Lisa Whelchel — Blair from Facts of Life — on Survivor Philippines

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have …

If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, you probably can finish that lyric: “The Facts of Life!” I was a fan, and enjoyed seeing the travails of the boarding school girls and the flustered-but-loveable Mrs. Garrett.

We had Tootie, Natalie, Jo, and of course — most memorably — Blair. Good old snooty rich Blair, who I’ve loved earlier as a Mouseketeer. Blair was Lisa Whelchel in real life. She went on to have a Christian ministry as a speaker and author, although her child-rearing advice sometimes met with criticism (among other things, she advocated putting hot sauce on a child’s tongue as a form of discipline).

Guess who will be on Survivor this season? Yep: Lisa Whelchel/Blair!
I’m interested to see how this will play out. At 49, Lisa is a few years older than me and will definitely be “old” by Survivor standards. Old folks typically don’t fare too well on the island. The young hot girl contestants tend to keep their distance, and let’s face it: the male contestants aren’t too interested in either hanging out with or forming alliances with middle age females.

Based on what she’s posted at her website, I’m guessing she doesn’t lasts too long: I don’t think “fun” is the word I would use to describe my experience. Those days on the island were the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It pushed me to my extreme limits physically, mentally, spiritually, and especially, emotionally. I’m so very grateful for the opportunity and I’m so glad I did it but I think it’s like childbirth…I may need to put a few years behind me and some perspective in front of me before I would ever consider doing it again. Note how she refers to “days” on the island, not weeks (the full show is 39 days).

Supposedly, Lisa will be keeping her former fame secret from her fellow castaways. Will anyone recognize her?

Survivor PhilippinesLisa’s Survivor bio surprises me a bit. She’s an avowed Christian, yet she lists Oprah as her inspiration. Really? Maybe she’s just trying to seem mainstream. After all, going onto Survivor as a dedicated Christian would most likely put a huge target on her back.

As a fellow author, I also sense the genius of this Survivor move on Lisa’s part. The big thing for authors is platform. Platform, platform, platform — I am sick of the word! And yet, how better to grow one’s platform than to appear on Survivor? I have a feeling that Lisa’s “days on the island” will result in more than a few book sales a speaking gigs for her. Maybe a lot of folks who’d forgotten about her will remember her and look her up again. Last Sunday, I noticed a photo of her as a speaker at an upcoming Christian women’s conference near me. What was pictured by her? The Survivor logo!

Are you a Survivor fan? Will you be watching Lisa when the next season starts up Wednesday, September 19?

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