Age and youth have always played a major role in Survivor. Whether it is at the expense of the older players who tend to get voted out first, or younger players who have often lied about their age in order to appear older to their tribemates age, it can have a significant impact on any player's game.
Only one person over the age of 50 has ever won the game, according to Mike Gabler in the Survivor 43 premiere; younger individuals are far more likely to win the award. However, who are the youngest contestants to ever compete? As of season 43, there have been exactly ten youngsters to ever compete (the minimum age to compete was reduced to 18 from 21 in 2008).
Here is a list of the ten youngsters who have participated in Survivor as of 2022 (Note: the ages listed here are in reference to the contestants' ages at the start of the game):
Keith Sowell, Edge of Extinction, 19 years, 10.5 months
Keith Sowell (@keithedwardsowell) has shared a post.
Keith became the eighth teenager to ever compete in Survivor when he appeared in season 38, Edge of Extinction. However, despite his youthfulness, he did not fit in well among the tribe, and was voted out second for his poor challenge performances (and lack of swimming ability in particular).
Keith, along with fellow Edger Wendy Diaz, soon raised the flag and fled the game shortly after failing to return to the game via the Edge of Extinction challenge on Day 17.
Brandon Hantz, South Pacific 19 years, 7.5 months
Brandons youth was more or less irrelevant as he sought to hide something other than his age from the rest of his tribe's family history. However, his attempts failed, and his Upolu tribe embraced him as one of their own. When Upolu was down to five, though, he was considered too much of a jury threat (quite the reverse of his toxic uncle).
Brandon returned to his tribe the following year for season 26, Caramoan, but soon demonstrated that he was not qualified to return, suffering a mental breakdown on Day 13 and forcibly establishing an impromptu Tribal Council to exterminate him.
Sami Layadi, Survivor 43, years, 6 months, 2 weeks, and 5 days
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Sami, a 19-year-old pet cremator, is the newest in a long line of youngsters who hope to topple Fabio Birza as the youngest winner ever in the Baka Tribe. It is unknown how long Sami will last, although he has stated to his tribe that he is 22 years old.
Jessica Peet and David vs. Goliath: 19 Years, 5 Months
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Jessica Peet, 19, was placed on the underdog David tribe for the famous David vs. Goliath clash in 2018. Despite her age, she became the first person voted out (but second person eliminated, three days before), because the majority of the tribe became concerned about her connections with other tribe members.
Redemption Island, Natalie Tenerelli, has been available for 19 years, three months.
Natalie Tenerelli, famous for being one of the members of the dominant Ometepe alliance led by Boston Rob Marianos, became the first and so far only teenager to reach the Final Tribal Council in Season 22, Redemption Island. She did so alongside Boston Rob, who famously compared her to a daughter (at that time, Rob had two young daughters waiting for him at home).
Natalie's youthfulness and inexperience eventually played a major role in her downfall; the jury regarded her as strategically incompetent and a coattail rider of Robs, awarding the latter the million dollars in a unanimous 8-1-0 vote.
Swati Goel, Survivor 42 19 Years, 2 Months
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Swati became the next target when she was eliminated unanimously by Ika last year. After the fact, she quickly became the leader of her Ika tribe.
In her final Tribal Council address, eventual winner Maryanne Oketch gave Swati a shoutout, in which she said she noticed early on how younger players, including Swati, were targeted early, leading Maryanne to prefer a more under-the-radar game. It worked out for the then-23-year-old, who soon became the fifth-youngest winner in the game's history.
4.Julia Sokolowski, Kaoh Rong 18 Years, 11 Months, 3 Weeks, 1 Day
Julia is the only 18-year-old female to ever appear on the show. On Day 10, she turned 19, but she was voted off a few weeks later, on Day 29. She would end up casting her jury vote for Michele Fitzgerald, her close friend and confidant. She would become the seventh (now eighth) youngest winner of all time.
Ghost Island, Michael Yerger, 18 years, 11 months
Michael Yerger, who was eliminated on Day 29 after a tiebreaking vote, would soon help to make Survivor history by voting for Domenick Abbate as a juror, causing the first-ever 5-5 tie jury vote. Laurel Johnson would vote for her ally Wendell Holland, who then became the season's winner.
Michael turned 19 just a week after the season's filming began.
Spencer Duhm and Tocantin have been married for 18 years and 10 months.
Spencer Duhm was the youngest contestant to ever play Survivor. Profiting from the then-recent rule change that everyone aged 18 to 20 may begin applying, Spencer took advantage of this at only 18 years old, becoming the youngest contestant to ever compete on Tocantins. He was eventually voted out of the Jalapao tribe on Day 15.
Spencer, who is gay and wants to hide his sexuality from his tribemates, ended up dating Todd Herzog, one of the youngest Survivor winners ever. However, the relationship would not last.
Will Wahl, Millennials vs. Gen X 18 Years, 8 Months
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Spencer Duhms, who appeared on Survivor: Tocantins in 2009, has had the opportunity to compete for the youngest person ever.
Will Wahl became the youngest-ever Survivor contestant when he appeared on season 33 in 2016, starting off at just 18 years and 8 months old. His fate was sealed on Day 34, after he was voted out for betraying his alliance.
Survivor 43 airs on CBS Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern.