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Every season of Survivor sees at least one contestant getting the dreaded “purple edit”. For the 41st season of the show, it was undoubtedly finalist Heather Aldret who received the least attention from production. By the time the merge hit, most viewers were just starting to realize she was there. The most common explanation thrown around for an edit like Heather’s is that she’s a GOAT. In other words, a player being dragged to the end because they would be easy to beat in the final tribal council.
Heather believes differently about her game. Recently in an interview with EW, she spoke more about her game and the results of her purple edit.
Heather And Her Edit
“How would you feel?” Heather asked in response to a question about how she felt about her edit.
Heather’s strategy involved her making a tight duo alliance with the quiet strategist and winner of the season Erika Casupanan. Their combined success in navigating the various advantages and powerful social threats throughout the season led them both to the end. Heather’s elimination at 4 was only the result of one of the tightest fire-making challenges in the show’s history.
In other words, Heather was no minor player throughout the season. Her tight relationship with the eventual winner alone should have been enough to warrant more of an insight into her game. That never happened, though. So what was the reason for the majority of her footage being left on the cutting room floor?
Probst VS. Quiet Finalists
“Erika and I would sit down and say, ‘Okay, let’s figure this out.’ And we would draw the holes in the sand. ‘Okay, if you can get Danny to see the vote this way, I’ll make sure this person does too. And then that way we can cover it if this person plays the idol.’”
It’s no secret amongst Survivor fans that executive producer and host since Season 1 Jeff Probst has a preference towards loud players. Players who make big moves and big speeches and win challenges at the pivotal moments to save their games at the eleventh hour. It is always entertaining and cinematic to see those players when they come along.
But the reality is that Survivor is a game that lends itself to players who move very differently. Throughout the history of the show, many of the most successful players are the ones who do the exact opposite. Players who fly under the radar, plan their moves from the shadows and let other players take the heat to avoid detection and elimination.
These are the exact players Probst has always apologized for rather than encouraged. He’s stated many times his least favorite winners are ones like Vecepia from Marquesas and Natalie White from Samoa who had very strong but quiet social games. These winners are notorious amongst fans for, like Heather, being left out of the edit overall. In spite of winning the game, they were still largely ignored in favor of the “bigger” players throughout the season.
So, ultimately, it was Heather’s quiet gameplay that got her nearly to the end game and resulted in her being largely left out of what aired. Hopefully, with enough fan outcry, we can see more focus on solid players who maneuver in the shadows in the future.