XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X” needs. We’ll have interviews with all twenty of the new players to hold you over until the season starts. Then we’ll have full episode recaps, interviews with the players after they’ve been eliminated, and the return of the ever-popular “Survivor” Power Rankings. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.
Name (Age): Rachel Ako (37)
Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Recruiting Director
Hobbies: Dancing, traveling and high ropes/high adventure activities.
Pet Peeves: I guess I would say bad manners.
Three Words to Describe You: Energetic, authentic, and fun!
NOTE: Usually I get a good thirty minutes with each contestant before the game starts. However, this season I had to get through all 20 players in only two-and-a-half hours. So, these pieces will be short and hopefully sweet.
Gordon Holmes: You’re hoping to meet your “twin flame” on “Survivor”?
Rachel Ako: I hope so! (Laughs) I’m so embarrassed.
Holmes: (Laughs) That’s why I’m here.
Ako: You know, my favorite season is when Rob (Mariano) and Amber (Brkich) met. I’d just love for it to happen to me. I have no idea who’s going to be on the island.
Holmes: When he said, (in a horrible “Boston” Rob impression) “Take care of her.” I melted.
Ako: (Laughs) I’m glad you watch, you’re awesome.
Holmes: You mentioned inspiring Asian-Americans to be confident and self-expressive. Is that a problem in the Asian-American community?
Ako: I’m not sure. I think sometimes we’re brought up to be conservative and maybe not speak out unless it’s really important. I would like to be myself, but in being myself maybe be bold and not passive. I should be assertive and it should be OK to speak my mind. And that’s against how some conservative Asian-American cultures are.
Holmes: Winning “Survivor” would be an excellent way to do that.
Ako: I’m in it to win it. I don’t expect to talk to you again for a long time.
Holmes: Let’s talk the day after the finale.
Ako: (Laughs) That’s right!
Holmes: Are you comfortable lying in the game?
Ako: Yes, I am comfortable lying if need be. I would love to see how far in the game I could get with integrity. You know, being selective with the words I say so that I’m not committing 100% to something that I know I’m not going to follow through with. However, I’m willing to take the integrity route, even if it’s the much harder route.
Holmes: What about flirting?
Ako: Gordon, I will be using all of my tools. And that is definitely one of them. That comes pretty natural to me.
Holmes: Is there anyone who will get upset if they see you flirting?
Ako: No, I’m single and ready to meet people. Even my dad has given me his blessing to do what I need to do.
Holmes: So you are totally twin flameless at this point.
Ako: (Laughs) There are none. And thanks for pointing out my loneliness. But yes, I’m hoping there are other people who are twin flameless out there.
Holmes: How well do you deal with being lied to?
Ako: In an ideal world, people should be authentic with each other. However, being lied to for a strategic reason, I understand. Lying for the sake of lying, that would lose my respect.
Holmes: How well do you deal with hunger?
Ako: The longest I went without food is a day and a half. Just water. It was hard. I had a breakdown. I didn’t think I was going to be able to get through it. But, once I got over that hump I had a spiritual experience after crying and breaking down.
Holmes: How about sleep deprivation?
Ako: Sleep is one of the most important things to me. So, that’s going to be tough. I’ll meditate if I can’t sleep because rain is on me. I’ll do what I have to do to get my zen…my own rest.
Holmes: Extreme temperatures?
Ako: Hot is fine. I lived in Las Vegas, it’s like an oven there. However, cold is a weakness for me.
Holmes: What about paranoia?
Ako: I don’t smoke weed because I don’t like the paranoia. I think it’s the worst. I rock myself like a baby and want myself to get down from the high. I don’t like paranoia.
Holmes: Any early thoughts on the other players?
Ako: I’ve only walked by a few of them in the hallway, and they look young. Like early twenties. I’m like, I hope they’re going to be OK. I don’t even have kids and I’m feeling motherly. But, I think they do a really good job of selecting personalities that are quite different from each other.
Holmes: If there is a twist, what do you think it could be?
Ako: A super idol. I’ve done some research and an idol that two different players could put together and possess and can be played after the votes are read. That could be powerful.
Holmes: If you could align with any past player, who would it be?
Ako: I really liked Parvati (Shallow). She seems like she tells it straight up. And she’s into women power. If there are some women who could survive with each other and take care of each other, she would be a good co-ringleader in that.
Holmes: Lightning round time. Cats or dogs?
Holmes: Beer or wine?
Holmes: Superman or Batman?
Holmes: Meat or vegetable?
Holmes: Republican or Democrat?
Ako: (Laughs) Neither!
Holmes: I’ll accept that. Books or TV?
Holmes: Swimming or sunbathing?
Holmes: Many casual friends or one good friend?
Ako: Many casual.
Holmes: Nice car or nice home?
Ako: Nice home.
Holmes: Smart or funny?
Ako: Funny all the way.
Holmes: Parvati or Boston Rob?
Ako: Boston Rob.
Holmes: Big TV or big vacation?
Ako: Big vacation.
Holmes: Working alone or with a team?
Ako: Working alone.
Holmes: Dragons or unicorns?
Holmes: Careful planning or fly by the seat of your pants?
Ako: Careful planning.
Holmes: Jeff Probst or Ryan Seacrest?
Ako: (Laughs) I think they’re both heroes, but I’m going to go with Probst.
Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X,” Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 8pm