Jersey City native one of the contestants duking it out on popular reality series
The Jersey Journal
Monday, February 27, 2006
Watch out, Jersey City. If you see a woman heading your way showing off a flier that displays her daughter's photo, that's just Tina Fields.
She's harmless but off-the-hook crazy about Cirie, one of her six grown children.
"I'm a one-woman army telling everybody in Jersey City about my girl," Tina Fields brags, noting that she has urged all nationalities, from the Puerto Ricans to Italians, to tune in and watch her African-American daughter on television.
On CBS' "Survivor: Panama," Cirie Fields, a 35-year-old Jersey City native who now resides in South Carolina, stands out for her strength and steely resolve.
Her mother says Cirie has always been a tough customer.
"She was strong willed as a child," Tina Fields says. "She was strong minded about what she wanted to do and didn't want to do. But she was always willing to listen to what you had to say, whether it came from me or her brothers and sisters. She was always willing to learn."
Nonetheless, Tina Fields says it still shocks her that Cirie wanted to be a "Survivor."
"It seems like such a hard show to do," she says. "I've watched it for years and know that I couldn't do it. I think she's doing really well so far."
Because of her contract with the show, Cirie Fields wasn't able to comment for this story but her mother says she has shared some reflections about her time on the series, which was taped.
"She's real close mouthed about it so we honor that and understand," Tina Fields says. "But she did say that she thinks the world of Jeff Probst (the show's host) and that people on the show were very nice."
Gina Gates, one of Cirie Fields' closest friends, says the main engine driving Cirie's decision to try out for "Survivor" was a desire to help out her family.
"Although her family isn't stressed over money, she is determined to help out financially," says Gates, who still resides in Jersey City. "If she wins the money, she just wants to give everybody something to be happy."
Tina Fields says she truly appreciates Cirie's efforts.
"I'm happy that she thinks that much of her family but that's a big burden for someone to put yourself through this," she says. "Win, lose or draw, I'll never forget that she did this."
Cirie, who works as a registered nurse at a hospital in Waltersboro, S.C., attended School 24 on Virginia Avenue as a youngster. Then she moved on to graduate from Lincoln High School.
She worked for a while as a home health aide in Jersey City before moving to Ohio to attend a surgical technical school. The next step for the mother of three sons was to finish nursing school at St. Francis, a medical institution in Pennsylvania.
"After Cirie had kids, she said she wanted to do better with her life," says Tina Fields, who works as a home health aide for the Visiting Homemakers Service of Hudson County. "We told her whatever she wanted to do, she could do it. And she's done it and gone on to be a nurse."
One of Cirie's three sons, John, still lives in Jersey City with his father. He's a sophomore at Hudson Catholic High School here. Her other sons, Jarrett & Jamil, live with Cirie and her husband in South Carolina.
Cirie paid a recent visit to Jersey City but her longtime friend, Gina Gates, says they didn't do "all the crazy stuff" they used to do back in the day.
"Since we're both married mothers now, that's all null and void," she says. "But we always have big fun together anyway."
As for "Survivor," Gates believes her buddy can prevail over the others.
"I feel like it's her time," she says. "When she told me she was going to do it, I felt a positive charge about it."
And, of course, Cirie's No. 1 fan stands behind her all the way.
"I feel that Cirie has it in her to win," her mother says. "Whether she will, I don't know. Whatever the case, she's a winner with us. Ever since she was a little girl, people have always told me that Cirie has such a beautiful smile and charisma. They would tell me that all my girls were beautiful but 'there's something special about that Cirie."'http://www.survivorfever.net/s12_jersey_journal_2_27.html