#Survivor Insights 209: Heroes, Healers, Hustlers – My Early Favorites

Survivor celebrates its 35th season by dividing 18 new faces into three unique groups based on their current jobs. The Heroes who stand for their courage and commitment. The Healers who stand for their selfless acts of services. Lastly, the Hustlers who stand for their tireless work of ethic.


As expected, listed below are my early favorites before the season officially begins. I’m choosing six people (two in each tribe) who I think can last longer and luckily, one of them will win.

This isn’t an objective pick at all. It’s for fun. My process of selection is based on what I read on their CBS bio, cast assessment made by Jeff Probst and the Meet The Cast promotional video created by TV Guide.

Levu (Heroes)


My Early Favorite: JP Hilsabeck, 28, Los Angeles CA

JP works as a firefighter who loves outdoor activities such as surfing and hiking. His job is his personal claim to fame; therefore, he must have learned to raise himself as someone who never gives up.

He believes his athleticism alone won’t help him win Survivor. Being smart is an advantage. It helps him read people and figure out if he or she is the right person for an alliance. That’s why; it’s fair to say Millennial Jay is his most liked Survivor contestant due to his fun, outgoing and down-to-earth personality.

My Early Favorite: Katrina Radke, 46, Excelsior MN

Katrina is a charismatic and tenacious Olympian who loves outdoor adventures, dancing, martial arts, meditation and personal growth work. Her personal claim to fame is being a mom. This answer alone reveals who she is on the inside.

Season 25’s Denise Stapley is her most liked Survivor contestant but Katrina considers herself as more outgoing and adventurous. She loves to challenge herself. Survivor is an unpredictable game of social politics; therefore, it excites her to experience the stressful environment to prove how resilient she is.

Soko (Healers)


My Early Favorite: Desi Williams, 27, Newsport News VA

Desi is an immediate stand-out. She works as a physical therapist who loves to travel and participate in pageants. She also loves to keep her body in shape.

Becoming an assistant professor and program director are her personal claim to fame. She believes only the right person with the right amount of dedication can fulfill these positions that require competitiveness, persistence and patience.

To my surprise, Tasha is her most liked Survivor contestant. She considers Tasha as a good mix of brain, brawn and beauty. Like Tasha, Desi clearly knows she’s a triple threat.

Yet, there’s a way for her to survive if she uses her strongest traits to outwit, outplay and outlast the 17 strangers. These strongest traits are her charm, wit, beauty, mental fortitude and physical strength. The art and science of feigned camaraderie makes her unbeatable.

My Early Favorite: Mike Zahalsky, 43, Parkland FL

Mike is an intelligent, enthusiastic and determined urologist. His hobbies include archery, fishing and watching Game of Thrones.

He is a fan since the first season. He might have understood the similarities and differences between Survivor and Game of Thrones. The truth is, Redemption Island’s Sole Survivor, Boston Rob, is his most liked Survivor contestant due to his ability to stay socially strategic.

I’m genuinely amazed by his response when asked for a reason to survive Survivor. “People will be hugging me as I vote them off,” is his answer.

Yawa (Hustlers)


My Early Favorite: Ryan Ulrich, 23, North Arlington NJ

Ryan is a witty, ambitious and approachable bellhop who loves to watch sports and play harmonica. His internships in Congress and British Consulate are his personal claim to fame.

He loves the show and wanted to join since he was six. To him, Survivor is a passion he can obsess with. For this, China’s Sole Survivor, Todd Herzog, is his most liked contestant due to his tremendous social skill and charisma. He believes some of his abilities will be underestimated just like Todd.

My Early Favorite: Patrick Bolton, 24, Auburn AL

Patrick is a persistent small business owner. His life inspiration is his dad. He believes his dad is his driving force to maneuver his life to the right direction.

As a Survivor, Second Chancer Joe is his most liked contestant. He describes Joe as a nice guy who saved himself by winning immunity challenges when being sociable doesn’t help him go farther. He wasn’t a quitter just like Joe.

Joining Survivor is a business trip for Patrick. He is a team player who can survive the outdoor elements and who can help his tribe win in puzzle challenges. He makes sure his ability to underperform won’t make him a threat.

Photos Courtesy of: CBS

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