See Memorable ‘Survivor’ Winners Then And Now
‘Survivor’ was a smash hit when it launched in the summer of 2000. Richard Hatch, Kelly Wiglesworth, Rudy Boesch and the rest all became household names and the show’s first finale drew over 50 million domestic viewers.
While ‘Survivor’ isn’t quite the cultural phenomenon it was over a decade ago, the most successful reality show in TV history is still going strong and may well be on TV for another decade more.
See what some of your favorite ‘Survivor’ winners are up to these days below.
Richard Hatch, Borneo
Then: In the maiden ‘Survivor,’ corporate trainer Richard Hatch proved that being Machiavellian was the way to go. Oh, and that it doesn’t hurt to be naked. Really, really naked.
Now: While Hatch is clearly a crafty man, he wasn’t sly enough to hide tax evasion from the federal government. In fact, since ‘Survivor’ he’s served jail sentences of 51 months and nine months for tax fraud. When he’s not in the pokey, Hatch has popped up on other reality shows and had the honor of being fired by Donald Trump on ‘The Apprentice.’
Ethan Zohn, Africa
Then: Zohn’s victory in ‘Survivor: Africa’ wasn’t particularly notable — the professional soccer player relied on his athletic ability and some fortunate breaks to capture the million. He did become one of the more high profile ‘Survivor’ alum though, working as a sideline reporter for ESPN during the 2002 World Cup and then appearing on a number of other reality shows.
Now: In 2009 Zohn was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which he fought into remission. The cancer flared up in again in 2011. Then, in February of 2013, he announced he was again cancer-free. Zohn dated fellow ‘Survivor’ winner Jenna Morasca since 2003, but they split in early 2013.
Brian Heidik, Thailand
Then: With a background in used car sales and pornography, Heidik was well-prepared to win what many observers think was the most sleazy and duplicitous season in ‘Survivor’ history.
Now: In 2006 Heidik added to his unpleasant reputation when he was arrested for shooting a puppy with a bow and arrow and assaulting his estranged wife. Seriously. He recently said he would be open to doing a ‘Survivor’ reunion competition. We’re thinking he gets put on the team of villains. Because he shot a puppy and assaulted a lady.
Jenna Morasca, The Amazon
Then: Along with fellow contestant Heidi Strobel, Morasca will always be remembered for stripping nude in order to get some peanut butter and chocolate during an immunity challenge. The rest of the tribe must have liked what they saw from the swimsuit model because she ended up winning the whole competition. After her victory she got naked again in ‘Playboy,’ reportedly for another cool million.
Now: Morasca and her boyfriend Ethan Zohn did the ‘Amazing Race’ in 2011. She’s also been helping him through his cancer treatments while raising awareness of the disease.
Sandra Diaz-Twine, Pearl Islands/Heroes Vs. Villains
Then: Diaz-Twine overcame her inability to swim to become the only competitor to have ever won ‘Survivor’ twice. The $2 million in prize money she accumulated for her victories is more than any other woman has collected in U.S. television contest history.
Now: Diaz-Twine retired from her bank teller job and is now focusing on raising her two teenage children. She recently told People magazine that if she played ‘Survivor’ again she’d “probably win.”
Amber Brkich, All Stars
Then: Known more for her looks than her gameplay, ‘Survivor Outback’ contestant Amber was a surprise inclusion in the All-Star competition. But thanks in part to an alliance with “Boston” Rob Mariano, who proposed to her right before the final vote, she ended up taking the million.
Now: Amber said yes, and she Rob were briefly the subjects of the reality show ‘Rob And Amber: Against The Odds.’ The pair also took two unsuccessful shots at ‘The Amazing Race.’ These days she lives in Las Vegas with Rob and their three young children.
Yul Kwon, ‘Cook Islands’
Then: ‘Survivor: Cook Islands’ was highly controversial for its decision to divide the tribes by their ethnicity. But that gimmick only lasted for the first six days, and when all the dust settled Yul Kwon emerged a million dollars richer.
Now: Between 2009 and 2011 Kwon was the Deputy Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau for the Federal Communications Commission. Since then he has returned to TV, hosting the PBS series ‘America Revealed’ and the LinkTV show ‘Link Asia.’
Todd Herzog, China
Then: Herzog emerged as one of the more conniving contestants in the show’s history by using all sorts of manipulation to take the big prize in China. Only 22 years old, he was the youngest ever winner.
Now: After trying his hand at hairstyling, Herzog is now a waiter in the Orlando area. He reportedly dated ‘Survivor: Tocantins’ contestant Spencer Duhm.
Parvati Shallow, Micronesia
Then: Shallow’s flirtatious ways served her well in every ‘Survivor’ she competed in. After coming in sixth on ‘Cook Islands,’ Shallow was victorious in the Micronesia competition. She followed that up by being runner-up in 2010’s ‘Heros Vs. Villains.’
Now: Shallow currently hosts CBS.com’s ‘Survivor After Show,’ in which castoffs are interviewed. It’s safe to say that ‘Survivor’ has been very, very kind to Shallow.
Rob Mariano, Redemption Island
Then: A few years ago, Mariano was a three-time ‘Survivor’ loser. On top of that, he’d failed twice on ‘The Amazing Race.’ But success finally came for “Boston Rob” on 2011’s ‘Survivor: Redemption Island,’ on which he won the million plus another $100,000 for being the fan favorite. Some would say Rob was already a ‘Survivor’ winner, since he met his wife Amber Brkich on an earlier competition.
Now: While Mariano has made noise about becoming a pro-poker player, at this point we think it’s probably more accurate to call him a professional reality TV show contestant.