Meet the 'Survivor 46' Cast! Artist Tiffany Nicole Ervin Plans to Weaponize Her Delusion

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Tiffany Nicole Ervin

88% of the time, things work out for Tiffany Nicole Ervin. The 33-year-old has found success with every choice she has made, most prominently becoming an artist whose work has been prominently displayed at Madison Square Garden purely because someone told her she couldn't. When it comes to the canvas of Survivor, Tiffany is channeling her best Jackson Pollack and bringing messiness. And with a lack of filter, a penchant for gambling, and a lot of luck, she plans on creating a beachside masterpiece.

Read on for my interview with Tiffany, and check in with daily for interviews with this season's contestants and other tidbits. Survivor 46 premieres on February 28 with a two-hour premiere on CBS.

Related: Meet the Full Cast of Survivor 46

Interview with Tiffany from Survivor 46

To start, give me your name, age, and occupation.
I'm Tiffany. I'm 32 years old, and I'm an artist. I do visual art. Painting, digital art. I work with Adobe Premiere, Illustrator, Photoshop—the works.

How long have you been doing that?
I started doing art in 2016, so not really that long, actually. I work in video production as well. But art is my main jam that I'm working on right now.

What made you decide to make that pivot?
It's funny. So, I still do both. It was really because somebody told me that I couldn't. Somebody told me that wasn't an artist. And I was so determined to prove that person wrong. And then I ended up parlaying a career out of it and loving it, and just getting really good at it. So it really started for me just being defiant.

What's your favorite thing about being an artist? Because I would imagine it's such a tough vocation. Especially in visual art, where it can be so subjective.
I think that might be my favorite part about it. There's no right or wrong way to be an artist. You literally can just do whatever you want. I feel like I wake up, and I just do stuff. There's so much freedom, and there are so many different avenues you can take. You meet so many interesting people. I'm obsessed with the fact that I can kind of just do whatever I want. I can make my career whatever I want it to be.

So then, what made you decide that the next picture on your canvas would be of an island in Fiji? What made you feel Survivor was right for you?
I have been a Survivor fan since I was a teenager. And I actually applied to the show like ten years ago. Didn't even get a call, by the way. Did not even get a call back. But you know what? I'm grateful. Because if I would have gotten on a show as a 22-year-old, dewy-eyed. I would have gotten chewed up and spit out. A decade later, I've seen some things, I've been through some things. And I feel like I'm way more ready now than I ever was before.

Was there a particular season or player that got you started on Survivor when you were a teenager?
So, I don't think there was a particular player or season that started me watching it. I actually started watching it because one of my best friends. I was spending the night at her house one day, and her mom used to watch Survivor, and I'm like, "Oh, what's this?" And they kind of got me into it. I do know the player that I personally admire is Natalie Anderson.

Let's get into that, actually. Give me a winner and a non-winner who you identify with the most. I imagine that's Natalie.
Natalie, for sure, is the winner that I admire the most. Because I feel like she was just so tactful and patient. And patience is an area that I struggle with in my everyday life. So I'm hoping that I can kind of be better with that. I'm an instant gratification girl. So, I know that it doesn't always work that way on Survivor, and I'm hoping to be able to hone my skills in that department.

Now, as far as non-winners go, I really liked watching Shan play the game. Because I feel like there was so much potential there. She just got caught up in her emotions just a little bit too much. And while I am a bit of an emotional person myself, I'm hoping to be able to kind of pick up where she left off. Because her mind around strategy is beautiful. But she got a little too bogged down with relationships and the nuances of those things instead of just being more cut and dry about it.

What's your favorite moment in Survivor history?
My favorite moment in Survivor history is probably Tony's Spy Shack. I was blown away. I'm like, "This guy is a total Looney Toon." But at this same time, it's like, damn, you got to have some guts to be able to do some crazy stuff like that. Everybody wants to say, "Oh yeah, I will be this type of player or that type of player." But to see somebody actually just come out here and go for the gusto, that blew me away.

So, are you already scouting out trees and shrubs for your own Spy Shack?
I'm gonna keep it real with you. I am probably not going to be able to Spy Shack. That's not my ministry. But I admire Tony for doing it. Listen, there can only be one Tony. Many have tried; few have succeeded. So I'm gonna leave the spy shacking to him. And I'm gonna figure out a way to carve my own path in this game.

I want to go back to what you said before about becoming an artist because someone said you couldn't. Do you feel like that's the life experience that has prepared you the most for the game?
I definitely believe that me becoming an artist has prepared me for the game. Number one, like you said, it's a pretty difficult career to kind of be successful. And, while I'm mildly successful, I'm probably in the very beginning stages of my career. I have had some really big wins. I was able to have my artwork displayed in Madison Square Garden. I've worked with major brands like Nike and Adidas. And this is all just me being self-taught, figuring things out on my own, building relationships, and kind of just being able to make others think that what I want is also best for them. So that's a skill that's very useful out here.

Would you call that your biggest superpower in life, being able to convince others to do what's best for you?
I would couple that with me just having a really high emotional intelligence. I think that it's very easy for me to connect with people. It's very easy for me to read people. And it's also really interesting and easy for me to kind of see when there's a shift in emotions caused by me or not. I think that that's really going to help me out here.

On the other hand, what's your biggest piece of kryptonite?
I'm too nice sometimes. But also, on the flip side, I cannot control my facial expression sometimes. So we're gonna work on that. I'm definitely a work in progress. And sometimes, I tend to be a little bit of a people pleaser. And out here, that's not gonna serve you in any form or fashion.

Good news: Survivor Twitter will love your facial reactions. Bad news: People might not in the moment.
They will not! So I'm gonna have to really, you know, lock it in, box it in, keep it cute. But hopefully, it doesn't get me into much trouble.

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You wrote in your bio that you have no filter.
I don't!

How worried are you about that affecting your game? Information's currency out here. Are you afraid you'll get so excited about having an advantage that you'll just tell the first person you see?
See, no, I don't have a filter when it comes to me letting people know how I feel. When I'm upset, I'm letting everybody know that I'm upset. But when it comes to keeping secrets, oh, I can do that. But I don't think it's gonna be an issue with me letting a couple of things slip, because I plan on being a little messy out here anyway. So if I start a little something here or there because I accidentally let this slip that somebody told me, I don't think there's any problem with that.

But, to go back to what you said before, it could be tough. In Survivor 44, for example, we saw Yam Yam and Carson leave Carolyn out of a vote. It's tough to not be in the Carolyn position of, "I'm mad you did this thing, and I'm not gonna hide it."
But also, I think you kind of have to find a balance. Of course, there's a benefit to letting everybody know that you're mad, but you also have to toe the line. Because if you do too much, then everybody's gonna be like, "Okay, she's a liability. We can't keep her. She can't keep her [expletive] together. We got to get rid of her." But I'm hoping I can toe that line between letting everybody know, "Don't play in my face." And also, "Okay, I can roll with the punches. I can be a team player here."

What do you think people will perceive you as?
I hope they think that I'm just this really docile, sweet, and easy-to-beat artist who doesn't really know much about the game. You can kind of take her along, use her for votes. I don't want to be perceived as somebody who's doing a whole bunch of overthinking and strategizing. Because those are the people that get up out of here first.

You mentioned in your bio that your friends say that you live in a land of sunshine and unicorns. Why is that?
So my best friends, they joke around with me all the time, and they call me delusional. I know. It sounds nuts. But here's the thing. It's not always a bad thing. Because I live in a land of I thinking I can do anything I can accomplish. But that's really what my life has been up until this point. When I want to do things, I do them. And 90%--alright, 88%--of the time, things work out for me. They even joke around and call me God's favorite. But you can't be God's favorite without a little bit of delusion that things are just gonna go your way.

How much has luck incorporated into your life? You love playing games; you love playing the lottery.
I'm so freaking lucky. I love playing the lottery, because most of the time, I win. I mean, I haven't won any major life-changing prizes, but I usually do well.

I was gonna say, if you did, do not let anyone know that. [Laughs.]
I wish! But no, when I play games, I usually win. I'm very competitive. And I think that's why I don't like to lose, because I'm not used to it. I'm used to things working out. And a lot of the times, my friends have to tell me, "Tiffany, be realistic. You're not thinking in the real world." And I'm like, "I'm not thinking in the real world. I'm thinking in Tiffany's world." And, in Tiffany's world, things go right, and they go the way I want them to go.

How does that incorporate into the advantage aspect of Survivor? Would you be somebody to risk your vote for the chance of an advantage?
I'm a gambling gal. And I'm not good with resisting temptation. So I'm not gonna sit up here and lie to you and pretend that if I see any advantage, I'm not going to take it. I'm going to act now and deal with the consequences later.

Do you have any plans for dealing with those consequences when they come?
I'll lie, I'll deny. I'll do whatever I got to do. I'm a "by any means necessary" type of girl. And that's the type of game I'm trying to play out here. I don't care who I have to lie to. I don't care what alliances I have to switch. I'm in the guys' alliance. I'm in the girls' alliance. Hell, I'll be in the trees alliance if that's gonna give me a step further in the game. I'm gonna do what has to be done no matter what. Because at the end of the day, we're only going to get one shot at this. Well, most people only get one shot at this. And I would never forgive myself If I came out here and played a whack-ass, scared-ass game. That's not what I came here for.

Well, let's talk about some of your competition a bit. What are you looking for in an ally?
I would love to have a ride-or-die; I would love to have a Day One. And what I would really love is loyalty. But this is Survivor. So to ask for loyalty, it's just really stupid. It's only one prize, and we're all fighting for it. So maybe I'll have a little bit of loyalty. But I would like somebody who can think outside of the box, somebody who's not gonna get shaken up when we're in a really crappy situation. Because nine times out of 10, when things are going in Survivor, they're probably going to shit. So what can we do? I don't want a person that's gonna panic. I want a person that's gonna sit down and say, "Alright, what can we do to get ourselves out of this hole?" Hmm. So a creative thinker, and somebody who's going to be able to keep their shit together.

Does anyone fit that bill among the people you've been seeing at Ponderosa during the preseason?
Yeah, I think so. There's a guy, kind of tall, athletic-looking, dark skin. Just something about him just feels like he's a competitor. Something about him feels like he's not going down without a fight. He looks like a freaking action figure. If I'm going to war, I want him next to me.

What about on the other side of things? Anyone giving you bad vibes?
I wouldn't say that there's anybody that I'm picking up not-so-good vibes from. But there's definitely somebody who's giving me too nice. Like you're looking too nice for me. There's a guy; he has a dark, full beard. He just feels a little too friendly. Something about it, I don't trust when people are too nice. I'm like, "Are you hiding something?" In New Jersey and New York, we mind our business. We don't smile for no reason. You're not just smiling at me for no reason, something's up.

[Author's note: The contestant Tiffany was describing was an alternate cast member for 46 and ultimately did not make the season's final cast.]

Related: Everything to Know About Survivor 46

Let's say a boat shows up at your camp on Day 2, asking one person to go on a journey. How would you approach the situation?
See, that's the tough part. The gambling girl in me is like, "Oh yeah, I want to go." But the Survivor strategist in me is like, "Tiffany, be [expletive] for real. If you are the first person off this, with no other reason for people to vote you out, you're giving them a reason right then and there." So I don't know. I might have to have a conversation with myself and really figure that out. I can't give you a yes or no. It's gonna be a game-day decision.

How hungry will you be to hunt for advantages, going back to that risk-taking we were speaking about before?
So I'm definitely somebody that's cognizant of how I'm perceived. So I don't want to be the girl that's doing too much and coming in guns ablaze and searching for idols 24 hours a day. But I'm also not just gonna sit around and look at people in the face when nobody here is safe. So I'm gonna try to find a delicate balance between pedal to the metal and, "Alright, girl, relax."

From your experience as a visual artist, do you think that makes you a shoo-in for any puzzles?
Alright, so if I'm chilling, and I sit down and relax, I think I'm pretty good with puzzles. I'm great at seeing the bigger picture and fine little details. I'm good at recognizing those. But under pressure, I'm a little bit of a wackadoodle. I'm the person that is always, "Oh, I should have seen that." When my anxiety starts to ramp up, I just see colors, lights, and swirls. And I'm definitely not the girl that's volunteering to do the puzzles. Although I'm good at them, that's in a relaxed environment, not when I'm hot and starving and fighting for my life.

In general, what's been your preparation to get ready for Survivor?
I've definitely been doing a lot more puzzles. But that's something that I enjoy anyway. One thing I was definitely there very determined to do was get in really good physical condition. Because I know this game is really hard on the body. So I was working out five or six times a week, swimming, lifting, running, climbing—a lot to get ready for this.

Is that so, if you go to Tribal Council in the premerge, you'll be seen as an asset?
That was my main point for doing that. Because when it comes down to the individual challenges, you figure it out as you figure it out. But in the beginning, most of the time, people don't know each other. They don't have a real reason to vote anybody out. So they're looking to get rid of the weakest links. And I refuse to be that weak link. Can't compete in the individual Immunity Challenges if you don't get there.

Talk me through your decision-making process. Are you typically someone who thinks everything through, or more so goes with your gut?
It is definitely somewhere in between. And I think it's a depending on the day. Because some days, I'm like, "Alright, I've thought about this situation eleventyseven times, and I still don't have a decision." I can be pretty indecisive sometimes. But then there are days where I'm pretty impulsive. And I'm like, "Yep, gut telling me to do this. Go with it. I'll deal with the consequences later."

What do you expect to be the balance out here?
It's got to be 50/50. There has to be a fine and delicate balance out here. Because some days you have to go with your gut because you have no other information. But then, other days, you have a lot of information [and] you have to sift through what you can trust and what you can't.

What is your hottest Survivor take?
I don't think this is a hot take, because I doubt I'm the only person that feels this way. But I don't know why people just don't know how to shut the [expletive] up. Why do you feel that when you get an advantage or an idol that you have to tell somebody? Time and time again, Survivor history has proven to us that revealing your advantages is a poor decision for gaining trust. All they're gonna do is use that as a bargaining chip to gain trust with somebody else. Shut your ass up!

What celebrity or fictional character would you want to come out for a Loved Ones visit?
Oh, that's a good one. You definitely threw a curveball at me. I think I would bring Hermione Granger, because that's my girl. I'm a really big fan of the Harry Potter series. And I feel like Hermione is somebody who would be able to give me the advice that I need to really get through this game. There's not much that that girl doesn't know. And by the time you get to the Loved Ones visit, you're down bad. So, if I could just have a conversation with my girl, I feel like she would get me through to the end of the game. Hermione has been through some shit, and she's gonna be able to tell me what I need to know to finish this fight for my life.

To finish, I gotta take the opportunity given your career. Paint me a picture of what's in your mind right now as you prepare mentally for what's coming over the next 26 days.
Right now, it's a vortex. It's a vortex of colors, lights, swirls. A little bit of jagged rocks. Trees.

Don't climb those rocks!
[Laughs.] I'm not. Hell no. I was so pissed off with Matthew climb that rock and fell off. My boy, you are putting your body in danger for shits and giggles! Come on, my guy. So it's definitely a swirling vortex. You don't really know what's on the other side. But it's so beautiful. You got to jump in and see what's going down.

Next, check out our interview with Survivor 46 contestant Q Burdette.