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2014 College graduate Cydney Gillon to compete in latest season of Survivor. | Courtesy of Cydney Gillon

Penn graduates are fit to shine in any arena, and reality TV is no exception.

2014 College graduate Cydney Gillon will be a contestant on the upcoming season of Survivor which premieres tomorrow. The Georgia native is no stranger to competition, as she has been a professional bodybuilder for over seven years.

Those who knew Gillon at Penn will be tuning in on tomorrow night to cheer her on.

“She’s a hard worker and a great person. I just want her to win,” Gillon’s close friend and 2014 College graduate Gabrielle Piper said. Eighteen contestants are competing for a $1 million prize. If Gillon is victorious, she will use the money to pay off her student debt and help her family with bills, according to her bio on the Survivor website.

While at Penn, Gillon balanced a bodybuilding career with varsity track and field. Her fellow sprinters and hurdlers described her as having the strongest personality on the team with a quirky sense of humor. Yet Gillon’s commitment to fitness is no joke. Throughout her school years she often trained three times a day outside of her demanding track routine.

“I think she will most certainly fare well in all of the physical challenges,” assistant track coach Porscha Dobson said.

Gillon may be prepared to excel in the show’s physical tests, but what about the other obstacles a contestant faces?

2001 College graduate and former Survivor contestant Charlie Herschel cited boredom as the most unexpected challenge. Often contestants arrive with a lot of adrenaline and are surprised by the amount of downtime between events, he said.

Herschel also said Penn’s diverse student body prepared him well for building relationships and making alliances on the show. He encourages students to apply for reality TV shows if nothing else than for the unique experience.

In the upcoming season, Gillon and her fellow cast members will be facing the rocky terrain of Koh Rong, a tropical island of Cambodia. Despite the warm climate, this Survivor season will be no walk in the park. A contestant on a similar French reality TV show died of a heart attack during a 2013 filming in Cambodia.

Gillon’s friends and family have nothing to fear, though. The bodybuilder and aspiring medical student is now home in Georgia after filming in March of last year. Anyone interested in the results, however, will have to wait for the finale. The show’s producers protect the secrecy of the results through confidentiality agreements.

Wednesday’s premiere — a special 90 minute episode — will air at 8 p.m. on CBS. There are sure to be a number of Quakers tuning in this season to catch the action.

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