Assessing Douglasville’s Cydney Gillon halfway through ‘Survivor’ 32

"The Jocks VS. the Pretty People" -- Kyle Jason, Cydney Gillon and Scot Pollard during the eighth episode of SURVIVOR KAOH: RONG -- Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty. The show airs, Wednesday, April 6 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Screen Grab /CBS Entertainment ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights. Reserved.

“The Jocks VS. the Pretty People” — Kyle Jason, Cydney Gillon and Scot Pollard during the eighth episode of SURVIVOR KAOH: RONG — Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty. The show airs, Wednesday, April 6 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Screen Grab /CBS Entertainment ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights. Reserved.

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Saturday, April 9, 2016

Douglasville resident Cydney Gillon, through the first seven episodes of “Survivor,” kept herself mostly under the radar as part of the Brawn squad.

Her tribe early on was pretty horrible, losing the first two challenges. But she never appeared to be threatened in terms of elimination. She was helpful around camp and pleasant to be around, making few waves in a way that would draw negative attention.

She collapsed after a brutal day 9 challenge which nearly took out three people due to the unrelenting heat and a lack of hydration. Caleb Reynolds was the only one of the three who was ultimately medically evacuated. Cydney recovered.

My interview with Cydney before the show debuted.

The 23-year-old bodybuilder stuck with her Brawn cronies Scot Polard and Kyle Jason for the first 17 days. When the merge happened, the Brawn and Beauty members teamed up to supposedly take down the Brains. During the seventh episode, one of the Brains went down due to medical issues. So that alliance didn’t have to act.

But during this past week’s episode, some of the alliance was getting cocky – notably Nick Maiorano, part of the Beauty contingent. He was overplaying his hand, sniffing around to see if there was a female alliance brewing on behalf of Scot and Jason.

Cydney noticed him talking to Beauty Julia Sokolowski and it annoyed her. “He’s the most indiscreet person on this island,” she said. “If you are talking and I can see you, how stupid are you?” Julia said there was no all-female alliance. At that point, that was true.

He came back to Jason and Scot and said, “Nothing. We’re good.”

Cydney said her face was “starting to twitch” and she was going to snap.  She felt when she talked to any of the ladies, the guys got paranoid. But she said they felt entitled to do the same with impunity.

Cydney came straight after the three guys, calling Nick’s behavior “suspect.”

“I wasn’t plotting against y’all,” she told them.

Jason in private tried to mollify her, saying he didn’t ask Nick to check on the possibility of an all-female alliance, that it was just a topic.

“Don’t check me,” she said, of Nick. “You’re not my daddy.” To the “Survivor” cameras, she said, “Irritated Cydney will blow the whole game up!”

Jason ensured her he had her back. She then went all Sheree Whitfield: “Don’t check me boo!”

Ultimately, she decided to go after Nick. “He’s too big for his britches and it rubbed me the wrong way,” she said. (Yup, she’s a southern girl using a phrase that includes “britches”!)

So she went over to Debbie Wanner and Aubrey Bracco from the Brains tribe, now down to three people. They were open to voting Nick out. (The other surviving Brain Joe Del Campo ultimately joined them as well.) What was most impressive: she convinced the two female Beauties (Julia and Michele Fitzgerald) to join her as well, which mean Nick ended up with six votes against him, more than enough to send him to the jury.

"The Jocks VS. the Pretty People" --Cydney Gillon makes a deal with Julia Sokolowski and Michele Fitzgerald during the eighth episode of SURVIVOR KAOH: RONG -- Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty. The show airs, Wednesday, April 6 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Screen Grab /CBS Entertainment ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights. Reserved.

“The Jocks VS. the Pretty People” –Cydney Gillon makes a deal with Julia Sokolowski and Michele Fitzgerald during the eighth episode of SURVIVOR KAOH: RONG — Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty. The show airs, Wednesday, April 6 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Screen Grab /CBS Entertainment ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights. Reserved.

This was a big move and changed the nature of the game by splintering the Brawns and leaving Scot and Jason vulnerable. That will score her points with the jury if she makes the finals.

Cydney appears to have a temper, which she had managed to tamp down until this past Wednesday’s episode. We’ll see if she can keep her cool and avoid becoming a bigger target down the road.

Teresa “T-Bird” Cooper, a Delta Air Lines flight attendant who came in fifth season three on “Survivor Africa,” is a fan.

“I love how her character is evolving,” she texted me today. “Not just Brawn but Beauty and Brains rolled into one small, sassy package of DYNAMITE! Love her! And love that she won’t be pushed around by the guys.”

Parvati Shallow, a former Atlantan who won “Survivor: Micronesia” and is in the “Survivor” Hall of Fame (yes, that’s a thing!), was impressed by Cydney’s move. “I think she’s got a good shot at going to the finals if she keeps up the good work and can break up Jason and Scot and Michelle and Julia,” she said.

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