GQ: How’d you get the call to go on Traitors?
Parvati Shallow: They called me to do it during the first season, but I couldn’t at the time. My personal life was too hectic. My daughter had just started kindergarten, I was writing a memoir. I didn’t know if I could pull out of this very vulnerable place and go back into game mode. Lying, deceiving, high-pressure, adrenaline. But they sold me on it. I watch the show and it’s so camp and gorgeous and funny and insane. It’s so different from Survivor. I thought, This will be a good coming-out for me.
Phaedra Parks: Sharon [Scott], president at Peacock, called and said, “Think castle, Dominique Deveraux, spiral staircases, Scotland, fashion.” I love to travel, but I love glamorous things. She didn’t mention the physical aspect.
She didn’t mention that you’d had to carry a catapult up a hill?
Phaedra: That definitely would have changed my mind. But this is one of my parents’ favorite shows. They called me three days before I had to leave and my mom said “That’s our show! We’ll be there tomorrow to take care of the kids.”
Did you watch the first season?
Phaedra: I didn’t have time.
So you went in cold turkey?
Phaedra: Brandi Glenville [The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills] and I are very close, so I knew she had been on the show. She had a great time. But as far as what to expect, I sort of just dived in. Experience of a lifetime. I told most of my friends that 2023 was my year of yes so I’m going to say pretty much yes to everything.
They amped up the camp in season 2, playing into the Clue vibes. And Alan [Cumming, the show’s host] is bringing the drama and theatrics. Did that make it easy to get into?
Phaedra: He is so beautiful. He had a tailor there that was exquisite, the best in the business. I’ve never seen such good work. Beautiful people make you feel better. Pretty is as pretty does. Everyone came down in the morning refreshed. So you’re like, OK, what is everyone wearing today? The breakfast is really about the style. It’s definitely a fashion show—how are you going to present yourself?
How do you dress for a day as a traitor?
Phaedra: My whole focus and muse was Dynasty. Every day I was thinking Dynasty. Joan Collins. Dominique Deveraux. Old Hollywood. Lots of fluffiness, yet stylish and elegant. It’s also the castle—it’s so regal, so beautiful. It looks like something out of a fairy tale.
Parvati: I had two people in mind. Both iconic, so campy in their own way: Moira Rose and Blair Waldorf. I was like, If I show up to this castle with a suitcase full of wigs, people are going to think I’m completely insane. So I went in the direction of Blair Waldorf. She’s bitchy, her style is gorgeous. She’s kind of a bad guy, but kind of vulnerable and has these tender moments. But she’s also so mean-girl and elitist, and that’s what I want to play into—because it is such a theatrical experience. I wanted to be a larger than life character of myself.