Meet the Philly-area contestants on ‘Survivor’ season 43 – The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Three of the 18 contestants on Survivor season 43 are from Philadelphia. Will they bring Philly-drama to national TV, or will it be all good?
CBS’s long-running reality TV show Survivor will kick off its 43rd season with a two-hour premiere Wednesday at 8 p.m. Three of the show’s 18 contestants are from the Philadelphia area.
How will our hometown heroes fare in Fiji? Will the Philadelphians vying to become this season’s sole survivor splash around in the waters or woders? Who will be the first to call a competitor a jawn? Might a contestant sneak a cheesesteak on the island? Who will be left feeling some kind of way by host Jeff Probst?
Stay tuned to see how much Philly flava is infused into this season of Survivor, and read on to meet the local contestants.
I’ve been watching the show since it came out. It’s like watching a poker game and I thought, “I can do this.” I just wanted to have fun and have a cool experience — not to mention, win $1 million. I applied and was lucky enough to get chosen.
Before Survivor, I worked in healthcare for 15 years. I also have my own business as an event planner. I planned happy hours, brunches and different events. Before the pandemic, I threw a First Friday happy hours for young Black professionals in the city.
If need be, I could throw a good barbecue, make some pizzas. I feel like making it in the Survivor competition calls for me to be a good cook.
Gervase (Peterson, season 1) I remember seeing Gervase giving it his all.
Growing up in Philly forced me to interact with so many different people. I went to Masterman, I travelled on SEPTA. I navigate life with grit and determination. I’m a Broad Street Bully. I support the Eagles. I’m a hardnosed Sixers fan. I work hard and I know how to communicate. These skills helped me navigate the game.
A cheesesteak, of course.
I grew up watching Survivor with my mom. My mom passed away a couple of years ago. My whole purpose of doing this — of going to this island — is to commemorate and honor her.
I teach performing arts to sixth, seventh and eighth graders at (Uncommon Schools) Camden Prep in Camden.
Patience. And code switching. Teaching middle school is knowing when to slip into your fifth grade teacher voice or your eighth grade teacher voice, building relationships and reading the room. I am a performing arts teacher, but I also see myself as a joy liaison, too. I plan parties and potlucks. Bringing people together is an important skill on the island.
I’m going to give you my top 4. Gervais. He’s the OG (original gangster). His passion is was really beautiful and admirable. Ramona (Marvina Gray, season 3) She was gorgeous and she did an amazing job on her challenges, laying low and striking when she needed to. Wendell, the furniture builder (Holland, winner season 36.) He used his real-life skill on the show when he helped his tribe build a shelter. That was incredible. And I also loved Brice (Johnston, season 28) He and I are similar in terms of him being free-spirited and bringing joy to his tribe.
Growing up in Philly taught me how to live in survivor-mode. I went to Samuel Fels High School and it was number 13 on the persistently dangerous list. I had to navigate that and figure out how to be my authentic self. I also had to challenge stereotypes connected with people who are from Philly, Everyone thinks people from Philly are aggressive. That’s not always true.
A water ice, a Philly pretzel. I know this is weird, but I would have packed my cat, too. She could do some hunting, maybe catch a couple of crabs…
I’ve known I wanted to be a contestant on Survivor since the first episode in season 1. In college, people had pictures of Bob Marley on their wall, I had the season 1 Survivor players from pictures I cut out from Entertainment Weekly magazines.
I’m a pediatric nurse, but I spent most of my career as a home health nurse.
A ton. I had to use my interpersonal skills. I think people underestimate how hard it is for a nurse to walk into someone’s home and treat them in their most vulnerable space. I have to get people to trust me and trust that I know what I’m talking about. That was a skill I used on Survivor. I was also the oldest contestant in my tribe. I was tempted to convince everyone that I knew better, but I had to use my listening skills. I couldn’t always be the know-it-all on the island just like I couldn’t be the know-it-all when I visited someone’s home.
I’m going to have to go with Wendell. He was so savvy. I also loved Brice, Ramona, Russell (Swan, season 19.) But I loved Gervais. He was just so amazing.
When I moved to Philly I was a young, bright-eyed southern belle. I was so trusting and naive. Philly gave me street smarts and opened up my eyes to culture. I’m not disrespecting my North Carolina southern roots, but in Philly I became more understanding and open-minded.
I wasn’t able to wear it on the island, but I did bring my 76ers hoodie. I wore it on the plane. I wore it on the pregame. I wanted everyone to know that I’m a diehard Sixers fan. I have season tickets and go to every game.

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