Lisa Whelchel is known to many as the rich girl Blair from The Facts of Life. But for the last decade Whelchel has been studying another television show — Survivor — and now the former star has a chance to play it for real on the show’s latest installment.
Although Whelchel describes herself as a “super fan,” she still had plenty of fears heaidng into her stint on Survivor: Philippines.
“I was really nervous about things like wearing a bathing suit on television or the fact that, depending on how long I lasted, that I couldn’t wash my hair and couldn’t wear make-up,” Whelchel told TV Guide.. “All of those things were definite fears.”
The show, which premiered this week, gives viewers a chance to see another side of Lisa Whelchel. Since leaving Hollywood more than a decade ago, Whelchel has home-schooled her three children and written 10 books, many of them Christian motivational books.
“So much of my life — from the time that I was an itty- bitty girl — was wanting to be good and wanting to be perfect. Anything that was considered to be bad was to be banished,” she says. “Survivor was a way for me to live vicariously through the people who did things that I would never allow myself to do in real life.”
Her newfound attention with Survivor has also given Lisa Whelchel a chance to open up about her personal life. She revealed to TV Guide that she has been divorced since March from her husband of 24 years.
At the time her offer to compete on Survivor came, Whelchel said she was actually at a low point personally.
“My contract was rescinded which felt really devastating because that meant I didn’t have a year’s worth of work lined up,” Whelchel says. “After I got over the devastation, I realized the opportunity presented to me, which was time to audition and try to be on Survivor.”
After finishing Survivor, Whelchel said she was surprised at what stood out about the game.
“The external elements, the weather and the starvation, the bugs, that really wasn’t the hard part for me. It was the internal struggle,” Lisa Whelchel told Access Hollywood. “The challenge of playing the game, the way you’re supposed to play it to win. You’re going to have to do some lying and backstabbing and hurting people and that was a bigger struggle for me. That turned out to be harder than I anticipated.”