How We Were First Introduced: Jerri Manthey first graced our TV sets in Season 2 of Survivor: ‘Survivor: The Australian Outback.’ She quickly established herself as a strong presence on the show, stirring up drama and quickly getting the label of “Villainess.” One of reality TV’s most memorable females, she appeared on ‘Survivor: All-Stars‘ and even posed nude for Playboy in 2001.
Life Before Survivor: “That seems like so long ago. I was an actress, living in L.A. for about 7 years. I was really happy to have the opportunity to go on this crazy TV show. I was just really frustrated with L.A. in general. I was like, “Go on, give me a million dollars, I can win that easy.” Back then reality TV was brand new, it was a brand new beast.”
Poked And Prodded: “I’ve always said the survival aspect started long before we ever got to the Outback. It was a series of medical exams, physical exams, psychological exams, poking, prodding, urine, blood, vaccinations. I probably would’ve soaked up a lot of water if you threw me in a lake, I had so many holes poked in me.”
A Bum Rap? “I’ve always felt like the editing was a little rough on me. I do understand that I gave them a lot of material to work with, just being a very honest, open person. I did think it was a little harsh and I think what came after Australia was almost as difficult as the actual experience itself. The harsh reaction was a little unnerving.”
“I think now, as time has passed, people have begun to understand how reality TV is manipulated and edited and they understand that what you see on a reality show is not a true depiction of how people are in real life.”
Strong Reactions Back Home: “Back in the day, there were a couple moments that still stick with me. I recall one time driving down Beverly Blvd in L.A. and I pulled out into traffic and I guess some guy in a Porsche or something, going about 70 in a 35 mph zone, came flying up behind me and thought I pulled out in front of him and he pulled up to me, rolled his his window down and said, “That’s why people think you’re a bitch!”
Second Time Around: “You know, I tell people that the All-Star season was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. In a lot of ways, I did regret doing it. It’s a very strange experience to go back knowing that the producers are going to be even harder on you and that you’re going to be playing this game with people you know. It was definitely a difficult thing. I actually had a conversation not too long ago with Jenna Lewis and we discussed that one night when the storm hit and how that was like the worst night of our entire lives. It was such a bad storm that the camera crew ran away and we had no contact with base camp.”
No Panamanian Vacation: “All-Stars by far was a much harder season. They really amped up the challenges, they made them twice as long, twice as hard and they gave us literally nothing but a machete. We had no water for six days, people were fainting and getting sick. Panama is not a pleasant place. Australia was beautiful, I loved it there.”
You’ve Got A Friend: “Here and there, there’s a couple of people I will always cherish. My friend Mitchell from Australia, he’s a really sweet person, we talk quite a bit. There’s other people I don’t care if I ever see again.”
Reality TV Hookups? “I’ve never dated anyone from reality TV. I think my biggest criticism of most people from reality TV is they can’t seem to talk about anything else. It’s not like I regret doing it, but there are so many other things going on and I like to talk about things other than the shows.”
Ray Loves Survivor: There are a bunch of celebrity ‘Survivor’ fans. Ray Romano is a huge ‘Survivor’ fan, he actually wanted to get on ‘Survivor’ and there were a couple of people from the original ‘CSI’ that were totally into it. Also Jon Cryer, he was so awesome to me. I met him at a CBS function and he was just like, “Jerri!!!” It’s always interesting because people in L.A. like to say they don’t watch reality TV, but c’mon, you know they do.
Life After The Show: Since Australia, my life has just been completely different. I’ve gotten to do a lot of TV work and acting jobs and hosting gigs and I did Playboy. I really feel like Australia was the beginning of all these dreams I’ve had since I was a young child. I’m still really grateful for that experience. It’s funny because the last three years, pretty much since All-Stars, I kinda felt like I had to take a timeout because my life was spinning in circles. I moved just outside of L.A. to the ‘burbs and I’ve been getting in touch with my inner redneck. I bought a dirt bike, I’ve been riding motocross, I’ve been shooting guns, I learned how to weld. I just recently got into high performance boating and I’ve been doing road trips by myself and just traveling and doing a lot of things that involve a lot of adrenaline. Actually, I’m working on producing a show based on adrenaline and adventure and I’m ready to come back again after my three years off and create some art based on my crazy life.
Back To The Island? Oh man. You know, I’ve heard the same rumor (about Season 20 being all past contestants) and I really don’t know what to say. I can’t imagine doing it again but, you know, who knows? I haven’t talked to anybody in so long…20 seasons is just crazy.
What About Colby? I never see or hear from Colby. Honestly, not since All-Stars. It’s funny, if you go to my website (jerrimanthey.com), I have personal pages there and I’ve got pictures up from after Colby, Ethan, and I got voted off All-Stars of us just being crazy in the place we had to live for the next three weeks.
Probst Unleashed: I don’t know the real Jeff Probst – I’ve never really hung out with him outside the game. But I’ll tell you, I’ve watched a couple seasons and he really gets in there. It’s almost like he sets people up for putting their feet in their mouths, he’s gotten really ruthless himself in this game.
The Survivor Experience: I’m absolutely glad that I did it. Both times it was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my whole life but so many wonderful things have come out of it. I still get asked to do charity events and I get to travel a lot and I’m an actress, so I appreciate the attention and I still can’t believe that people recognize me and are still so interested, so I’m very thankful for the experience.