‘Survivor’: 1 Winner Went on to Be a CNN Correspondent

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Survivor still going strong on CBS after 40 seasons of tropical solitude, tribal councils, and a complete lack of toilet paper. Competitors have ranged from pro athletes to sustainable clothing designer. One competitor in particular has worked exceptionally high since his life on the island. Yul Kwon, winner Survivor: Cook Island from Quarter 13.

(LR) Amber Brkich Mariano, Danni Boatwright, Boston Rob Mariano, Ethan Zohn, Parvati Shallow, Yul Kwon, Wendell Holland and Adam Klein at Tribal Council
Amber Brkich Mariano, Danni Boatwright, Boston Rob Mariano, Ethan Zohn, Parvati Shallow, Yul Kwon, Wendell Holland and Adam Klein at Tribal Council | CBS through Getty Images

Kwon was not the usual ‘Survivor’ competitor

Kwon, a graduate of Stanford and Yale, was among a handful of lawyers and law students who went to the island to become a graduate. Its part Survivor the season was controversial as the representatives divided the competitors into four tribes according to their race and ethnicity. CBS took a lot of heat for this decision and the ratings reflected the general inconsistency of the move.

Yul Kwon started out in the Puka Puka tribe. He discovered the Idol Immunity Idol, known as the “God Idol” on the island, on Latha. 5. By Day 20, he was part of the Aitu Tribe and in the hunt to win. But two members of the tribe merged and joined the other tribe, leaving Kwon and his Aitu tribes with only a few left. Kwon were the brains of the tribe, and Ozzy Lusth was considered the brawn. Between the two of them, with a little help from the God Idol, the small team of four made it to the end. The jury rewarded Kwon’s strategic and social skills for giving him a 5-4 victory over the corporate Lusth.

‘Survivor: Winners At War’ was also strategic for Kwon

Not content to end his TV career after spending time on CNN, Kwon went on to create and maintain a series on PBS. In America appeared, Kwon focused on American manufacturing, of all things. He took a topic that looked like bad weather and made it interesting, with stories about how U.S. manufacturing is going strong, just not in ways you would expect.

Kwon is all about breaking stereotypes

When Kwon decided to go ahead Survivor, his parents were concerned about how it would appear to his Korean family and community, according to NHPR. At the time, Koreans in the mainstream media were only far apart, and occasionally represented as foolish, as Long Duk Dong from Sixteen candles. Kwon took the stereotype completely, came across as wise, difficult, and even earned a place on it Crowd Sexiest Man Alive List. He got the girl too; Kwon married banker Sophie Tan and praised her on stage at a concert.