Survivor winners: Ranking all 45 Sole Survivors by season

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /
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Survivor, Sandra Diaz-Twine
Survivor legend Sandra Diaz-Twine – (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images) /

Best Survivor Winners No. 26: Sandra Diaz-Twine (Survivor Pearl Islands)

“Anybody but me” became a legitimate strategy in Survivor Pearl Islands, a season that borrowed elements from old school, mid-school and new school Survivor in the best ways possible. In a season known for some of the worst twists in the game (the outcast tribe, jury facing off against players in the second-last immunity challenge,) Sandra Diaz-Twine emerged untouched, but not forgotten.

She planted her legacy with a cloak-and-dagger approach to social play, often using a mix of bombastic speech and subtle seed-planting passages to convince others she deserved to stay in the game. She posed no threat to win individual immunity, as she is probably one of the worst players in that regard.

No, the Queen of Survivor earns her money by nurturing the right alliances and groups, knowing who to trust and who to trust only for the right amount of time. This allowed her to circumnavigate through tough odds with bad merge numbers on the way to a rousing final tribal council speech that proved she deserved to win. And that she did!