Finally, someone qualified to navigate the backstabbing intrigue of Washington: Yul Kwon, winner of "Survivor: Cook Islands" in 2006, was appointed Wednesday as deputy chief of the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.
He may not be the administration's only independently wealthy appointee ($1 million prize, hello!), but he's probably the only one whose wedding was covered by TV Guide Channel and who co-hosted "Shark Week."
Kwon really stands out, though, as one of the few reality victors to, well, amount to anything. "A lot of 'Survivor' winners have been poor role models," he acknowledged, as we recalled the one convicted of tax evasion, the one who got into porn -- oh, and don't forget the "Big Brother" winner arrested last week on drug charges.
The difference, said the Yale law grad, 34, is that the show "happened at a good time in my life." Like his second runner-up Becky Lee -- a close pal now running a domestic-violence ed program in D.C. -- he said he joined the show "to have a platform for the issues I care about." Passionate about getting minorities involved in politics, Kwon was an early Obama campaigner.
"I feel like this country is in a critical time right now," he told us. "If there's one place you can have an impact, it's here."
Kwon just moved to Arlington from California with bride Sophie Tan. In the new job, he said, he'll be tasked with making the commission more consumer-friendly and educating the public on "why telecom issues are relevant to their lives."
From left: Becky Lee, Yul Kwon, Brad Virata and Jenny Guzon-Bae during the first episode of "Survivor: Cook Islands." (Monty Brinton/CBS)Enlarge Image
All the scheming of "Survivor" -- will it help in D.C.? "I played a clean game!" he insisted. "I showed you could win by playing with integrity." However, he saw the irony that his new agency "has imposed fines for the kind of wardrobe malfunctions that are a hallmark of a show like 'Survivor.' " With the next controversial ruling, "I'm sure there are going to be a billion shots of me on the Internet wearing a grass skirt."How nice to see a winner actually be a winner outside of their reality tv show! I thought he was a good guy, dull but nice. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/reliable-source/2009/10/rs-kwon22.html