“Anything Is Possible”: Australian Survivor‘s Kirby On What She Hopes Aboriginal Girls Learn From Her Time On The Show

This season of Australian Survivor: Titans V Rebels might just be one of the most exciting ones we've had so far, and that's largely due to one person — Kirby Bentley. Her keen ability to read social situations, make big moves (and execute them!) and her confusing relationship with fellow frontrunner Feras Basal has thrilled audiences week after week, yet she's still managed to avoid having her name written on the parchment enough times to send her home.
Now, as we approach the final tribal council and the grand finale of Australian Survivor: Titans V Rebels, Kirby is in for a real chance of winning the whole damn thing. But for her, this isn't even the most important part of her time on the show. Instead, the proud Noongar woman hopes that her time on Survivor will show other Aboriginal women and girls that "anything is possible".

"I just want to make my people proud but pave the way for our young Aboriginal girls."

Kirby Bentley
"I'm so proud to be an Aboriginal woman," Kirby tells Refinery29 Australia. "I'm so proud to be a Noongar woman. For me, it's just creating a shift in the way we're viewed as a culture, especially in our country because of our history... it's not a nice one."
For Kirby, being on Survivor participation is not just personal, but emblematic of a broader mission, as she hopes to challenge stereotypical representations of First Nations people. "I want us to be celebrated and to show that we are pretty funny, as much as we are honest, and that we're not afraid to be cheeky as well," she says. "That's in my nature, but it's in all of our [Aboriginal people's] natures in a way."
"For me, going on a show like this, I just want to make my people proud but [also] pave the way for our young Aboriginal girls," she continues. "If we have a scale of where everyone sits, Aboriginal women and girls sit on the bottom of that. I want to shift that and show them that anything is possible."
Most of all, Kirby hopes she can shift conversations about sexuality, culture, and identity in the right direction. Referencing her brand Gnalla, Kirby says that she believes in the power of conversations. "It's about having a conversation when no one is looking," she explains. "It's addressing things that relate to your identity, your sexuality, your culture, but calling it out in a respectful way so it's heard and it's then carried on — that the conversation goes further. That's similar to the way that I played Survivor."
When it comes to Kirby's gameplay, she was acutely aware that making big moves in a game like Survivor as a woman often comes with extra baggage. "It's the reality in life, in my life, in a lot of women's lives, actually," she explains, adding that there was one tactic she's used during the game to manage her threat level as a woman. "In a game like this, you almost need to make suggestions and allow it to be somebody else's idea."
"They were asking if I was an athlete and I was lying. I'd just say, I'm Blak — I'm good at everything, I play everything," Kirby says. "I didn't want to raise any alarms or be some sort of a threat, so all my thoughts were more suggestions."
"It's what I do sometimes in life because working in male-dominated work areas, that's the best way that I've learnt how to navigate to go and just do my job without being looked over or micromanaged," she says. "It sounds so manipulative, but it's strategic."
Whether or not Kirby takes out the crown of Sole Survivor, her time on the show and her Aboriginal flag swimsuit have been a strong reminder of the power of First Nations representation on television. Yes, we'll be rooting for her in finale week, but in our eyes, Kirby Bentley is already a winner.
Australian Survivor: Titans V Rebels grand finale week kicks off Sunday, March 17, with the final tribal council taking place on Tuesday, March 19 at 7:30pm over on 10 and 10 Play.
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