The Top 10 People Who Never Won Survivor

Rob Mariano, Sandra Diaz Twine, JT Thomas. These are some names that come to people’s mind when we think about the winners of the famous TV show Survivor. It’s been around for 38 seasons and we’ve had the privilege of meeting 36 amazing and interesting winners. Some, like Diaz-Twine, have become idols, and others like Brian Heidik have been disliked by viewers. While we first think of winners, why don’t we change the conversation and talk about those who have not won? There are many iconic people who have lost too. Here are my top 10 picks for people who have not won the show but should return given the chance.

  1. 1. Cirie Fields (placement: 4th, 3rd, 17th, 6th)

    Cirie Fields is known as the self-proclaimed couch potato who left the comfort of her home to participate in the 12th season of the show. Her popularity gained her a spot on season 16, a fans vs. favorites installation. She did slightly better this time gaining a 3rd place finish. Her run on Heroes vs. Villains (an amazing season and part of my top 5), was not as successful when our favorite country boy JT Thomas conspired against her. Finally, she returned 7 years later for Game Changers, a season that saw her place 6th after she was the only person vulnerable to be voted out. Cirie’s accomplishments are why she was included on my list. She likely won’t return as she’s played 4 times already, but if she does I would hope she can finally scoop the million dollars. 

  2. 2. Russell Hantz (placement: 2nd, 3rd, 17th)

    Russell Hantz is very different in that he is arguably the most influental villiain the game has seen. Hantz lied, cheated, and stole...and he was proud of it. His horrid behavior gained him two runner up finishes and one 2nd vote out spot. Though I don’t have much to say about him, I will say that I respect people who are proud of their behaviors and do not stray away from who they really are. Love him, hate him, or something in between, Hantz was confident in his villianous qualities and to me I respect him for being so clouded in being a s**thead that he was able to work it to his favor.

  3. 3. Amanda Kimmel (placement: 3rd, 2nd, 9th)

    Amanda Kimmel was easily one of my first girl crushes and female heroes. Not only was she a model and beauty queen, but she used her platform to further her in life and in the show. Kimmel was the first female I was actually really sad didn’t win after being in the finals. No disrespect to Todd or Parv, but Amanda easily tried harder than most of the people on any season she was on and sadly wasn’t rewarded for it. I wanted to kill Candice for voting against her in HvV, but I also don’t want to be in jail. I’ll just respect the fact that she played her hardest and she just didn’t get the same rewards as some people. 

  4. 4. Ozzy Lusth (placement: 2nd, 9th, 4th, 12th)

    If you watched seasons 13, 16, 23, or 34, there's no way you wouldn’t like Ozzy. Not only did he play an awesome social game, but he won ⅚ immunities in his inaugural season, tying with five other (dis)respected males with this difficult feat. It takes a certain amount of skill to play a game as Ozzy did, and I truly believe to this day that nobody can come close to that caliber. It seems that he isn’t very respected for some of his later performances, but don’t let that cloud you from the fact that mans was robbed and never quite got his revenge. Another 4-time player, he probably wouldn’t play again, but he seems pleased in his feats so we all should be too.

  5. 5. Andrea Boehlke (placement: 5th, 7th, 8th)

    For me, Andrea was the typical midwestern girl who seemed to not have the skills to survive such a difficult game. Boy, was I wrong. She handled herself well, didn’t seem to lose her temper and she became the first female to win her way back into the game. It’s easy to play the game, but it’s not easy to do it well. It seems females aren’t respected for playing or dominating, but we can all agree Boehlke is well-respected. 

  6. 6. Joe Anglim (placement: 10th, 8th, none)

    I don’t think there’s someone on this list I like mostly because of their hair and their let loose attitude, but Joe is a good exception. Joe is easy on the eyes, a strong physical competitor, and has a great work ethic. He’s finally started to realize in his current season that people used him for challenges, which is pretty shallow IMO. As I said, it’s easy to play the game but it’s hard to dominate as much as Joe has.

  7. 7. Stephen Fishbach (placement: 2nd, 9th)

    I honestly think Fishbach is the only person on this list who’s succeeding competitor is someone I don’t hate with my guts. JT Thomas is easily my favorite (or one of them) to win, so I wasn’t very disappointed to see him lose. However, Fishbach would’ve deserved to win if it wasn’t Thomas or someone else in his position. His relationship with Jeremy Collins made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. He was smart, collected, and I loved his superfan tendencies. I can see why he would be disliked because his gameplay wasn’t always great, but I also am not one of those people who dislikes him. 

  8. 8. Rob Cesternino (placement: 3rd, 15th)

    Jeff Probst once categorized Cesternino as “the smartest player to not win”, and it would take an army and more to convince me why this isn’t true. He flip-flopped enough to keep himself safe and not generate much suspicion. When both of the Top 2 in Survivor: Amazon say Rob deserves their spots more than them, it goes to show how smart and respected he is.  

  9. 9. Rupert Boneham (placement: 8th, 4th, 6th, 20th)

    Rupert Boneham is easily the best mountain man, provider, and overall person to play the game. Anyone who can withstand Jonny Fairplay’s bs is a hero in my eyes. Appropriately, Boneham was voted as a hero in his 3rd season. Rupert was one person I never expected to win but I hoped would. There’s always people like that. I think Rupert is honestly better as a loser because I fear people would forget about his impact, and he was able to return for some pretty awesome seasons and prove himself as an awesome guy.  

  10. 10. Colby Donaldson (placement: 2nd (SHOULD'VE WON), 10th, 5th)

    If you thought I would EVER write a list of Survivor losers without mentioning our model Texan, you are horribly, horribly mistaken. He was the first person to ever win five immunity challenges, wore an awesome cowboy hat, and was proud of his heritage. Also, he looked cute doing it. Donaldson is probably one of the most respected players because he took a financially struggling Wesson to the end, knowing he would lose but still being happy that it would support her family. His stints on All-Stars and HvV weren’t as successful, but he certainly never lost my respect. He’s even a television host! Ugh, his mind and his power.  

I could go on all day about why these people are some of the best players, but nobody has all day to spare. Though this is in no particular order, people might have their preferences. It seems like everyone falls into a perfect hero or villain spot, and this is cool but not necessarily the point. The point is the jury, runners up, and first boots deserve respect because they all played the same. One can only hope that these people get the RESPECT THEY DESERVE.