Survivor: Kaôh Rōng jury member, and youngest woman to ever play the game, Julia Sokolowski critiques the Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X cast.
I don’t know about you but the one thing that brings me peace of mind as each summer comes to an end, is knowing a new season of Survivor is right around the corner. Personally, I love the idea of Millennials vs. Gen X… and as the self-proclaimed current millennial monarch of Survivor, I couldn’t think of a more perfect season for me to judge a cast.
As a jury member from Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, and a current communications student, I consider myself a decent reader of people. I hope to provide you with some fun insight and judgment on season 33’s players.
I took some time to watch all of the cast introduction videos and, of course, read each contestant’s cast bio on CBS.com. Like the wonderful and always hilarious, Jeff Varner, in his cast assessment from last season, I let my gut be my guide and wrote down the first words out of my mouth when each contestant hit the screen. For some players, I then added a “second thought” as I continued to watch the short videos.
Thank you, Inside Survivor for the opportunity to write this blog. Let’s get those Survivor juices flowin’!
Starting with the Gen X tribe:
Bret the police sergeant
First words: “Survivor loves cops.”
Second thought: … and Bostonians.
He seems like a really fun guy with a big personality. He could either be the one that keeps people smiling, or the one to butt heads. He has a way of speaking that is captivating and will make for some awesome confessionals. As a cop, he most likely will be quick, be able to lie, and be able to read people well, as we’ve seen with Tony and other cops in the past. In some way, his energy reminds me a bit of Mike Holloway. I have high hopes for Bret.
Chris the attorney
First words: “Redneck.”
Second thought: Self-aware… the most crucial quality to possess in this game.
I like this guy. When he first opens his mouth, one would assume he would be a stereotypical, slower, southerner; yet, he is completely responsive and intuitive. He immediately picked up on the season’s theme saying, “My overall thoughts on the group are a good mixture of youth… a good mixture of, uh, maybe some older folks…” He describes himself as an Alpha male, but I see him as a silent leader because he doesn’t have that “in-your-face,” obnoxious, demeanor. I think that if he plays his cards right, he could go far. Plus, he just seems like a genuinely nice dude.
Cece the insurance adjuster
First words: “Definitely a mom.”
This woman screams “strong” to me: not physically strong, but emotionally and mentally strong. In many of these introduction videos, the Gen X contestants dwell on their childhood, ranting on about how they came from nothing and labored to get where they are today; Cece seems the most genuine about her upbringing. She doesn’t have that “look at the amazing person I have become,” attitude, and instead stresses the importance of independence and working hard, which I respect. As for the “multiple personalities” comment… yikes. If she’s too translucent when building relationships, she might come off fake.
Prediction: Early Jury
David the writer
First words: “He’s so cute!”
The fact that he doesn’t bulls**t his abilities, or I guess, lack thereof, is so refreshing. Most people come into this game with egos the size of Scot Pollard. This guy openly says: “I hate being physical, I hate being social, I really have no idea what I’m doing…” and often, we see this type of person thrive (cough, Cochran, cough, cough). He also says “There is nothing in my life that I’ve gone through that compares to Survivor,” which is the mentality EVERYONE who enters this game should have. Everything you think you know or prepare yourself for goes out the door the minute the game starts.
What worries me about David is his nerves and paranoia. It seems like these characteristics could easily overpower and overwhelm him, but if he’s truly in it as a confidence-booster and an insecurity crusher, instead of winning the million, he might get exactly what he is looking for. Plus, being that he is a television writer (one of my dream jobs… David, you can hire me if you want), we should get some colorful confessionals from this guy.
Prediction: I hope you go far… but my gut says pre-merge
Jessica the other attorney
First words: Snooze…*Yawn*.
Second thought: I’ve got nothing for you, head back to camp.
You are probably a nice person… but girl; you have as much personality as a blank piece of paper. She kind of reminds me of Sarah Lacina, but 100x more boring. In her bio, she describes herself as “unique,” … which is one of my biggest pet peeves and perhaps the most un-unique way to showcase who you are. Her stressful job and ability to balance a family life clearly show she’s a brilliant woman, so I hope she can bring something cut throat to the game and prove me wrong. However, unless she has some big moves up her sleeve, I see a big fat purple edit coming her way.
Ken the male model
First words: Aw, he’s like Nick Maiorano part II.
Second thought: … but nice.
I feel like I may get some backlash for this… but he comes off to me as phony-baloney. Maybe it’s because I feel like to be a model you have to be a bit narcissistic, yet he talks about the Bible and writes in his bio that he admires the Dalai Lama’s compassion? Anyway, no surprise he’s from Denver (AKA MEN-ver, where all the men look like Ken)… and no surprise he has a daughter, he has that “hot dad” appearance. I’m excited to see what his character will truly be.
Lucy the dietician
First words: “Okay…?”
Second thought: You may be a bodybuilder… but you are no Cydney Gillon.
To be completely honest, I don’t have much to say about Lucy. Her bio is pretty bland, and her introduction video is pretty flavorless. I definitely get this “supermom,” controlling vibe from her… that could be a downfall. People do not like to be bossed around (especially Millennials, if she makes it to the merge). I see her as one to be lost in the shuffle.
Paul the rocker
First words: “Lol… dear, god”
Second thought: He probably smells like sweat and Bud Light.
Honestly, when I first saw Paul, I was skeptical. He looks like one of those guys who was cast solely to fulfill a character, so I assumed I would probably hate him right off the bat. Surprisingly, I warmed up. He does have kids, which will make him more relatable despite his different lifestyle. However, I could see his personality eventually rubbing people the wrong way. He seems set in his ways, which is a negative on this show – you have to be adaptable.
Rachel the recruiting director/former Playboy model
First words: “She’s Gen X???”
Second thought: If Morgan McLeod and Brenda Lowe had a child, it would be Rachel.
Obviously, she’s beautiful… but she comes off like a complete airhead. She seems super positive, which I love. I admire her confidence. It’s hard to believe this girl will be completely in tune with what is happening strategically throughout the game, or be able to manipulate her peers mentally. She doesn’t seem too aggressive. She seems like the perfect contestant to drag along.
Prediction: Jury (potential Goat)
Sunday the pastor
First words: “Her voice is going to drive me crazy.”
Second thought: Wow… she’s actually really sweet.
Of the entire Gen X tribe, Sunday surprised me the most. She has a charm and warmth to her. As a pastor (by the way, what is this, the season of Christians?) I was expecting someone who shoves their beliefs down your throat. Being a cancer survivor, she will definitely have some mental toughness under her belt. However, I’m unsure how well she will blend with the other members of her tribe.
Adam the homeless shelter manager
First words: “Sweetpea.”
Second thought: Well… he obviously knows this game.
He’s smart, and not in an obnoxious way (as demonstrated by his profession). I like his attitude, and I like his goal. He compared himself to Spencer Bledsoe, and I totally see that… but Adam seems less self-oriented. He is obviously passionate, a dream-chaser and comfortable in who he is. This guy is likable. He is a role model, and I will definitely be rooting for him.
Prediction: Please dear god, make that merge. Goes deep.
Hannah the barista
First words: “Aw, she’s like a baby Aubry,”
Second thought: … but not as cool.
It makes sense she’s a barista because she talks like she just inhaled ten espressos. Her pet peeves are “someone that likes to kill people,” which I guess I can stand behind? She’s definitely wacky, awkward and dorky, so I can guarantee she will appeal to a particular group of Survivor fans. Does she scream winner to me? Eh… no. But, she’s from the neighborhood where I go to college- so girl, if you ever want to make me a cappuccino and talk game, hit me up.
Figgy the bartender
First words: “She’s going to be a sassy queen.”
If you want to be on Survivor, and you are not already a cop, become a bartender. She has what I’m going to call the “Michele Fitz factor,” in that you don’t know why but you just like her. She’s fun and free-spirited, her beauty kind of captures you (because it’s not the traditional girl next door, all-American look), but she also has a little spice to her.
She says that everyone will know everything about her, which could ultimately get her into trouble – sometimes you have to be a little “sneaky-sneaky,” not only strategically, but also in the way you carry yourself. I’m not super into the nickname – it kind of screams “I want attention,” but overall I think she’s a cool chick and a leader.
Prediction: Goes deep
Jay the real estate agent
First words: “Hmm…you look familiar.”
What I like about Jay is that from the exterior he is that Joe Anglim, Ozzy, Malcolm type, but he’s different in that I see him as more of a villain. He seems goofy and fun and most likely will be a challenge beast. I can see him being a flirt as well; I think he could easily persuade an attention-seeking girl, yet I could also see him being dragged along by a dominant female. Due to the fact that he contradicts himself throughout his introduction video (I’m charming/I’m humble, etc.), I see him being the victim of a blindside.
Mari the gamer
First words: “This is a competitor.”
Second thought: She is going to have amazing confessionals.
I like this girl; she’s fresh, she’s smart… she has the personality and drive of a winner. I love how she compared herself to Yul Kwon in her bio. I’m nervous for her because I feel that others will find her threatening immediately. She will have a difficult time flying under-the-radar, so as much as I’m rooting for her and hoping to see her go deep, I don’t have good vibes.
Michaela the vacation club saleswoman
First words: “She looks mad young.”
Second thoughts: I see glimpses of Tasha Fox.
She is normal. She is relatable. She is a competitor, determined, and hard-working. I like her description of her faith… it’s reasonable. She knows her place and is willing to put in the effort to make her game strong. She knows she has to fight. I just have visions of this girl running circles around the other women on her tribe. We may not see a lot from Michaela in the beginning, I have a feeling she may slip into the background for a while, but I sense this girl won’t go down without a fight.
Prediction: Goes deep
Michelle the missionary recruiter
First words: “Stunna!”
Second thought: Jesus (literally)… what is this, Bible camp?
Girl, put your hater blockers on; you’re in for a bumpy ride. You are a little bit robotic, a little bit uncomfortable and everyone who goes into this game wanting to play the flirt card always gets some kind of rude awakening. She’s gorgeous, and I think she will be a light-hearted, interesting character (I see a little Hali Ford in her…) but the religious thing is a little over the top. Plus, she compares herself to Boston Rob, and based off her video and bio, that’s like comparing cookie dough to grass… uh, no.
Prediction: Early Jury
Taylor the snowboard instructor
First words: “Fabio, is this your child?”
He’s laid back… he might be too laid back. He seems likable; he seems positive. He will probably dominate challenges, but I think he lacks the sharpness needed to win. He’s most definitely going to be the heartthrob of this season. He clearly is adventurous and free-spirited which will benefit him in that he probably will be adaptable. I see him going far, and getting booted as soon as he loses an individual immunity.
Prediction: Goes deep
Will the student
First words: “B*tch stole my title.”
Second thoughts: Yeah, I’m salty.
I will never knock you down for your age, because trust me, I’ve been there. Proving yourself as a competent teenager is extremely difficult and I have oodles of respect for every young person that plays this game. However, I will knock you down for your cockiness.
Will lacks self-awareness, he has to remember that he is young and does not have as much life experience as others- keep it in check (you and me both, kiddo). Use and own the skills and knowledge you have, but take the opportunity to learn and grow from your peers – you don’t know everything. In a tribe of millennials, with this kid’s idols being Jesus and Ronald Reagan, I see him as an early boot. As much as I want to like you, and want to root for you… I can’t.
Zeke the asset manager
First words: “His mustache is rad.”
Second thoughts: Let me be your best friend.
LOL, I LOVE YOU. To see a bio that is real and light-hearted is so refreshing. Zeke is unfiltered, and he’s smart- Harvard, duh? He says there is “no sense in coming to play Survivor quietly,” I freaking love that, because even the people with the most silent of games should have a loud impact. Is he going to win? Eh… probably not. Is he going to be a fan-favorite or this seasons’ biggest character? I’d put my money on it, baby – and I can’t wait.
It’s always fun to be right and always fun to be proven wrong. I can’t wait to see what happens. Let us know your thoughts and always feel free to tweet me @juliasokolowski.