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Kelly Goldsmith, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

From Contestant on Survivor To Marketing Professor

Back in 2001, Kelly Goldsmith was voted out on the reality TV show Survivor: Africa.

Since being on national television, Goldsmith has gone on to do quite a few things. She earned her Ph.D. in behavioral marketing at Yale University before securing positions as a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and now at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Goldsmith recalls her experience on Survivor and what she’s been up to since.


When recalling her time on the show, Goldsmith says she doesn’t have any regrets.

“That’s the good thing about going on a reality show when you’re young,” she tells EW. “Two decades later, even the silly things I did and said (e.g., my final Tribal Council speech…) seem kind of quaint.”

If anything, Goldsmith says, she’s proud of herself for going through that type of experience.

“I’m not much of an athlete, so I’m just proud I held my own well enough on that dimension with the other people who were out there!” she tells EW.


After receiving her doctorate from Yale in 2009, Goldsmith went on to join the faculty at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. She was named one of P&Q’s Top 40 Most Outstanding B-School Professors in the World Under 40″ in 2014.

Goldsmith’s research and teaching focuses primarily on examining “people’s responses to uncertainty and scarcity, uncovering and explaining seemingly paradoxical effects,” according to her website.

Back in 2019, she gave a TED talk on “How to make the most out of not having enough” drawing from her 15 years of experience as a behavioral scientist and her 24 days on the show.

After leaving the show, Goldsmith says the transition was all but smooth despite one small challenge.

“I didn’t have a huge problem coming back, but I had a terrible time keeping when I got voted off a secret (though I did keep it a secret!),” she tells EW. “Everyone in my world expected me to do really well in the game, especially after the merge. I kept wanting to tell them to get their hopes way down!”

Read Goldsmith’s full interview at EW.

Sources: Entertainment Weekly, Fandom, P&Q, Professor Goldsmith

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