start, tell me about yourself.
Well, I'm Sabiyah. I am from Locust Grove, Georgia; it's this little town about 45 minutes down south of Atlanta. And I'm a truck driver now. I'm also a Marine Corps veteran. I just got out two years ago, and I've been driving ever since.
How did you end up driving trucks? Was that something you wanted to do after you left the military?
I had a buddy that worked night crew with me, Corporal Wolf. He said that that's what he was gonna do. There was a "troops into transportation" course from the VA. And at the time, the trucking industry was really booming. So it was a lot of great contracts, a lot of good money. And I don't know, once I got out, I did four years, and I was like, "Okay, well, let me just see how things are going." There was a lot of politics stuff going on, and I wasn't really sure about reenlisting. So I was like, "I'm gonna just give it a breath and try to do something on the civilian side." So, I did the class down at Fort Benning in Georgia and got my CDL, and I've been driving ever since.
Well, what made you decide to take the haul all the way out to Fiji to hopefully drive away a million dollars richer? Why Survivor?
Survivor is my favorite show. And I've been watching it since the beginning since I was about five or six years old. And it was always a family show; all we watched was this. We didn't have fancy cable and stuff. We just had the "straight-up channels," that's what we called them. [Laughs.] And CBS is one of them. Survivor and American Idol literally were points on our family calendar throughout the day and throughout the week. We'd be racing home from Bible study to see who got voted off on Wednesday nights. [Laughs.]
I fell in love with this show. It gives you everything. I'm a track and field runner by trade, and I did that in college at Augusta State–go Jags! But I love track because it's my body versus your body, that's it. It's not about a ball, no politics and everything. It's just, "Okay, you run the time, you're in. If you don't, you're out." And I've always respected that cut-and-dry version of competition. And, to me, Survivor is that, but now we're going to add the mental aspect. Now, we're going to add the emotional aspect. Now we're gonna put you in a place where you literally are hanging in the wind. There's no cut-and-dry way to the end. It's just me versus you, and everything that makes me me, versus everything that makes you, and I love that. So I'm here.
That's an amazing way to describe just the base human competitive element that Survivor is and why we're all out here not only watching the show, but sometimes participating in it. So, looking back on all the years and seasons of Survivor history, give me one winner and one non-winner you identify with the most.
Okay, non-winner first. I've been shouting her out since I got here, but I gotta go with my girl Cirie! I love Cirie. I feel like it's just a certain endearment, [a] big sister/mother element and quality that she brings. You just fall in love. And everybody that has been in an alliance with her, getting towards the end, it almost becomes like her Achilles heel in a sense. And I see that in myself. I see that that could be something that could kind of end up rubbing me a little bit wrong down the road. But I mean, how do you turn down the Southern charm? I don't know, we'll find out. I guess gonna turn up the Marine knobs a little bit.
But I really relate to that, just genuinely coming across as a people person. You can't say that she's a challenge beast. She orchestrated the whole Erik thing, him giving his necklace. So you could say that she's a strategic threat in that regard. She's always thinking. But she always plays like Cirie. There's a whole bunch of people that come out here, and they try to play like Boston Rob or Tyson or whoever. It's very easy to kind of see the avatar that they follow. And she's one of those people that, if there's ever been another one to get as far as she has, with the kind of cards. It's kind of like Sandra. I mean, I don't feel like there's ever been another Sandra, even though it's kind of remarkable that she's able to do. It's like lightning struck twice for her, and it doesn't really matter. It's Sandra; she's a currency out here.
And so for the winner, I would have to say, Tony. Because I really don't feel like anyone can argue with Tony winning his seasons. Tony left it all out there. And that's how I plan to be. I don't plan to hold anything in the tank. When y'all get finished watching this season, it's gonna be like, "Yeah, well, she won that!" [Laughs.] I don't plan on it being up for debate, and that's one thing that I feel like can be a fear for players, just like, "What if people don't think I deserved it?" Like Michele, she was vulnerable in saying that. But I really don't feel like it'll be up for debate. I'm gonna be looking for idols. I'm gonna be hiding and spying on folks. I'm gonna take some notes from these greats that got their million already, and then some. [Laughs.]
What's one life experience you feel has prepared you most for the game?
I would have to say boot camp for the Marine Corps. And that seems very extreme. So in boot camp, it's kind of like one of those places in the Earth that you only go really for that. Parris Island has a very particular temperature. It's hot, muggy, and a lot of mosquitoes, so Fiji is just that. I'm finding that out every day. There's a place in your mind that you have to go to deal with that, where you're just constantly being just "bugs, bugs, bugs," and you don't really have much relief, and you're not getting any relief. And if you ask for some, people are basically just gonna laugh at you and be like, "Don't you know you're in boot camp?" Not to mention the weather element.
You're going to be pushed outside of your comfort zone on purpose. It's the drill instructor's job to break you as a person to really just get you out of that "oh mommy, oh dad" kind of situation. Like, "No, ma'am. [Laughs.] You came here to be a Devil Dog. So you gotta go through hell. Welcome to hell." So, Jeff, to me, is a lot nicer than a drill instructor. But you can tell that he relishes in the suck of the situations. That's something that drill instructors, you can see on their faces; it just makes them happy. It's a billion degrees outside, and you've got to slapsticks in drill outside. It makes them happy that you are getting that particular iron strike, but iron can only sharpen iron. And you come out in that machine like you're supposed to. So I'm hoping that I come out the other side of this, being the toughest survivor there is. So, I feel like boot camp prepped me for this. Even though it was 2017, you never forget that. [Laughs.]
Oh, I can only imagine. So, let's talk about your fellow recruits in this beachside boot camp. You talk about sort of turning the knobs on this radio of yours between the southern genteelness and the military aspect. How do you think people are going to perceive you when it comes to when you actually hit the sand and start playing?
Oh, man. I'm hoping to keep some mystery about me, honestly. Mystery can be good. It can also be bad because there's an element of distrust. "I don't really know her all the way." But the good thing about people from the South is you trust us. I don't know why. [Laughs.] But there's something about, if I say, "Hi, I'm Sabiyah. I'm from Georgia. Nice to meet y'all," somebody's like, "Oh, wow, I love her."
I could be a serial killer, but that's how it comes across. It's this endearment. So I hope that they think I'm warm and a little bit slower. Because that's another stereotype that we get. "She has a little bit of drawl that we can hear. Maybe she's not so smart." But they'd be wrong. And I'm hoping that there's a lot of misinterpreting and a lot of people being wrong about me. Because if they're right about me, they'll vote me out. And I can't have that. So I'm really, really just hoping that they're wrong. [Laughs.] I have a lot of things in my arsenal that can make me a really big threat.
I mean, listen, you're driving this truck. That is your game; steer into that curve. That's what you're trying to do when you hit that slippery patch.
[Laughs.] Exactly. We're taking this on around the bend, whether we can see the edge or not.
What are you seeking in an alliance partner?
I know this is gonna be kind of weird, but I'll explain it after I say it. I need people that are innately followers in the beginning. And so I'm watching for the people that don't get up to put away their plate until they see somebody else do it. I'm watching for people that don't really act until they see somebody else act. The people that are trailblazers, like me, you can't really have too many people like yourself on your team. Because sooner or later, somebody's going to be a little bit annoyed. And that's when heads start rolling.
So I'm hoping that I can, at least, somehow meander my way into a leadership position kind of on accident. Because I have natural beta mindset. Should that not happen, I know I can turn my beta up. I'm a woman. I know how to scratch somebody's ego; it's not hard. And, being in the Marine Corps, oh god. Some egos can't even fit in the shop. [Laughs.] It's kind of like a two-step that you do with people that can't really see outside of themselves. And so I'm prepared for both. But I'm hoping that it's the former and not the latter.
Related: Everything to Know About Survivor 45
When it comes to perceptions, is there anyone in this time before the season that you're eyeballing as people you do or don't want to work with?
Oh, my goodness, from day one, I've just been like, "Okay, well, I hope they're with me." I would say definitely the tall Asian guy. He looks like Tarzan, really beefy guy. I need some muscles on my team. So, I'm hoping he's on my team. He also he seems like he has a really positive attitude. Seems like he's really kind of like more like a gentle giant. So that could work. Maybe he needs somebody to help him make those decisions. And I'm happy to listen to you and happy to pitch in. [Laughs.]
The other guy with the afro, now, he's a little bit quirky. And you can tell that he's very passionate and a little bit charismatic. He's dancing all the time. He doesn't have any music playing, but you can tell that his heartbeat is his instrument. And you've got to have somebody in your alliance that keeps you laughing. When we were in boot camp and stuff like that, or just on deployments and stuff, you've got to have somebody that's just carrying the morale. So I feel like that could be really good for an alliance, having somebody that has that sense of optimism in the worst-case scenario. Sometimes you need that when your back is against the wall, and everybody's got an idol but you, it's like, "Oh, man, this sucks." And he's like, "No, if you just turn it this way, we might be able to scoot on out of here." And I need that. So I feel like those two, we end up on the same beach, we might see what's going on. We might have some words.
Let's say a boat shows up to your camp on Day 2, asking for one person to go on a journey. How would you approach the situation?
Anybody but me. [Laughs.] I'm gonna treat that with the Sandra motto. Because I understand that this is a game of give and take. Right off the jump, I don't got much to give, but I know they got they could take my vote for however many Tribal Councils. Lord have mercy; they might take it 'til the merge; we never know. And I need my vote. Voting is the only currency you've got in this game besides just general likeability. So we're gonna have to fix the sticks or whatever the girl did, fix the rocks. I'm gonna be the one passing out this year, I'll tell you that much. [Laughs.] I'm not gonna allow myself to get got.
And I hope that I have people that are overambitious and chomping at the bit to play right off the bat. Just because they had the clue or they were told where the idol was doesn't mean that they're the one that can find it. Russell Hantz found three idols in his season without any clues again and again and again. Tony, he was finding idols without clues. It's just how much do you got in the tank. How much are you willing to give in that regard? Now, in that regard, if we're talking just pure spirit and can do, I got way too much. [Laughs.] But as far as my vote, that's not up for discussion, not this early in the game. No, sir.
What celebrity or fictional character would you want to come out for a Loved Ones visit?
If I could bring out anybody, I would bring out Kobe Bryant, rest in peace. I feel like this game was made for him, too. If he was out here, he would be definitely with the best of 'em. Just that attitude of, "No matter if my ankle is rolled, my hand is broken, whatever is going on, I'm gonna win." And I need some of that; I need those types of talks. And then the level of strategy, his ball IQ, it changed the game. You're talking about the predecessor of Michael Jordan. He carried the ship until the Lebron era. So, I feel like I need some of that Mamba mentality on this beach.
And I'm a huge fan. I'm a huge Kobe fan. Actually, for my audition, I wore a jacket that had Kobe on it. It had number eight Kobe from when he was doing the dunk contest. But that's one of my favorite people to ever be a person. And it's just because no matter what he was doing, he was the most he could possibly be. And I feel like I'm wired that way where I'm not trying to compete with anybody but who I was yesterday. So I would have to have Kobe out here, just sitting kneecap to kneecap and be like, "Okay, well, what am I doing wrong? Because I know that you see something that I don't see." [Laughs.] And then we can talk about what I'm doing right. But I know he would pick it apart and be able to give me a very good strategy going forward.
Next, check out our Survivor 45 interview with contestant Kaleb Gebrwold.