Television “survivor” says competition helped him uncover his real self

By Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Unfortunately, putting on a false face can sometimes be useful in life, but Austin Carty is trying his best to live above board.
The North Carolina native made it to the eighth round of the reality television show “Survivor: Panama” back in 2006, and the challenge has helped him realize some deep truths about both himself and society.
The 29-year-old will be in Tupelo Feb. 27 signing copies of his book “High Points and Lows,” a collection of essays that deals with his struggles to live openly and honestly.
“We’re living in an increasingly global community and to keep up with the Joneses we sometimes feel compelled to misrepresent ourselves,” said Carty, reflecting upon the tendency, particularly evident in online social sites, to make oneself out to be something one is not.
Social commentators have referred to the fragmentation of contemporary society as “neo-tribalism,” a term that describes the tendency of people to cluster with like-minded individuals, such as along political or religious lines. The term has been used much more since “Survivor” debuted back in 2000.
The hit CBS show pits tribe against tribe until one cunning individual is left standing, a kind of Machiavellian antithesis to the ideal Christian society.
“I always said it was a microcosm of life,” said Carty, who was known as the Christian guy on the show and today travels the country sharing his faith with others.
“We spend a great deal of time hiding,” he said. “Hiding our true selves from others, hiding even from ourselves. It prevents us from being able to accept love.”

Contact Daily Journal religion editor Galen Holley at 678-1510 or

Book signing
Meet Austin Carty during his book signing at Reed’s Gumtree Bookstore, Feb. 27 at 2 p.m.

Click video to hear audio