In May 2000, the very first episode of Survivor — the reality competition survivalist show — aired. As the middle child of five, Tori Meehan Stanley grew up watching the show devoutly with her family, and now has made her dreams into plans after being cast on the popular CBS show.
Stanley has seen every season of Survivor – more than once – while looking up to, and being inspired by stars like Andrea Boehlke, who has made appearances on the show several times. On her 18th birthday, Stanley filmed her audition tape, and continued to dream for six years about one day making it to the island.
As a therapist, Stanley has always been drawn to the social experiment aspect of the show.
“What really drew me in is body image, acceptance and appreciation. I think today it’s really easy to truly appreciate your body in the mirror,” Stanley says, adding that your body is so much more than just what you look like.
While living her dream, Stanley recognizes that in a way, she is also living her family’s dream, as they are all very committed fans of Survivor. When she got the call, Stanley was ecstatic, to say the least.
“The first thing I did was cry, and then I told my family, without knowing really what any of it meant yet,” Stanley says. “Going into the game, I wanted to have my journey focused on being more appreciative of my body, while not just seeing it for what it looks like.”
After extensive studying in the area of psychology, hope became a theme she knew well, being that there is so much research in hopefulness.
“I understand the power of hope — there’s lots of research, especially in the area of depression … The possibility of being cast helped me get through isolation during the past couple of years and the craziness of 2020. My No. 1 dream came true,” Stanley says, emphasizing how cool it was to experience true hope.
Stanley, a Tulsa native, and her husband, Zach, became recent residents of Northwest Arkansas, though her husband grew up in the comfy corner of the state. The two currently reside in Rogers.
Arkansas’ own Tori Meehan Stanley, along with all the other cast members for season 42, can be seen live and in action when the game kicks off for the $1 million prize on March 9.
Photo courtesy CBS.
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