Russell Swan – Age: 45. From Glenside, PA. Outside of Survivor – Environmental attorney. Probst called his illness the scariest thing he’s seen on the show. And that includes Rupert with his shirt off! Russell is a Steelers fan – and having married a girl from Pittsburgh, I will not say a single bad thing about the Steelers. Ever. I know self-preservation. Russell thinks he brings “strength for the physically demanding challenges.” Didn’t he pass out during a challenge? He is proud of being a good dad (word!), and does not care much for materialistic people…said the guy on a TV show trying to win a million dollars.
Chances of Winning – I can see Russell going kind of far, based on the incredible track record of returning Survivors. It will be interesting to see what happens if and when a tribe is absorbed into the other two and two returnees are together.
Angie Layton – Age: 20. From Provo, UT. Outside of Survivor – Student.
Taking over this season’s mantle of hottest female Survivor, and this year’s token pageant girl, Angie looks like an Andrea Boehlke relative. She was recruited for the show via Facebook – so keep your Facebook posts coming fellow fans! She is rather young and that could cut both ways – naïve to scheming, but also somewhat resilient to the elements. She is athletic, can’t stand lazy people (uh oh, camp monitor here) or slow drivers (no worries there). She loves Boston Rob, but relates to Fabio. You know, the dumb blonde thing. This line from her bio scares me as a viewer, regarding why she is on the show, “I want to win, meet some hotties and prove to everyone that I can do it.” Meet some hotties. Sigh. The Bachelor is on ABC, thank you very much.
Chances of Winning – Not enthused about her strategic capabilities, but she could follow a path forged by Natalie, and the Boston Rob entourage and go far.
Malcolm Freberg – Age 25. From Hermosa Beach, CA. Outside of Survivor – Bartender. Good another bartender/actor. From his photo and bio, he looks like a total “bro” to me. You want scary? This sentence from his CBS bio – Inspiration in Life: O.J. Simpson before the legal drama. That’s right. It was “legal drama.” It was an episode of “The Good Wife.” I don’t care what his point was (O.J. overcoming rickets as a kid), you don’t go there. Hmmm – I am inspired by Charles Manson, before that whole beach house kerfuffle. “Helter Skelter” was such a good song, gotta respect that. Come on, Malcolm! He relates to Russell Hantz. Great. He calls himself “charming, brilliant and cocky.” Only the cocky call themselves charming and brilliant. He’s been a fan of the show since he was 12. Young adults in the mid-20s may start being called the Survivor Generation.
Chances of winning – He better watch out, too cocky gets your butt voted out quickly. And he’ll be up against Alpha Dog Swan right away.
Zane Knight – Age 28. From Danville, VA. Outside of Survivor – Tire Repairman.
His inspiration is Jesus and his wife, and his favorite Survivor is Hantz…Brandon Hantz. So we have that to looking forward to. He is a hunter, a fisherman and hates ice cream sprinkles. We could never be friends. However, he feels naked without his boots and Yankees hat. Ok, we’re talking again, Zane. Pinstripes unite! He thinks he can combine the skills of Boston Rob (sweet. Sweet? Really?), Cochran (non-threatening. Those tats on Zane may speak otherwise), Philip (crazy. Ok. The Specialist set the bar high), and Russell Hantz (a snake. Ok, point there).
Chances of winning – With Brandon as his model – slim and none.
Roxanne ”Roxy” Morris – Age 28. From Brooklyn, NY. Outside of Survivor – Seminary Student.
Ok, Zane, I found your ally. She is also inspired by Jesus and has “accepted the call of God to ministry.” Who needs luck, she has God. Glad to see He’ll be sticking his Almighty Nose into the goings on of reality shows again. She would like to bring her Bible and her small rock from the Valley of Elah, “where David killed Goliath,” with her on the island. Because they can help her make fire and catch fish, I guess. She also looks to Brandon for inspiration. Two people following in the footsteps of the Survivor who passed up immunity at the Final Five for no reason. I don’t look forward to this one.
Chances of winning – If she links with Zane and can do something with that, she could do well. However, I can see her being a bit overbearing.
Denise Stapley – Age 41. From Cedar Rapids, IA. Outside of Survivor – Sex Therapist.
A sex therapist? Great, she can help Angie after she finds her hotties. All kidding aside, I have no memory of any therapists or psychiatrists ever taking part on the show. One would think they would do well – they have a skill in seeing through people’s crap, they are able to break down barriers and identify weakness. Professionally, they can help cure it, on Survivor, well, that could be used in a different way. She does sprint triathlons – which is insane. She loves playing with her kid and reading. And I love her three items to take on Survivor. Here verbatim – 1) A seriously sturdy jogging bra – no one needs to see my 40 year-old ta-ta’s dangling out. This is for function, not fashion. 2) My baseball cap or pink dew rag – sheer comfort and a reflection of who I really am. 3) My favorite picture of my husband and daughter for motivation and connection with them. She also identifies with Steph, which makes a lot of sense and instantly endears her to me.
Chances of winning – She strikes me as one of those who if she survives the first vote or two could go far. But she could just as easily fall victim to alliances of younger folks.
Michael Skupin – Age 50. From White Lake, MI. Outside of Survivor – Professional Speaker, Author and coach. Not Coach. That job is taken.
The father of seven is owner of, to me, the more cringeworthy injury in Survivor history. The shot of his skin peeling off after he passed out in the fire still gives me the willies. And he was on his way to winning Season 2, which makes it doubly worse. He was probably most deserving of a second chance, and he has his eye on the prize. The three things he wants to take to the island – animals to hunt for food, an impenetrable shelter, and an unbreakable alliance. Game on. He should probably add to the list a longer fire prod. He is a self-proclaimed optimist and is very adventurous and competitive. He looks forward to seven cars, seven colleges and seven weddings in his future. Dude needs the prize!!
Chances of winning – Tough to call this one. He was a huge leader in S2 – he even caught and killed a small wild boar. He could be a Rob/Ozzy/Coach repeat in Survivor star power, but Australia was over 10 years ago. I still see Skupin going deep in the game.
Lisa Whelchel – Age 49. From Dallas, TX (not Peekskill, NY). Outside of Survivor – Used to be on “The Facts of Life.” When I was a kid, I had crushes on certain TV stars – and two of them were Blair and Jo from Facts of Life. And I was not alone in that one. Well, Blair would never, ever get dirty enough to go on Survivor, but Lisa will. She claims to be a huge a fan, we will soon find out. I wonder how many of them will recognize her – she’s older now, but she still looks like Blair. She loves Oprah, and her website implies that she will be in line to join with the God crew from the other tribe. She also loves Colby (Don’t mess with Texas), and wants to meet Probst.
Chances of winning – I don’t know. Color me skeptical. If she is recognized, again, like with other stunt casting it could go either way – deep run or early exit. A point in her favor is the likely God alliance she could form with Skupin.
Artis Silvester – Age 53. From Terry Town, LA. Outside of Survivor – Computer Engineer.
Dude beat stage 4 cancer. Got to give mad props there. I wonder if he will use that to his benefit and make his way into an alliance on sympathy and respect. Of course, these kind of things have made others targets – think Vanuatu Chad and Amazon Christy. His inspiration in life is his ex-wife and he “prays everyday they will be brought back together.” I assume she has passed away – those comments are very sweet and endearing if she did. If they divorced, they are creepy. I give Artis the benefit of the doubt here. He hates bullies – and somewhere Cochran wishes he was on this season. He claims to be a cross between Rudy, Rupert and James. I am both interested and frightened by that Frankenstein Monster. Of course, unlike most fans I am not big fans of Rupert nor James. He claims to have a guardian angel watching over him. I sure hope it isn’t Nicolas Cage – and if it is, I want to see him go crazy.
Chances of Winning – If he’s crazy, he could be the token “take the guy to the end” guy. If he is a R/R/J mix, he could be invaluable to the team. I think he will be neither.
Abi-Maria Gomes – Age 32. From Los Angeles, CA. Outside of Survivor – Business Student.
At 32, and still in school? Either there was a career change, or she’s Buster Bluth. She told EW that she was supposed to be on Tocantins, but was removed because she’s Brazilian. If true, I wonder who replaced her. If she wins, she may be the first winner to be a citizen of another country – as she holds dual citizenship in the US and Brazil. She is inspired by Steve Jobs – maybe she can make an I-version of Exile Island Shane’s fake Blackberry. She would bring to the island “a book to distract me, a pen for writing and a notebook to write on.” Glad she outlined for us what a pen and notebook is used for in basic terms. She relates to Parvati because they are equally charming. Ok, Abi, tone it back a bit. You might be writing checks your, er, charm cannot cash.
Chances of winning – Hard to tell from the bio, but if she channels Parvati, she could go far.
Roberta ”R.C.” Saint-Armour – Age 27. From NYC. Outside of Survivor – Investment Banker.
I love RC Cola – I wonder if she has anything to do with it. What she does have is the 112th Wellesley Hoop Rolling Championship under her belt. Is there money in that? She calls out mom as her inspiration and one of her hobbies is swimming. That last part could be a key skill in a season on the beach. She doesn’t like annoying people – I assume she means the collective group and not the act. Either way, I agree. And I think either way she is on the wrong show. She also wants to bring a book to the island. Man, this is a literary group. She also wants to bring a puppy and a radio. I’ll hold off on the electricity lesson for a moment, and just hope that she finds a food source or that puppy’s going to have a rough time out there. She ran a “half Boston marathon without training and swam the English Channel.” Wow. She also survived the 2008 Wall Street collapse and the fall of Bear Stearns.
Chances of Winning – Puppy notwithstanding. Very solid.
Pete Yurkowski – Age 24. From Holmdel, NJ. Outside of Survivor – Engineering Graduate.
Here is the pretty boy of the season. His occupation status might as well just read, unemployed. His hobbies are “going to bars and meeting girls, going to the gym and making beats.” So, he’s relatable. But the best part of Pete’s bio has to be his pet peeves – because, well, Pete’s got a few issues. In his words, “Stupid people definitely sit at number one. But, here goes the list: ditsy girls, girls that wear tiaras to bars on their birthdays, meat heads, people that are happy all the time, people that beat around the bush, bad ideas, traffic circles, buildings that are structurally unsound and escalators – especially when they don’t work.” He would also bring the greatest collection of random items to the island for him – his stuffed turtle “Hambone,” a bottle of rum and the Ukrainian flag. That would be the best episode of MacGyver if Mac turned that into a bomb somehow. He wants to be the alpha male puppet master, a la Russell Hantz. I am either going to hate this guy or love this guy.
Chances of winning – like with any wannabe alpha male, it is all in the execution. He’ll either be an early target or go very far.