Survivor: Where Are They Now? – Coby Archa Interview

Catching up with some old school castaways.

Earlier this year, I emailed a selection of former Survivor players that fans haven’t heard from in a while to find out what they’re up to these days.

Today’s edition features Coby Archa, who competed on Survivor: Palau back in 2005. Coby was a part of the dominant Koror tribe, who didn’t lose a single immunity challenge pre-merge. For his part, Coby was a valuable member of the tribe, displaying a strong work ethic at camp and pulling his weight in challenges, most memorably at the Sumo at Sea challenge, where he defeated James Miller twice.

However, in terms of alliances, Coby found himself on the outside of the majority on Koror, led by Tom Westman, whom Coby found condescending and clashed with on several occasions. Coby showed great game awareness, recognizing the tight five that had formed and the growing relationship between Gregg Carey and Jenn Lyon.

Unfortunately for Coby, while he made strong friendships with his fellow underdogs, especially Janu, he was unable to crack the majority. While he did his best to mount an attack come the merge, he was deemed too much of a chaos-maker and threat to take further. Coby was voted out 7-1-1 and became the first member of the jury, where he gave his vote to runner-up Katie Gallagher.

Inside Survivor caught up with Coby to find out what he’s been up to since his time on Survivor.

What have you been up to since you last appeared on Survivor? Biggest life events? Changes?

Lord have mercy… that is a big question since it has been 19 years since Survivor: Palau! I have been a hairdresser for all 19 of those years. I moved to California for a few years and took advantage of opportunities that came out of being on Survivor. I did a TV show with Lisa Rinna called Tease, which we co-hosted together. It only lasted one season.

But the biggest thing to happen was my growing family. I am happily married to my much younger husband, Justin. We have two kids — our son Tyler and daughter Janu. Also for those who don’t know that ‘Baby’ Janu (who I announced on the finale of Survivor: Palau) has her own baby…. Brynnlee. Wanna feel old? I am a Grandpa now so watch out because PawPaw is in the house!


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A post shared by Coby Archa (@cobyarcha)

What kind of impact did Survivor have on your life?

I think the question is more… how has Survivor NOT impacted my life? From lifelong friends to cast mates and fans influencing me still to this day. I am surrounded by Survivor. Spiritually, it changed me to my core from such a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Or even if I am having a hard day where I think to myself…. ‘You can handle this you were on Survivor.’ Sounds silly, but it pulls me through some tough days that mantra. Jenn always said the same thought helped her battle breast cancer (get your boobs checked, everybody!). The changes from Survivor to me will follow me to my dying day, honestly.

What is something you still cherish from your Survivor experience?

As stated, the deep friendships and the pure magnified experience of it all. I got to spend 24 days where literally a team of people, hundreds of people, helped me FEEL the moment I was in every day, hour and second. I always say I have a memory of Survivor in three separate chapters, and I cherish them all: 1) The Audition Process 2) The Filming of Survivor 3) Watching with friends.

Do you still keep in touch with any of your castmates? If so, who?

Once you have done Survivor, it is certainly a big fraternity, and we all love each other (mostly). But I have noticed the newer seasons don’t reach out to us like the older ones did. Those New Era kids are too busy selling their T-shirts, I guess, to reach out to the OGs.

I have so many good friends I have made from other seasons, but from Survivor: Palau, I still talk to Jolanda [Jones], Bobby Jon [Drinkard], Kim [Mullen], Caryn [Groedel], Steph [LaGrossa], Janu [Tornell], and my nemesis Katie. I LOVE Katie off that island! We became such good friends after Survivor from our love of Jennifer Lyon RIP. Katie has done amazing things and has become a big television producer in her own right. So proud of her. So glad she got my vote and not Tom.


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A post shared by Coby Archa (@cobyarcha)

Do you still watch Survivor? If so, what do you think of the current version of the show? If not, what made you stop watching?

Should I answer this question honestly? Or what I think might get me cast for Season 50 because I don’t think that is honesty. So….

For me, it has become a complete game of luck. You have to remember I was on Season 10, the last season of no idols. Back in the Old School Era, I LOVED Survivor because it was a social experiment. Getting that many people together from different backgrounds to see how they related and voted each other out in the process. Then, as it went along, they added a few twists, but now it feels like ALL twists. Now Survivor feels like Wheel of Fortune. Spin the wheel and hope you don’t go bankrupt!

Would you ever consider playing Survivor again if asked? Why or why not?

Spin That Wheel B#tch! lol Complain about the twists all I want, but sign me up, Jeff Probst! I would like to buy a vowel. I would be fascinated to see how I played with idols, etc. Besides the fact I have a much bigger family to play for now. PawPaw needs the money! Could I keep my eye on the prize or jump for the donut? Only time would tell. If they call me in the middle of this interview and I leave, know that is why I didn’t finish answering lol.

What do you know now that you wish you knew during your time on Survivor?

I was just SO naive the first time. I would certainly hope my life experience since then has taught me a thing or two about people. I have been lucky enough to play the real game but also lots of games for charities, etc. You know what? I always do well. I always make it far, if not to the top. What that tells me isn’t I am so smart or the best player but that people like playing with me. What always keeps me from the win is myself. I would like to know if I could control my inner saboteur and LET myself play to win instead of my heart. My stupid heart always gets in the way but makes me a great PawPaw.

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: Where Are They Now? – Coby Archa Interview”

  1. Great interview!!! I don’t know Coby IRL but am so grateful to be his FB friend. Wonderful person. I haven’t watched “Survivor” since Season 40, but will 100% watch again if they bring back Coby!!! <3

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