Survivor 46 Draft and Cast Assessment

Let the new season commence!

With the season premiere of Survivor 46 heading our way next week, the Inside Survivor team got together to draft its teams and assess the new crop of castaways about to battle it out for the $1 million prize and the title of Sole Survivor.

Taking turns in a snake draft, decided by random draw, the Inside Survivor contributors picked their winner candidates, big characters and personal favorites to assemble their teams. Read on to hear their first impressions and predictions for each castaway…


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I’m going to be completely honest, part of the reason I picked Tim first is because his Shamar answer in his bio made me laugh. But that’s the kind of Survivor lore that draws a superfan in right from the beginning! Tim is a fellow Black Survivor superfan who is emphasizing his abilities as a charismatic team player. However, as a college coach, I wonder if he will naturally gravitate towards more of a leadership role in his tribe.

Tim exudes confidence, someone who is in a place in his life and wants to spread his positivity to others. And now, he’s out here living his dream of playing Survivor. It’s that kind of optimism that makes him the perfect first pick for my draft.



Soda won me over from the second she answered the ‘What past Survivor would you play the game most like?’ pre-game question with “Season 42.” Perfect answer, no notes!

The 27-year-old Special Ed teacher comes across as bubbly and outgoing. But she’s also got a lot of life experience under her belt between her self-described dysfunctional childhood and challenging (but rewarding) line of work. She’s someone I could see equally gravitating to both the older and younger players on the season.

To make a comparison to Survivor 45, I could see Soda become the Kellie Nalbanian of her pre–merge tribe. Like Kellie, Soda is young and outgoing but has a demanding “people-oriented” profession. This combination could easily allow her to come across as both friendly and trustworthy to her tribemates, allowing her to play a quiet middle game. Hopefully, Soda can stay more under the radar than Kellie did in the early merge, but her tribemates would certainly be right to be threatened by her.



Liz is my first pick for this season’s draft! From the get-go, I was drawn to her response in the pre-season press that she’d play the game like both Russell and Sandra; gotta love that duality.

The 35-year-old wants to play Survivor without extensive plans going in. At first, this read to me like a “no thoughts, head empty” approach, which contrasted against her marketing strategist background. We all know the job requires extensive planning and foresight based on thorough environmental scans. However, I figured it was more about trusting her natural instinct and her gut, responding to whatever situations may come her way.

I thought this was pretty refreshing for a player, especially in the new era where castaways are such avid fans who study the game intently and (over-)prepare to put themselves in what they think is the best position every step of the way. Sometimes, it may be more fruitful to go against the grain and go back to the core of Survivor strategy. My impression of Liz so far gives me hope she’ll go far!



For my first pick, I’m going with Hunter. Based on vibes and his brief bio alone, I’m getting major Tommy Sheehan energy from this guy, just with a lot more personality. He seems competent across the board, sure of himself, knows the game to a tee, and even brings a little of that Southern charm to the table. Basically, he was built in a lab to play Survivor.

But what really gives Hunter points is that nobody should even expect him to be that big of a threat unless he outright makes that case himself early on. He doesn’t read as the super fan who hosts Survivor games for his students; he’s just a chill guy who likes to have fun. And he’s looking to play that up in line with the New Era meta: hide your threat level, play up your personality, and make your winning moves when the time is right.

Potential downsides for Hunter? Few and far between if you ask me, but let’s not ignore that just because you seem like a great player on paper doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. While he should be relatively safe on his tribe, given he’s the biggest guy there and most of the other Nami members seem like easier targets, it’s the potential swap and early merge where he’s going to hit his biggest roadblocks.

If he plays his hand too soon, gets a bad swap, or just falls on the wrong side of the numbers after the merge, he’ll be a very tempting player to target. But if he can survive those more chaotic rounds and find trustworthy allies, I think he’s got a great shot.



Tiffany is a 33-year-old artist from New Jersey, and I was ecstatic that I was able to have her as my first pick. She’s one of the people who stood out and made an impression on me from the season preview. She exudes such good energy, and I can tell she’s going to be a fun player this season and, hopefully, one of the confessional stars.

She said she’s a habitual procrastinator, and I can relate to this all too well, considering this write-up was due three days ago. I always love a player who has no filter and tells things like it is, and I hope the other players can appreciate this as well. Tiffany’s determination and drive to prove herself are huge assets in Survivor, and I think both will take her far in the game. She seems like she’ll get along well with her tribemates because she has a positive vibe and can get along and connect with almost anyone.

One thing she mentioned that will be a massive asset in Survivor is that she can read people well and see when there’s a shift in emotions, which, in a fast paced strategic game, is HUGE. I’ve got high hopes for Tiffany and would love to see her continue the trend of awesome Survivor Tiffanys.



I have high hopes for Jem based on her background and pre-game mindset. She lived in Guyana, South America, for almost 20 years, in what she described as “a tough upbringing.” As she said, she is used to living in a confined shelter with multiple people and hardly having any food to eat. So, I don’t think she’ll have any issues adapting to life on the island, and her skills in that area could make her a valuable asset.

What I also like about Jem is her “go-getter” attitude. She can overcome any potential setbacks and works tirelessly to succeed. I also think it’s smart that she will say she’s a “visual merchandiser” rather than a salesperson. Usually, I think lying about your job is pointless, but we’ve recently seen salespeople being targeted.

In terms of her strategy, I do have a couple of concerns. She compared herself to Tony, which shows her desire to play a big, bold game. But she also talks about staying loyal to her alliance and not being willing to play an idol for someone else. That, to me, sounds like reserved, risk-averse gameplay, certainly not Tony-style.

However, players often have ideas in mind before the game that change once they’re on the island. And I believe Jem’s go-getter attitude and ability to adapt will serve her well on Survivor.



Will the other castaways fall prey to the Venus flytrap? That’s what Venus will be hoping as she looks to become the third Canadian contestant to win Survivor. And, you know what? She has the potential to do it if she can avoid the heat in those first couple of tribals.

There are a couple of things that immediately drew me to Venus. Firstly, her desire to represent her culture and be a positive role model for young Persian girls is really admirable. Secondly, she compared herself to Courtney Yates, and this show has been long overdue for a second coming of the Survivor: China runner-up.

Venus’ success will likely come down to whether or not she lets her tribemates in. She told Parade’s Mike Bloom that she is an emotional person but has a tendency to put up walls. If she enters the game too standoffish, it could hurt her ability to form bonds and connections and make her an easy early target.

But I think Venus is smart and has a solid grasp of the game based on her pandemic binge-watch. Anyone who references Rob Cesternino’s blindside of Christy Smith as a favorite moment clearly understands game dynamics. So, if she can make some quick bonds early on, she has a chance to go far and do some serious damage.



Randen was my second choice in the draft, and I was happy he was still available when it came time for me to pick again. He reminds me a lot of Jesse from Season 43, who is one of my favorite players of the new era. He seems like he’ll be a strong member of his tribe and make good connections with people but will also be cutthroat when needed.

It’s interesting because he says he relates most to Carolyn and Maryanne, which, on the surface, doesn’t seem like it fits him, but his explanations as to why he picked them make perfect sense. Randen said he’s going to be himself, make solid relationships with people, and make people underestimate him, which, if he’s able to pull it off, should take him deep into the game.

He said that his “situational awareness is very keen,” and if that doesn’t perfectly describe the type of player that does well in the game, then I don’t know what does. If someone is able to have that mindset and put it to good use, he could be an amazing player this season. Also, anyone that’s a Carolyn stan is good in my eyes. #justiceforcarolyn



Kenzie is my high-variance pick this season because she could land anywhere from first boot to first place, and I would not be surprised either way. On paper, she’s bringing a lot of that Carolyn Wiger energy between the huge personality and cool tattoos. But she’s also bringing in a bit of Carolyn’s ride-or-die Yam Yam with her thanks to her experience as a salon owner. Casting definitely wanted to capture the spirit of that duo, and perhaps she can follow in their footsteps and make it to the end. And given she aspires to play like Maryanne, she’s got the self-awareness to make her polarizing personality work in her favor as long as her game sense is on point.

But I’m not expecting an easy road for her, though. The pre-merge is typically a minefield for women, and given she’s the smallest person on her tribe, it could be very easy to say “she’s weird, she’s tiny, she’s going home” right off the bat. And with her big personality, she’s either going to win people over fast… or they’re going to be sick of her by the first night and never let her get any footing.

She could also fall into the same role Kendra did last season and play comic relief as the game passes her by. And, of course, there’s always the unfortunate route of her playing a solid game only to be overlooked at the end because of her archetype, similar to the aforementioned Carolyn. She’s a high-risk, high-reward pick, though, and regardless of her placement, she’s going to make for fun TV at the very least.



My second pick for this season’s draft is Jess. She shared that she wants to play the game like Fabio, a winner with a game that most wouldn’t consider to emulate. However, Jess goes on to elaborate on her choice, wanting to make real relationships and be underestimated by other players while making it to the end.

The 37-year-old software engineer has hustled in the freelance web design scene before settling into her current job. For me, this shows that she is someone who is resilient and adaptable to make it this far. The crux of these traits will definitely help on Survivor. Above all else, Jess seems to be fun and quirky, so I hope that she’ll be able to get along with the other players, form some solid alliances, and pull off a win like Fabio.



Massachusetts-based Bhanu considers himself an underdog. After growing up in poverty in India and moving to the US, he says Survivor is nothing new for him… it used to be his life every day. Bhanu seems like a whole lot of fun. From the second the cast leaked, his Instagram showed he was a fun-loving, affable guy with a big personality.

He’s unlikely to be seen as an immediate strategic threat based on his demeanor, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be. In some ways, my first impression of him reminds me a bit of Yam Yam, and I wouldn’t rule out his ability to secure a similar style of win this season. And even if he doesn’t, he would be a very enjoyable underdog to watch if things don’t go his way.



If nothing else, Moriah may have my favorite list of hobbies of any contestant ever (beer-brewing, surfing, and playing Dungeons and Dragons). But even without that, I think she has what it takes to go far in this game. She’s a self-described “go-getter” who has a GSheet for everything, and it’s that kind of hyper-organization that’s always fascinating to see play out in Survivor.

She’s determined and not afraid to take risks, but she also second-guesses herself a lot. While that could end up being her downfall, I’d like to believe that this means she’ll be vigilant for any moves made against her. At the very least, it’ll make it difficult for opponents to blindside her. I look forward to watching how her game plays out!



He’s a legend, he’s an icon, he is the moment. Tevin Davis was the undisputed star of the 46 promo we saw at the 45 reunion, and I have no doubt that he will continue to shine when the season airs. The actor certainly has the stage presence to be a force in the game, but it’s not just his one-liners that make him stand out to me.

In his own words, Tevin is a first-generation student who’s on a mission to be a voice for Black bodies, minorities, and the oppressed. Everything he does is with purpose, including taking a chance on Survivor 46, which he played shortly after his father passed away. It’s no question to me that he will be a force to be reckoned with; it’s a matter of whether other players will make the mistake of underestimating him.



Charlie is in a bit of a tough spot archetype-wise as a younger “nerdy” guy who’s in law school. After Carson before him, he might easily get targeted early since Survivor 44 will be so fresh in these players’ minds. Still, I’m not counting him out entirely. Charlie has a good amount of self-awareness of how other players might perceive him and says he’s going to make an effort to try to counter those stereotypes.

It’s going to be critical for Charlie not to come out of the gate playing too hard because that would just confirm some of his tribemates’ potential perceptions of him. Charlie needs to be content playing a bit under the radar at first or at least not strategizing too openly right away if he wants any shot at making it deep without a big target on his back.



Ben was a player that immediately stood out to me when I first had a look at the cast of Survivor 46. The 31-year-old former guitarist and now music teacher compared himself to Dewey Finn, Jack Black’s character and protagonist of School of Rock. And the more I dived into his pre-season interviews, the more I agree with his comparison!

The only reason why I didn’t pick him earlier for this draft is that I think he’s more of a fun character to watch than a player who’s going to last long in the game. It certainly looks like he’s going to be an entertaining presence on the season, but I’m not sure how far he can last on a cast of superfans that seem way more cutthroat than he is.



The New Era has given us the most diverse and unpredictable field of winners in years, but there’s one major archetype yet to be represented: the badass mom. We got close with players like Heidi and Carolyn, only for them to fall short, and Julie very well could have won last season had the final five vote not been a mess. But we’re due for another mom to take home the million, and perhaps Maria will be the one to break her archetype’s severe losing streak.

For her upsides, Maria is no slouch physically, so her age is really just a number. She’s had a wealth of unique life experiences that will help her operate outside her comfort zone. And her desire to play like icon Natalie Anderson is always going to be a green flag in my book.

But Maria is still playing on hard mode, being the older woman of the cast, especially on a tribe that’s far younger than her across the board. Not to mention, most of the other Siga members are quirky geeks and nerds, so if she doesn’t click with these people, it could spell pre-merge disaster for her. And as always, you have to prepare for a jury to write off any moms that reach Final Tribal, no matter how good their games are.

Maria could be raked over the coals if she plays a strategically cutthroat game. If she plays the mom role and focuses on her social game, she could be derided for not playing hard enough. I’d like to assume modern casts can look past those biases, though, and Maria’s got a winner’s mindset going in, so maybe the stars can align for her.



David was my final pick, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a bad thing. He’s a 22-year-old slot machine salesman from Las Vegas and was told by Jeff Probst, “It’s going to be hard for you to win this game.” Thankfully, Jeff doesn’t always have the best read on people and loves to give people ultimatums that turn out to be false. Looking at David, you’d think he was the typical long-haired surfer dude bro that Survivor casting can’t get enough of. But reading more about him, you can see that he’s more than what’s on the surface.

He comes across as a very sociable and likable person, which is a huge positive, especially in the early stages of the game. He grew up with two addict parents, so he’s had to take care of himself for a while, and he knows how to advocate for himself. In his interviews, he said he can relate to Tyson because of their similar sense of humor, Devens due to his sociability, and Carolyn for her openness with addiction. All three of these players were huge characters in their seasons and made it to the end of the game.

His greatest superpower is his adaptability, which is, in my opinion, the most important part of playing Survivor, especially in the new era when you’re constantly being thrown curveballs with the twists and newer game mechanics. Oh, and he can start a fire with his mind, so that’s going to come in handy for sure. Who needs a flint when you’ve got a Jelinsky?



At first, I was a little surprised that I ended up with Quintavius, aka Q, as the leftover, default last pick. He seems physically fit and likable, so there’s no reason he shouldn’t do well on Survivor. However, after looking deeper into his pre-season press, I can see why my fellow Inside Survivor comrades were reluctant to jump aboard the Q train.

Q’s knowledge of Survivor appears to be somewhat lacking. That isn’t automatically a bad thing, though it does kind of make you an outlier in the modern superfan-driven era. But it’s not his lack of fandom that is worrying, but more his grasp on the game. He seems very focused on the challenges, with his strategy basically boiling down to, “If I make it to final seven, I’ll just win out from there.”

Also, his rant about how he won’t stand for any challenge throwing gives a good sense of the type of player he’ll be. He comes across as very old-school and perhaps restrictive. And, in this ever-changing new era, players need to be adaptable. I worry that Q is going in with a specific mindset on how he wants to play and won’t react well if things don’t turn out how he expected.

That said, there is every chance Q will disarm his fellow players with his charm. He’s a top-selling real estate agent, so he knows how to sell and schmooze. Plus, he comes from a huge family of 17 children, so he knows all about living with a bunch of people and dealing with whatever conflicts might come his way.



Written by

Martin Holmes

Martin is a freelance writer from England. He’s represented by Berlin Associates for comedy writing and writes about TV and entertainment, currently for TV Insider and Vulture, previously Digital Spy, ET Canada, and Yahoo. A finalist for the Shortlist Sitcom Search in 2012 for “Siblings,” Martin received his BA in English with Creative Writing from The University of Hull. Martin is the owner and editor-in-chief of Insider Survivor.

One response to “Survivor 46 Draft and Cast Assessment”

  1. I have high hopes for Kenzie and Hunter and if they can over come the stereotypes Charlie and David. I am surprised Q was last.

    And the opening paragraph was clearly copied and pasted from last season the “assess the (mostly) new crop” gave it away haha

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