With contributions from Priyanka Sundar
‘Survivor’ has kept up on the edge of our seats many times over during the course of 37 seasons, and in each of those seasons, we have seen one clear champion physically dominating or masterfully manipulating (or sometimes both) their way to the top. Every season, that person has become the sole survivor, and it’s not just the cash prize that has inspired these players, but also the thrill of competition and the legacy they want to leave behind.
Whether you rooted for these 37 winners from the beginning or not, they fought their way to the bitter end, and honestly, we haven’t heard from a few of them in a long, long time – specifically the contestants from the first few seasons. Here, we take a look at what the 37 winners who came before ‘Edge of Extinction’ are up to:
Nick Wilson: David v. Goliath
Nick Wilson, who won Survivor season 37 - 'David v. Goliath' was a public defender when he joined the show and is currently practicing law in southeastern Kentucky. After winning the show, Nick is 'living a country boy's dream' according to his official profile on Instagram. In fact, in January, Nick was recognized at the Williamsburg City Council meeting for his performance on the show and Mayor Harrison named January 16 as Nick Wilson Day! He also judges beauty pageants as a celebrity guest.
Wendell Holland - Survivor: Ghost Island
Wendell Holland, who won 'Survivor: Ghost Island' is currently doing multiple things, including Horticulture. He is a public speaker, designer/builder and throws karaoke parties with Brice. Wendell also owns Beve Unlimited, a custom furniture designing company and he enjoys working with wood, especially reclaiming old wood. Wendall also loves shooting hoops in his free time.
Ben Driebergen: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers
Ben Driebergen is enjoying the good life with his goats in Boise, Idaho. The winner of Survivor Season 35 enjoys the company of his goats and since his victory in 2017, has spent a lot of time with them. He has built playhouses for them and has even shared accounts on Instagram of the goats almost swallowing screws while he was busy building a play area. Ben is an ex-marine and was one of the Heroes on the show.
Sarah Lacina: Game Changers
Sarah Lacina, who won the 34th season of Survivors is a marathoner and had shared on Instagram that post her victory on the show, she had completed 7 marathons, in 7 days, in 7 different continents as a part of World Marathon Challenge in 2018. Sarah, a mother of a four-year-old boy lives in Iowa with her family.
Adam Klein: Millennials vs. Gen X
#ThirstLounge helping launch #Ignite tomorrow with some fun fitness prop bets! Will be there w @bp22 starting at 3pm pst! @ThirstLounge https://t.co/Usc3Zrbw9N https://t.co/sAc7jqtzfm— Adam Klein (@AdamScottKlein) January 21, 2019
Adam Klein, winner of Survivor season 33 is currently the host of Thirst Lounge - a show that will give viewers an insight into the life of a millionaire where they play high stakes poker and have crazy prop bets and other interesting giveaways. Adam is one of the 10 hosts who had to move to Virginia Islands for the show and create content for the show.
Michele Fitzgerald: Kaôh Rōng
Michele, the winner of Survivor season 32 is a bartender from New Jersey who loves to travel and go rock climbing. Her Instagram account is travel goals and she has even toured with brands to raise money for environmental issues. She is also a huge Harry Potter fan and takes inspiration from the books.
Jeremy Collins: Cambodia Second Chance
Jeremy Collins, who won the 31st season of Survivor is a Cambridge firefighter in Foxboro who made it to the professional indoor football league. He takes part in panel discussions, goes to his daughter's soccer games, and takes his daughters to Duke Basketball Museum. He also shares throwback pictures to his time in Survivor.
Mike Holloway: Worlds Apart
Mike Holloway who won the 30th season of Survivor is currently in North Richland Hills, Texas, and is an oil driller by profession. He loves American football and also founded a company called Sweet T's Designs with his friend.
Natalie Anderson: San Juan Del Sur
The winner of Season 29, Natalie Anderson is a CrossFit coach who is also trained in physical therapy. She currently resides in Edgewater, New Jersey. Natalie loves beaches and lifting weights.
Tony Vlachos : Cagayan
Considered one of the most diabolical villains of the 'Survivor' franchise, Tony is best known for double-crossing his "allies." However, in the outside world, he is a hero who has saved the life of a man who had a massive heart attack on his lawn, along with being an officer with the Jersey City police department. The image he portrayed on the show, almost cost him his job, though, with New Jersey congressional candidate Aaron W Fraser saying he showed himself to be a "trickster, liar, backstabber and dealer" on the reality show.
In the end, Fraser was unsuccessful, and Tony continues to be an officer of the law, and married to one (Marissa Ann) as well.
Tyson Apostol: Blood vs. Water
A former professional cyclist, Tyson got three tries to finally winning the million dollar prize in 'Blood vs Water.' He has been a public figure even since his 'Survivor' days, having starred in 'Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars 2' with then-girlfriend and proposing to her in the season finale. Their marriage was performed by his 'Survivor: Tocantins' co-contestant Stephen Fishbach.
Now a father of one baby girl, Tyson hosts the news podcast 'News AF' and is a regular on the reality TV podcast 'Rob Has a Podcast', which is hosted by fellow 'Survivor' star Rob Cesternino.
John Cochran: Fans vs. Favorites
Cochran, who was voted as the seventh greatest player of all time on the 15th anniversary of the show, became the Sole Survivor on his second attempt, and has gone on to become a writer for various CBS sitcoms. 'Survivor' host and executive producer Jeff Probst had declared that Cochran is his favorite season winner ever, and put him in touch with the creator of 'The Millers,' Greg Garcia. The rest, as they say, is history. Cochran's writing credits include 'Kevin Can Wait' and 'The Millers.'
Denise Stapley: Philippines
So sorry 😿… from one crazy cat lover to another. pic.twitter.com/zuCFgGdonm— Denise Stapley (@goofygal1171) December 24, 2018
The sex and mental health therapist, is the only American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists certified sex therapist in the state of Iowa. Married to her engineer husband Brad, she is the mother of one daughter.
Kim Spradlin: One World
Kim, the winner of season 24, is the owner of a bridal shop and is an interior designer. Post her win, she had appeared on CBS' 'The Talk,' where she revealed that she would use the money to renovate her San Antonio bridal shop, go on vacations, and be "generous" to loved ones.
She is currently married to Bryan Wolfe, the wedding ceremony was attended by her tribemates Alicia Rosa and Kat Edorsson, and is mother to three children - two sons and a daughter.
Sophie Clarke: South Pacific
Known for her blunt nature and sharp-tongue, Sophie is the winner of 'South Pacific' and used her money to pay off her student debts. She was pursuing a medical degree during her time on 'Survivor' and graduated as of 2017, and is currently working as a medical doctor. She is currently off social media, and maintains private accounts in certain cases, possibly due to unwanted communication from 'Survivor' fans.
Rob Mariano: Redemption Island
Today is the LAST DAY to enter the Boston Rob Giveaway! It’s your chance to win a signed copy of my Rulebook, Survivor merchandise, and world-class poker coaching from @JonathanLittle! Don’t miss out on this giveaway worth over $1,000! https://t.co/HyFCEP1m3M pic.twitter.com/ZWyWmGP9ew— Boston Rob (@BostonRob) January 22, 2019
Rob, or Boston Rob, as he is lovingly called, has a penchant for being on reality shows, and has tried his luck on 'Survivor' four times, winning the $1,000,000 prize in the fourth attempt. He also appeared on 'The Amazing Race 7' and 'The Amazing Race 11: All-Stars' with his wife Amber (Brkich) Mariano, a fellow 'Survivor' winner. In 2007, they also appeared on a show called 'Rob and Amber: Against the Odds,' and also on the 'All Stars' episode of 'Reality Obsessed.' Not to mention, Amber and Rob got married during a two-hour CBS prime-time special, 'Rob and Amber Get Married.'
From ABC's 'The Split' to The History Channel's 'Around the World in 80 Ways,' Rob - father to four daughters - has had many hosting gigs as well. He is said to be still particularly close friends with Tyson Apostol, Natalie Tenerelli, Peter Harkey, and Sean Rector.
Jud "Fabio" Birza: Nicaragua
The youngest person to win 'Survivor' to date, Jud Birza works as a fashion model, currently signed to New York's Next Model Management and Mother Model Management. He has also had small acting roles like the horror flick 'A Dream Within a Dream,' '90210 Shark Attack,' and the 2012 documentary 'Burning Man: Metropolis.' He is also the drummer for the electro-dance/rock band Space Funk Odyssey.
Although he was arrested in 2011 for skateboard in the street and on suspiscion of being under the influence of a controlled substance, all charges were dropped. He is currently married and has a daughter.
Sandra Diaz-Twine: Heroes vs. Villains
Merry Christmas from the Queen and her Army pic.twitter.com/qly4oIM5Sj— Sandra Diaz-Twine (@SandraDTwine) December 25, 2018
Sandra, who is the CBS show's only two-time winner, is one of the first five inductees to the Survivor Hall of Fame. She appeared on an episode of Dr. Phil, to support her friend Todd Herzog, who was battling alcoholism.
Married to a veteran, Sandra had revealed a while back that thanks to the prize money, she is living comfortably without doing "a damn thing." She has two daughters, one of whom graduated from college recently.
Natalie White: Samoa
Natalie, the winner of 'Samoa,' had impressed us all by orchestrating eliminations and blindsides, all the while flying under the radar. Post her appearance on the show, Natalie has flown under the radar, true to her on-screen performance. In fact, she is not active on social media, and the only two times she made public appearances are when she attended Survivor's 10-year anniversary party, and later when she hosted a special preview on the TV Guide Network for 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.'
James "J.T." Thomas, Jr.: Tocantins
Having won the $1,000,000 prize during his very appearance in the 18th season, JT was also a contestant in the 20th season and the 34th season. JT revealed in an interview that with his prize money, he bought gifts for his close relatives, but predominantly invested the money. “I wanted to help my family out and because I have a lot of nephews and nieces, I promised my family I'd pay for my nephews and nieces to go to college one day. I'm just trying to invest in their future and give back to my family,” he had said.
He married his longtime girlfriend Cameron in 2015, and the ceremony was officiated by fellow survivor Stephen Fishbach.
Bob Crowley: Gabon
Who is behind door # one? Ha ha ... no one because we all wanted to be in the picture😂 pic.twitter.com/e8SsjGr8zh— bob crowley (@survivor_bob) December 9, 2018
The oldest 'Survivor' winner, Robert Crowley, published his autobiography 'Making Waves: The Stories of Maine's Bob Crowley,' in which he had to avoid any mention of the show due to pressure from the producers. Bob, having appeared on a couple of 'Survivor' related events over the years, opened a winter camp in Durham, Maine, where he hosts a weekend of Survivor-based charity fundraiser event called Durham Warriors Survival Challange.
Parvati Shallow: Micronesia
Parvati, who has also appeared on 'Cook Islands' and 'Heroes vs. Villains,' took home $1 million in the season themed 'Fans vs. Favorites.' Post her stint on the show, she starred in CBS's 'Around the World For Free,' and also hosted 'Survivor Live' for the CBS website.
Parvati, who is a Yoga Teacher and Personal Development and Business Coach by profession, is married to fellow 'Survivor' alum John Fincher, who appeared on 'Samoa' and has a daughter with him as of July 2018.
Todd Herzog: China
Todd Herzog, the winner of 'China,' is openly gay and had dated 'Survivor: Tactins' contestant Spencer Duhm. Years after being crowned the Sole Survivor, Todd had appeared on 'Dr. Phil' to help with alcoholism in 2013. He was considered to be "closer to death than any other Dr. Phil guest". Despite staying sober for a long period, he suffered a relapse, upon which Doctor Phil did an update on his case, and revealed that he was suffering vivid hallucinations and was hospitalized with a blood alcohol level of 0.5.
Todd, later revealed that he was not intoxicated when he reached the LA studio of 'Dr Phil,' but there he was encouraged to drink vodka and pop Xanax pills before his TV appearance. Todd, who is currently sober, and working at a restaurant in Utah, wrote a letter to Dr Phil, in which he stated, “I’m grateful in a lot of ways for the show. For getting me help in the nicest places in the country. That’s a gift right there. There are some things about the show that I don’t like, and that I don’t think are real. … I should have been in the hospital, in that sense. There should not be liters of vodka in my dressing room.”
In 2017 the National Don't H8 organization named Todd "King of Don't H8," for his heart and dedication to the LGBT community.
Earl Cole: Fiji
An entrepreneur, producer, philanthropist and former California advertising executive, Earl Cole, the winner of 'Survivor: Fiji' established the Earl Cole Fund at the University of Kansas Medical Center, which is a charitable foundation for children with Legg–Calvé–Perthes disease, a hip bone disease he suffered from as a child.
He is married to LA-based pharmacist Shelley Lee and they have a baby girl named Kaia JoAnn, who was born on November 10, 2017.
Yul Kwon: Cook Islands
Yul, who has worn many hats, including government official, lawyer, and management consultant, won the grand prize in 'Survivor: Cook Islands.' Thanks to his honest and direct gameplay, Yul became one of the most favorite winners of 'Survivor' and post his win, went on to appear on many talkshows, including 'Live with Regis & Kelly.' He also made many significant lists such as People Magazine's Sexiest Men Alive in the 2006/2007 issue, and Extra TV's Most Eligible Bachelors.
He worked as a special correspondent for the CNN series 'Uncovering America,' in which he explored the issues affecting Asian American communities. He went on the become a lecturer for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was also appointed Deputy Chief of Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau for the FCC. After leaving the FCC in 2011, he hosted the four-part PBS series 'America Revealed' and also 'LinkAsia' Link TV. Currently, he serves as a Director of Product Management at Facebook and is married to Sophie Tan, with whom he has two children. Their wedding was telecast on TV Guide Channel.
Aras Baskauskas: Exile Island
Aras, who won the twelfth season of the CBS show, also appeared on 'Blood vs. Water,' and has also participated in many 'Survivor' events over the years. On November 10, 2013, Aras became engaged with model Christy Petersen, with whom he has two children. After a two-year long engagement, the duo got married on April 25, 2015.
A Yogi, and musician, Aras released his debut album 'The Tree and the River' under the stage name 'Odd Us' in 2011. The same year, he also founded Tundra Gear, a winter hat company.
Danni Boatwright: Guatemala
#MarchMadness #RockChalk #KB&Co #BoutiqueCollective #SidelineChic pic.twitter.com/qpb9Dxs9sG— Danni Boatwright (@dannigirlSC) March 4, 2017
Danni is an accomplished model and athlete, having been titled Miss Kansas Teen USA winner, before representing Kansas at the 1992 Miss Teen USA and in the 1996 Miss USA. She is renowned as not only the winner of the eleventh season of 'Survivor,' but also as a TV host, model and beauty queen. Currently, she lives in Tonganozie, Kansas, and is an on-air personality for KCSP aka 610 sports. She is a spokesperson for Coleman products and has also launched a sports clothing label called Sideline Chic.
Danni, who was once married to country music singer Wade Hayes, and appeared in the video for his 1998 single 'Tore Up from the Floor Up,' is now married to Casey Wiegmann, a former NFL center. They have two sons together.
Tom Westman: Palau
Tom, who won the tenth season of 'Survivor,' has played the show for a combined total of 53 days. One of Jeff Probst's top ten favorite Survivor winners ever, Tom also returned for the 'Heroes vs. Villains,' season in which he was voted out on day 14. His game in 'Palau' is still considered to be one of the best, and his skills as an alliance leader, especially is revered by 'Survivor' fans.
A former New York City firefighter of twenty years, and father to a deaf daughter, Westman retired in August 2005 to pursue a career as a motivational speaker. Since his time on the show, he has appeared on many 'Survivor'-related events and shows. However, he is not very active on social media.
Chris Daugherty: Vanuatu
Christopher, who won the tenth season of 'Survivor,' has worked many blue collar jobs, including heavy equipment operator, sporting goods store employee and and road builder for the Ohio Department of Transportation. He was suspended from OODT for 20 days without pay, after it was revealed that he had lied about mental health issues to appear on 'Survivor' related programs in 2005. However, he filed an appeal, an Ohio arbitrator ruled in Daugherty's favor and he was reimbursed his pay for the 20-day suspension.
After his return from 'Survivor,' he married Lorie Groves, his fiance who visited him during the "loved ones visit." He stays away from social media, and public events.
Amber Mariano (née Brkich): All-Stars
Amber, who won 'Survivor: All-Stars,' after appearing on one of its predecessors, 'The Australian Outback,' has made many TV appearances since then. Fans will remember that she fell in love with Rob Mariano when they formed an alliance as castmates on 'All-Stars.' At the live finale of the season, she became twice the winner after Rob proposed to her. Their wedding was aired in a two-hour special called 'Rob and Amber Get Married,' by CBS on May 24, 2005. They have four daughters together.
Amber and Rob took part and came in second place in season 7 of 'The Amazing Race' as an engaged couple, and later in the 'All-Stars' season as a married couple, where they were eliminated in the fourth episode after winning first place in the first three episodes. In 2006, they filmed ten episodes of 'Rob and Amber: Against the Odds,' for the Fox Reality Channel.
Sandra Diaz-Twine: Pearl Islands
Refer: Sandra Diaz-Twine : Heroes vs. Villains
Jenna Morasca: Amazon
Jenna, who won the million-dollar prize after winning 'The Amazon,' had returned for 'All-Stars,' but decided to leave the game in episode three, because she regretted leaving her dying mother who had been battling cancer for 12 years. Eight days after she returned home, her mother passed away.
View this post on Instagram
She started work for Canadian-based American professional wrestling promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) in 2009. She was also in the Off Broadway play 'Pieces' and also had a small role in the made-for-TV movie 'The Scorned.' She made an appearance in the premiere episode of 'Celebrity Paranormal Project' on VH-1 along with the likes of Gary Busey and even participated in the 19th season of 'The Amazing Race' along with then-boyfriend and fellow 'Survivor' winner Ethan Zohn. They also appeared together as guest sous chefs on the Food Network show 'Dinner: Impossible' and on the fourth season of 'Celebrity Apprentice,' where their former 'Survivor' castmate Richard Hatch was a contestant. The couple also starred in the 20-minute horror movie 'The Watcher.' After 10 years together, the couple announced their amicable decision to break up in February 2013.
In 2004 Morasca founded and modelled swimwear for the model scouting company Model Challenge USA. On January 25, 2018, she was arrested in Washington, Pennsylvania, after a motorist found her passed out in her car while stopped at a stop sign. She was charged with driving under the influence and possession of narcotics paraphernalia.
Brian Heidik: Thailand
View this post on Instagram
An actor by profession, Brian is the winner of the fifth season of 'Survivor.' He has had guest roles in shows such as 'Doogie Howser, M.D.,' 'Baywatch Nights,' 'Days of Our Lives,' and 'Melrose Place.' Having been considered one of the least likable, most cold-hearted, 'Survivor' winners, he is never mentioned in any interviews or chats by other 'Survivor' cast members. In 2006, he was arrested and charged with battery and cruelty to animals after he allegedly shot a puppy with a bow and arrow, and although he tried to flee the scene after cops arrived, he was quickly apprehended.
It was revealed post his appearance on 'Survivor,' that he worked as a soft-core porn actor under the name Dave Roth, alongside his then-wife C.C. After 'Survivor', he got a restraining order against C.C., but failed to appear for the hearing on the scheduled court date. In 2006, he divorced C.C. and remarried. He has four children with his current wife.
Vecepia Towery: Marquesas
View this post on Instagram
Vecepia, one of the earliest winners of 'Survivor,' has more or less been off-the-grid for many years, now. She used to manage a software development company, and has also worked as the guest relations manager for a California hospital.
While 'Survivor: Marquesas' was still airing, Towery married Leander Robinson, who visited her during the "loved ones visit." Her pregnancy and the birth of their son Jordan Robinson became the subject of an episode of TLC's 'A Baby Story'. She has made appearances on a couple of 'Survivor' events, but other than that and the TLC documentary, she has stayed out of the spotlight.
Ethan Zohn: Africa
Ethan, a professional soccer player, is the winner of the third season of 'Survivor,' and also appeared on the 'All-Stars' season. After his win, he co-founded Grassroot Soccer, a nonprofit organization, which uses soccer to raise money and awareness to fight HIV/AIDS. He was also a contestant on 'Fear Factor,' and on 'Kill Reality,' before appearing on an episode of the VH1 series 'Celebrity Paranormal Project.' In 2008, he hosted 'Earth Tripping,' a show which explored ways to "employ new, natural and environmentally conscious methods when they travel"
He began dating fellow 'Survivor' winner Jenna Morasca after her victory on 'The Amazon' in 2003, after which they competed on 'The Amazing Race' together. They also appeared together in the season premiere of 'The Celebrity Apprentice 4'. They amicably parted ways in 2013, and in 2016 he married interior designer Lisa Heywood.
Ethan is a survivor of a rare type of cancer called CD20-positive Hodgkin's lymphoma. Despite chemotherapy, he had a couple of remissions, but in March 2013, he announced via The Jeff Probst Show that he was cancer-free due to two rounds of stem cell transplants that he received from his brother.
Tina Wesson: Australia
Tina, a nurse, and motivational speaker, became the winner of the second season of 'Survivor' in 2001. She had also returned for 'All-Stars' but became the first person to get voted off the show, and also on the 27th season 'Blood vs. Water,' along with her daughter Katie Collins. While Katie finished eighth place, she was eliminated in fourth place.
Tina was on the cover of Racquetball magazine in the 2001 July–August issue, and also appeared on a celebrity edition of 'The Weakest Link' along with Gervase Peterson in 2002. She has appeared on many 'Survivor' related programs. Sadly, on December 3, 2013, Tina's son, Taylor Lee Collins, died in a car accident.
Richard Hatch: Borneo
View this post on Instagram
Sandwiched between Lucas and Brown in the Coleman camper at Crowley's in Maine.
The man, the legend, Richard Hatch, was the very first winner of this experimental challenge-based reality show, which premiered on CBS in 2000. Since then, he appeared on 'All-Stars,' 'Celebrity Apprentice' and 'The Biggest Loser.' In 2006, he was convicted to a 51-month sentence in federal prison for attempting to evade taxes, and ended up serving nine more months after a probation violation. TV Guide had listed him in their 2013 edition of "The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time".
He is openly gay and was married to Emiliano Cabral from 2005 to 2017.