[INTERVIEW]<br />
Reality Star Sabrina Thompson Talks Surviving âSurvivorâ and Battling Stereotypes

Sabrina Thompson

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my goal is to teach a subject in a certain place or country to a handful of kids each year, allow the kids to study the subject intensely and then pick up and do a ‘Survivor’-based community service project there. When I was teaching in Brooklyn, so many kids were 18 and had never been to Manhattan before. I’d ask them, “How far do you think Manhattan is from here?” and they’d say, “70 miles,” and they’d think Washington, D.C. was like another country.  They’d get embarrassed about it and I’d have to just say, “Don’t be embarrassed about it, let’s just roll up our sleeves and learn this stuff.” Kids need to be taken out of their element and know that there is this whole world out there and a teenager on the other side of the world who could be just like them. 

In order to raise the launch money for the travel academy, I’ve created TheGenderWars.com, which is the website for these battle-of-the-sexes events that will be hosted in lounges in different cities across the country this summer.  Men and women will compete in these trivia games and the registration money will be the launch money for the academy. So, everything is falling into place, so I’m terribly excited about that.

EBONY: So much of the proceeds from your projects are given various charities.  How did you develop the confidence to give so generously without worrying about whether all of your own needs would be met?

ST: Well, I was born and raised in the church, and even as a gave to charities, I've never been a consistent tither to the church, but I promised God I’d start tithing regularly. So after "Survivor,"  I turned over a big check to my church, which does such great things in the community, and I just told God, “Have your way. Use me however you want to use me.” I just know to live within my means. If I don’t love it, I don’t buy it.  I know material things are not going to sustain me.

EBONY: Would you ever do reality television again?

ST: I would do "Survivor" again, and The Amazing Race. But a show like “Basketball Wives,” or “Love and Hip-Hop”? I highly doubt it. The show would have to be ridiculously compelling. But those shows I just have a problem with. I do believe in people being authentic and showing the struggle some people go through, but when it starts to be damaging, that’s where you draw the line.

EBONY: As a former TV-producer, what advice would you give to the women on those shows and Black women on reality shows in general?

ST: I would take the physical drama out, but leave maybe the emotional drama in. But I would bring in a really good expert to sit these women down and get them to talk through these problems and find solutions to these problems. I’d get them out of these high heels shoes and put them out in the damn woods and let them get a new appreciation for life, because what they’re doing is impacting kids. 

EBONY:  What is the one thing you hope to provide for kids through your charity work and travel academy?

ST: If I could narrow it down, I just want to show kids the world. The world has changed immensely but teaching kids about it hasn't and I just want them to get out and experience the world and expose themselves to new parts of the world and new people so they can have a better life. 

You can keep up with Sabrina’s latest endeavors at IAmSabrina.com.

Brooke Obie writes the award-winning blog DistrictDiva.com. Follow her on Twitter @DCDistrictDiva.