Meet the cast of ''Survivor: Thailand.'' To earn the cool $1 million, the 16 Koh Turatao contestants will have to endure rain, snakes, Jeff Probst, and -- worst of all! -- each other

By Gary Susman
Updated September 12, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Credit: Survivor Thailand: Monty Brinton/CBS
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Koh Turatao, the rain-soaked island 600 miles south of Bangkok where the ”Survivor: Thailand” competition is taking place, was once a penal colony and a haven for pirates. On Thursdays at 8 p.m. (starting Sept. 19), it’ll be full of snakes…and ”Survivor” contestants.

The fifth season’s castaways are already a tribal lot. Two are from Louisiana, two are from New York City, and six are current or former Texans, though when it comes time to make (and unmake) alliances, you can expect everyone to behave like lone stars.

Here’s what you need to know about them, including who might win the $1 million and become the next Vecepia or Ethan, and who might have to settle for being the next Boston Rob.

Image credit: Jake Billingsley: Monty Brinton/CBS

Jake Billingsley

AGE 61

HOMETOWN McKinney, Tex.

OCCUPATION Commercial land broker

MARITAL STATUS Married

FYI He used to run an outdoor adventure company for tourists interested in hunting, fishing, and horseback riding through the rugged San Juan Mountains of Colorado. He’s an avid backpacker and hunter himself. He has nine grandchildren.

WE SAY He has the skills, but this game hasn’t been kind to the AARP set. Sorry, gramps.

Image credit: Erin Collins: Monty Brinton/CBS

Erin Collins

AGE 26

HOMETOWN Austin, Tex.

OCCUPATION Real estate agent

MARITAL STATUS Single

FYI Like last season’s Gina, she’s a wholesome, athletic, outdoorsy type. She practices yoga and majors in nutrition at the University of Texas. On the other hand, she also manages a bar. So much for clean living.

WE SAY That nutritional expertise ought to come in handy when it comes time to subsist on snakes and dirt.

Image credit: Stephanie Dill: Monty Brinton/CBS

Stephanie Dill

AGE 29

HOMETOWN Fayetteville, Ark.

OCCUPATION Firefighter/emergency medical technician

MARITAL STATUS Single

FYI She was the first female firefighter in Fayetteville. A triathlete who enjoys running, mountain biking, climbing, and canoeing, she owns two dogs and two horses.

WE SAY Like Alicia, Gretchen, or Hunter, she should do so well in physical challenges that her resentful teammates vote her off.

Image credit: Jen Gentry: Monty Brinton/CBS

Jan Gentry

AGE 53

HOMETOWN Tampa, Fla.

OCCUPATION First grade teacher

MARITAL STATUS Married

FYI Born in Texas, she’s a triathlete who’s raised five kids and has a house full of pets. She also once served as a secretary for Martina Navratilova. She should fit in well with the guys; she enjoys beer and cigars.

WE SAY She recalls another folksy mom, season 2 winner Tina Wesson. But does she have Tina’s Wessonality?

Image credit: Helen Robert Voets/CBS

Helen Glover

AGE 47

HOMETOWN Middletown, R.I.

OCCUPATION Navy swim instructor

MARITAL STATUS Married

FYI She’s spent most of her life in the military; her father was a Marine who moved the family from base to base during her childhood. Her armed-services background may remind viewers of season 1’s Rudy or Australia’s ”Mad Dog” Maralyn.

WE SAY Viewers loved Rudy and Maralyn, but we didn’t have to be stranded with them.

Image credit: Brian Heldik : Robert Voets/CBS

Brian Heidik

AGE 34

HOMETOWN Quartz Hill, Calif.

OCCUPATION Used car salesman

MARITAL STATUS Married

FYI Brian has received the most pre-”Survivor” exposure, thanks to his previous career as a soft-porn actor. Like Colby, he’s into motorcycles, though Colby has not (to our knowledge) starred in any movies with ”Sinful,” ”Passion,” or ”Obsession” in the title.

WE SAY At least we know he has the required physique and stamina.

Image credit: Jed Hildebrand: Monty Brinton/CBS

Jed Hildebrand

AGE 25

HOMETOWN Dallas

OCCUPATION Dental student

MARITAL STATUS Single

FYI A football and soccer letterman in high school, he enjoys such athletic pursuits as dirt bike riding, scuba diving, and kayaking. He has experience in remote locations with limited resources, having done ”Christian dental missionary work” in refugee camps in Cambodia and Thailand.

WE SAY With good looks, good teeth, and God on his side, he should do well.

Image credit: Shii Ann Huang: Monty Brinton/CBS

Shii Ann Huang

AGE 28

HOMETOWN New York, N.Y.

OCCUPATION Executive recruiter

MARITAL STATUS Single

FYI Born in Taiwan, she grew up in New Jersey, where she was a state high school speech and debate champion. The future city gal also raised a prize-winning sheep for Future Farmers of America.

WE SAY The others could see her aptitude for ”meeting, matching, and organizing people” as an asset — or a threat.

Image credit: Ghanbia OB Johnson: Monty Brinton/CBS

Ghandia Johnson

AGE 33

HOMETOWN Denver

OCCUPATION Legal secretary

MARITAL STATUS Married

FYI She and her husband also run a beauty parlor, but she’s no softie. She knows kickboxing and karate — plus, she works with lawyers.

WE SAY Anyone this resourceful may be seen as a threat and voted off early — unless the castaways get hooked on good haircuts.

Image credit: Clay Jordon: Monty Brinton/CBS

Clay Jordan

AGE 46

HOMETOWN Monroe, La.

OCCUPATION Restaurateur

MARITAL STATUS Married

FYI He’s used to camping out and hunting, having done so on his grandfather’s ranch as a boy in Texas. He married his childhood sweetheart. His luxury item is a golf club and golf ball. He may remind you of sweet codger Rodger from the Australian season.

WE SAY Once he loses that golf ball in the forest on a slice, his teammates will wonder about his common sense.

Image credit: Penny Ramsey: Robert Voets/CBS

Penny Ramsey

AGE 27

HOMETOWN Plano, Tex.

OCCUPATION Pharmaceutical sales representatives

MARITAL STATUS Engaged

FYI A former University of Maryland cheerleader, pony-tailed Penny was the cover girl for the premiere issue of American Cheerleader magazine. Although she sells prescription drugs to doctors, she keeps her own body clean…of red meat.

WE SAY She’ll do better if she’s squeaky-clean like Marquesas’ Neleh, not just squeaky like Australia’s meat-eschewing Kimmi.

Image credit: John Raymond: Monty Brinton/CBS

John Raymond

AGE 40

HOMETOWN Slidell, La.

OCCUPATION Pastor

MARITAL STATUS Married

FYI When it’s time to make camp, John can call upon the carpentry and shipbuilding skills that paid his way through college. He’s also skilled at spear fishing and bow-and-arrow hunting. He ran a marathon after just three months of training. He’s served as a missionary in the jungles of Honduras and Nicaragua. And he writes country songs.

WE SAY As Vecepia and even Neleh could tell you, godliness goes a long way on ”Survivor.”

Image credit: Ted Rogers Jr.: Robert Voets/CBS

Ted Rogers Jr.

AGE 37

HOMETOWN Durham, N.C.

OCCUPATION Software developer

MARITAL STATUS Married

FYI He’s a bike enthusiast, like Colby, and founder of the Big Dog Riders Motorcycle Club. And like Africa winner Ethan, he has a pro sports background, having played for the Dallas Cowboys during the 1994 preseason. Go figure — he doesn’t drink alcohol.

WE SAY If he plays it as close to the vest as he does in his spare bio, he’ll prove an unpredictable, formidable competitor.

Image credit: Ken Stafford: Monty Brinton/CBS

Ken Stafford

AGE 30

HOMETOWN Brooklyn, N.Y.

OCCUPATION Police officer

MARITAL STATUS Single

FYI He says his proudest moment was the day he ”swore the oath to protect and serve as a police officer.” His luxury item is his NYPD shield. His heroes are his colleagues who died saving lives on Sept. 11. Did we mention that he’s a New York City cop?

WE SAY If he gets voted off the island, then the terrorists win.

Image credit: Tanya Vance: Monty Brinton/CBS

Tanya Vance

AGE 27

HOMETOWN Kingsport, Tenn.

OCCUPATION Social worker

MARITAL STATUS Single

FYI Her high school track and field skills earned her a running scholarship to East Tennessee University. In addition to helping abused children in her current job, she has also worked with foster kids and high school students. She has first aid and CPR skills that could prove useful here.

WE SAY Someone whose life is built on helpfulness and compassion for the weak will surely get booted quickly.

Image credit: Robb Zbacnik : Monty Brinton/CBS

Robb Zbacnik

AGE 23

HOMETOWN Scottsdale, Ariz.

OCCUPATION Bartender

MARITAL STATUS Single

FYI A former model, he was once named Arizona’s most eligible bachelor by Cosmopolitan magazine. Favorite sports include snowboarding, skydiving, and bungee jumping. He avoids red meat and dairy but eats sushi several times a week, which is good, since there won’t be much to eat on the island except raw fish.

WE SAY His looks won’t save him once everybody’s dirty and smelly — just ask Africa’s bartender Silas.

Survivor: Thailand

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  • TV Show
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status
  • In Season
network
  • CBS

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