Survivor, he said, was much less rewarding. "To win, you have to be the second biggest asshole," he suggested.
This seems to be true on the occasional times I've seen the show since the first season. There's plenty of backstabbing, underhanded tactics, and dirty tricks. Contestants are often more likely to despise each other than be friends by the end of the game.
While this strategy essentially developed during the original run of episodes of Survivor: Borneo, it was still enjoyable enough that I found myself getting sucked in. Sixteen people, from various different parts of the United States and a range of ages and professions, played the part of willing castaways on the island of Pulau Tiga, near Borneo in Malaysia. After 39 days on the island and several elimination rounds, one person emerged as the winner of a $1 million prize.
So what happened to the people who kicked off the Survivor series back in 2000?
At 63 years old, Sonja was one of the older contestants. She was part of the Tagi tribe, hailing from Walnut Creek, California. Although Sonja was kind and well-liked by her fellow castaways, she was also seen as more of a liability in the immunity challenges due to her age. After Tagi lost the first challenge, in part because of Sonja stumbling during the race, she became the first person voted off the island.
Now 79, Sonja had retired from her job as an elementary school teacher by the time she was selected for the first season's cast. According to her IMDB page, she is spending her retirement by acting in a local community theater and working part-time as a music therapist for Alzheimer's patients. She had a bit part on an episode of Diagnosis: Murder later on in 2000. Sonja used her $2,500 consolation prize from the show to help finance the expansion of her Unitarian church, an act which helped kick of fundraising efforts that resulted in $1 million in pledges.
B.B. was another older contestant, 64 at the time of the filming. He was a particularly hardworking member of the Pagong tribe, and also proved useful when his fellow castaways found they could use his glasses to start a fire. He wound up clashing with other tribe members, considering some of them to be lazy, and also caused a good deal of annoyance when he washed one of his T-shirts with clean drinking water. He eventually grew tired enough with the competition that he said he wouldn't mind if the tribe threw the second immunity challenge to get him off the island. Although they didn't try this tactic, they still lost and B.B. was the first Pagong member to be booted.
The chance to be marooned on an island naturally proved to be attractive to B.B., who enjoyed adventurous activities such as boating, scuba diving, and flying. A real estate developer from Mission Hills, Kansas, he also spent several years on the advisory board to the Defense Intelligence Agency after being appointed there by Ronald Reagan. He made a couple of appearances in commercials for Home Depot and Reebok after his appearance on Survivor, but soon returned to his regular life in Kansas. He died of brain cancer in 2013, at the age of 77.
A lawyer from San Francisco, Stacey helped Tagi to their first win by triumphing in an "eat this gross thing" challenge. She was the first to propose forming an alliance, inviting the other women in the tribe to band together, but this scheme never came to fruition. Stacey never got along with Rudy and twice voted to kick him off, only to become the second Tagi member to be eliminated. She was visibly annoyed at the result, telling at least one person, "All right...you switched your vote."
Stacey caused a stir after the show aired by filing a $5 million lawsuit against CBS in 2001, alleging that producer Mark Burnett had coerced fellow contestants Dirk and Sean to switch their votes from Rudy to her. These contestants were split on their reaction. Dirk said he did not consider that Burnett had manipulated or coerced the contestants, but believed that he had unfairly influenced the result. Sean said Burnett's advice to "vote your conscience" was not meant to persuade him one way or the other. CBS vehemently denied Stacey's claims, and even countersued her for defamation and extortion. The matter was eventually settled out of court.
Now 44, Stacey is currently a senior associate with the Silicon Valley law firm Orrick. She focuses on litigation related to technology and Internet companies, including patents and copyright law.
Following his appearance on the show, Dirk was frequently booked as a speaker at Christian events and encouraged people to pursue education, serve as mentors, and stay away from drugs and alcohol. He also had a brief film, landing lead roles in the 2002 Rapture-themed Christian movie Gone (along with fellow castaway Joel), the 2003 film Synthetic Truth, and the 2009 film A Rabbit's Trails. According to his LinkedIn profile, he now works as an admissions representative at the Modern Technology School in Orange County, California, and volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club. He was married in 2004 and now has two children.
Like many of the people in the first season of Survivor, Joel dabbled in acting for awhile. He appeared in an episode of Baywatch, joined fellow castaway Dirk in the film Gone, and returned after several years' absence to play bit roles in the films Zombie Wars and Consciousness. Although Klug's IMDB profile suggests that he wanted to follow a career in the pharmaceutical industry, his Facebook page says he's been working at Nielsen since 2014. He is now 44 years old.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Gretchen quickly landed a job as a radio broadcaster after her time on Survivor. Now 54, she works as a morning host on Q108 in Clarksville.
Greg, now 40, seemingly had little interest in trying to capitalize on his time in the limelight, although he did sign a modeling contract soon after the show concluded. He continued his education, getting a master's degree in ecology from Colorado State University, and his LinkedIn profile charts a career in environmental protection. His past jobs have included forestry management, working with the National Science Foundation in South Africa, and serving as director of E.ON Climate and Renewables. Greg was one of the founders of the renewable development company Pioneer Green Energy in 2010 and is currently the company's president. Busy with this work, he's turned down subsequent offers to be a return player on Survivor.
A student who grew up in Franklin, New Hampshire, Jenna earned a smattering of votes in the early Tribal Councils since the other castaways occasionally found her chatty and bubbly personality to be annoying. Originally a member of the Pagong tribe, she was chosen to attend a meeting with a Tagi member (Sean) and decide on a new tribe name. She had twin daughters at the time of the filming, and was disappointed at one reward challenge to find that her family had neglected to send in a tape for a prize. Jenna was the third victim of the Tagi alliance after the tribal merger.
Now 39, Jenna returned to join the cast of Survivor: All-Stars in 2004 and fared much better. In this competition, she made it to the final three before being voted out by lovebirds Amber Brkich and Rob Mariano. She had done some TV and movie work, appearing in productions such as Scorned; she also had a role in the 2012 made-for-TV movie The Mel & Wendi House. Around the time of her appearance on All-Stars, a sex tape featuring Jenna and ex-husband Travis Wolfe leaked to the Internet; she claimed to be horrified by the breach of privacy, but it was later revealed that she and Wolfe were benefiting from sales of copies of the tape. Jenna has since been remarried, had two more children, and goes by the name Jenna Lewis Dougherty. According to her Facebook page, she now works as a real estate agent in California.
Gervase, now 47, has periodically shown up in TV shows and movies since his appearance on Survivor, including The Hughleys, As the World Turns, and The Underground Kings. He's been a bit more active in these areas recently, and will appear in the upcoming projects The Evangelist, Rock Paper Scissors, and American Zealot. He also returned to Survivor for their Blood vs. Water competition, competing against his niece, and finished as second runner-up. A former YMCA basketball coach, Gervase now lives in Philadelphia and wears several hats. He's an owner of the Burnz Cigar Vault and Lounge in Lawnside, New Jersey; a custom clothier at the tailor Morroni Custom Clothing; vice president of a company called MFM N G Productions; and writes a column for JerseyMan Magazine.
A cute brunette who was a total sweetheart and had a great sense of humor? Why yes, I did have a crush on Colleen; didn't you? She and Greg grew particularly close, even snuggling up together away from the other tribe members at night, although she insisted that nothing happened between the two of them. Colleen later exhibited some strategic maneuvering, spearheading an unsuccessful effort to unite the remaining Pagong members and recruit Sean to counter the Tagi alliance. She was the last surviving member of Pagong. Richard suggested that she would be spared for at least a little while, since the alliance was prepared to oust Kelly for voting independently at the previous Tribal Council. But after Kelly managed to win immunity, the alliance teamed up to vote Colleen out instead.
At the time of her appearance on the show, Colleen was attending college in Miami and hoping to pursue a career in creative advertising. Her popularity on Survivor led her to briefly dabble in film and TV roles, appearing on episodes of That '70s Show and Maybe It's Me and as Rob Schneider's love interest in the 2001 film The Animal before working as a production assistant on The Michael Essany Show. Now 39, Colleen has generally stayed out of the spotlight. She turned down a $100,000 offer to pose nude in Playboy, and also said she wasn't interested in being marooned again for All-Stars or Heroes vs. Villains. She has since gotten married, had a daughter, and seems to be living in New York working as a freelance interactive producer.
Sean (now 46 and married with a few kids) had taken a break from the medical field at the time he appeared on Survivor, giving some consideration to being a writer. He realized this ambition in 2010, publishing both a novel entitled Etre the Cow and a non-fiction book, Stop Effing Yourself: A Survivor's Guide to Life's Biggest Screw-ups. In addition to an appearance on Guiding Light, Sean showed up several times as a medical correspondent for CBS and was part of the news staff at the station's affiliate in Miami. He also started a medical call-in program, The Dr. Sean Show, on an AM radio station in Florida in 2009.
A tough, hard-edged contestant, Susan quickly proved to be a strategic player. She became a member of the Tagi alliance, ensuring that she would last into the later stages of the game. Susan sometimes clashed with other women in the game, spurning offers by Stacey and later Jenna to join together to create a bloc of female votes at the Tribal Council. She was especially incensed by Kelly's decision to defect from the alliance, considering her to be manipulative and a liar, and became the first member of the alliance to be voted out.
In one of the show's more memorable moments, Susan gave an embittered speech at the final Tribal Council vote in which she criticized both Richard and Kelly. She reserved most of her ire for Kelly, comparing Richard to a snake and Kelly to a rat before urging the jury to let nature take its course and let the snake eat the rat. She carried on the invective to say that she would not stop to help Kelly if she was dying of thirst, and would instead leave her to the vultures. The remarks particularly rankled Gervase; while casting his vote for Kelly, he described Susan as a hypocrite and a sore loser.
Susan was a truck driver from Waukesha, Wisconsin, at the time the show aired. Following her appearance on Survivor, she appeared on a number of game shows including Hollywood Squares, The Weakest Link, and Dog Eat Dog, on which she won the $25,000 top prize. Susan returned for Survivor: All-Stars, but became quite upset when her former Tagi ally Richard rubbed against her while competing nude in an immunity challenge. When it seemed like host Jeff Probst was trying to dismiss the incident as a joke, an angry Susan declared that she had been "sexually violated, humiliated, [and] dehumanized," then made the decision to drop out of the competition. She later appeared with Richard on The Early Show, and the tone of the interview suggested that they had gotten past the incident but not exactly reconciled. Susan has stayed out of the public eye since then; now 55, she was last reported to be living with her husband on a ranch near Clever, Missouri.
However, he was also impressed by Richard's leadership and later joined the Tagi alliance. This proved to be a wise move, since two efforts to vote him off early on had nearly succeeded. Although some members of Tagi clearly would have liked to see him go early on, he grew much friendlier with the remaining tribe members as the game proceeded and was popular among fans as well. His increasing likability ultimately became a liability, however. While he made it to the final three, he lost an immunity challenge to Kelly and she decided to vote him off after determining that she had a better chance of winning against Richard.
Kelly was something of an under-the-radar player at first. A whitewater rafting guide from Nevada, she was dealt a blow when the Tagi tribe lost an immunity challenge where she was a designated rower. However, she managed to make it through the entire game without anyone voting to kick her off the island. Kelly was a member of the Tagi alliance, but ultimately broke away from this group on the belief that it wasn't a fair way of determining a winner. The remaining alliance members (especially Sue) targeted Kelly for elimination after learning that she had not joined their vote against Jenna, but she won four immunity challenges in a row to ensure her place in the final vote. She made the case that she had played the game fairly and respectfully, noting how she won one challenge involving trivia on other tribe members because she had taken the time to get to know people. Kelly won the support of most of the former Pagong members, but lost the grand prize to Richard.
Second place wasn't too shabby for Kelly, as she won $100,000 for finishing as runner-up. A small portion of this prize went toward resolving an outstanding case from 1995 in which she and a friend racked up charges on a stolen credit card; she was ultimately sentenced to pay $455 in restitution and do 75 hours of community service. Unlike many of the Survivor: Borneo castaways, Kelly made no TV appearances aside from some talk show visits. However, she did return for the show's "Second Chance" competition in Cambodia, and was the ninth person to be eliminated. Now 39, Kelly lived in Mexico for a time and worked as a yoga teacher. She now travels the world as part of a travel show called Mana with fellow castaway Joe Anglim.
Richard had a varied career going into the show, having worked as a bartender, car salesman, and real estate agent and later studying marine biology. At the time he joined the cast of Survivor: Borneo, he was a corporate trainer living in Newport, Rhode Island. While he was one of the more openly devious people in the game, Richard still managed to gain the trust and respect of several castaways. Early in the game, he let his fellow Tagi tribe members know that he was gay and was relieved to find that it didn't bother most of them. He came up with the idea of forming an alliance, recruiting Sue and Kelly and later bringing Rudy into the mix. Richard further solidified his role in the Tagi tribe when he proved an adept fisherman, using the equipment won in a challenge to bring plenty of food to the camp. He also became known for his comfort with being naked and strutting around camp in his birthday suit.
Richard occasionally found himself in a more vulnerable spot, such as when the Rattana women were able to catch a fish on their own and when the remaining ex-Pagong members made a last-ditch effort to knock him off. However, Richard's strategies were successful in bringing him to the final Tribal Council. In one particularly risky move, he gave up on the penultimate immunity challenge on the belief that whoever won would want to face off against him in the final vote. In the end, he squeaked out a victory as the jurors voted 4-3 to award him the $1 million prize.
After his win, Richard appeared on a number of game shows as well as an episode of Becker. His win was soon overshadowed by troubles off-screen. He was accused of abusing his adopted son during an exercise regimen he had set up, but the charges were later dropped. Not long after, he was sentenced to a year of probation after assaulting his son's caretaker, but the charges were later vacated. Richard returned for Survivor: All-Stars and was eliminated after his tribe lost the immunity challenge where he traumatized Susan. In 2005, he was then charged with evading taxes on his Survivor winnings. Following a trial in 2006, he was found guilty and sentenced to 51 months in prison. Richard's attempts to appeal included allegations that he caught other Survivor contestants cheating and that Mark Burnett agreed to pay the taxes on his winnings to keep him quiet. Richard was released from prison in 2009, but sentenced to another nine months in 2011 for violating his probation by failing to amend his tax returns of pay back his taxes.
Between these prison stints, Richard became part of Celebrity Apprentice but was soon eliminated from the show. At the time, his legal troubles earned the sympathies of the show's host, one Donald Trump. But during the the former reality host's bombastic presidential campaign, Richard was critical of Trump on his Twitter account and Facebook page. Earlier this year, he joined the cast of The Biggest Loser, shedding 34 pounds before becoming the fourth contestant eliminated. Richard (now 55) has founded a production company called Moonstone and continues to make public appearances.