Just months after graduation, armed with a mechanical engineering degree, Edgar Eason ’19 faced his next big challenge: Netflix’s reality game show, “The Circle.”
The reality show, filmed in Manchester, England in August 2019, features 13 contestants playing a social media game and vying for a grand prize of $100,000. Before appearing on the show’s first season, Eason had not heard of it.
“I got a random message on Instagram saying ‘Hey, you seem like a pretty interesting guy and we want you to apply for the show.’ And I was kinda like, ‘What the heck, sure,’” Eason told The Sun.
In “The Circle,” contestants rank each other, but never meet face-to-face. Communicating solely over a special social media app designed for the show, players rank each other by popularity. The person with the most votes becomes the circle influencer, who then has the power to block a player and end their chances.
Once a player is blocked, a new contestant is brought in, until eventually, the player with the highest ranking wins the grand prize.
Eason was brought into the show during episode eight and admitted that while he had a good time filming the show, it would’ve been difficult for him to win since he came in late in the game.
“I don’t know if anybody coming in as the last person in the game could’ve won,” Eason said. “That would’ve been hard to pull off. I think as far as how we performed, I would do a similar thing, but I would just hope that we had more time the second time around if we had to do it.”
When he arrived on the show — where contestants live in apartments isolated from each other — he wasn’t alone. His mother Tammy joined him as he competed for higher rankings and ultimately the prize money.
At Cornell, Eason was a pole vaulter on the track and field team, described by his then coach as a “nice guy and a solid teammate.”
“All pole vaulters end up being pretty interesting, they’re comfortable being on a pole 16 feet in the air!” Track and Field Coach Adrian Durant told The Sun. “Though he never reached his full potential, he was always around to help his teammates out.”
After the end of the show, Eason admits that he still keeps in contact with all of his castmates.
“We have a big group chat [and] we talk everyday. It’s a really good group of people so we’re keeping in contact so it’s great,” Eason told The Sun.
As his reality game show has ended, Eason has some real life advice for his fellow Cornellians.
“Obviously everybody at Cornell knows it is a hard school. No matter what you do, you’re gonna be grinding day in and day out, but it is definitely worth it,” Eason said.“You gotta fight through those tough Ithaca winters and put your nose to the grindstone, but it will be worth it at the end of the day.”
As for his social media in real life, he has gained 38,000 Instagram followers since appearing on the show, but he said he’s “not that into it.”