Survivor: Winners at War new cast photo gallery
Survivor: Winners at War
Behold the official new portraits of the 20 champions returning to compete for the two million dollar prize when Survivor: Winners at War kicks off Feb. 12 on CBS. Here, we present the photos shot just before the game began as well as bio information on each contestant and images of the full cast and host Jeff Probst.
Current residence: Los Angeles
Previous seasons: Survivor Cook Islands (season 13/aired 2006); winner of Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites (season 16/aired 2008); Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (season 20/aired 2010)
Occupation: Yoga teacher, life coach, and speaker
Inspiration in life: One time I met a man in the Atlanta airport who had two prosthetic legs. He was in a wheelchair and traveling with an infant and his toddler — and zero support crew. He was smiling. That man blew my mind.
Hobbies: Posting photos of my baby on Instagram and yoga retreats.
Pet peeves: Heavy breathing
Three words to describe you: Survivor champion goddess
When did you first watch Survivor? When Stephanie LaGrossa crushed Palau.
Do you still watch Survivor? I do.
What does survivor mean to you/your family? Survivor is my family. My husband competed on season 19, and I thought he was cute when I saw him on TV. Then we met in real life at a Grassroot Soccer charity soccer tournament hosted by Ethan Zohn, winner of Survivor: Africa. And, now we have a Survivor baby. It’s kind of absurd, really.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? It opened up the competitive beast within, and it also gave me the opportunity to host TV shows, travel around the world as a journalist and take pics with really excited fans at airports. I played three seasons when I was in my 20s and then processed my experiences for the last decade. I think the main reason that I am able to help people with my work as a life coach and yoga teacher is because I came through such intense experiences playing and winning Survivor and then afterwards with the criticism and reality TV fame. I know what it’s like to go after a goal with everything I have. I know in my bones how hard it is to be judged and found lacking. I know the sting of betrayal, and I also know that miracles happen all the time. No matter what it looks like, there is a way through every block.
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? I am pumped. I thought I was done, but this opportunity to compete with the best of the best is too good to pass up. The game has changed. It’s faster, more complex, and people are bolder. I’m excited to get into this more dynamic arena and win a totally new game.
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous seasons? I’m sure I will be targeted again right away, like I was on Heroes vs. Villains. So, this time I will have to take into consideration that I may be on the outside looking in at first. There also may be some people playing with me that I have history with — probably not good history — and I will have to clear my mind and see them as totally new, like we’re meeting for the first time. I plan to be more aggressive and sneaky in hunting idols, distributing misinformation, letting other people lead and take credit, and really play up that I’m a new mom. I’m definitely not in as good of physical shape as I was the last few times I played, but I have a new stamina and capacity that comes from knowing that I can survive six months of sleep deprivation with a newborn. And, I know that I can connect with people in a completely different way as a mother.
Hometown: Concord, Calif.
Current residence: Los Altos, Calif.
Previous seasons: Winner Survivor: Cook Islands (season 13/aired 2006)
Occupation: Product management
Inspiration in life: I once heard someone say that the richness of a person's life isn't measured by money, but by the people in it. I felt inspired by this back then, and continue to believe it today.
Hobbies: Hobbies? You mean the things I used to do before I had kids?
Pet peeves: People who don't wash their hands after using the toilet. I'm a total germophobe.
Three words to describe you: Empathetic, introverted, and idealistic.
When did you first watch Survivor? Borneo!
Do you still watch Survivor? Yes.
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? I owe my family to Survivor. I met my wife after we were set up by Brad Virata (my tribemate from Cook Islands) and now we have two beautiful girls who just watched Survivor for the first time.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? Winning Survivor gave me a platform for raising awareness of issues I care about, from diversity in media, to the need for more minority bone marrow donors, to the importance of civic and political engagement. It also gave me a lifelong aversion to eating coconuts.
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? It's gratifying to be part of something that changed the media landscape and brought more diversity onscreen to mainstream audiences. SURVIVOR showed that, regardless of gender or ethnic differences, we're all human beings who share a common capacity for connection, inspiration, and glee over well-executed blindsides.
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous season? When I played on Cook Islands, I felt as though I had to walk on eggshells and monitor every word, especially in light of the surprise theme for that season. Now that I'm free of those constraints, I'm just gonna let it rip!
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Current residence: San Antonio, Texas
Previous seasons: Winner Survivor: One World (season 24/aired 2012)
Occupation: Interior designer
Hobbies: Buying-selling vintage goods, renovating houses, playing with my kids, and picking up after my kids.
Pet peeves: People who stare at parts of my face that are not my eyes during conversation, road ragers, and perpetual nail picking.
Three words to describe you: Natural, gritty, and resilient.
When did you first watch Survivor? Senior year of high school, 2001.
Do you still watch Survivor? Yes!
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? Since we’ve loved watching the show since the beginning the experience of getting to go and do it was supreme. It's such a bright memory for us all.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? I needed a reset button for my own self-confidence and just in life in general. Survivor was the perfect thing at the perfect time, I believe it changed my trajectory going forward.
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? It's such an integrated part of my life I sometimes forget and take it for granted. I'm so grateful for all the fun that has come from being a part of Survivor.
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous season? My life has changed tremendously in the last seven years. My first go round I was 28 and newly single, I coveted the escape and the adventure of Survivor. Since then, I got married and had three babies as fast as humanly possible. I think this will perhaps change everything about the way I play, I just don't know exactly how. My plan is to take this new season as a complete new and separate experience from the last!
Hometown: Jersey City, N.J.
Current residence: Allendale, N.J.
Previous seasons: Winner Survivor: Cagayan (season 28/aired 2014); Survivor: Game Changers (season 34/aired 2017)
Occupation: Police officer
Inspiration in life: Father
Hobbies: Spending as much time as possible with my whole family. That is my only and most fun hobby.
Pet peeves: One-uppers, know-it-alls, laziness, entitlement, and passive aggressiveness.
Three words to describe you: Respectful, reliable, and responsible.
When did you first watch Survivor? Season 1 (on and off throughout the years).
Do You Still Watch SURVIVOR: Yes
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? Survivor has been a financial blessing to me and my family, and we’ll always be extremely grateful for that.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? Financially! After winning, it catapulted me to a higher tax bracket, where I consistently stayed there since!
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? It’s truly as surreal as it was for me the very first time I played. I’m genuinely humbled that Survivor looks at me as one of their top winners, so much that they would invite me back to play again not once, but TWICE! Being a part of this unimaginable milestone of a season is HUGE!
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous seasons? I’ve played Survivor twice (28 and 34) — I won once, and lost once. I’ve learned that my game-winning performance was similar to that of a one-trick pony. There is no way I can perform the same tricks playing with Survivor legends and expect to get away with it. (Hence, my second time playing at 34.) Fortunately for me, I’m well aware that I will have to change the way that I’m wired. I will play this season differently by not being as loud/flashy and will try my best to control the votes/game without making it obvious that I’m doing just that. Wish me luck! LOL!
Hometown: Freehold, N.J.
Current residence: Hoboken, N.J.
Previous seasons: Winner of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng (season 32/aired 2016)
Occupation: Business development manager
Inspiration in life: My family inspires me every day. They are the most thoughtful, funny, and loving people I have ever met and they always push me to be better.
Hobbies: I love to travel and play board games.
Pet Peeves: People who eat smelly foods on planes, people who invade personal space, and a bad martini.
Three words to describe you: Feisty, fun, and free-spirited.
When did you first watch Survivor? I started watching season 1 at the age of 10.
Do you still watch Survivor? Absolutely! In my completely unbiased opinion, it’s the greatest TV show of all time.
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? My family and I have always watched Survivor together so it is pretty sentimental. Being on the show has also allowed me to be involved with the Survivor community and I am lucky enough to call many of them my friends.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? Winning Survivor gave me the confidence to know that I can do anything I set my mind to. I did not win by being the smartest or strongest; I won by being myself. I think realizing that in my mid-20s was really pivotal in shaping how I handle challenges.
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? As a super fan, I am absolutely honored to be a small part of a huge legacy. Winning my first season was surreal. Now, I get to return with winners that I admire…I am pinching myself.
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous season? I don't think I will play much differently. In my first season, I learned that I am able to calmly adapt to changing circumstances and this is valuable in a game where paranoia runs rampant. Since I am a social player, I will lean into that and make as many personal connections as possible. I would like to make some fun, big moves this time but they have to be smart and not just for shock factor.
The one thing that feels really important is advocating for my own story so that at final tribal I have a compelling narrative. Lately, we have seen a trend of strong, confident males winning Survivor so I want to show that you can have a different approach and still be worthy of the title Sole Survivor. The pressure is on this season because everyone wants to prove they are the best to ever play the game so I am expecting fireworks and lots of big moves.
Current Residence: Philadelphia
Previous Seasons: Winner Survivor: Ghost Island (season 36/aired 2018)
Occupation: Furniture designer
Inspiration in life: My parents are my inspiration.
Hobbies: Playing basketball, traveling, and playing with my niece and nephew.
Three words to describe you: Determined, inspirational, and loving.
When did you first watch Survivor? Season 18 – Survivor: Tocantins.
Do you still watch Survivor? Yes.
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? To me, it is a decade-long dream turned into reality. My family saw it as one of those crazy dreams of mine, and they supported it with curiosity. When they realized how seriously I took Survivor, and that I was pretty good at it, they threw their full support behind me. For that, I’m super grateful.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? It made me much busier. I give more talks, travel more, and give back more than I had before. Before I made lots of custom furniture for Beve Unlimited and traveled a little for deliveries. Now I still make lots of furniture, but I’m traveling globally for other sorts of opportunities, as well.
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? The best season ever was the 10-year anniversary — season 20, Heroes vs. Villains. This will be yet another huge season — season 40, Winners at War, the first all-winners season. To be a part of it, I’m part of the Survivor legacy, and that’s something that I’ve always wanted to accomplish. So I’m just humbled, honored, and grateful to be out here again.
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous season? Last time I was playing for a lot of people back home. I wanted to play it safe to represent well for my family, community, and loved ones back home. I wanted to leave something my little cousins and my niece and nephew could see and be proud of. They have that, I did that. This time I want to loosen up a bit and have some fun out there. Backstab a little bit, and talk even more trash. Shoot at some big dogs, and pull some tricks out. Maybe even do some things that are out of character. Let’s see who’s out here to really play the game.
Hometown: Muscatine, Iowa
Current residence: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Previous Seasons: Survivor: Cagayan (season 28/aired 2014); winner of Survivor: Game Changers (season 34/aired 2017)
Occupation: Police officer
Inspiration in life: Not one specific person, but anyone who is willing to try. If you never try, the answer is always no. People who are not afraid of failure because they believe they can succeed inspire me.
Hobbies: Spending time with my family, CrossFit, golf, running, and biking.
Pet peeves: Loud eaters, voicemails, slow drivers in the left lane, when my husband leaves empty boxes in the pantry, text messages before 6 a.m., pouring cereal into a bowl just to find out there’s no milk, when you are a loyal customer and your bill goes up, but a new customer gets a better deal, no hot water left when you get in the shower, unsubscribing from emails but they still send you emails, group text messages, people that back into parking spaces, cats, steep driveways, pen clicking, restaurant tables that are uneven or wobbly, empty toilet paper roll left on the roller, delayed flights, and interrupted TV due to weather.
Three words to describe you: Determined, competitive, and street smart.
When did you first watch Survivor? I’ve watched Survivor since the beginning.
Do you still watch Survivor? Every Wednesday, my family sits down and watches Survivor together.
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? Survivor means the world to my family; it has made our lives much easier financially.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? Enduring the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of the game made me realize how powerful your mind and attitude are. Survivor changed me by teaching me that anything is possible! There is NOTHING I can’t accomplish.
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? Forty seasons is absolutely insane! I am honored and humbled to be chosen to play three times.
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous seasons? The past two seasons I’ve had a game plan going into the season. I’ve now played two completely different games, one being loyal and one being a flip flopper. I feel like the best approach to this season is going to be psychological warfare to create paranoia and have people self-destruct.
Boston Rob Mariano
Current residence: Pensacola, Fla.
Previous seasons: Survivor: Marquesas (season 4/aired 2002); Survivor: All-Stars (season 8/aired 2004); Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (season 20/aired 2010); winner of Survivor: Redemption Island (season 22/aired 2011); Survivor: Island of the Idols (season 39/aired 2019).
Inspiration in life: My parents
Hobbies: Fishing, poker, ice hockey, and golf
Pet peeves: Cry babies
3 words to describe you: Competitive, adventurous, and consistent.
When did you first watch Survivor? From the beginning.
Do you still watch Survivor? Yes.
Boston Rob Mariano
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? I have my family because of Survivor!
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? I have my family because of Survivor!
Boston Rob Mariano
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? It’s an honor to have played this game from the very beginning and I’m grateful for everything that Survivor has brought to my life. This season is truly monumental and a celebration and I’m so proud to be a part of it!
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous seasons? Always got to adapt!
Sophie Georgina Clarke
Hometown: Willsboro, N.Y.
Current residence: Santa Monica, Calif.
Previous seasons: Winner of Survivor: South Pacific (season 23/aired 2011)
Occupation: Healthcare consultant
Inspiration in life: My grandmother. She’s 90 and brilliant, effortlessly cooks dinner for 12, reuses postal stamps, gardens, paints beautifully, and writes IN CAPS LOCK FOR EFFECT.
Hobbies: Soccer, skiing, podcasts, reading, and walking.
Pet peeves: Men who feign confusion about the difference between explaining and mansplaining.
Three words to describe you: Unclean, tenacious, and chameleon-like.
When did you first watch Survivor? May 31, 2000. I was 10 years old. My dad was writing a book about islands and thought the show was a “documentary” so he made us watch for “research.”
Do you still watch Survivor? Religiously.
Sophie Georgina Clarke
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? To me, being a Survivor fan means that I get to live two lives at once. In one life, I spend my week working, cooking, exercising, and sleeping...but in the other, I’m watching previews and catching up on behind-the-scenes on Mondays (research for my pool-pick), rushing home to watch live, and follow along with the know-it-all’s on Wednesdays, waking up early on Thursdays to soak in the Ponderosa edits, and debating the merits of “big moves” during long walks with my fiancé on Saturdays.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? Survivor built my confidence, giving me the guts to deviate from a more traditional path (I chose not to become a doctor after graduating medical school) and pursue a more uncertain career.
Sophie Georgina Clarke
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? It's still so surreal to me that I was basically sucked into the screen of my favorite TV show and am beyond grateful and humbled to be etched into the Survivor canon, hanging on — however precariously — in the top 25 of Dalton Ross’ winner rankings and on the tails of some of my favorite players of all time — Tony! Tom! Kim! Ethan! Cochran!
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous season? I hope to be less afraid of failure, more open to taking risks, and more embracing of, rather than frustrated by, unknown variables in the game.
Hometown: Lindon, UT
Current Residence: Mesa, AZ
Previous Seasons: SURVIVOR: Tocantins (Season 18/Aired 2009) SURVIVOR: Heroes vs. Villains (Season 20/Aired 2010); Winner of SURVIVOR: Blood vs. Water (Season 27/Aired 2013)
Occupation: Son, husband, father, friend. In a different order though.
Inspiration in Life: My daughters. If I could get as excited at anything as they do about a passing airplane or the moon I'd be crushing life.
Hobbies: Dadding, pickle ball, mountain biking, and watching TV.
Pet Peeves: Inefficiency, other know-it-alls, and inconsiderateness.
When Did You First Watch SURVIVOR: When I was familiarizing myself with the game right before the first season I played (18). I haven't missed any episodes other than those on seasons I was on after my vote out, because I'm petty.
Do You Still Watch SURVIVOR: Of course.
What Does Survivor Mean to You/Your Family: SURVIVOR has afforded me the luxury of spending lots of time with my kids. For which I will always be grateful.
What is One Way That Playing SURVIVOR Changed Your Life: Opened lots of doors to pursue many different interests. Met many lifelong friends and gave me something to focus on every single moment my brain has some down time.
As SURVIVOR Approaches Season 40 and Celebrates 20 Years on Television, What Does it Mean to be a Part of this Legacy: I'm honestly honored and proud to be a part of such a milestone. I would have been secretly a bit hurt had I not been included even though I'd pretend not to care.
How Will You Play SURVIVOR Differently This Season than Your Previous Season(s): I think players will be watching for a sarcastic, cutting, almost aggressive personality who steals food. I'll have to make it SEEM like I am none of those or like I have chilled out a bit, because I have... or have I?
Hometown: Tonganoxie, KS
Current Residence: Shawnee, KS
Previous Seasons: Winner of SURVIVOR: Guatemala (Season 11/Aired 2005)
Occupation: Owner of Sideline Chic
Inspiration in Life: One of my grandmother’s best friends, Elizabeth Pascuzzi. From the time I was a young girl until the day she passed she would tell me, "You're a winner.” I even brought with me a letter she had written me many years ago as inspiration before entering this round of SURVIVOR.
Hobbies: Coaching youth sports, hosting benefit auctions in KC, running races, and participating in any outdoor activities.
Pet Peeves: Parents of young kids who think their kids are going pro, negative people, takers, and slow drivers!
3 Words to Describe You: VELVET... STEAM...ROLLER
When Did You First Watch SURVIVOR: SURVIVOR: Australian Outback
Do You Still Watch SURVIVOR: It’s difficult to find time to watch anything being a wife, mother of two VERY active boys, and a business owner but I watch what I can!
What Does Survivor Mean to You/Your Family: One of my strongest memories of my stepfather (who I called dad) was watching SURVIVOR with him. He was the one who encouraged me to tryout. When Jeff announced my name as the winner of season 11, you can see me running to him first and giving him a big hug. He passed away two years ago: So, SURVIVOR will always be our game.
What is One Way That Playing SURVIVOR Changed Your Life: It made me realize how little we need to survive and how far I could push myself both physically and mentally.
As SURVIVOR Approaches Season 40 and Celebrates 20 Years on Television, What Does it Mean to be a Part of this Legacy: Incredible to think I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of the mothership of all reality shows that fostered the reality show movement. Now, I get to do it all again!
How Will You Play SURVIVOR Differently This Season than Your Previous Season(s): Honestly, I really don't know until I see what cards the game deals me this go around. I do plan on being the sweet Midwest girl that I am except this time with a bit of edge.
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Current residence: Boise, Idaho
Previous seasons: Winner of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers (season 35/aired 2017)
Occupation: Real estate/stay-at-home dad
Inspiration in life: My wife, my kids, my family, ribeyes, and Ryan Ulrich.
Hobbies: Racing cars, camping, getting my fingernails painted by my daughter, going on adventure hikes with my son, and occasionally making my wife laugh in between all my crazy shenanigans!
Pet peeves: Whining, lying, and turkey poop!
Three words to describe you: Ben Russell Driebergen
When did you first watch Survivor? The very first episode!
Do you still watch Survivor? As a great man once said at tribal: “Is the Pope a Catholic?” -Ryan Ulrich
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? Honestly it’s probably like a bunch of SURVIVOR families Wednesday nights. We wake up Wednesday morning and first thing we say is Happy SURVIVOR Wednesday! My son wears his buff to school. Sweet Kelly and I get to watch SURVIVOR while the kiddos are popping in for challenges. It’s a day that’s built around excitement and anticipation. Our family loves it!
What is One Way That Playing SURVIVOR Changed Your Life: More family time.
As SURVIVOR Approaches Season 40 and Celebrates 20 Years on Television, What Does it Mean to be a Part of this Legacy: I’m humbled and grateful to be a part of a passion for everyone who has worked on SURVIVOR and been a part of SURVIVOR for the last 20 years. It’s truly a team effort! I am just a little gear in an amazing machine that we all know and love as SURVIVOR!
How Will You Play SURVIVOR Differently This Season than Your Previous Season(s): More humbled and patient. That being said, when it’s time to hit the gas pedal, if you ain’t first you’re last!
Hometown: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Current residence: Edgewater, N.J.
Previous seasons: Winner of Survivor: San Juan del Sur (season 29/aired 2014)
Occupation: CrossFit trainer
Inspiration in life: Health and happiness.
Hobbies: CrossFit, adventures, and eating tacos.
Pet peeves: Selfish people.
Three words to describe you: Strong, relentless, and adaptable.
When did you first watch Survivor? Season 27: Blood vs. Water.
Do you still watch Survivor? YES
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? To me, Survivor was a test of my mental, physical, and emotional strength. It also made me realize how much my family (Nadiya) means to me and that nothing motivates me more than that. To my family, Survivor meant pride in having a daughter that was strong, bold, and resilient. Also, to be the first person of South East Asia to be on the show and win was pretty sweet.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? To know that my determination and unwavering dedication can pay off. And no matter how bleak a situation may seem that if you are focused and work hard it will pay off. It made me proud of my physical and mental strength. It made me confident in my independence and to always stand up for what you believe in and what you deserve in real life and in the game of Survivor.
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? It seems almost surreal that I am a part of this legacy. I am honored and grateful to have had this experience and that the fans of the show embraced me as a winner that deserved the title of Sole Survivor. To be a female winner and to be praised for being strong BOTH physically and mentally, bold and unapologetic, means so much to me.
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous season? There are so many factors that are in play in the game of Survivor. It would be stupid for me to even try and start my game play ahead of time. But, given the fact that I never got one single vote against me during my season I don’t think I should change much about intuition and game. I am proud of standing up for myself, for being brass and bold, for being stronger and ruthless. I know to win Survivor you have to work hard, but I also know that there are added factors like timing and luck that can help. Hoping for a little luck, some good timing, and my hard work to bring me success just like my first season.
Hometown: Lexington, Mass.
Current residence: Hillsborough, N.H.
Previous seasons: Winner of Survivor: Africa (season 3/aired 2001); Survivor: All-Stars (season 8/aired 2004)
Occupation: Social entrepreneur and keynote speaker
Inspiration in life: Helping people in big and small ways. From working with big organizations that help kids stay healthy, like Grassroot Soccer, to speaking with patients about surviving and thriving in life after a cancer diagnosis.
Hobbies: Inventing useless gadgets, chopping and stacking wood, and chasing cats with my laser.
Pet peeves: Weird bagel flavors. It’s not a bagel unless it’s sesame, poppy, plain, or everything.
Three words to describe you: Compassionate, neurotic, and funny. I’m really, really funny.
When did you first watch Survivor? I’ve been watching since Richard Hatch first took advantage of CBS' ability to pixilate a moving image.
Do you still watch Survivor? I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? My nieces and nephews are going to flip out and have some major bragging rights in the hallways.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? Oh, let me count the ways! In the “pinball machine” of life, one thing can change everything about a person’s life. Survivor was that one thing. It gave me opportunities that I only dreamed of, I got to see the world, help make small differences in people’s lives, got to meet incredible people across the globe, and brought joy and laughter to my family from all the crazy stories I got to tell after each adventure.
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? Nineteen years ago I got let go from a job, had a day off in NYC and sent a VHS audition tape into CBS on a lark the day before it was due. What happened next literally changed the trajectory of my life. This show has brought happiness and memories to so many people around the world, and it’s cool to be a small part of that.
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous seasons? The last time I played this game was in 2004 on Survivor: All Stars…there were no idols, hidden clues, advantages, or ways to get back into the game. And get this, we actually had to survive! The game has changed and so have I. I plan to adapt, have fun, and push my mind, body, and spirit to the max.
Hometown: Marion, Iowa
Current residence: Marion, Iowa
Previous seasons: Winner of Survivor: Philippines (season 25/aired 2012)
Occupation: Therapist (LMHC, & AASECT Certified Sex Therapist)
Inspiration in life: This hasn't changed for me and I continue to be inspired by anyone who embraces life with passion. When you see it...you can feel it...and you can't help but be impacted and inspired by it.
Hobbies: Swimming, kickboxing, walks/runs with our rescue dog Mocha, and just about anything else that can get me outside.
Pet peeves: People who go through life with a sense of entitlement and complete lack of self-awareness.
Three words to describe you: Stubborn, determined, and driven.
When did you first watch Survivor? I started watching Survivor in 2000 with my husband Brad.
Do you still watch Survivor? Ummmmm, yes! Every Wednesday. Work, activities, and life in general is planned often around our Wednesday night family viewing!
What does Survivor mean to you/your family?Survivor is something that is a shared experience for all of us. We've laughed, we've cried...and we've hooted and hollered at our TV many times over the years. It's the one time where we don't just slow down — we stop, and are all focused 100% on the same thing. It's our time.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? I think Survivor has changed my life in many ways...but not because of the money. At the core, I remain the person I was before, which until very recently included driving the SAME car now almost 12 years old complete with dents and duct tape patching. But playing Survivor fueled parts of me that were always there, maybe untapped, or maybe pushed me to honor those parts. It's made me more open to life experiences in general, fueled the desire to travel, and now plays a huge part in our family motto of #GoSeeDo (go places we don't normally get to go, see people we don't normally get to see, and do things we wouldn't normally do). Ultimately, it was a reminder that life is too short, so suck it up during the crappy parts, and embrace and appreciate the rest.
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? It's funny...this answer should be easy, but it's not. Being given the chance to play a second time is huge in and of itself. But for it to be the 40th! EPIC! The game has changed SO much since season 1, and has brought with it so many incredible players. It feels like a huge honor to be able to be a part of that legacy (rven if I was on one of the worst tribes EVER!), so I don't take it lightly.
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous seasons? My honest answer...I have no clue! LOL! Why? Because we are who we are, good or bad, and once you're out on that island...all of the best laid plans, intentions, etc., can quickly dissipate into a miserable mess. So, in truth, the core of how I played the first time will remain...adapt, adapt, adapt. And hope that the Survivor "Gods" are in my favor.
Hometown: Cambridge, Mass.
Current residence: Foxboro, Mass.
Previous seasons: Survivor: San Juan del Sur (season 29/aired 2014); winner of Survivor: Second Chance (season 31/aired 2015)
Inspiration in life: My family. I want my kids to grow up looking up to me and being proud to call me dad.
Hobbies: Coaching my kids, working out, playing basketball, and fantasy football.
Pet peeves: Road rage, inconsiderate/selfish people, and people who talk to me when watching movies.
Three words to describe you: Easygoing, loving, and emotional.
When did you first watch Survivor? Season 1, episode 1.
Do you still watch Survivor? Every episode...I am a casual watcher now. It used to consume me and I would take notes on every episode.
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? It is the only show on television that is suitable and entertaining for everyone in the family. Survivor night is a chance for the family to slow down a hectic schedule and just hang out for one night.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? Emotionally — it brought me closer to my wife and kids. When you miss the ones you love, you appreciate them more. Financially — it helped me put away for my children's future.
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? I'm in awe that I am considered for such a monumental season. After season 31, I pulled away from being a super fan and just enjoyed the show as a casual viewer but the thought of going out there for the GREATEST SEASON EVER gives me chills and I want to cement my name as one of the greats.
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous seasons? Let’s just throw out my season 29 performance...that never happened. I will look to add on to my season 31 game plan. I will keep my meat shields but I will add mind shields and social shields to give me a broader pool of players to align myself with. With this broader pool I will continue with voting blocs and keep alliance paranoia on 100! I want to take it all in. I feel my last experience was a whirlwind and I forgot a lot of experiences. This time I want to try and take some time to enjoy this last go round.
Hometown: Stamford, Conn.
Current residence: Riverview, Fla.
Previous seasons: Winner of Survivor: Pearl Islands (season 7/aired 2003); winner of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (season 20/aired 2010); Survivor: Game Changers (season 34/aired 2017); Survivor: Island of the Idols (season 39/aired 2019).
Occupation: Case manager at law firm
Inspiration in life: My mother and maternal grandparents.
Pet peeves: People who can’t park inside the lines.
Three words to describe you: Sassy, unapologetic, and loyal.
When did you first watch Survivor? Season 1.
Do you still watch Survivor? Yup.
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? Everything I have is because of Survivor. I’m very grateful.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? I’m the only two-time winner.
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? It’s an honor to have been part of this show!
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous seasons? I’m gonna switch it up from the usual “as long as it’s not me” philosophy.
Hometown: Burlingame, Calif.
Current Residence: Los Angeles
Previous seasons: Winner of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X (season 33/aired 2016)
Occupation: Keynote speaker and host
Inspiration in life: My parents Alan and Susie. Also, Jeff Probst.
Hobbies: Board games, poker, travel, and if I am being honest, Survivor.
Pet Peeves: When you ask someone to take a picture and they take dozens of the exact same photo.
3 Words to Describe You: Personable, determined, and caring
When Did You First Watch SURVIVOR: Season finale of Season 1. Started a fantasy league with my family season 2 and haven’t missed an episode since.
Do You Still Watch SURVIVOR: Always.
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? Everything. Survivor has been a constant in my life, and kept my family close before, during, and after my time on the show. It may sound silly to some, but Survivor is far more than just a television show for us. It has given us hope, it has allowed us to dream and realize those dreams, and it brought us joy during the most difficult times in our lives.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? My first ever screen name on the internet was SoleSurvivorAdam. Survivor turned my middle school obsession into a professional title! Ultimately, I believe that I am, at my core, the same person that I was when I played Survivor for the first time. Same values, ambitions, passions, and energy. The difference is that I have more opportunities to realize those ambitions and to make a greater impact on the world around me.
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? I grew up watching Sandra, Boston Rob, Ethan, Tina, Amber, and Richard Hatch. Playing in season 40 is like growing up watching Steve Young and Jerry Rice on your favorite football team and then getting to play against them in the Super Bowl. It only can happen in your wildest dreams. So many thousands of Survivor super-duper fans would do anything to be in my position.
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous seasons? My basic strategy is the same for Survivor as it is for life: make friends. Anyone who comes into this game believing “I’m not here to make friends” is playing a losing game. What’s different this time is that some of the people I will be playing with already are friends. I need to obfuscate my existing relationships, keep an eye out for others doing the same, and work hard to build "in-game" trust that goes beyond liking someone outside of the game.
This time around, I can’t hide how big of a fan I am. I can have fun with that and subtly play into the larger egos, especially since my life is far less serious and scary than it was last time. My sense is I may come into this game generally underestimated, with at least some people believing that my win was fluky and my social game was choppy. I want them to underestimate me and I will play into that, while also recognizing that all of them are incredibly capable and not to be underestimated.
Hometown: Beaver, Penn.
Current residence: Pensacola, Fla.
Previous Seasons: Survivor: The Australian Outback (season 2/aired 2001); winner of Survivor: All-Stars (season 8/aired 2004)
Occupation: Director of marketing and communications
Inspiration in life: Family (husband Rob and four daughters)
Hobbies: Being a mom of four equals no time for hobbies. LOL! Any free time we have is spent together as a family. Whether it’s playing a game, going on a bike ride, or having family movie night…we love hanging out as a family!
3 words to describe you: Dedicated mom/wife
When did you first watch Survivor? Watched from the beginning, season 1.
Do You Still Watch SURVIVOR: Yes. I’ve seen every season and now watch it with my family every week.
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? Now that our kids are old enough to watch the show…it means enjoying family night while eating Doritos and watching Survivor. It’s a lot of fun!
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? I met my husband on the show and the rest is history.
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? Never expecting to play again…had sort of closed that book. So now that it is open again, it’s both nerve-wracking and exciting to “get back into the game” and not just watching as a fan, as I’ve been doing for the past 15 years. I’m so excited that my girls will not just hear about Mommy and Daddy being on Survivor. Now they will actually be a part of our story and get to watch the season with us when it airs. It’s an honor to be a part of another epic season!
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous seasons? A lot of time has passed since I last played Survivor. Heck, it’s been 20 years since I played the first time on season 2. Not only has the game evolved and changed a lot…so have I. I’m no longer just playing for myself. I’m married with four children who will be closely watching and listening to everything I do and every word I speak. I’m 20 years older too. I was the youngest in my tribe when I played Survivor: Australia. Now, I’m going to be one of the “older” people. People see me in a whole new light. Plus, being married to “Boston Rob” paints a HUGE target on my back. When I played the first two times, I didn’t have that pressure. So, I guess for me I’m going to try to focus on my social game in a big way and try hard to find idols/advantages! I’d like to think I’ll be good at challenges, but let’s face it, I am not in the shape I was before having four kids. But I also want to focus on enjoying the experience and showing my girls how strong their mom is! I’ll never give up and I’ll show them to always go big and finish what you start. And in the end, hopefully, win it again!
Hometown: Williamsburg, Ky.
Current residence: Williamsburg, Ky.
Previous seasons: Winner of Survivor: David vs. Goliath (season 37/aired 2018)
Inspiration in life: Sandra, because I want to be the next two-time winner.
Hobbies: Fantasy baseball, hiking, riding 4-wheelers (off-road vehicles), fishing, boating on the lake, tailgating at football games,and horse races, and anything outdoors!
Pet peeves: Know-it-alls, closed-mindedness, judgmental people, unwarranted outrage, or to sum it all in one word — Twitter.
Three words to describe you: Charming, cunning, and cheeky.
When did you first watch Survivor? Season 1 finale.
Do you still watch Survivor? Every Wednesday! I am even considering starting a Survivor podcast.
What does Survivor mean to you/your family? Survivor has helped me through hard times. For example, it was a great escape from the stresses of law school. And on a more serious note, I specifically remember when my mom had recently passed away, I was moved by Rodney grieving the loss of his sister on season 30. I bawled my eyes out. It was a much-needed therapeutic experience.
My family has always watched Survivor and tried to watch it together when we could. When my dad came to Fiji for the family visit, it was a monumental experience that strengthened our relationship. Because of that moment, we are still closer to this day.
What is one way that playing Survivor changed your life? It made me realize what is important in life. I don’t have to focus my career on making money. I can focus my life on my family and my career on helping people.
As Survivor approaches season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of this legacy? It is a dream come true for me to be a part of the 20-year celebration of Survivor. Only two years ago, I was daydreaming about how I could ever even get the opportunity to be cast on the show. Now, I am a winner of one of Survivor’s greatest seasons, and I am placed in the same category as the legends I used to look up to! It is a great honor. I am a Survivor legend! How amazing! What a blessing!
How will you play Survivor differently this season than your previous season? When I won David vs. Goliath, I never received a single vote against me. I was able to disguise my strategic ability and knowledge of the game under my country accent and chill demeanor. I was able to fly under the radar and build one-on-one relationships with nearly every single player in the game. This time, if I don’t receive a single vote the entire game, I will take it as an insult! Everyone has seen how brilliantly I play Survivor. These legends won’t fall for alliance names and my Kentucky charm as easily as a cast of complete strangers did. I won’t be able to hide behind bigger threats. So this time, I’m going to be even more aggressive. In short, I am going to have as much fun as possible in the beginning. This is my dream come true and I want to take it all in. Then, I am going to TURN IT ON. No player will be safe from the Kentucky Nick sneaky ninja assassin blindside! This game is where legends are made!