Y’all know I love me some Survivor! I am so excited for this season. Because we start with 16 players, I break them down by gender. So I’m going to start with the guys. Then, do a second post with with the women. This season is going to be much more diverse as CBS begins to realize that casts on all of their reality shows were mostly white. Also, if these guys are any indication, this crop is super smart, some are book smart and some are life smart. Let’s get to it!
Brad Reese is the first Survivor contestant to hail from Wyoming, and he’s hoping to bring home the W for WY. The 50-year-old rancher says he’s been “locked up like a thoroughbred horse,” ready to race through the 26-day derby. And at 6’5″ with a mound of curly hair and a beaming smile, it’s going to be tough to pen him in.
Age: 50 Hometown: Shawnee, WY Current Residence: Shawnee, WY
Occupation: Rancher Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, helping others pursue their passion and achieve their dreams 3 Words to Describe You: Spontaneous, Practical, Patient Pet Peeve: Lack of initiative
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? My family. I’m very proud of my wife of 21 years and 4 kids.
What is something we would never know from looking at you? I’m a private pilot and enjoy flying. I’ve nearly died from a rattlesnake bite, been blown up by a propane tank and I like to live life on the edge. Who is your hero and why? My Dad. I worked side by side with him nearly every day my entire life. He was a father, boss and friend and, even after battling cancer for five years, he always kept a positive, generous attitude. Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? Boston Rob. We don’t have the same personality, but his thoughtful, strategic play is how I see myself playing.
Why do you believe you can win Survivor? I have all the skills of a typical rancher–hard-working, common sense-but I’m completely different because of my social skills. I believe I can build multi-dimensional alliances and win trust with most people, but with laser vision towards the end goal.
This guy seems promising. My only concern is if the young bucks will relate to him. If they do, he could go far.
Ex-NFL player Danny McCray is next up to the line of Survivor scrimmage. The 33-year-old comes out of retirement to play a very different game, having become obsessed with the show after leaving football. And he hopes to reach the endgame (and endzone) with one plan in mind: Change what it means to be a threat in this game.
Age: 33 Hometown: Houston, TX Current Residence: Frisco, TX Occupation: Ex-NFL Player Hobbies: Competing, traveling, cooking 3 Words to Describe You: Competitive, charismatic, optimistic Pet Peeve: Lying, not being on time and lack of accountability. Lack of awareness and consideration for people’s time and space or having to repeat myself after three times.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Completing my graduate degree program! It was my goal to earn an MBA before I made it to the NFL, but that changed due to the money I was making and the workload that football requires. After retirement I had to overcome my own mind and doubts that I couldn’t do it. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in life–late nights of studying and having tutors almost giving up repeatedly. But I never did, I have my MBA!
What is something we would never know from looking at you? You would never know that I often achieve success because of fear, my fear of letting the people that I love down. Letting down people that took a chance on me is the vision that I use to thrive in competitive situations. Very similar to Adam Sandler in the movie The Water Boy. Who is your hero and why? My mom. When my father passed, she was left to take care of three kids alone. She worked two jobs plus side work to provide for us. There is nothing she wouldn’t do for us. I take strength to be strong when a tragedy hits from her, she never complained or let us see her cry. She did that for us. I owe her everything that I can give.
Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? Ben “Boom” Driebergen, 1 Big Move King. I figure that I would be seen as a strong physical player so I would eventually become a big target. The way Ben was able to outwork everyone on the tribe and do what he needed to do in order to survive was truly admirable. It’s that “back against the wall”; mentality I admire. Why do you believe you can win Survivor? I’m applying to win. I always have something to prove to myself. I truly believe that I can succeed at whatever I put my mind to. I haven’t failed yet and don’t plan on starting now.
I have concerns about this guy. He has A LOT of pet peeves. He may be coming in with an aggressive attitude. He does get points for hotness though. 🙂 And liking to cook could be helpful to the team.
Neurosurgeon David Voce is here to prove which is harder: Survivor or brain surgery. The 35-year-old prides himself on his bluntness, with a tongue as sharp as his scalpel. But as a well-studied latecomer to the game, he feels his greatest asset is his ability to divorce emotions from logic, which comes from the pressure cooker of his work.
Age: 35 Hometown: Highland, CA Current Residence: Chicago,IL Occupation: Neurosurgeon Hobbies: Traveling, snowboarding, eating 3 Words to Describe You: Determined, passionate, stubborn Pet Peeve: My pet peeves revolve around people’s incompetence, laziness and lack of self-awareness. When you work an insane number of hours in a week, you just can’t tolerate pure ineptness.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Hands down I’m most proud of becoming a neurosurgeon that focuses on treating the brain cancer that claimed my father’s life. No one in my family is in healthcare and no one in my family has left our area in Southern California. Becoming a physician, let alone a neurosurgeon, just wasn’t something that was done in my community and was not something that seemed achievable as a kid. What is something we would never know from looking at you? Despite a confident exterior, I still have and process a lot of emotional baggage. As with all neurosurgeons, I have a “trail of tears” that I have to cope with on a routine basis.
Who is your hero and why? My mom is my hero. She raised me and my sister herself after my father passed. She has sacrificed so much and worked so hard so that I could shoot for my dreams. She never pressured me to do or be anything; she just wanted me to be the best that I could be.
Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? I would play with a similar aggressive nature as Russell Hantz. He was aggressive, but his social assimilation needed work. Todd Herzog had a brilliant social game. He did in final tribal what Russell couldn’t. I know how to pander to people and make them feel valuable even if I don’t believe it. I would dominate in final tribal. Natalie Anderson also had a brilliant social game, she made big moves and covered her tracks perfectly. Kelley Wentworth was aggressive and had an uncanny ability to read her surroundings, and so do I. Cirie Fields is the master of this game. If she was a little more athletic, she would dominate. Her social ability and her social awareness is amazing. She relates to people and makes them feel comfortable. She’s calm and doesn’t appear to be overly aggressive.
Why do you believe you can win Survivor? I will be the sole Survivor because I possess an ideal balance of charm, wit, athleticism and grit. Neurosurgery training has prepared me to push myself physically and emotionally beyond what is normal. As a neurosurgeon I have to be charming, relatable and able to connect with my patients, who place their identity and lives literally in my hands. I know how to be cool under stress. In neurosurgery the stakes are incredibly high and the only person I can trust to get the job done is myself. In Survivor, you always have to assume that people are trying to screw you over. I am extremely athletic and work out twice a day. However, I am not a “jock” or “golden boy” like Joey Amazing, Malcolm or Ozzy, who will always be targets because of their persona. I can also be extremely eloquent and persuasive–my final tribal council will rival the likes of Todd Herzog’s.
Okay, I take back most of my concerns about Danny. Because, David has the worst interview ever in the history of reality TV. Russell Hantz is the first player out of his mouth? Russell Hantz? He sounds like the biggest ego manic we have ever had on this show. He looks short and seems to have a raging case Napoleon Complex.
Medical student Deshawn Radden is planning to tell two different stories in his Survivor journey. To his competition, he’s a 26-year-old social butterfly eager to represent his hometown of Sen Bernardino. But to the fans, he’s “#DeviousDRad,” someone who’s ready to light up his fellow players in confessional, and set this game ablaze.
Age: 26 Hometown: San Bernardino, CA Current Residence: Miami, FL Occupation: Medical Student Hobbies: Cooking, making music, playing tennis 3 Words to Describe You: Charming, devious, resilient Pet Peeve: My biggest pet peeve is being told what to do. And it’s not something that makes me mildly irritated, I deeply loathe being told what to do. Listen, I’m not saying I know it all, but I’d much rather try and fail at something than go along with what someone else tells me is “acceptable.”
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Every time I set a new goal and accomplish it, I become most proud of that goal. Most recently, I’m most proud to be in medical school, with a master’s and bachelor’s degree under my belt. I sense that within this next year I’ll be most proud of winning Survivor. What is something we would never know from looking at you? You’d probably never know that I am very introspective and empathetic. Around people, I am always so outgoing, but I’m also someone who thinks a lot, sometimes overthinks and over feels, for other people and sometimes my own situations. I consider myself an empath and although I may not always appear to, I do feel other people’s emotions and I do feel strong emotions myself. I think I just do an above average job at concealing these emotions to not look vulnerable.
Who is your hero and why? My heroes are my parents because they truly took parenting personally. They both come from challenging backgrounds and made it their duty to create a better life for my siblings and me. But above all, I find it most heroic that they are and somehow raised five genuinely good human beings, with good hearts and strong moral compasses. That can be hard to come by these days. Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? Well I mean let’s be real here, my game will be unprecedented! But I see my game being most like Cirie Fields socially and mentally, with a sprinkle of Wendell for pulling out competition wins in the clutch and jury management. I’ll be like Cirie and Wendell’s love child!
Why do you believe you can win Survivor? I believe I could be the final Survivor because of a combination of social, mental and physical skills. I studied the game of Survivor like I would study for a medical school test and what I have found is that in order to outwit, outplay and outlast, you must have all three skills and these skills must work harmoniously together and shine at different points in the game. I feel like I am self-aware, which is something a lot of people lack. I am analytical enough to pick up on social cues and smart enough to critically think through obstacles that may present themselves, without becoming flustered. I know that I’m physically enough to help my team do well in challenges in the beginning and win challenges past the merge, but also, cunning enough to get any physical threats voted out before the game becomes individual. I am persuasive, but non-threatening. I have street smarts and book smarts and am empathetic enough to be read as trustworthy. I truly feel like I have the recipe to win!
Deshawn is my pick of the litter so far for sure. He seems well rounded. As long as he can keep her temper in check when people inevitably tell him what to do, he stands a really good chance.
Cyber security analyst and former college professor Eric Abraham has his Survivor syllabus already written. Anticipating the 26-day marathon to come, he plans on taking it slow and push for tribe strength in the premerge. And that combination should hopefully make the 51-year-old coming back to Texas a million dollars richer.
Age: 51 Hometown: Atlanta, GA Current Residence: San Antonio, TX Occupation: Cyber Security Analyst Hobbies: Basketball, golfing, reading 3 Words to Describe You: Open-minded, optimistic, confident Pet Peeves: People who have characteristics of being slothful, condescending, and sycophantic What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? My daughter as she is the next generation in our family. What is something we would never know from looking at you? I love scuba diving. I enjoy examining the surface of the moon, stars or passing comets with my very own telescope.
Who is your hero and why? My hero is my grandfather, a man that didn’t have to say a word to speak volumes. I would watch him walk into a room and respect was given to him before he uttered a word. He showered his grandchildren with affection and love that can only be given from the heart. The lessons that he shared with me were instrumental in my development and made me into the man I am today. My grandfather passed during my third week of basic Air Force training, but he remains a constant figure in my life.
Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? I would construct a hybrid playing style of Richard Hatch and Wendell Holland with a touch of Boston Rob.
Why do you believe you can win Survivor? I was taught to always dream big and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors, try to be better than yourself. The game is not only my motivation, it’s my tool to show myself that I can be the sole Survivor.
College student Jairus Robinson enters Survivor with a lot of extracurriculars. He’s a tour guide, a kindergarten teacher, and an expert in both legislation and speechmaking. But we’ll see if those book smarts translate to street smarts (or sand smarts) as the 20-year-old plays a game that predates his entire existence. Age: 20 20 Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK Current Residence: Oklahoma City, OK Occupation: College Student Hobbies: Obviously Survivor, working with kids/pediatric nursing, athletics (jiu jitsu, running, dance) 3 Words to Describe You: High energy, charming, charismatic Pet Peeves: I really hate bullies, and I don’t like loud eating.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? I’m so proud to be a two-time state track champion because it is the culmination of seven years of absolute passion, but also pain. Literal blood, sweat and tears! Everyone will tell you running is hard, but running with the fastest people in the state running sub five minute miles and pole vaulting is a story of its own. What is something we would never know from looking at you? When people first meet me they always assume I’m the goofy, go with the flow bro who’s here to make you laugh. But I’m also a lot smarter than people think until they see my grades or hear me speak in front of a crowd. I did Toastmasters, a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership, when I was in 6th grade up until high school so I can speak eloquently. Public speaking has never been a problem for me.
Who is your hero and why? Every now and then I volunteer at the children’s hospital because pediatric nursing is what I want to do with the rest of my life. Those kids are absolutely my heroes. To know and see what they go through hurts, and yet they still have a smile on their faces. Why would I – someone in perfect health – spend so much time being angry at dumb stuff like bad weather, girls or no more milk in my fridge? I’m so much more privileged than they are. I will always have a smile on my face and a laugh on the way because why not, right?
Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? I would love to play the game like the culmination of some great Survivor winners, specifically Parvati, Fabio and Jeremy Collins. No one in the history of Survivor can charm like Parv. I’m going to change that. I would love to have Fabio’s ability to be underestimated, which I believe is the best thing you can be in Survivor. Lastly, I want to work Jeremy’s shield management into my gameplay while still having my own king spin on it.
Why do you believe you can win Survivor? I believe that there are numerous aspects of Survivor. You’ll drive yourself mad trying to do one of them perfectly. If I can do everything well enough, I know I can win. I have great social awareness and in high school I was very popular. I had my hand in every clique with the jocks, the band kids, musical theatre kids, popular kids, rappers, academic kids, ROTC kids, quiet kids and even the teachers loved me. Even now, I have a great relationship with the president of our college. I have that “it” factor that some people just have. I think JT had it and Kim Spradlin, now I have it too.
I want to adopt this kid. I already know I will cry if he gets voted out.
While Survivor has served as a seminal and staple show for many contestants, there’s only person who can say it taught them English. That person would be Naseer Muttalif. The hotel sales manager is a Californian by way of Sri Lanka, eventually coming to the states to raise a family. Having grown up in poverty and feeling he represents several minority groups, Naseer is ready to make the most of his island opportunity, hoping he can make that final sales pitch to the jury in the Final Three.
Age: 37 Hometown: Sri Lanka Current Residence: Morgan Hill, CA Occupation: Sales Manager Hobbies: Cricket, traveling, cooking 3 Words to Describe You: Authentic, outgoing, hardworking Pet Peeves: Laziness and people who don’t contribute to group efforts
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? I have achieved the American Dream. I grew up in poverty, living in a mud hut with no electricity or running water for half my life. I never held a cell phone or touched a computer until I was 18. I worked my way up from selling vegetables on the street to making multi-million-dollar sales for my company. I taught myself English. I am able to give my kids the life I didn’t have growing up and still fully support my family back in Sri Lanka. I was able to help send my sister to college and support the education of my nieces and nephew. I recently saved enough money to buy land in Sri Lanka, where I hope to build my mom a more modern, safer home.
What is something we would never know from looking at you? People would never know that I grew up in a remote village and didn’t experience modern conveniences or technology until I was grown. I didn’t know how to use a real toilet or shower until I was 18 and moved overseas (in Sri Lanka, we had a hole in the ground in an outhouse for a toilet and bathed in the river behind the house). We washed our clothes in the river. I didn’t get my driver’s license (or really drive a car) until my wife – then girlfriend – helped me get one in Dubai when I was 26. Who is your hero and why? My mom is absolutely my hero. She has sacrificed everything for her children. When I was young and my father was ill, she had to make the immensely difficult decision to leave behind three young children to go work in a foreign country as a housemaid. She suffered and was mistreated there, but she did what she had to do to keep us fed.
Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? I think I’m pretty original and not too similar to anyone who has played before. I have some aspects of former players, like my jungle skills and an engaging personality, but I think I’m unique and will bring something new and refreshing to the game.
Why do you believe you can win Survivor? I am a strong competitor. I have a unique and engaging personality and believe my tribe would want to keep me because I can provide, win challenges and keep them entertained. I will do whatever it takes to win. This game is so important to me and winning it would be my greatest achievement. I have unique life experiences that will help me to make it to the end.
Flight attendant Ricard Foyé is ready to take off in this game. The 31-year-old has lived a live outside of his comfort zone, including the trials and tribulations of being deaf in one ear. But through those struggles come triumph, and Ricard hopes his people skills and joke repertoire will help him bring home the million dollars for his family on a show that fundamentally changed his worldview two decades ago.
Age: 31 Hometown: Lynnwood, WA Current Residence: Sedro-Woolley, WA Occupation: Flight Attendant Hobbies: Violin, running, winterguard 3 Words to Describe You: Hopeful, positive, funny Pet Peeves: Being asked a question and the answer being ignored What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? I’ve always been willing to make a change, pickup and go. It makes me feel brave to know I’ve changed my career when unhappy. I’ve purchased a one- way plane ticket not knowing what to expect, just to audition to dance around the country and succeeded. I’ve moved alone to new states on a whim. I only have this one life, I don’t want to waste it doing what’s easy.
What is something we would never know from looking at you? I am deaf in one ear. I focus heavily on reading lips and am fluent in ASL. Who is your hero and why? My husband, Andy. He has navigated through life after many setbacks, struggles and the tragic loss of a parent in a car accident. Andy focused on putting his physical comfort behind his and my desire for our family to grow and carried our children as a transgender man. I cannot think of a better human. Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? Aubry Bracco, but win. 🙂
Why do you believe you can win Survivor? The ability to show kindness, but also not take certain attacks and situations seriously feels like most players’ downfall. They succumb to the emotions and get voted out. I have awareness of my being while also being very observant of others and loyal, but not to a fault.
Yay! Over 4000 words later, I didn’t think we would get a gay guy this season! Richard seems great! I hope that being deaf in one ear will keep him from being in on all the whispered conversations. Maybe one of the ladies will know ASL. I haven’t looked at them yet. This post took several hours so I’m going to take a break from this and then maybe do some Married at First sight stuff. I don’t think I have photos for that yet, so that could take a long time too.
OOOPS! I FORGOT SOMEBODY!
At 21 years old and one of the first Survivor contestants born after its 2000 premiere, Xander Hastings found self-confidence in the show. The University of Chicago athlete and app developer went from geek to chic over the course of his childhood, and hopes that his athletic build will help his opposition underestimate his smarts. Xander has built a resume on running, and he hopes to hit the ground doing just that when the starting gun fires.
Age: 21 Hometown: Jacksonville, FL Current Residence: Chicago, IL Occupation: App Developer Hobbies: Free climbing, road tripping, antique shopping, graphic design3 Words to Describe You: Independent, resilient, adventurous Pet Peeves: Laziness and cockiness, especially from people who like to bark orders
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Nike Cross Nationals is the Super Bowl of cross country, and I love that people were baffled that my high school team even qualified. The conditions on race day were grim: the field was hilly, drenched, and oozing mud, the temp was a bone-chilling 40°, it was pouring rain and clearly no place for a Florida boy. Everyone was miserable but seeing the best of the best riddled with fear and intimidation, I felt a surge of confidence. Despite predictions that we would flop, we placed top 10.
What is something we would never know from looking at you? I love the pursuit of knowledge and experience. I could spend hours discussing the genius of Richard Serra’s commission for the NYC IRS building, or how Mandarin enables the mind to think more creatively, or the lab I just finished on rendering an image of the Crab Nebula using doppler shift and Kepler’s 3rd Law, or an algorithm for my latest app’s feed widget, or the golden warmth of the sun as it crests the horizon on a cold morning in Rocky Mtn. National Park, or meandering through the crowded bazaars of western China… I want to live a thousand lives before mine is over.
Who is your hero and why? Undoubtedly my dad. That man sacrifices everything for his family and especially for me to live out my exuberant adventures and ambitions. He served in the Navy, Peace Corps and now serves as a prominent doctor in the Jacksonville community. People adore him, most of all me. Above all, he lets me know he’s proud of me and supports me in any direction I want to take my life.
Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? Any of the pretty-boy-challenge-beast-charmers, just take your pick: Jay, Joe, Devon. I think I’d play most like Jay, a fellow Florida boy, using physical powers to get me to the merge, but more importantly making strong bonds, charming all and secretly thinking hyper-strategically. Why do you believe you can win Survivor? I will be the final Survivor because I’m the jack-of-all-trades and there’s nothing in life that can stop me. If I’m not happy with my situation, I change it and shape the world the way I want to see it. I form deep bonds in every social sphere I encounter and live such a diverse life, there’s no one I can’t relate to and empathize with. I’m disciplined and won’t rest until the million is mine, and no matter what I won’t get complacent or cocky.
I read another interview with Xander and he is kind or a nerd and a jock all at once. He’s a bit cocky but all the men are. The verdict is out on this one!
I hope someone read at least some of this. LOL. I really need it for recapping purposes. I’m not sure if Cho is going to have time for recapping this season. He’s a very busy man. And I kind of like doing it anyway.