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Survivor 39: Island of the Idols- MEET THE CAST

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  • Survivor 39: Island of the Idols- MEET THE CAST

    Meet the cast of Season 39 of Survivor, Island of the Idols!!




  • #2


    Mentor
    Sandra Diaz-Twine

    Biography



    Age: 45
    Previous seasons of Survivor: Pearl Islands (winner), Heroes vs. Villains (winner), Game Changers

    What specific accomplishments do you think ultimately earned you the moniker of "Idol" when it comes to Survivor?
    This is probably the easiest question to answer. I am considered an Idol because I am the only castaway to ever win the game twice and to this day that has never happened again. I won the first season I ever appeared on back in 2003 and also won the second season I ever appeared on back in 2010. I'm not an Idol because I say I'm an Idol, but because my record proves it. Nine years ago and 19 seasons ago I became known as the Queen, and to this day no one has ever come close to tying my record.

    What do you think you can teach the new castaways to help them become Sole Survivor?
    I'm an open book when it comes to the seasons I've played in. I plan on sharing all aspects of the game with the castaways. I will be able to discuss situations like being flexible and how to go with the flow when you have no control over what the majority wants to do at a given time. How to build a strong alliance, by trusting people you genuinely like and share common interests with. And that no one is perfect, there's no way to play a perfect game, so when you make a mistake, own it.

    What part of the game do you think new castaways usually underestimate?
    The new castaways underestimate how hard the social part of the game truly is. Hard because there's people you will automatically like and people you will automatically dislike. With those you like, you immediately build a bond and trust, yet there can only be one winner. It's easy to vote off people you dislike, but when all those people are gone, now you have to start voting off the ones you consider friends. And these are the friends that you just blindsided and 100 percent of the time are upset that you voted them off and yet you still have to also convince them to give you the million dollar prize. It's really a juggling act.

    How will being a mentor present a different challenge for you than actually competing in the game?
    Being a mentor is actually easier than playing the game, because you don't have to focus on the daily aspects of Survivor. I know I'm not playing for the million dollars. I know I will not participate in any challenges (hooray). And I know I will never enter the game in some crazy twist. All I have to do is get to know the new players, listen to them carefully, and advise them. In other words, I plan on sharing the knowledge I have gained after playing for 94 consecutive days. I'm going to provide guidance, but at the end of the day each person has to make their own decisions and play their own game.

    Given that you're not playing Survivor in the traditional sense, what element of the game are looking forward to NOT having to endure?
    I'm over the moon knowing I don't have to endure a single challenge the entire season.


    Comment


    • #3


      Mentor
      "Boston" Rob Mariano

      Biography



      Age: 43
      Previous seasons of Survivor: Marquesas, All-Stars, Heroes vs. Villains, Redemption Island (winner)

      What specific accomplishments do you think ultimately earned you the moniker of "Idol" when it comes to Survivor?
      I've played Survivor four times over the course of nearly two decades. I have seen the evolution of the game and I am proficient in the three main aspects of the game: the social component, the physical component, and the strategic/psychological component. I wouldn't necessarily call myself an idol—I didn't come up with that idea—but I definitely know what I'm doing!

      What do you think you can teach the new castaways to help them become Sole Survivor?
      I understand the basics: everything from how to start a fire, build a shelter, and catch fish. And the more complex, social dynamics of the game—and of course, different strategic approaches.

      How will being a mentor present a different challenge for you than actually competing in the game?
      I think the hardest thing about being a mentor for myself is not being able to actually compete. I am competitive by nature, so to stand on the sidelines and watch the game being played is going to be difficult.

      Given that you're not playing Survivor in the traditional sense, what element of the game are looking forward to NOT having to endure?
      The fact that they can't vote me off will give me time to really enjoy the survival aspect of the game (camp life). My background is in construction so I plan to concentrate on building the ultimate shelter. The best one Survivor has ever seen!

      Comment


      • #4


        Ronnie Bardah
        Biography



        Age: 35
        Hometown: Brockton, Massachusetts
        Current residence: Henderson, Nevada
        Occupation: Pro Poker Player

        Hobbies: Kickboxing, beatboxing, and hiking.

        Pet peeves: When people try to enter my elevator just as I am trying to exit! Also watching someone misplay a hidden Immunity Idol makes me nuts.

        Three words to describe you: Resilient, analytical, and savvy.

        What accomplishment are you most proud of?
        Holding the world record for most consecutive cashes in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) main event. Also getting my dad out of Brockton and buying him a place in Henderson, Nevada!

        Who or what is your inspiration in life?
        The American soldiers who risk their lives everyday fighting for our freedom. Also those who never give up.

        What's one thing we wouldn't know from seeing a photo of you?
        That I am musically inclined.

        Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
        Jeremy Collins because he's charismatic, loyal, compassionate, and can read players so well. Strategically, my approach would be a hybrid of Devon Pinto—bluffing the dumb role sneakily well—and Boston Rob—impeccable timing of making big moves and sniffing out when people are up to something.

        What's your primary motivation for being on Survivor?
        To challenge myself like I never have before. I spend my life adapting to ever-changing environments. I grew up in a rough inner-city neighborhood and rose above and have been successful in one of the most competitive, cutthroat businesses on Earth. Poker is such a great challenge and competition and I want to always challenge myself to do better and better. There is no greater challenge in life than Survivor, I must conquer it.

        Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
        Because of the life I have already survived. It was a crazy rough neighborhood I grew up in, but I made it out and I have even traveled to 30 countries since then. I am also a beast at physical challenges. I have a very strong social game and, thanks to my poker skills, I will be able to read people well and will blindside the "blindsiders." I will be able to break hearts when I need to, even my own. The relationships will be real, but the ultimate goal will always be Sole Survivor.

        Comment


        • #5



          Lauren Beck

          Biography



          Age: 28
          Hometown: Bakersfield, California and Rochester Hills, Michigan
          Current residence: Glendale, California
          Occupation: Nanny

          Hobbies: Eating an entire bag of Hot Cheetos in one sitting while binge watching true-crime shows, laughing at my own jokes, writing/blogging, music festivals, talking people's ears off... my stepdad says I have the gift of gab, thanks Dad!

          Pet peeves: People that take a French fry while asking "can I have a fry?" before I even get the chance to say yes, saying "literally" before every sentence (guilty), being late (if you're on time you're still late), talking in third person, and clapping when a plane lands.

          Three words to describe you: Bubbly, adaptable, and diligent.

          What accomplishment are you most proud of?
          Moving across the country from Michigan to Los Angeles at 17 years of age and creating a stable life for myself. We all know Los Angeles rent is no joke, and even though a lot of people I know have moved home, I've been able to stick it out. Tenacity is my middle name!

          Who or what is your inspiration in life?
          My stepdad, Charles. He has raised me since I was 10 months old, and is everything a girl could ask for. He always brings me Starbucks whenever I ask. It's the little things. He's the best thing that's ever happened to me and my family.

          What's one thing we wouldn't know from seeing a photo of you?
          That I do one of the best Britney Spears impressions you've ever heard.

          Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
          Troyzan because we're both hot, Cirie because she's the best social player to date DUH, and I also like to think of myself as a gangsta in an Oprah suit. And last but certainly not least, Sandra because I have no problem being cutthroat to make power plays to enhance my individual game. The queen stays queen!

          Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
          My ability to connect with others is astronomical, I just love people! I have the physical and mental ability to see myself through to the very end. People tend to underestimate me which will definitely work in my favor. I plan to be the second black woman to win this game, hands down.

          Comment


          • #6



            Dan Spilo

            Biography



            Dan Spilo

            Age: 48
            Hometown: New York City
            Current residence: Los Angeles
            Occupation: Talent Manager

            Hobbies: Adventure travel, movies, and fitness.

            Pet peeves: Trouble dealing with stubborn people but I respect EQ as much as IQ, ignorance, and close-mindedness.

            Three words to describe you: Hardworking, articulate, and charming.

            What accomplishment are you most proud of?
            Raising two loving, considerate boys, and working hard to keep a marriage fun, loving, and passionate for 20 years.

            Who or what is your inspiration in life?
            I don't have a hero, per se—Jane Goodall and people like her who have a selfless devotion to something in the way she did. The way she illuminated the life of chimpanzees, and never let anything get in her way, is heroic to me.

            What's one thing we wouldn't know from seeing a photo of you?
            That I am a big softy. As my first client always reminds me, I cried at Finding Nemo.

            Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
            Crowley and Kwon because of background, Westman and Boston Rob for social gameplay, and Cochran because he's freaking cool and weird.

            Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
            I think I have the basic, if not superior, physicality to be useful to the Tribe. More importantly, I have an incredible ability to know what people need and to make them feel good, and to make myself critical in their success.

            Comment


            • #7



              Elaine Stott

              Biography



              Age: 41
              Hometown: Woodbine, Kentucky
              Current residence: Rockholds, Kentucky
              Occupation: Factory Worker

              Hobbies: Four-wheeling, fishing, and taking my boat to the lake.

              Pet peeves: Guys who think women aren't their equals, girls who think they need to use their body to get ahead, and people who think their s*** don't stink!

              Three words to describe you: Independent, stubborn, and kind.

              What accomplishment are you most proud of?
              Stepping up and taking care of my loved ones when they needed me. I took care of my grandpa who helped raise me when he got sick until he passed. My godmother lost her daughter and her husband, then had a stroke all within eight months. I was all she had to get through everything. My mom recently was in a coma and on life support. For months, she fought to get stronger and relearn everything. I was by her side the whole time. The plan was for her to come live with me afterwards so I could take care of her. Unfortunately, she passed away from complications before that could happen. To some, stuff like that may not be an accomplishment, but to me that's the only stuff that matters. I'm proud to be that kind of person.

              Who or what is your inspiration in life?
              My godmother. She took me in when I was young, and treated me like her own ever since. She is the strongest woman I know. She is kind, caring and very loving, even though she has suffered a great deal over the past few years. She's awesome.

              What's one thing we wouldn't know from seeing a photo of you?
              People think I am a real hard ass but I am actually a big softy.

              Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
              I think I am most like Rupert, rough and raw on the outside, and a big marshmallow on the inside. He seemed to be a very kind person just like me.

              Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
              I think people will underestimate me. I think with my people skills and my ability to relate to different types of people, I will be able to befriend them or gain their trust. I would be overlooked because I wouldn't be a threat, but an ally.

              Comment


              • #8



                Chelsea Walker

                Biography



                Age: 26
                Hometown: Marlton, New Jersey
                Current residence: Los Angeles
                Occupation: Digital Content Creator

                Hobbies: Working out, going to the beach, soccer, rooting for Philly sports teams, and watching Curb Your Enthusiasm.

                Pet peeves: The chunky dad sneakers trend that suddenly made a comeback and makes it look like you have bricks strapped to your feet. Bulky, unflattering, and yet "everyone" is wearing them. Why suddenly, after we all agreed to put these to bed, have these dad sneakers come back?

                Three words to describe you: Driven, competitive, and scrappy.

                What accomplishment are you most proud of?
                Getting on Survivor. I started applying to the show when I was 21, and I remember believing once I put in that application, Survivor would be chomping at the bit to invite me to play this game. Little did I know at that point that this would be the start to a very long journey. After almost six straight years of applying, with rejection after rejection after rejection, I finally contemplated throwing in the towel. Yet, as hard as I tried to push it away, I could never get the thoughts and urges to play out of my mind and out of my heart. I've never quit anything in my life, and I'm so proud of myself for never giving up on my dream, despite people telling me to do so. The best thing I ever did was believe in myself.

                Who or what is your inspiration in life?
                Larry David because he respects wood.

                What's one thing we wouldn't know from seeing a photo of you?
                I'm pretty, pretty, pretty good.

                Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
                Parvati and Kelley Wentworth, although I am aware the two girls play very different games. Parvati plays a very social, flirty, unsuspecting game, and establishes herself in power when she can. Kelley plays a very sneaky, threatening and aggressive game, tends to be more in your face with what she wants to accomplish, with a "never give up" type of attitude. I see myself in both of them.

                What's your primary motivation for being on Survivor?
                It's the allure of this really amazing game, this game I've been dreaming of playing since I was 8 years old. This game that will strip me down to my core, while also offering myself the opportunity to prove what I'm capable of. To all the superfans out there, never give up.

                Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
                I've been underestimated my entire life, and the second you tell me I can't do something, I'm going to do my damnedest to prove everyone wrong. I know what it's like to be at the bottom. Things might not always go my way, but I've learned to push through the challenges and work my way to the top. I'm tenacious, a hard worker, and I don't take anything for granted. Applying to the show for so many years has made me stronger, and hungrier to win. I have something to prove, and I will win because I have the passion and desire to do so.

                Comment


                • #9



                  Elizabeth Beisel

                  Biography



                  Age: 26
                  Hometown: Saunderstown, Rhode Island
                  Current residence: Saunderstown, Rhode Island
                  Occupation: Olympic Medalist

                  Hobbies: Surfing, violin, and wakeboarding.

                  Pet peeves: I hate when people have conversations while scrolling on their phones. Be present and in the moment without your phone.

                  Three words to describe you: Gregarious, competitive, and loyal.

                  What accomplishment are you most proud of?
                  Becoming the youngest member of the United States Olympic Team in 2008 at 15 years old.

                  Who or what is your inspiration in life?
                  My best friend Allison. She and I have been to three Olympics together. After the 2012 Olympics where she won five medals, she went through a serious post-Olympic depression. She is now a mental health advocate for athletes and speaks around the country. She is a true hero.

                  What's one thing we wouldn't know from seeing a photo of you?
                  I love classical music and have played the violin since I was 3 years old.

                  Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
                  Kara. Her exuberant personality and positive attitude reminds me of myself.

                  What's your primary motivation for being on Survivor?
                  To compete again. I retired from swimming a year ago and I miss challenging myself and bringing myself to the edge. Second reason... one million dollars.

                  Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
                  I'm physically, mentally, and socially strong. I can easily connect with people—my alliances will be strong and help carry me through the game. I can win individual Immunity due to my strength as an athlete. I'm a tough girl who will fight until the end.

                  Comment


                  • #10



                    Molly Byman

                    Biography



                    Age: 27
                    Hometown: Boston
                    Current residence: Durham, North Carolina
                    Occupation: Law Student

                    Hobbies: Running, skiing, biking, hiking, reading, board games, traveling, and balling out for delicious meals.

                    Pet peeves: Being unwantedly touched, heavy breathing, slow walkers and slow talkers, people who are unprepared at airport security, rule-breakers, and the assumption that men and women can't be platonic friends.

                    Three words to describe you: Competitive, resilient, and vibrant.

                    What accomplishment are you most proud of?
                    Teaching middle school for five years. Thanks to the two schools where I taught, my two incredible department heads, and my 400+ impressive students, I'll forever be that person who says that teaching was the hardest but most rewarding job she's ever had.

                    Who or what is your inspiration in life?
                    My family. I am the oldest of four and the oldest of my 13 first cousins, and we all genuinely enjoy each other's company. My family inspires me to take on new challenges, but also to remain grounded, remember my roots, and to be someone they can be proud of. I have the confidence to do things like go on Survivor because of the stability and love both my parents have provided and continue to provide.

                    What's one thing we wouldn't know from seeing a photo of you?
                    My all-time favorite TV protagonist is Lindsay Weir from Freaks and Geeks. Also, I can read tarot cards.

                    Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
                    Parvati (who is the most obvious selection that everyone strives to be) because she was charming as she was being manipulative. She allowed herself to be grouped into a "dumb girl alliance" but controlled the social situation throughout. I also relate to Wendell. Like Wendell, I am able to remain emotionally neutral and find humor in stressful or irritating situations.

                    What's your primary motivation for being on Survivor?
                    I have wanted to compete on Survivor since I first watched Elisabeth Filarski jump off that cliff in the Australian Outback. Now that it's happening (!!!), I keep reminding myself that the show is for money and not just an adventure. I want a behind-the-scenes look at the show I love, and I want to test my mind, body, and social prowess. The opportunity to graduate law school with zero debt is a bonus.

                    Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
                    I am smart, strong, and not annoying. Discomfort and being dirty don't bother me. I can fit in anywhere and form relationships with anyone. Being an oldest child and being a teacher taught me how to manage chaos, how to be adaptable and considerate to others' needs, and how to use subtle powers of persuasion to get people to do what I want.

                    Comment


                    • #11



                      Missy Byrd

                      Biography



                      Age: 24
                      Hometown: Decatur, Georgia
                      Current residence: Tacoma, Washington
                      Occupation: Air Force Veteran

                      Hobbies: Hiking, traveling, immersing myself into the culture I'm visiting, and winning.

                      Pet peeves: Annoying human beings.

                      Three words to describe you: Relentless, clever, and decently dope.

                      What accomplishment are you most proud of?
                      Always finding a way to travel the world regardless of budget. We all deserve to see what's out there.

                      Who or what is your inspiration in life?
                      Oprah, Beyoncé and the Obamas. They all broke the mold for what being black in America looks like.

                      What's one thing we wouldn't know from seeing a photo of you?
                      I rather enjoy a hot cup of tea and a good book.

                      Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
                      Kim, my girl is a legend. She hit the sand and aligned quickly. She played both sides effortlessly. I would play like this. Kill 'em with a smile.

                      Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
                      Beyoncé wrote a song about surviving so I have to honor Queen B.

                      Comment


                      • #12



                        Janet Carbin

                        Biography



                        Age: 59
                        Hometown: Neptune, New Jersey
                        Current residence: Palm Bay, Florida
                        Occupation: Chief Lifeguard

                        Hobbies: Body surfing, softball, and rowing lifeguard boats.

                        Pet peeves: Laziness and being wasteful.

                        Three words to describe you: Aggressive, enthusiastic, and vivacious.

                        What accomplishment are you most proud of?
                        Saving many lives in the ocean and of course, my kids and my grandchildren.

                        Who or what is your inspiration in life?
                        Tina Turner. She walked out and made no excuses—and made it big.

                        What's one thing we wouldn't know from seeing a photo of you?
                        I come off tough and stern... not true.

                        Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
                        Stephenie, because she's athletic.

                        What's your primary motivation for being on Survivor?
                        It's my dream. And the money!

                        Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
                        Because I can read people and I have the necessary skills, athletically and socially.

                        Comment


                        • #13



                          Kellee Kim

                          Biography



                          Age: 29
                          Hometown: Costa Mesa, California
                          Current residence: Philadelphia
                          Occupation: MBA Student

                          Hobbies: Settlers of Catan (Cities and Knight), skiing, and soccer.

                          Pet peeves: People who wake me up while I'm sleeping or try to talk to me while I am falling asleep.

                          Three words to describe you: Fun, energetic, and driven.

                          What accomplishment are you most proud of?
                          Getting onto the Harvard Varsity Soccer team! It was a very long passion and journey and it was a huge accomplishment to be able to play in college.

                          Who or what is your inspiration in life?
                          My sister!

                          What's one thing we wouldn't know from seeing a photo of you?
                          I hate mayo; if I had to eat a tub to get to the Final 3, I'm not sure I could do it. And I don't like whipped cream, vanilla frosting, or sour cream.

                          Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
                          Kelley Wentworth. She's athletic and gets along with people. And we almost have the same name.

                          Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
                          My pain tolerance is high, and I love to make difficult things fun. With a pinch of luck and a good "meat shield," I'll win.

                          Comment


                          • #14



                            Dean Kowalski

                            Biography



                            Age: 28
                            Hometown: Westfield, New Jersey
                            Current residence: New York City
                            Occupation: Tech Sales

                            Hobbies: Basketball, crafts, and DJ-ing.

                            Pet peeves: People honking in dead-stop traffic, people from the back pushing up a couple rows upon airplane landing, and roommates leaving dirty dishes in the sink for a prolonged period of time.

                            Three words to describe you: Jovial, observant, and likeable.

                            What accomplishment are you most proud of?
                            Achieving the highest success rate of all Miami Algebra 1 teachers for students passing the end of year exam.

                            Who or what is your inspiration in life?
                            Shirley Manzanares. Shirley was one of my 9th grade Algebra 1 students in my first year teaching. Shirley was an A+ student and the most respectful and loving soul. What you didn't see was her two jobs to help pay for prom, her caring for her two younger siblings while her mom worked at night, and her dedication to community service. Shirley will be the first in her family to attend college.

                            What's one thing we wouldn't know from seeing a photo of you?
                            I have recently grown to appreciate astronomy, physics, and our place in the universe.

                            Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
                            Wendell for his quiet leadership.

                            What's your primary motivation for being on Survivor?
                            I crave new challenges/experiences, and it's the most uniquely strategic game ever.

                            Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
                            Self-awareness is one of the most important leadership characteristics. My social intelligence will allow me to read when to go big and when to fall back. I strongly believe in my ability to get along with and be liked by a variety of different people. This will allow me to build strong, diverse alliances. Additionally, my athletic and puzzle abilities will make me a threat within challenges. My experience working in sales will fuel my persuasion within my alliances.

                            Comment


                            • #15



                              Tom Laidlaw

                              Biography



                              Age: 60
                              Hometown: Brampton, Ontario, Canada
                              Current residence: Greenwich, Connecticut
                              Occupation: Former NHL Player

                              Hobbies: Watching Survivor, anything fitness, and hanging with the people I love.

                              Pet peeves: People driving slow in the fast lane.

                              Three words to describe you: Disciplined, dedicated, and stubborn.

                              What accomplishment are you most proud of?
                              Raising my two sons to be strong, independent men.

                              Who or what is your inspiration in life?
                              My grandfather. My grandmother was in a wheelchair most of her life. He took care of her until she died, and he died shortly after.

                              What's one thing we wouldn't know from seeing a photo of you?
                              I don't like heights.

                              Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
                              Ben the Marine, he did whatever he had to.

                              What's your primary motivation for being on Survivor?
                              The challenge and desire to win.

                              Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
                              I know how to build an alliance and win challenges and then do whatever it takes to win.

                              Comment

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