Some of the most memorable Survivor contestants are often those with a different way of speaking than the average recruit from California. Over the years as we've seen contestants from all corners of the USA, and many from different cultural backgrounds giving them a unique accent and setting them apart from the beginning of the game. This week Julian Groneberg recaps 10 of the contestants with accents that made them that much more awesome. Did you favourite player make the list? Read on to find out!
10. Lydia Morales – Guatemala
“I came out here to be the provider, and I think I did that”
There’s something incredibly sweet about the lady that could. Despite her tough odds, the fishmonger from Washington State made it all the way to day 37 and maintained her amazing attitude along the way. She was thrilled to catch minnows, and didn’t even mind getting one of the worst foods in the food reward challenge. Short in stature, but big in personality, Lydia was the lady that did the pancake dance and spoke to the Mayans visiting camp in her native Spanish. The rest of the time she spoke, viewers were treated to an endearing Latin lilt that formed a big part of her personality.
9. Cao Boi Bui – Cook Islands
“Yul..I had a dream, I was dealing with all these supernatural people, with supernatural power!”
An outcast on the Asian American tribe, Cao Boi was the only on the Puka Puka tribe born outside of the US, and his legacy Asian accent made him immediately stand out from the others. His intensity, craziness, talkativeness, coupled with the way he delivered his stories made him an endearing character that we hadn’t seen anything like until that point. His ability to rid Brad of a bad wind, and his dream about supernatural spirits where he formulated the modern day plan ‘voodoo’ to split the votes all made him particularly awesome. He’s no doubt one of the best older Asian male characters we’ve ever seen. Perhaps this archetype isn’t always taken seriously by other players, but he’s one of the best characters from the middle era of the show without question.
8. Keith Nale – San Juan Del Sur & Cambodia
“Survivor’s not fuuun, fishing is fun… Golly!”
Keith has to go down as one of the most memorable characters to play in the last 10 seasons, and much of that goes down to his affable personality and southern charm. So many Keith-isms can be put down to his world-view from his southern upbringing and his days in Louisiana and Lower Arkansas. What’s more charming is that a quick Google search of where Keith lives is in Keithville, LA. Is that not perfect? When he speaks, we listen. And his kookiness comes down to his often simplistic but refreshing view of the world. Gotta love Keith and that southern drawl.
7. Mike Holloway – Worlds Apart
“We do the happy dance”
There’s a gruff scratchiness about Mike Holloways voice that was unique and something we’d never quite heard before before. Slightly comparable to pack a day smoker, with a southern twang, Mike’s voice also often alternated between a higher and lower register. As the truest of the blue collars, Mike outlasted and outplayed to be the sole Survivor of the dirty thirty. He was not only a memorable player but the Texan oil driller’s unique way of speaking and his personality definitely made him one of the best confessionalists of the season.
6. James ‘Rocky’ Reid – Fiji
“We’re staaaahhhhhving here bro.”
Rocky, the hot head from Boston wore his emotions on his sleeve and wasn’t always the nicest of players, but he did have a funny side, and never was this more enjoyable than when he dressed up in a bra and got nude to boost tribe morale. There’s no doubt his personality, and by extension, his accent were at times grating. However his distinctly North eastern way of speaking, at times closer to an English accent than a typical US speaking style is a big part of why he remains such a memorable contestant years later. That and the fact he’s pretty much a dead ringer for Sly Stalone.
5. Sandra Diaz Twine – Pearl Islands & Heroes vs Villains
“Russell keeping me around, because I’ll never get a single vote, but I don’t know about thaaaaaaaat.”
There’s no doubt that Sandra had a lot of sass, and much of what made her great was all in her delivery. Lets not forget her awesome premiere episode in Pearl Islands she put her Spanish tongue to good use, negotiating with the village locals and currying favour with her tribe in the process. There’s something about Sandra that almost all who played with her in her seasons trusted, and liked. Call me crazy, but a big part of the reason she was trusted was for her upfront no bull personality. Her sassy matter of fact accent and the way she delivers her thoughts, gives the impression that you know where you stand with her, even if the Queen is pulling the wool over your eyes.
4. Gillian Larson – Gabon
“Ooooooh elephant dung – It burns well”
The grandmother of the show may have only lasted two episodes, but her attempts at currying favour with the tribe by being positive and upbeat sadly only seem to work against her. The South African born player is perhaps remembered for her voice with the shifting vowel pronunciation (mouth becomes in ‘moth’ etc) and her blended Dutch and British way of speaking. There’s no doubt she was the odd one out on her tribe, however what we saw of Gillian digging for elephant dung and cheering on her tribe when they’d already lost meant she was a fantastic character in her short time on the show.
3. Ace Gordon – Gabon
“I grew up very well, going to different countries on concordes, being in the best hotels…with money”
Who could forget Ace, born in New York, raised in London and according to his audition video attended Hill House same as the Sultan of Brunei’s son. According to the Gabon reunion Ace believed his pommy accent may have hurt his chances in the game and prevented some people trusting him. It’s a strange idea that he may have been able to sustain a local US accent for a whole 39 days without reverting to his plum mouthed default way of speaking. In any case, we’re glad he kept it posh all season long. Definitley one of the most memorable characters, and delightfully villainous.
2. Natalie Anderson – San Juan Del Sur
“Come on Twinnie, lets go!”
Until season 29, we hadn’t yet seen any accents from the sub continent, and our first Sri Lankan castaways didn’t disappoint with their on screen charisma. While it’s a shame we didn’t get to see them converse together in their own ‘Twinnie Speak’ as we had in the Amazing Race, there’s something enjoyable about Natalie’s accent that I could listen to all day. But credit where credit’s due. It’s not only their accents but also their sharp wit and funloving personalities that make the Twinnies so awesome. Do yourself a favour and listen to some of the twinnie’s podcasts soon!
1. Abi Maria Gomes – Philippines & Cambodia
“I have a very strong Brazilian accent. Hopefully I can use it as a flirtatious tool.”
Abi Maria (aka the Brazilian Dragon) definitely had a strong enunciation and it’s probably her Brazilian background why she sticks in our minds as such a feisty and passionate player. When you think of Survivor characters with accents and different cultural backgrounds Abi comes straight to mind. That’s why she’s taken the top spot. While playing with her could likely be a different story, as a viewer she’s awesome to see erupt and a lot of fun to see on screen.
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!
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