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Survivor has always been great at casting memorable players, and castaways like Parvati, Rupert, and Russell come to mind when we think about the greats. Even season 39’s resident mentors, Boston Rob and Sandra, were picked partly because of their memorable personalities.
The cast of Survivor: Island of the Idols also has some great players, and one of the season’s standouts is Elaine Stott. Elaine is funny and likeable, and she was able to charm her way out of getting voted out on the first episode.
Here’s what you need to know about Survivor 39‘s breakout star, Elaine Stott.
Elaine is from Woodbine, Kentucky.
Woodbine is a small town in Eastern Kentucky, and Elaine told Survivor that she enjoys “four-wheeling, fishing, and taking my boat to the lake” in her hometown. Elaine is actually the third Survivor contestant in recent seasons to hail from Eastern Kentucky—Donathan made it to the final five of Survivor: Ghost Island, and Nick Wilson won Survivor: David vs. Goliath.
She works in a car parts factory.
Elaine explained to Parade that while she went to college and graduated with two degrees in Psychology and Movement & Leisure Studies, she didn’t know what she wanted to do after school. She ended up working at a car parts factory after a friend told her about the job, and she’s worked there for about 15 years.
And while she admitted that she doesn’t quite enjoy her job, she plans to stick with it for now.
“My grandpa partly raised me and told me, ‘It don’t matter if you like it. If it pays the bills and puts food on the table, it’s what you have to do.’ So I had that mentality, she explained. “I generally don’t quit stuff; once I do it, then I’m in it.”
Elaine recently got engaged to her girlfriend.
Elaine told Parade that she and her girlfriend have been together for four years, but her flirtatious ways might get her into trouble.
“It’s easier to build relationships with guys. If you get in with the dudes, they’re looking over you…And once I get in good with the dudes, the pretty girls come,” Elaine joked. “I am in a committed relationship, but I am a bit of a flirt. So I’ve got to keep that [expletive] in check because she warned me.”
She applied for Survivor four times.
Elaine says that she tried out when she was in her twenties and thirties, and her godmother encouraged her to try out again after her grandfather and mother passed away.
However, Elaine’s entry onto the show is a little bittersweet, as her godmother recently had a stroke and won’t be able to appear on the show with her, should she make it to the family visits.
Elaine’s Survivor strategy? Be a sidekick.
As Elaine explained, part of her likability stems from the fact that it’s easy for her to connect with people. “I want to be everyone’s sidekick. I am so cool with being Robin or Barney Rubble or whatever,” she explained. “I want someone to be my Ricky Bobby because Cal Naughton wins in the end… I’m pretty good with connecting with people and pretty easy to talk to. I can get people to open up to me.”
Survivor host Jeff Probst actually predicted that Elaine would become a fan favorite. “Elaine is going to be an early favorite,” he says in the video below. “Elaine should be a stand-up comedian. There’s never been anybody like Elaine on the show.”
But while her friendly nature may lead to an early departure if her fellow cast mates deem her to be too much of a threat to take to the Final Three, Elaine believes that she can keep herself out of harm’s way.
“I think people will underestimate me. I think with my people skills and my ability to relate to different types of people, I will be able to befriend them or gain their trust,” she explained to the Survivor producers. “I would be overlooked because I wouldn’t be a threat, but an ally.”