- The 24-year-old singer and songwriter known by her musical name J. Maya, will be competing with 17 others for the $1 million cash prize and the title of “Sole Survivor.”
A few years ago, Indian American musician Janani Krishnan-Jha took the biggest risk in her life. She gave up admission to Harvard Law School to pursue her dream of becoming an artist. She moved to Los Angeles from the Bay Area, and just started living for herself. Now, the 24-year-old singer and songwriter known by her musical name J. Maya, is taking up another challenge. She is among 17 new contestants and one returning player in the 45th season of “Survivor,” to be aired on CBS, starting Sept. 27. They will be competing for the $1 million cash prize and the title of “Sole Survivor,” according to CBS. “It is the13th consecutive season to be filmed in the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji,” the network added.
Krishnan-Jha took to her social media to announce her new gig. “Little life update: I got to go on an adventure I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid!!!!! You can watch me this fall on Survivor 45,” she posted on Facebook.
In a promotional video for the reality series, she says that although many of the contestants say they aren’t on the show to make friends, she’s okay with making new friends. “Why not?” Speaking about her reasons to participate in the series, she says that given how much” emphasis” it places on “on risk taking and being yourself,” she “really wanted to see if I could apply those lessons to this game.”
The California native is a popular Tim Tok star, famous for her conversational videos about her life as well as her favorite music and lyrics. She made her TikTok debut in early 2020 with the video “Ed Sheeran helped me make pasta today.” She became one of the youngest world pun champions. In late 2021, she created a singing duet that went viral with more than 3 million views. Her j.mayamusic TikTok account has gained 500,000 followers. In January of last year, her track “Achilles Heel” started gaining traction, which helped her gain over 700,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
“A lot of people call my music nerd pop became I write about a lot of things I am interested in — crossword puzzles, Greek mythology, literature,” she says on the “Survivor” promotional video. “Millions of people listen to my music and it is surreal.”
According to the Auckland, New Zealand-based magazine Coup De Main, “her new project ‘Poetic License’ is aptly named with Maya making the worlds she creates entirely her own.” Speaking to the magazine, she said she’s “taking poetic license in these touch points of the Western canon to talk about the experience of being a second generation immigrant, who grew up very nerdy and an outsider.”
In March, she made news for posting a TikTok about actor Cole Sprouse which was viewed 1.6 million times. “Very long story short, in 2018 I was in an ice cream shop and someone who I thought looked a little bit like Cole Sprouse walked in behind me,” she said in her TikTok. “I hadn’t seen Cole Sprouse on TV in years, so I wasn’t sure if it was him or not because he was obviously grown up.”
To check, she took out her phone in what she “thought was a private manner” to Google photos of the actor. “Little did I know that Cole Sprouse was behind me, and he took a picture of me Googling him and put it on his Instagram story of him reacting to that,” she said. “Basically after that the situation just completely spiraled.” She later asked Sprouse to take a selfie, and he looked at her with a “deadpan” expression and said, “Yeah, I saw you Google me.”