Recasting Survivor: Cook Islands


Monday is back to begin your week once again and today we bring you another rethink of a twist used in the past and turned it into an All-Stars style season! Your runner-up in the Ozcars ‘Ozlet of the Year’ Noah Groves runs with former Ozlet Aaron’s idea from February about recasting Cagayan and Ozlet Rossi’s idea about recasting Panama and takes the idea from the 13th season of Cook Islands to separate a returning players season by race into four tribes! What follows is one interesting season with a bunch of interesting returning players! We’re sure you’ll have your own ideas for who should be brought back, so click below and let us know who you feel would be ideal for a season like this!

The thirteenth season of Survivor, the Cook Islands, created controversy after they divided their four tribes by race. Despite negative reactions towards it, the race divide twist did provide some pros to outweigh the cons. The most notable positive to come from the season was the fact that we were given more contestants from minority races that we wouldn’t normally see. Instead of one or two African American contestants we were given five and instead of sixteen or seventeen Caucasian American contestants we were given just five. This article aims to highlight some of the notably and strong places within these races while also taking into consideration even genders and factors such as age and balance that you would expect from a season. Rather than being a best of the best list, this is an attempt to make this a legitimate season, hence why someone such as Cirie Fields is missing from the African American tribe and someone like Kass McQuillan is included within the Caucasian tribe. Presented below are twenty returning players using the twist from the Cook Islands….enjoy!

The Asian American Tribe

Yul Kwon (Cook Islands)


Yul seems like a given if you are casting a racially divided all-stars cast. He is not only the sole Asian American winner of Survivor but is also one of the all-time greats. He is intelligent in life and Survivor strategy. Yul played a strong social game and was arguably the second strongest physical player of the season. Despite what some fans say, Yul isn’t actually a boring contestant and was comedic and entertaining throughout his original season. It would be interesting to see if Yul would be targeted for his intelligence and dominate game or if he has flown under the radar over the years to continue success in Survivor. Arguably Yul is the greatest Asian American contestant to play Survivor!

Ken Hoang (Gabon)


Kenny had such an interesting story arc in Gabon that it is surprising that he hasn’t returned to play already. He went from zero to mastermind, controlling everyone in the game only to have it all crash down in front of him, so close to the final tribal council. Kenny fits the mould of the typical Survivor ‘nerd’ archetype and is a professional video game player. What Ken lacks physically he makes up for in his strategy and perhaps surprisingly, his social game. How would Kenny do in a much smaller tribe and would his race play in any part of his game? He certainly has a story arc that isn’t concluded and could benefit from a second chance.

Yau-Man Chan (Fiji/Micronesia)


Yau-Man fits the ‘older’ archetype for this season and is one of the most popular contestants to play Survivor. Yau-Man is not only a brilliant player but also provides entertainment through his confessionals and camp antics. Yau-Man is a great all round player, who despite his appearance, was a strong force in the challenges. His appearance in Micronesia doesn’t do him justice and he is one of the few players who definitely deserves a third chance. Yau-Man is not only the oldest Asian American contestant to play the game; he is one of the most popular and one of the best players to never win.

Shii-Ann Huang (Thailand/All-Stars)


Just as Yul being the first Asian American winner played a part in his inclusion, Shii-Ann was the first ever Asian American contestant on Survivor, which is an important position. But she is so much more than just that. Shii-Ann is an over the top player who is extremely entertaining to watch. While she once may not have been the most popular contestant to play, it seems as if Shii-Ann has built a cult fan base over the years. She was initially asked to appear on Heroes VS Villains but turned it down due to her pregnancy; it is unknown whether or not this was just an initial call or if she was one of the top contenders for the season. Shi-Ann is an influential contestant who would have been the first player to fully turn on her tribe had it not been for the fake merge.

Peih-Gee Law (China)


Peih-Gee has the rare distinction of having Chinese descent and actually getting to play the game in China. An experience she said allowed her to visit a country she has close ties to in a unique and exciting way. Peih-Gee initially started her game in a strong position but over time fell in the minority. She fought and fought and tried every possible strategy to stay in the game week after week. If there is anything to take from Peih-Gee’s game in Survivor is that she is a determined player who won’t give up for anything. Peih-Gee has actually been asked to return before but has never quite made the cut. She is a strong willed player and a great representation of the Asian American Survivor contestants.

African American Tribe

Earl Cole (Fiji)


Earl is the first and so far only African American male to win the game of Survivor and lucky for us all, he was a fantastic winner. Like Yul, (who directly preceded him) Earl was an all-round player who perfectly mixed strategy, strength and social skills to lead him to the win. Earl, who wasn’t a massive fan when he played the game, is a cool, calm, collected and entertaining player who represents his race, America and Survivor suitably. On a small tribe of five Earl would more than likely be seen as a valuable player and able to avoid the stigma of being a past winner. Earl is an important African American Survivor player and is a must have for this season.

Phillip Shepherd (Redemption Island/Caramoan)


Ok, ok…hear me out on this one! Sure Phillip is an over the top player but he is perhaps one of the most recognised African American contestants to play the game and this season needs a touch of comedy. Phillip is most certainly a ‘character’ over a ‘player,’ but as we have seen in Caramoan, he can show signs of improvement. Phillip was often seen as an outcast, based on his crazy antics, so it would be interesting to see if this would still occur on a tribe where there are no obvious minorities. It would also be fascinating to see the Specialist on such a small tribe and whether or not the ‘Stealth-R-Us’ organisation could work with smaller numbers.

Tasha Fox (Cagayan)


Latasha Fox is one of the coolest players to compete on Survivor! She has the sass and the strategy and dominated the challenges. In fact, Tasha won more individual challenges than any other African American contestant in Survivor history. She went on and on that many thought she would win every single immunity challenge left in the season. Tasha had one of the biggest fan bases of the last season and was considered by many to be a top tier player. Jeff Probst even listed her as a person he would like to see play again, which is a huge feat! She is a fan favourite and a challenge dominator that would make a strong presence within this tribe and season.

Vecepia Robinson (Marquesas)


Vecepia is the first African American contestant to win Survivor and is quite possibly the first to win a reality show. A huge feat and well deserved! Vecepia may not have been the most popular winner at the time but she has managed to gain more respect and fans over the years. Vecepia played one of the best social games in Survivor history and was a competitor in the challenges. She is one of the most important characters on Survivor and a season that celebrated the strengths within different races wouldn’t be complete without Vecepia. She currently is the only African American female to win the game and is one of only two African Americans to ever win. Go Vecepia!

NaOnka Mixon (Nicaragua)


NaOnka is one of my all-time favourite players and is one of the few quitters who I feel should return. NaOnka is one of the best villains ever and is extremely entertaining in any scene or confessional that she is a part of. Often overlooked is the fact that NaOnka wasn’t a terrible player and knew what she was doing. Sure, she probably wouldn’t have won but she wasn’t useless though. Seeing NaOnka on the same tribe as Phillip would be amazing and absolutely crazy! I have yet to see anyone who doesn’t like NaOnka, even those who can’t stand the quitters. Earl, Tasha and Vecepia would sure have a fun time with NaOnka and the Specialist on their tribe.

Latino Tribe

Alex Angarita (Fiji)


Alex is an often overlooked and underappreciated player of Survivor. While he played the villain role in his season, he is far from a villain and more of a determined player. He is a triple threat who was often seen as the leader of his four horsemen alliance and the alpha male of the tribe. Perhaps based on the general fans reception of the season, Alex isn’t highly regarded and remembered but is actually one of the more dominating Hispanic contestants. Alex’s low profile could help him to sneak through and prove whether or not he is a great Survivor player.

Billy Garcia (Cook Islands)


#bringbillyback. Like Yul, Billy is a contestant who was actually part of the original twist that this hypothetical seasons draws from. He is still an active member amongst the fan community and fondly remembered, despite being the second person voted off. Even to the “casual” fan Billy would be one of the most recognised Hispanic contestants and if not recognised, just play THAT clip that he has become known for. Billy is a Survivor super fan who never really got the chance to play the game and was voted out at the hands of Ozzy. Would Billy’s presence within the Survivor community help or hinder him and could he tackle being on a tribe with smaller numbers once again?

Abi Maria Gomes (Philippines)


Abi Maria has to be one of the best villainess’ in Survivor history. She fought with everyone, including those in her alliance and still managed to make it to fifth place. She is one of the few contestants who has a notable foreign accent and was born and raised in Brazil. Supposedly Abi Maria was supposed to play in Tocantins but was turned down because it was too close to where she once lived. Despite preconceptions, Abi Maria probably would be able to work her way into an alliance and have success in the game, maybe even finding another idol. She is already used to playing on a smaller tribe so could have a leg up on some of the contestants. Abi Maria is definitely one of the more notable Hispanic Survivor contestants.

Sandra Diaz Twine (Pearl Islands/Heroes Vs Villains)


Not only is Sandra the most successful Hispanic contestant, she is also the most successful contestant to ever play Survivor. She is the queen, the two time dominator and ultimate record maker. Sandra has a massive fan following not only because of her success in the game but also thanks to her ‘tell it as it is’ nature and ‘as long as it isn’t me’ strategy. She had no issues fighting with other contestants amongst the likes of Russell Hantz and Jonny Fairplay. Sandra said that she would definitely play again to try and make her record three for three and I am sure most Survivor fans would like to see her back.

Stephanie Valencia (Redemption Island)


Stephanie also had villain traits towards her and was voted out pre merge. Some would say this was before her time as she was one of the biggest and entertaining characters of the season. Stephanie’s biggest mistake was aligning herself closely with Russell Hantz which immediately made her a target. She was strong in the challenges and fits the archetype of the ‘hot girl’ that Stephanie could have become another Parvati. Given a second shot, Stephanie could either right her wrongs or perhaps create another target for herself. Either way it would be great to see Stephanie get a shot at redemption (pun intended) and watch her in a small tribe setting where she would be one of the stronger challenge competitors.

Caucasian Tribe

Richard Hatch (Borneo/All-Stars)


The first Asian, African and Latino American winners were all included on this list for their notability and for being strong characters, the first Caucasian winner, who is also the first ever winner, is no exception. Richard Hatch is probably one of the most renowned and well known players to ever compete on the show. He is an entertaining over the top character and an intelligent strategist. He has been on the radar to return for many seasons and it is hard to find a Survivor fan who doesn’t want to see Hatch hit the beaches for a third time. He would also add in the extra elements of the gay contestant and an ‘older’ contestant, both of which we expect to see on each season.

Stephan Fishbach (Tocantins)


Stephan is another player who surprisingly hasn’t returned already to play the game. He represents the typical ‘nerdy white male’ archetype who struggles in challenges but makes up for it in social and strategic aspects of the game. Given there are far more Caucasian contestants to choose from than other races, Stephan is placed here to represent the fan/student of the game and nerd character that is often seen in Survivor. He is a much different personality than the other players on the tribe and that makes it perfect to place him in. In any season, Stephan would probably have success had a return to the game and is often seen as a hero contestant.


Judson “Fabio” Birza (Nicaragua)


Another winner on the list, Fabio is the typical blonde hair, blues eyes, white surfer dude. He is so far the youngest person to ever win Survivor and probably also the fastest to blow the million dollar prize. Fabio is a huge character that is filled with unintentional and intentional comedy and is always has a glow in his personality. He dominated through the challenges and was a popular member around the camp. In some ways it is kind of surprising that Fabio hasn’t actually returned before considering they have tried to emulate him multiple times with the likes of Matt Elrod, Carter and Woo. Would Fabio still be able to pull off his success amongst a collection of returning players and in such a small tribe?

Ciera Eastin (Blood VS Water)


Ciera fills out the ‘hot girl’ role that is present in every season while also bringing with her a gameplay that is willing to make risks and big move, for better or worse. Ciera became one of the most popular new players of the last few years after she voted out her mum and then participated in a purple rock draw just a few tribal councils later. It can be debated to the idols come home as to whether or not Ciera is a good player, but one thing that is hard to deny is that she was an entertaining player who proved she could make big and shocking moves. It would be remained to be seen whether or not Ciera could make as big impression on another season without a sibling for her to vote out.


Kass McQuillan (Cagayan)


I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t a fan of Chaos Kass but I will also be the first to admit that she was a big part in what made Survivor: Cagayan so good. Like Ciera, Kass proved that she was willing to make huge and devastating moves, even if they were terrible. It is refreshing to see a strong older woman villain on the show and with a second shot; Kass would have expectations to live up to her self-penned Chaos Kass title. Essentially Kass gives us both an older woman, a villain and an entertaining ‘love to hate her’ character all rolled in to one.


Honourable Mentions/Alternates:

I have included a male and female for each tribe as alternates or honourable mentions of the season. Some of these were closer to be included than others.

Cao Boi Bui (Cook Islands)

Christina Cha (One World)

Gervase Peterson (Borneo/Blood vs Water)

Cirie Fields (Panama/Micronesia/Heroes vs Villains)

Edgardo Rivera (Fiji)

Alicia Rosa (One World)

Shane Powers (Panama)

RC Saint-Amour (Philippines)

What do you think of Noah’s cast list? Who are you happy to see included? Who missed out? Comment below to let us know your list!



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14 Comments on Recasting Survivor: Cook Islands

  1. Too many nerd in your cast Noah. And Abi is Brazilian, she speaks Portuguese, so she isn’t hispanic.

  2. I would way rather have spencer return than Richard hatch

  3. Really good cast! But I don’t think they would put 6 winners in a season

  4. Make this happen. Great cast!

  5. Cao Boi was robbed, otherwise a great list.

  6. I would avoid casting players who’ve played 2 times already. So i’d replace Philip with Earl. Part of me wants to add Sabrina to the black tribe and Crystal should replace NaOnka (since they obviously wouldn’t let her come back). I would add Kim & Todd to the white tribe & replace Richard & Stephen.

    But I totally agree with what you said about NaOnka she truly ruined her guarenteed spot to a future season by quitting. Not only was she a big entertaining character but she did PLAY the game she was on her way to the final 3. Whether she won or not, beats me, if she won her edit would be completely different and she wouldn’t be potrayed as a villain, but if she made it to the end she wouldn’t have been the token sheep that did nothing. I really wish she stayed so we could see her return :(.

  7. Oh and I meant replace Philip with Dreamz.

  8. NAILED IT with the Asian tribe. The rest sucks.

  9. I thought Kel was the first Asian to play Survivor.

  10. Thanks for the kind words & for the inclusion.

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