Here are the 20 castaways competing in Survivor: Island of the Idols


Today, CBS released the list of 20 new names fighting for their shot at a million dollars and the title of Sole Survivor in season 39, Island of the Idols.

During the reunion of the previous season’s finale, we saw the first preview footage of Survivor: Island of the Idols; an exercise in bringing back two of the show’s most iconic winners to help out players as they compete in the game. They are not players, nor will they enter the game at a later time; they are the “idols” living and surviving on their own island without the aid of supplies.

These coaches will have their own island to share, each with one in a pair of 25-foot totems facing the Fijian oceans as players visit from time to time throughout the season to learn from two winners (and the only current multi-season winner) who have 200+ days between them. Who will benefit from their wealth of knowledge?

As announced by CBS, these 20 castaways from Island of the Idols will join the Survivor family once the season premieres on Wednesday, September 25 at 8 p.m. ET (broken down by tribe in alphabetical order with listed current residence):

Lairo Tribe (Orange buff)

  • Ronnie Bardah: 35, Henderson, NV, Professional Poker Player
  • Elizabeth Beisel: 26, Saunderstown, RI, Olympic Medalist (swimmer)
  • Missy Byrd: 24, Tacoma, WA: Air Force Veteran
  • Dean Kowalski: 28, New York, NY, Tech Sales
  • Tom Laidlaw: 60, Greenwich, CT (hometown: Brampton, ON, Canada), Former NHL Player
  • Aaron Meredith: 36, Warwick, RI, Gym Owner
  • Vince Moua: 27, Palo Alto, CA, Admissions Counselor
  • Karishma Patel: 37, Houston, TX, Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Elaine Stott: 41, Rockholds, KY, Factory Worker
  • Chelsea Walker: 26, Los Angeles, CA, Digital Content Creator

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Vokai Tribe (Purple buff)

  • Lauren Beck: 28, Glendale, CA, Nanny
  • Molly Byman: 27, Durham, NC, Law Student
  • Janet Carbin: 59, Palm Bay, FL, Chief Lifeguard
  • Kellee Kim: 29, Philadelphia, PA, MBA Student
  • Jason Linden: 32, New York, NY, Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Jack Nichting: 23, Harrisonburg, VA, Graduate Student
  • Noura Salman: 36, North Potomac, MD, Entrepreneur
  • Tommy Sheehan: 26, Long Beach, NY, 4th Grade Teacher
  • Jamal Shipman: 33, Providence, RI, College Administrator
  • Dan Spilo: 48, Los Angeles, CA, Talent Manager

Despite the listing of Greenwich, CT as the hometown for Tom Laidlaw, he is the first Canadian-born player in Survivor history, with his hometown being Brampton, Ontario. He is the 10th player ever to be in their 60s at the time of filming, and he’s the oldest player of Island of the Idols. Let’s hope he lasts longer than Dan Lembo’s fifth-place sport for the decade’s best finish to their season.

Even though this is the first group of players wholly cast without the influence of former Survivor casting director Lynne Spillman, some of the constants remain. For example, most players are from New York, California, the Atlantic Northeast, the Pacific Northwest, and a player from deeply rural Kentucky. We’re still waiting for our first player cast from six states that remain without a representative!

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Good luck to all the 20 Survivor: Island of the Idols castaways as they embark on a test to prove themselves, earn their keep, and compete against two of the show’s most famous players for the scraps of screentime.