“Survivor: Pearl Islands” has its freshly minted $1 million winner: Sandra Diaz-Twine, a married mother of two from the Northwest, who wept when her name was announced on Sunday night’s three-hour finale of the CBS reality series.
Diaz-Twine, 29, an office worker for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, beat Lillian Morris, 51, the tearful scoutmaster from the Cincinnati area, in a 6-1 vote that was tallied live from CBS’s Television City in Los Angeles. Besides taking the cash award, the victor — who all along had been considered a longshot — also drove home a new SUV.
“I represented myself the way I really am,” Diaz-Twine said on the show, crediting her “honesty” with her victory. (She was known for her candor.) Then again, this was the same contestant who, on last Thursday’s show, had sworn on the life of her two children that she was voting with Jon Dalton, 29, of Danville, Va., when, in fact, she was lying.
Following her Sunday night triumph, Diaz-Twine told the Associated Press, “I’m in shock! I’m in shock! I didn’t think I was going to win so I didn’t make any plans for the money.”
She went on to tell the news service that she would probably spend some of her newfound riches on cars for her mother and grandmother, a cruise vacation and “something for my husband.”
She also expressed surprise that Morris had cast the deciding vote that enabled her to be among the game’s final two contestants instead of Dalton — who was likened to the show’s original villain, Richard Hatch, for his cunning and self-interest. At one point, Dalton lied and said his grandmother had died to win a good meal.
The other finalist was Mississippi mortician Darrah Johnson, 22, who had won three consecutive immunity challenges.