What happens when you put a controversial baseball player, a Broadway star and a pair of outspoken twins on an island? You get the cast of Survivor: San Juan Del Sur.
The reality show returns for its 29th (!) season next month. After the success of 2013’s Blood Vs. Water, the show decided to return to the format, pitting contestants against loved ones to vie for the million-dollar prize. This season, the castaways will compete in San Juan Del Sur, a region on the southwest coast of Nicaragua.
For the first time in the show’s history, there will be an uneven number of men vs. women. (An all-female team dropped out at the last minute due to health concerns.) This cast is also one of the youngest in recent memory: half of them are under 28 years old. Only three contestants are over the age of 40.
Survivor has always succeeded or failed on its casting. Strong contestants like those on spring’s Survivor: Cagayan can turn an ordinary season into a stellar one. Does this season’s cast have what it takes?
Perhaps the biggest name to compete on this season is John Rocker, 39, a former Atlanta Braves pitcher who was widely criticized for his remarks about minorities in a 1999 Sports Illustrated interview. Now older (and hopefully wiser), he’ll compete with his girlfriend, Julie McGee, a model who owns a spray tan business.
Other contestants include Nadiya and Natalie Anderson, 28-year-old twin sisters who bickered their way through two seasons of The Amazing Race. When they’re not appearing on every CBS reality show, they work as Crossfit coaches.
Bikinis and Washboard Abs
Like every season of Survivor, there are a lot of hard bodies and beauty queens.
Missy Payne, 47, and her 20-year-old daughter, Baylor Wilson, are from Dallas. Missy owns a competitive cheerleading gym, and Baylor won the 2009 Cheerleading World Championship.
John Misch, 26, and Jaclyn Schultz, 25, are college sweethearts. He was a football player at Michigan State University; she was Miss Michigan USA in 2013.
Drew Christy, 25, and his younger brother, Alec Christy, 22, live in Winter Park, Florida. They were clearly cast for the frat boy appeal, emphasized by the fact that Alec lists a Playboy magazine as one of the three things he would want to bring to the island.
Josh Canfield, 32, and Reed Kelly, 31, are a couple from New York. Both actors, Kelly has appeared on Broadway in Spider-Man and Wicked.
Jeremy Collins, 36, and his wife, Val, 35, are from Foxboro, Massachusetts. He’s a firefighter; she’s a police officer. Oh, and he is also a former professional football player.
Like Father, Like Child
The oldest two Survivor contestants are both men in their 50s – but they’re competing with their twentysomething children.
Dale Wentworth, 55, is a farmer from Ephrata, Washington. His daughter, Kelley, 28, is a marketing manager from Seattle. Dale had the smartest answer when asked what luxury item he’d bring to the island: toilet paper.
Keith Nale, 53, is a fire captain from Shreveport, Louisiana. His 23-year-old son, Wes, is also a firefighter. Wes says he’d bring three things to the island: beer, smokeless tobacco and Mila Kunis. We predict he’ll go far.
Survivor returns to CBS on Sept. 24 with a special 90-minute premiere.