Get to Know CBS’s Fall ‘Survivors’ and the 39th Season Theme

Survivor Cast Fall 2019

First impressions matter. As a viewers of Survivor, you can usually tell which contestants are going to be the annoying ones within the first few minutes. This fall, season 39 of the show is bringing back two of those players or “legendary winners” as CBS likes to call them. That’s right, Boston Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine are back. Fortunately, they will not be competing this season. Instead, they will be serving as mentors. Together, the two have played over 200 days of the Survivor game so they are willing to share their knowledge of the game with the 20 new castaways. Like that isn’t going to go to their heads.

According to a recent press release, some castaways will be given the opportunity to visit what is being dubbed as the “Island of the Idols” to sit at the feet of these two. They then will have to decide to act on these two “idols” suggestions or risk losing something else if they don’t.

Sandra Diaz-Twine and Boston Rob Mariano
Sandra Diaz-Twine and Boston Rob Mariano (Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment )

“For our 39th season, we are bringing back two of our most dominant winners to serve as mentors to a new group of castaways,” said executive producer and host Jeff Probst. “It’s a Survivor boot camp where each week, players will be instructed on a different facet of the game and then have a chance to test what they’ve learned for a shot at an advantage.”

This season’s crop of new contestants includes a few new annoying characters along with challenging people with egos to match all working for the same goal: to outwit, outplay and outlast each other to become the Sole Survivor.

Meet the new 20 people who will be competing this fall and a little bit about them too in their own words. Who looks like trouble to you?

The Lairo tribe from Survivor season 39
(L-R) Missy Byrd, Dean Kowalski, Ronnie Bardah, Karishma Patel, Tom Laidlaw, Elizabeth Beisel, Aaron Meredith, Chelsea Walker, Vince Moua and Elaine Stott (Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment)

The “Lairo” Tribe

Missy Byrd (24)
Occupation: Air Force Veteran
Three words to describe you: “Relentless, clever, and decently dope.”

Dean Kowalski (28)
Occupation: Tech Sales
Hobbies: “Basketball, crafts, and DJ-ing.”

Ronnie Bardah (35)
Occupation: Pro Poker Player
Pet peeves: “When people try to enter my elevator just as I am trying to exit! Also watching someone misplay a hidden Immunity Idol makes me nuts.”

Karishma Patel (37)
Occupation: Personal Injury Lawyer
Pet peeves: “Party poopers, girls who play dumb for attention, when the tire hits the curb while parallel parking, mansplaining, passive aggressive behavior, and PDA.”

Tom Laidlaw (60)
Occupation: Former NHL Player
What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you? “I don’t like heights.”

Elizabeth Beisel (26)
Occupation: Olympic Medalist
Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor? “I’m physically, mentally, and socially strong. I can easily connect with people—my alliances will be strong and help carry me through the game. I can win individual Immunity due to my strength as an athlete. I’m a tough girl who will fight until the end.”

Aaron Meredith (36)
Occupation: Gym Owner
Three words to describe you: “Attractive, intelligent, and strong.”

Chelsea Walker (26)
Occupation: Digital Content Creator
Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor? “I’ve been underestimated my entire life, and the second you tell me I can’t do something, I’m going to do my damnedest to prove everyone wrong. … Applying to the show for so many years has made me stronger, and hungrier to win. I have something to prove, and I will win because I have the passion and desire to do so.”

Vince Moua (27)
Occupation: Admissions Counselor
What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you? “In 2015, after years of experiencing erratic and frightening out-of-body panic-attack-like episodes, my grandmother’s Shaman Master declared that I was, and am, the next shaman to rise in our family!”

Elaine Stott (41)
Occupation: Factory Worker
Three words to describe you: “Independent, stubborn, and kind.”

The Vokai tribe from Survivor Season 39.
(L-R) Noura Salman, Dan Spilo, Molly Byman, Jamal Shipman, Lauren Beck, Jason Linden, Kellee Kim, Tommy Sheehan and Janet Carbin (Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment)


Noura Salman (36)
Occupation: Entrepreneur
Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor? “I’m multidimensional and not just one thing or person. I’m the nerd, jock, and model with brains, brawn, and beauty. Most importantly, I have the social skills needed to both win and influence people, and relentless drive to go after what I want.”

Jack Nichting (23)
Occupation: Graduate Student
Pet peeves: “Being wasteful, rudeness, people running in place at crosswalks, and loud eating.”

Dan Spilo (48)
Occupation: Talent Manager
What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you? “That I am a big softy. As my first client always reminds me, I cried at Finding Nemo.”

Molly Byman (27)
Occupation: Law Student
What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you? “My all-time favorite TV protagonist is Lindsay Weir from Freaks and Geeks. Also, I can read tarot cards.”

Jamal Shipman (33)
Occupation: College Administrator
Pet peeves: “I hate bugs that insist on leaving behind itchy, painful bumps. I don’t mind sharing my blood with you, but why the discomfort? Why the ache? It’s pretty rude if you ask me.”

Lauren Beck (28)
Occupation: Nanny
Hobbies: “Eating an entire bag of Hot Cheetos in one sitting while binge watching true-crime shows, laughing at my own jokes, writing/blogging, music festivals, talking people’s ears off.”

Jason Linden (32)
Occupation: Personal Injury Lawyer
What’s your primary motivation for being on Survivor? “The love of the game. I love Survivor and I want to play this game. I need to play. This is like Darwinism in its truest form.”

Kellee Kim (29)
Occupation: MBA Student
Pet peeves: “People who wake me up while I’m sleeping or try to talk to me while I am falling asleep.”

Tommy Sheehan (26)
Occupation: 4th Grade Teacher
Pet peeves: “I hate bullies who think they are better than everyone else and talk down to others. I also cannot stand grumpy and serious people. Lighten up, life is amazing, let me see that smile. LOL.”

Janet Carbin (59)
Occupation: Chief Lifeguard
What’s one thing we wouldn’t know from seeing a photo of you? “I come off tough and stern… not true.”

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