By Brett Ashley Hawkins
As television viewers evaluate the shows they wish to watch this fall, one of Long Beach’s own will grace the small screen as one of the latest castaways on the 21st season of CBS’s Survivor. Appearing on Survivor: Nicaragua will be Na Onka Mixon, a 27-year-old elementary-school physical-education teacher and YMCA personal trainer who now resides in Los Angeles.
Mixon spent a large portion of her childhood and adolescence in Long Beach. “My time at Poly (High School) was the time of my life,” Mixon said. “I went to PAAL (Poly Academy of Accelerated Learning) my senior year and graduated with honors.” While attending Poly, Mixon played basketball and ran for the track team, earning four conference championships, three state championships, and MVP at the latter as a long jumper. She also took a place on Poly’s Associated Student Body as a member of the Student Commission and won the Miss Jackrabbit 2001 pageant. She asserts that although her life is now in Los Angeles, she frequently visits Long Beach to see her aunt, Karona Mixon.
Survivor premiered in 2001 and sparked the beginning of a major movement for reality competition programming. The show has been nominated four times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program. The show’s premise involves a maximum of 20 strangers marooned in a remote location. While trying to survive the elements with their own outdoor skills, the castaways must vote to eliminate one person from the game every three days until only one remains. That one person claims the title of “Sole Survivor” and $1 million. “I thought it would be fun to try something new and out of this world,” said Mixon. “I am always into trying new things, and what better thing to try than Survivor?”
Every season of the show includes several twists to make that particular season special. For the season during which Mixon competed, the contestants were separated by age into two 10-member tribes. Mixon was a member of the La Flor Tribe, consisting of cast members under 30 years old.
Mixon hopes that Long Beach will tune in to Survivor. “This season is going to be like no other season,” said Mixon. “You can’t predict what will happen.”
Survivor: Nicaragua premieres Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 8pm on CBS.