Popular spoiler website, Inside Survivor, revealed that Survivor Season 40 is going to be an all winners season. Fans everywhere speculated as to which of the fierce competitors would return to Survivor to be crowned the winner of winners. Excitement reached a dizzying height once Inside Survivor released the full spoiler list of season 40 competitors. The list (and a refresher/ where are they now of each contestant) is below.
Amber Mariano – Survivor: Australian Outback, Survivor: All-Stars (Seasons 2, 8)
Amber Mariano (Brkich) first graced tv screens as a recent college graduate. During her tenure on the show, she bonded with season villain, Jerri Manthey, before being voted out in 6th place. On Survivor: All-Stars, her luck improved in more ways than one. This winner of Survivor: All-Stars also found her future husband, “Boston Rob” Mariano, and America watched their love unfold. Rob proposed to Amber on the season finale, and the two were married during a televised special: Rob and Amber Get Married. The couple now has four daughters.
Danni Boatwright – Survivor: Guatemala (Season 11)
The former Miss USA runner-up appeared in Survivor: Guatemala back in 2005. Danni was often on the chopping block during her season, but time and again managed to convince her fellow tribemates to keep her. She won the final immunity challenge and took returnee, Stephenie LaGrossa, to the end, beating her in a 6-1 vote. Danni was considered to return in Heroes vs. Villains, but turned it down, stating that she would only return for an all winners season. Post Survivor, Danni is now married with two sons.
Denise Stapley – Survivor: Philippines (Season 25)
Therapist Denise Stapley found herself on one of the worst tribes in Survivor history. Denise is the only person to attend every tribal council over the course of a single season. Her ability to maintain tight alliances with fellow tribe mates Michael Skupin, Lisa Welchel, and, most notably, Malcolm Freberg, gave her a clear path to the end and the title of Sole Survivor.
Kim Spradlin – Survivor: One World (Season 24)
Survivor: One World is pretty universally panned. However, among the superfans, Kim Spradlin is considered one of the show’s best winners. One World had the two starting tribes split by gender and occupying the same beach. Kim used her close bonds with the other women in the game to get to the end, despite being the clear biggest threat in the game. Kim is also tied with three other women for most immunity wins by a female contestant. Following Survivor, Kim married and is now mother to three children.
Michele Fitzgerald – Survivor: Kaoh Rong (Season 32)
Michele Fitzgerald’s win was a controversial one, earning her the nickname “Contraverchele” in fan circles. Many believe that runner-up, Aubry Bracco, should have emerged victorious during Kaoh Rong, including host Jeff Probst. However, Michele’s quiet game and social strategy earned her the victory. As one contestant put it, “As the game went on, Aubry got weaker, but Michele got stronger.” Michele is one of the three record holders for most days on the island without attending a tribal council. She is also the only one of the three to not be immediately voted out at the first tribal they attended.
Natalie Anderson – Survivor: San Juan del Sur (Season 29)
Early in San Juan del Sur, Natalie’s game was rocked when her twin sister, Nadiya, was voted out first. Natalie then remained committed to vengeance throughout the course of the game, especially when avenging blindsided ally, Jeremy Collins. Natalie’s duplicity reached a height when she convinced fellow tribe member, Jon Misch, that a misunderstanding due to English being Natalie’s second language, caused her to accidentally vote out Alec Christy. In actuality, Natalie’s vote was purely strategic. A flashy idol play in front of the jury clinched Natalie’s victory. Natalie was cast on Survivor: Game Changers but had to back out due to an injury. Sierra Dawn Thomas took her place that season.
Parvati Shallow – Survivor: Cook Islands, Survivor: Micronesia, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (Seasons 13, 16, 20)
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Life is so much sweeter when we take care of each other — Getting surprised with flowers from another mama made me feel so loved. She has a 6 month old baby. How did she even think to do that?! — Her kindness left me feeling full. Full of gratitude for her thoughtfulness. Full of respect for myself and what I’m accomplishing daily with a baby and a business. And full of the need to pay it forward… — Let’s all be more generous with our love. Just for today ❤️ — Thank you my darling @tannyabautista
Jeff Probst stated in numerous interviews that he considers Parvati to be one of the best players of all time. Many misattribute her strategy to mere flirting when in reality, it is based around social manipulation (with some flirting thrown in). In Cook Islands, Parvati was a member of the Raro alliance and is best remembered for skinny dipping in a hot tub with Yul Kwon and Ozzy Lusth. In Micronesia, Parvati earned her win through the devious “Black Widow Alliance”. On Heroes vs. Villains, Parvati found herself on the outs for the majority of the game due to her threat level, but formed a solid alliance with Russell Hantz, and achieving second place for her troubles.
Parvati has played the most days of any three-time player, she is one of only four contestants to have played three times and only voted out once, and one of only four three-time players to make the merge each time they played. In addition, Parvati’s average placement (6th, 1st, and 2nd), is the best average placement in Survivor history. Since Parvati was last on the island, she married fellow castaway, Jon Fincher, and gave birth to a daughter last July.
Sandra Diaz-Twine – Survivor: Pearl Islands, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Survivor: Game Changers, Survivor: Island of Idols (Seasons 7, 20, 34, 39)
Sandra Diaz-Twine is most famous for being the only person to win Survivor twice. Time will tell if “the queen stays queen” this season, culminating in a third win for the reality star. Season 39 will have both Sandra and Boston Rob on Island of Idols, but rather than serving as contestants, they will be available as advisors for the castaways that season. Sandra has only been voted out once in her impressive (upcoming) four-time stint on Survivor. Considered one of the best to ever play, Sandra’s tribe saw her as a threat and voted her out in the premiere. (though she did receive a standing ovation in the process).
Sarah Lacina – Survivor: Cagayan, Survivor: Game Changers (Seasons 28, 34)
Sarah Lacina’s game in Cagayan largely focused on her status as a member of the Brawn tribe (along with Tony Vlachos), as well as her commitment to representing police officers well on the show. As a result, Sarah was voted out first in the merge, earning her the role of “Queen of Ponderosa”. Upon Sarah’s return in Game Changers, she vowed to play less like a cop and more like a criminal. This strategy worked out for her, as she was the Sole Survivor that season. With moves like arranging for ally Sierra Dawn Thomas’s vote out so that Sarah might get the Legacy Advantage, Sarah lived up to her villainous vows.
Sophie Clarke – Survivor: South Pacific (season 23)
Sophie is well known for calling runner up, Coach Wade, “a naive girl” in her final tribal speech. The intelligent, sharp-tongued medical student worked her way into a strong alliance of five on night one that stayed together until almost the end of the game. Three of the members of that alliance made it to the final tribal. Sophie’s challenge prowess. convincing arguments and under-the-radar gameplay allowed her to survive amidst an incredibly religious tribe. Sophie is not, herself, religious, but was able to fake it till she made it. Sophie is also famous in the Survivor community for her hilarious facial expressions during a memorable reward to see Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill. Those expressions are seen here at 2:34.
Adam Klein – Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X (Season 33)
Adam broke hearts on Millennials vs. Gen X, by revealing that his mother had stage four lung cancer. Their mutual dream was to be on Survivor, and she encouraged him to go in spite of her illness. Adam’s game was messy, with the triumphs of winning challenges and finding idols, and the pitfalls of alienating fellow castaways. However, Adam’s friendship with Jay Starrett was one of the most beloved parts of the season, especially when the two bonded over their moms’ ill health in a hammock. Seen here at around 17:16.
Heartbreakingly, Adam’s mother passed away right after he returned home from playing Survivor. In her last moments, Adam was able to tell her that he won the game. He won by a landslide, with every single jury vote for him.
Ben Driebergen – Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers (Season 35)
The former Marine made a splash on the heroes tribe, with his cowboy hat and country accent. Though many are quick to dismiss his win as production interference, Ben’s spectacular idol plays and double agent trickery made Ben a memorable presence on his season. But Ben was also a catalyst for Survivor delving into the realities of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. In the endgame, Ben was the clear biggest threat in the game and was the target for the majority of the votes in the final eight. However, Ben’s scrappiness on the island served him well then, and will likely serve him well in an all winners season in the big moves era.
Ethan Zohn – Survivor: Africa, Survivor: All-Stars (Seasons 3, 8)
Soccer player Ethan Zohn remains one of the most popular winners to ever play. Survivor contestant, Mike Zahalsky, even named his son after Ethan. In Survivor: Africa, Ethan bonded with Tom Buchanan and Lex van den Berghe, but the final three deal broke up when Kim Johnson unexpectedly won the last two immunity challenges. Despite this pitfall, Ethan still managed to win the game. Survivor: All-Stars was a different story. Other players targeted the winners early on and Ethan was eliminated in 11th place. After Survivor, Ethan used his winnings to found Grassroots Soccer, an organization that uses soccer to combat the youth health gap. Ethan also battled a rare form of lymphoma twice, announcing he is cancer free in 2013.
Jeremy Collins – Survivor: San Juan del Sur, Survivor: Cambodia (Seasons 29, 31)
Firefighter/father Jeremy Collins hit the ground running on San Juan del Sur, forming a close relationship with Natalie Anderson (she called him her “honorary twinnie” after the elimination of her twin sister, Nadiya). Jeremy orchestrated the entertaining blindsides of Drew Christy and rival Josh Canfield. However, Jeremy shortly followed Josh Canfield to the jury bench after being blindsided by Jon Misch. His close friend, Natalie, went on to win the season. Jeremy had more luck in round two, in which he effectively used the “meat shield” strategy, keeping big threats in the game to minimize his threat level. Post Survivor, Jeremy and wife, Val Collins (also a former Survivor player) welcomed two more children into the world.
Nick Wilson – Survivor: David vs. Goliath (Season 37)
Nick Wilson had a rocky start in David vs. Goliath, when he was presented as an option for first boot. Like a true David, Nick was able to overcome his initial adversity by forming close bonds with members of the original David tribe, and his swap tribe Jabeni. Three of the Jabeni members made it to the final three, so Nick’s bonds served him well. This, coupled with Nick’s inspiring story and impressive idol play allowed him to clinch the victory for himself.
Rob “Boston Rob” Mariano – Survivor: Marquesas, Survivor: All-Stars, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Survivor: Redemption Island, Survivor: Island of Idols (Seasons 4, 8, 20, 22, 39)
“Boston Rob” Mariano has the distinction of being a pre-merge boot, a finalist, and a winner. However, he’s never been a jury member. In Marquesas, Rob’s game came to an early end, but he quickly became a fan favorite for his straight-shooting confessionals. In All-Stars, America watched him fall in love with, and ultimately lose to, his wife, Amber. The pair went on to compete in The Amazing Race, have a televised wedding special, and welcome four daughters. During Heroes vs. Villains, Rob’s game again came to an early end at the hands of Parvati Shallow and Russell Hantz. Rob was able to use a dictatorial strategy in Redemption Island in order to emerge victorious at last. In Island of Idols, he will serve as an advisor with fellow former villain, Sandra Diaz-Twine.
Rob and Amber together again is something that will be hard to break up. Even when they weren’t married, they were impossible to get to turn on each other.
Tony Vlachos – Survivor: Cagayan, Survivor: Game Changers (Seasons 28, 34)
Tony Vlachos is a true Survivor unicorn. Despite his aggressive gameplay, Tony was able to keep meat shields around, and utilized his super idol in order to muscle his way to the end. In the end, he convinced Woo Hwang taking him to the end was honorable, despite it being against his best interests. Tony won in a landslide. In Game Changers, Tony’s had a huge target from the beginning. Consequently, Tony was eliminated second.
Tyson Apostal – Survivor: Tocantins, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Survivor: Blood vs. Water (Seasons 18, 20, 27)
Tyson started out as the villainous goof on Tocantins. He became both beloved and abhorred for his antagonistic gameplay and snappy confessionals. Tyson suffered a humiliating blindside in the premiere of Heroes vs. Villains, during which Russell Hantz convinced him to vote against his best interests, directly leading to his elimination. Tyson came back with a vengeance during Blood vs. Water. Tyson’s game hit a snag at the elimination of then girlfriend, now wife, Rachel. In response, he shared that the only way watching her elimination would be worth it was if he won, and he did. The pair now have two daughters.
Wendell Holland – Survivor: Ghost Island (Season 36)
Wendell and his ally, Domenick Abbate, dominated Ghost Island. The pair dictated the vote week by week with the help of a loyal friend, Laurel Johnson. In a nail-biting finale, Wendell won the fire making challenge and then was a part of the first ever tie in final tribal (with the aforementioned Domenick). Laurel (a no vote finalist) broke the tie between the two men, giving the win to Wendell.
Yul Kwon – Survivor: Cook Islands (Season 13)
Yul Kwon made a splash on Cook Islands as a part of the Aitu four. Against the odds, Yul and the rest of the Aitu four were able to eliminate the much larger Raro alliance. Yul used the first ever super idol in order to gain leverage over the Raros. In addition, Ozzy Lusth’s challenge prowess put the group in an even better position. Yul ultimately beat Ozzy by one vote (which he masterfully achieved by promising Adam Gentry that he would vote out rival Jonathan Penner before him). He became the first Asian American to reach the final tribal and the first Asian American Sole Survivor. Post-show, Yul has married and is now a father to two daughters.
Are you excited for the new season of Survivor? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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