Smarts, looks or physical prowess — which proved to be the most beneficial? Season 28 of Survivor, Survivor: Cagayan — Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty, found a cast of 18 competing against each other in the Philippines.
The CBS reality series was filmed in the summer of 2013 and aired from February to May 2014. The competitors were divided into three tribes of six individuals based on their dominant traits: Aparri (“Brawn”), Luzon (“Brains”) or Solana (“Beauty”).
Tony Vlachos, who was originally in the Aparri tribe, ultimately won the season with eight out of nine votes during the finale. He bested runner-up Yung “Woo” Hwang, from the Aparri tribe.
“Tony is one of the most electrifying players/characters we’ve ever had. You can’t anticipate what he’s going to do and then when he does it you are often stunned at the manner in which he did it,” host Jeff Probst told Entertainment Weekly in May 2014. “I’m happy he won. I like seeing players rewarded for playing hard. I really do believe Survivor is at its best when played by people who go for broke. I also really appreciated the jury rewarding him with the money. That was a key ingredient. They could have been bitter and voted ‘against’ Tony but instead they voted ‘for’ Tony despite their bitterness.”
As for Hwang’s idea to bring Vlachos to the finale, Probst believed it was not the smartest move in the game. “I think the Woo decision was based on what he thought he was obligated to do based on his approach to life,” he said. “I always believed Woo’s life philosophy was genuine. I believe he lives his life by a code of conduct and I think that’s one of the fundamental reasons so many people, kids especially, dig him. I also think he got played by a very shrewd New Jersey cop. Tony knew how to talk to Woo and he gave him a million dollar life lesson.”
After his win, Vlachos revealed what he planned to do with the prize money. “I’ve been playing the game with brains, and I’ve been listening to how they talk,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in May 2014. “They talk so nice and knowledgeable and educated. I have a high school diploma, and I sound nothing like them when I talk. So the first thing I’m going to do is set up a college fund for my kids because education is huge.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see where the cast members of Survivor season 28 are today!