When "Survivor" debuted on CBS in 2000, it pioneered a new era of reality television. Viewers tuned in to watch strangers dropped into isolated, remote locations struggle to survive — and quickly became invested in these fierce competitors scheming to be the last man or woman standing. In honor of the show's 20th anniversary on May 31, 2020, join Wonderwall.com as we discover what some of the most memorable "Survivor" winners are up to today. First up, one of the most famous names in "Survivor" history: Richard Hatch, who took home the top prize on the very first season despite being disliked by his fellow contestants. Keep reading for more…
Richard Hatch's story serves as a lesson that money can't buy happiness. Although he went on to compete on "Survivor: All-Stars" and "The Celebrity Apprentice" years after winning $1 million on the first season of "Survivor" in 2000, in 2006, Richard was convicted on tax evasion charges related to his prize money and served 51 months in prison. He later returned to prison in 2011 for another nine months after he violated probation. In 2016, Richard competed on another reality show — "The Biggest Loser" — where he was eliminated in the fourth week. In February 2020, he was missing from the premiere of the show's 40th season, which was stacked with former winners. He weighed in on the absence on his YouTube channel, sharing, "Everybody knows the original winner ought to be on season 40. I should've been on." He claimed that he was meant to be there but was told at the very last minute that he wouldn't be competing. In the YouTube video, Richard alleged that it was due to a sexual harassment scandal that went down during season 39 and the show wanting to separate itself from further controversy — alluding to that awkward moment between himself and Sue Hawk on "Survivor: All Stars."
Ethan Zohn competed on "Survivor" in 2001 as a member of the Boran tribe. The former professional soccer player fared well in the African wilderness and after winning season 3 went on to compete on "Survivor: All Stars."
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Ethan Zohn dated fellow "Survivor" alum Jenna Morasca from 2003 until 2013. The physically fit reality star suffered a setback in 2009 when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Fortunately, he was able to undergo stem cell transplants and was pronounced cancer free in 2013. In 2015, Ethan announced he was engaged to interior designer Lisa Heywood, whom he married on July 16, 2016. He competed on season 40 of "Survivor," which was jam-packed with former winners, though he was the fourth contestant voted out. In May 2020, he told Channel Guide magazine that he's currently involved in a cannabis and CBD business and is very active with his charity, Grassroot Soccer.
Sandra Diaz-Twine is the only contestant in "Survivor" history to win both seasons on which she appeared: "Survivor: Pearl Islands" and "Survivor: Heroes v. Villains." Her $2 million in "Survivor" earnings also gives her the distinction of being the woman who's won the most money ever in an American television contest.
After winning a total of $2 million, Sandra Diaz-Twine returned to a relatively normal life in North Carolina. The mother of two quit her office job and chose to relax with her earnings and spend time with her family. Fans got a fresh glimpse of Sandra as she competed on season 40's "Survivor: Winners at War," where she was the eighth contestant voted out.
Jenna Morasca outplayed and outlasted her fellow competitors on "Survivor" in 2003. During her season, which took place in the Amazon, Jenna was part of the all-female Jaburu tribe. A year later, Jenna opted to compete again on "Survivor: All-Stars."
After her two stints on the show, Jenna Morasca had a varied post-"Survivor" career. She posed for Playboy magazine in 2003 before replacing Richard Hatch as the host of the web talk show "Survivor Live" in 2005, a position she held for five years. Jenna switched gears in 2009 to make her professional wrestling debut. Jenna dated fellow "Survivor" winner Ethan Zohn for 10 years but the two amicably called it quits in 2013. Jenna later made headlines in 2018 after reports claimed she was arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania. (The following year, she tweeted, "1st-I was NEVER & I have never been charged w any crime. 2nd, I have never been on probation of any sort, etc," so it's unclear what happened.) In 2017, the pit bull rescue advocate was in veterinary nursing school. These days, the best place to catch up with the former reality star is on social media.
Amber Brkich didn't win during her first appearance on "Survivor" in 2001, but she did come out on top when she returned for "Survivor: All-Stars" in 2004. That season, Amber was a member of the Chapera tribe alongside Rob Mariano, with whom she formed an alliance that turned into a romantic relationship. The two ultimately faced off against each other in the final vote, and before the results were read and Amber was named the winner, Rob proposed.
Amber Brkich married Rob Mariano in 2005 — CBS aired a two-hour special capturing their nuptials. The two went on to have four children — daughters Lucia, Carina, Isabetta and Adelina. The couple competed on season 7 and season 11 of "The Amazing Race," coming in second place and last place, respectively. More recently, Amber took part in the "Survivor" season 40 "Winners at War" series alongside her hubby, though she was unfortunately the second person voted off.
Rob Mariano triumphed on "Survivor: Redemption Island" in 2011. It was a much deserved success, since that season was his fourth attempt at winning the reality competition. He came close on "Survivor: All-Stars" but ultimately came in second to his now-wife, Amber Brkich.
After winning "Survivor: Redemption Island," Rob Mariano returned for "Survivor: Island of the Idols" in a mentor role and more recently competed alongside wife Amber Brkich on "Survivor: Winners at War," where he was the sixth person voted off. That appearance made Rob the first person in "Survivor" history to play five times. He famously married Amber in a televised wedding in 2005 — they now have four kids — and competed alongside her not once but twice on "The Amazing Race," though they never won.
Aras Baskauskas competed on 2006's "Survivor: Panama" and was put in the Viveros tribe, which was comprised of the young men that season. Aras persevered, ultimately taking home the grand prize of $1 million.
Aras Baskauskas has had an interesting life post-"Survivor." Not only did he release an album, "The Tree and the River," in 2011 under his stage name, Odd Us, but he also started a sustainable clothing line in Los Angeles called Christy Dawn. Though he was originally approached to return for season 40, "Survivor: Winners at War," he declined to participate, reportedly because he wanted to stay home with his family — wife Christy Dawn Baskauskas and their two sons.
Danni Boatwright triumphed during the 11th season of "Survivor," which was set in Guatemala, in 2005. The former beauty queen won by a nearly unanimous vote to take home the top prize of $1 million.
These days, Danni Boatwright resides in Kansas, where she's an on-air personality for KCSP, though she took a break from her day job to compete on "Survivor: Winners at War," which aired in 2020. She was the third person voted off. Danni is married to a former NFL player, Casey Wiegmann, with whom she shares two sons.
Parvati Shallow came out on top when she won season 16 of the CBS reality show, "Survivor: Micronesia — Fans vs. Favorites," which aired in 2008. Prior to that, Parvati competed on 2006's "Survivor: Cook Islands," where she placed sixth. She later came in second on "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains," which aired in 2010.
After Parvati Shallow's "Survivor" win, she returned for "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains" and the 40th season, "Survivor: Winners at War," where she was the seventh contestant voted out. She married fellow "Survivor" alum John Fincher in 2017 and welcomed a daughter in 2018.