Durham law student competes on Survivor: Island of the Idols

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Season 39 premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. on CBS 17

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Season 39 of Survivor is introducing a new element to the game: the Island of the Idols. 

This edition features two legendary winners, “Boston” Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine, who return to the game not to compete, but to serve as mentors to a group of 20 new players. 

Combined, Boston Rob and Sandra have played over 200 days of Survivor, and now they plan to share what they’ve learned with the new castaways.

The players will then attempt to put those learned skills to the test and chase the title of Sole Survivor—not to mention the $1 million grand prize.

Survivor: Island of the Idols premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. on CBS 17.

Central North Carolina is represented this season with Molly Byman, who is part of the Vokai Tribe.

Age: 27    
Hometown: Boston 
Current residence: Durham    
Occupation: Law Student  

Three words to describe you: Competitive, resilient, and vibrant.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor
I am smart, strong, and not annoying. Discomfort and being dirty don’t bother me. I can fit in anywhere and form relationships with anyone. Being the oldest child and being a teacher taught me how to manage chaos, how to be adaptable and considerate to others’ needs, and how to use subtle powers of persuasion to get people to do what I want.

Hobbies: Running, skiing, biking, hiking, reading, board games, traveling, and balling out for delicious meals.

Pet peeves: Being unwantedly touched, heavy breathing, slow walkers and slow talkers, people who are unprepared at airport security, rule-breakers, and the assumption that men and women can’t be platonic friends.

Three words to describe you: Competitive, resilient, and vibrant.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Teaching middle school for five years. Thanks to the two schools where I taught, my two incredible department heads, and my 400+ impressive students, I’ll forever be that person who says that teaching was the hardest but most rewarding job she’s ever had.

Who or what is your inspiration in life?
My family. I am the oldest of four and the oldest of my 13 first cousins, and we all genuinely enjoy each other’s company. My family inspires me to take on new challenges, but also to remain grounded, remember my roots, and to be someone they can be proud of. I have the confidence to do things like go on Survivor because of the stability and love both my parents have provided and continue to provide.

Front row, left to right: Jack Nichting, Molly Byman, Lauren Beck, Kellee Kim, Janet Carbin
Back row, left to right: Noura Salman, Dan Spilo, Jamal Shipman, Jason Linden, Tommy Sheehan

What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you?
My all-time favorite TV protagonist is Lindsay Weir from Freaks and Geeks. Also, I can read tarot cards.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
Parvati (who is the most obvious selection that everyone strives to be) because she was charming as she was being manipulative. She allowed herself to be grouped into a “dumb girl alliance” but controlled the social situation throughout. I also relate to Wendell. Like Wendell, I am able to remain emotionally neutral and find humor in stressful or irritating situations.

What’s your primary motivation for being on Survivor?
I have wanted to compete on Survivor since I first watched Elisabeth Filarski jump off that cliff in the Australian Outback. Now that it’s happening (!!!), I keep reminding myself that the show is for money and not just an adventure. I want a behind-the-scenes look at the show I love, and I want to test my mind, body, and social prowess. The opportunity to graduate law school with zero debt is a bonus.

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