‘Survivor’ Superfan Sia Gives $130,000 to Her Favorite Contestants
Sia loves watching Survivor so much that she has been giving away her money to the show’s contestants since 2016. This year, following last night’s finale, she has decided to reward Carolyn Wiger (the season’s second runner up) with $100,000, Carson Garrett (who placed just after Wiger) with $15,000, and Lauren Harpe (who followed Garrett) with $15,000, according to PopCrave.
Video posted to the site’s Twitter shows Harpe’s reaction to Sia’s unexpected largesse. She looked positively weirded out when Sia, who appeared to be off camera, started the call in a funny voice before identifying herself. Then Harpe’s eyes jumped out of her skull as she pulled a Kevin McCallister scream face while Sia praised her.
“I wanted to tell you that you’re awesome, and I really felt the struggle for you and your kids and stuff,” Sia said. “I wanted to give you not the biggest prize, but I wanted to give you 15 grand just to say, ‘I love you’ and, ‘Keep going.'”
“This is so unexpected,” Harpe rejoined.
“It is a tax-free gift, so that’s good,” Sia explained. “That means, I pay the taxes on it; you don’t. That’s the most I could give you tax-free. But I just love you so much, and I’m sorry that you missed out right at the end. I really thought you played a good game. … You are rad.” The pop star added, “Thank you for what you showed all the single mothers out there.” She also promised continual financial help in the future.
“I truly appreciate you,” Harpe said. “And just to know that you worked so hard to get to where you are and to share that with me is so special.” Sia said she hoped Harpe would return to the show in the future.
Entertainment Weekly has reported that Sia started gifting contestants who didn’t win the show’s $1 million prize their own money after season 33, Survivor: Kaoh Rong. Traditionally, she has told each “Sia Award” recipient what she has found special about them.
She works with the show’s host, Jeff Probst, on getting the money to the contestants. “Back when we did the live reunion shows, she would either be sitting in the audience or in my dressing room,” he told EW last year. “She would watch the finale and then let me know who she wanted to receive the Sia Award. The players would find out immediately. It was very powerful to see it go down.” He said that one year, she wrote personal checks right there for the chosen few.
Probst also told EW why Sia awards Survivor contestants when the show is done. “She gets a lot of joy from watching Survivor players take on such a personal and often vulnerable life adventure,” he said. “And she has been incredibly fortunate in her own career and wants to share some of that fortune with others.”