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Sylvia Kwan


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Sylvia Kwan was born in Hong Kong, where she lived for eight and a half years before moving with her parents and five siblings to Los Angeles. After graduation from high school, she relocated to the Bay Area where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Architecture degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

Kwan is the founder and Chairman of a renowned architectural firm located in San Francisco. As Chairman, she is responsible for strategic planning and development for her award-winning firm. She has resided as the Board Chair of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the board of a number of Bay Area non-profit and for-profit boards. She is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Kwan is especially proud of designing the interiors of Pacific Bell Park (now AT&T Park), home of the San Francisco Giants.

Kwan describes herself as creative, energetic and determined, and according to her husband, holds the unofficial title of

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Seems very nice, but c'mon- why is she on the show anyway?

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Survivor: Fiji's Sylvia: "It Was Not Pleasant for Me"

by Angel Cohn


Sylvia Kwan, Survivor: Fiji

Much like Survivor: Fiji 's previous eviction (of Erica), Sylvia Kwan's torch-snuffing last Thursday was pretty much caused by one false move. Whereas Erica freaked out in a challenge, Sylvia made the mistake of coming on too strong, too fast. But an ousting from this reality show didn't dampen the spunky 52-year-old architect's spirits for long. She was a bundle of entertaining energy when TVGuide.com caught up with her.

TVGuide.com: You came out of the gate as one of the strongest players.

Sylvia Kwan: Yeah, but then I went plbbbbbtt. Really fast.

TVGuide.com: Was your strategy going in to be a leader?

Sylvia: No!!! You learn in Survivor 101 that you never do that! [Laughs] My son and husband said, "Do the women chores, like get the firewood and get the water, and then just stay low." But then the first thing that happens is these plans [to build a shelter] show up, and I couldn't deny that I was an architect. I'd already told at least one person on the beach when we first landed. But I could, like, bang my head against the wall now. What I could have done was said, "Yes, I'm an architect, but is there a builder here?" And then Gary would raise his hand, and I'd say, "Great. I just draw these things, but you build them, so here's the whole set of plans and I'll help you in any way that I can." I should have stuck it to him. If he had finished that job as a leader, what would they have called him?

TVGuide.com: Um....

Sylvia: They would have called him a leader. And what did they call me?

TVGuide.com: Not such favorable things.

Sylvia: "Bossy." What was the difference there between him and me?

TVGuide.com: You're a girl.

Sylvia: Thank you! That's all I need to say about that. It is a man's world out there in Survivorland.

TVGuide.com: Plus, you had some bad luck. You were picked to split up the teams and then got sent to Exile Island, and then worst of all had to come back to the losing tribe.

Sylvia: Who hated me because I picked them as a losing tribe. Even now, they still think that I picked them [to be] the losing tribe on purpose, and that I wanted to be on a winning tribe. That doesn't make any sense. I divided them the way I did because of what Dreamz had told me. He said, "There are two leaders, Liliana and Rocky, and they've got an alliance of 10 people, but I'll come over to your side if you tell the nine about this. Oh, and by the way, they want to vote all you old people off." When he told me that, the only thing I could do the next day was to do it his way [and separate them] because no one had told me anything else. It was all about Dreamz, man.

TVGuide.com: I can't believe they called you old! I had to look up your age, because you do not look 52.

Sylvia: On the show I thought I kind of looked yucky, with no makeup.

TVGuide.com: Just like everybody else.

Sylvia: That's true, although some of the cute young ones still looked good. But what is interesting was that the young people didn't know how old I was. They just knew that I was older. For example, Cassandra is 10 years younger than me, but they of course said she was old. The rest of us [older people] are in our fifties, but somebody like Rita, who is 38 but looks 26, the dudes just immediately started trying to hit on her. There was this huge divide between the young people and the old people. The young people wanted to have a huge beach party, and we old folks were just getting in their way. I actually wanted to follow the plans and build the stupid shelter so the game could get started.

TVGuide.com: You didn't even get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Sylvia: Yeah. It wasn't done on the second night. Then I got booted off unceremoniously. It was just not pleasant for me.

TVGuide.com: Last week we saw you digging in the dirt looking for the immunity idol. Did anyone ask you what you were doing?

Sylvia: Well, they were looking at me and wondering what I was doing, but I have a feeling they must have known. Why else would I be sitting there playing in the dirt so long? I was there for two hours. I dug about 16 feet in one direction, by about 3 feet wide. It is supposed to be hidden under the threshold to the cave.

TVGuide.com: The clue said, "Dig deep," right?

Sylvia: Yeah, but I couldn't dig deep in the short time that I had. What I did was, whenever I got to native wild root

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