Survivor’s Rupert running for governor

Eight years ago, Rupert Boneham was introduced to the world as a jolly, big-bearded, tie-dye-wearing cast member on Survivor Pearl Islands. Now, he’s a jolly, big-bearded, corduroy jacket-wearing candidate for governor of Indiana.

Rupert “made the announcement at a public pizza party and free shirt tie-dye workshop that Boneham and his family hosted Saturday afternoon on the grounds of American Legion Post. 64 on Indianapolis’s Westside,” The Indianapolis Star reports. He is running as a Libertarian, and if he wins the party’s nomination, will face Republican and Democratic candidates in the general election.

In a press release, Rupert said, “Many people are aware of me through one small aspect of my life, which was my time on Survivor. I’ve come up from humble beginnings to own and operate several small businesses. I was then on this reality TV show that allowed me a platform to raise money for my charity, Rupert’s Kids. Through that work I’ve been blessed, and I’ve put almost everything back in to my community. I am looking forward to telling Hoosiers my entire story.”

Announcing his candidacy today, Rupert said, according to the paper, “I still like a tie-dye tank top and shorts, ya know, but I want people to see me serious.” (As a former reality TV star, he’s prohibited from using words such as “seriously” and “personally,” replacing them with the adjective versions instead.)

Perhaps as part of that effort to be taken seriously, Rupert has changed his appearance but only slightly: Talking to the press Friday, he wore a suit instead of a tie-dyed t-shirt, but the crazy beard and hair remain; the newspaper said that, for the announcement, he wore “a white shirt, black ribbed corduroy sport jacket and black slacks.”

Rupert’s campaign has work ahead of it, especially since as his campaign web site hasn’t been updated and still says he’s only formed an exploratory committee.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.