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Courtney Yates is a contestant from Survivor: China and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.

During her initial run in China, Courtney made a name for herself with her sharp tongue and fiery attitude. This was especially true during her season-long rivalry with Jean-Robert Bellande. After aligning with Todd Herzog and Amanda Kimmel, the trio quickly took over the game and managed to reach the Final Tribal Council where Courtney narrowly lost to Todd in a 4-2-1 vote after the jury saw his strategic game more deserving than her own.

Courtney returned in Heroes vs. Villains and was quickly deemed the weak link on the Villains tribe for her lacking physical ability, though she was kept around as she proved to be a valued asset to Rob Mariano and his alliance against Russell Hantz. Following Rob's elimination, however, Courtney and close ally Sandra Diaz-Twine found themselves on the bottom, and, after the Villains lost the final Immunity Challenge before the merge, she was eliminated in a 5-1 vote due to the tribe's fear of her connections on the Heroes tribe.

Because of her said sharp wit and memorable one-liners, Courtney is considered to be a fan favorite and legend of the game.


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Courtney Yates grew up in Boston, the only sister with three brothers, two older, one younger, all much bigger. She attended Suffolk University, studying at both the main Boston/Beacon Hill campus and the University's West African campus, located in Dakar, Senegal. She paid her way through college working nights as a passenger service agent for a major airline at Boston's Logan International Airport, spent time as a receptionist at a high-end hair salon, and has even worked as a "historical interpreter" (a tour guide in costume) at historic homes in Salem, Massachusetts. She graduated in May 2003, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Yates is currently a waitress in a popular restaurant in New York City's Union Square, where she enjoys the fast pace and the freedom her job affords her.

Yates' main hobbies include reading and learning new things. She loves history and enjoys keeping ongoing lists of things to look up whenever she comes across something new or interesting. Yates has a large and varied collection of friends with whom she loves going out, eating, drinking and, of course, gossiping, a long-practiced skill she hopes will serve her well on Survivor: China. Originally from Boston, her sport of choice is baseball, and despite now living just a few stops from Yankee Stadium, she remains a loyal member of Red Sox Nation.

Yates is best described as honest (sometimes interpreted as cruel), sarcastic (often interpreted as bitchy) and physically small. She is aware that people find her slight frame curious, and at times controversial, but she warns people against judging her on looks alone. She proclaims that her body weight (or lack thereof) is purely genetic, as both her parents are tall and thin as well. She claims to be tough as nails, both mentally and physically, and is ready for the challenge of Survivor.

Yates currently resides in New York City with her rescued, semi-reformed alley cat, Catullus (named for the poet). Her birth date is March 26, 1981.[1]

Courtney Yates (28)

Tribe: Villains
Hometown: Boston, Mass.
Current Residence: New York, N.Y.
Personal Claim To Fame: "Punctuality."
Inspiration in Life: "The laughter of children."
Previous Finishes: China: Runner-up
Favorite Past Moment: "Seeing my Dad bust out from behind the bushes at the family reward."
Previous Survivor She Respects Most: Yau-Man Chan (Fiji, Micronesia)
Previous Survivor She Respects Least: "All the strong people, because they are so smug."

Why Did She Come Back?: "Couldn't pass up the opportunity."[2]



Courtney began the game on the Fei Long tribe. Over the course of the first few days, Courtney grew annoyed with Jean-Robert Bellande's laziness, annoying snoring, and overall creepiness towards the women of the tribe. She also formed an unlikely friendship with Leslie Nease, as the two were seen as the physically weakest and most misunderstood members of the tribe. At Fei Long's first Tribal Council on Day 9, Courtney voted with Leslie against Jean-Robert because of their conflict, but Leslie was voted out 6-2 instead due to concerns about her connections to the other tribe.

Courtney remained on Fei Long following the Day 13 Tribe Switch. Soon after, she joined Amanda Kimmel and Todd Herzog's alliance alongside the rest of the original Fei Long members, but stated that she only did so because she disliked Amanda and Todd less than the rest of the group. Courtney also formed a friendship with original Zhan Hu member Sherea Lloyd and lobbied for her to be spared over Jean-Robert when Fei Long lost immunity on Day 18. In spite of her protests however, Sherea was voted out, with Courtney again voting against Jean-Robert. The following day, Courtney was upset with both Todd and Amanda, stating she didn't feel like they were her friends since they weren't yet willing to vote out Jean-Robert but instead the people she had grown closest with.

On Day 20, the two tribes merged into Hae Da Fung. For the first few votes after the merge, Courtney remained loyal to her alliance, which mainly targeted the original Zhan Hu members. She also won individual immunity on Day 24 as she was able to keep herself relatively still on her barrel, surprising even herself. Courtney's fortunes continued that night, when her long-time rival Jean-Robert was finally voted out, much to her delight. Courtney's commitment to her allies was again tested on Day 27, when she sided with them to vote out her "Survivor boyfriend" Frosti Zernow in a unanimous vote, despite worries that she wouldn't.

As the numbers dwindled, Courtney remained in lock-step with Todd and Amanda, who were able to blindside James Clement and vote out Erik and Peih Gee, the final two members of the original Zhan Hu tribe. Courtney stated that she believed that it would be most beneficial for all of them to go to the Final Three together as a trio, as they had angered most of the same people on the jury. On Day 38, Amanda once again won immunity, but Courtney found herself in a safe spot as Todd and Denise Martin were gunning for each other, leaving her and Amanda to decide who to send home. Ultimately, the two remained loyal to their Final 3 agreement with Todd, making Denise the final member of the jury.

At the Final Tribal Council, Courtney highlighted that she wasn't a lifelong fan of the show and learned to survive on her own in a highly physical game. She also claimed to have found her footing around the merge, specifically referencing her immunity win and that a girl of her stature was still there on Day 39. However, she was largely ignored by the jury, who mainly focused on Todd and Amanda. Although she was appreciated by some as a more honest person than Todd and Amanda and someone who overcame the most odds, she was criticized by several jurors for seemingly taking a back seat strategically and her inability to criticize Todd's game. When the final vote was revealed, Courtney finished second to Todd, receiving the votes of Denise and James.

Episode Tribe
Challenge Challenge Type Sit-Out? Result
1 Fei Long Dragon Dance Reward/Immunity No Won
2 Chinese Checkers Reward No Won
Gatecrasher Immunity Yes Won
3 Clear the Deck Reward Yes Lost
Blade Runner Immunity No Lost
4 Great Balls of Fire Reward Yes Won
Warrior's Duel Immunity No Won
5 Plunge, Pull, Pop Immunity Yes Won
6 Search and Decode Reward Yes Won
Survivor Smorgasbord Immunity No Lost
Tribes Merged, Day 20
7 Hae Da Fung Memory Feast Immunity Lost
8 The Bucket Stops Here Reward Lost
Dragon Rider Immunity Won
9 Drum Roll Reward Won
Chinese Zodiac Symbols Immunity Lost
11 Confucius Said Reward Lost
Star Struck Immunity Lost
12 Marco Polo Reward Lost
Swamp Donkey Immunity Lost
13 Zen Archery Reward Invited
Chinese Leftovers Immunity Lost
14 Great Wall of Zhelin Reward Lost
Broken China Immunity Lost
Runner-Up, Day 39

Episode Courtney's
Voted Against
1 Fei Long Tribe Immune
2 Fei Long Tribe Immune
3 Jean-Robert -
4 Fei Long Tribe Immune
5 Fei Long Tribe Immune
6 Jean-Robert -
7 Jaime -
8 Jean-Robert Individual Immunity
9 Frosti -
11 James -
12 Erik -
13 Peih-Gee -
14 Denise -
Jury Votes
for Courtney
Denise, James
Runner-Up, Day 39

Heroes vs. Villains[]

For her sharp-tongued and fiery attitude, Courtney entered the game as a member of the Villains tribe. Early in the game, Courtney was recruited into Rob Mariano's majority alliance, where she would form a special bond with Sandra Diaz-Twine, as they would often be sat out challenges together. When Jeff Probst revealed on Day 15 that both tribes would vote someone out in a Double Tribal Council, Courtney's alliance planned to split their votes 3-3 between Russell Hantz and Parvati Shallow to flush out any potential Hidden Immunity Idol. However, due to the combination of Tyson Apostol casting a fourth vote for Parvati and an idol play on her from Russell, Tyson was eliminated instead.

Following Tyson's elimination, Courtney's alliance would continue to fracture. Coach Wade swore his allegiance to both Rob and Russell, and pushed to vote out Courtney when the Villains lost immunity on Day 18. At the same time, Jerri Manthey defected to Russell's alliance, causing Rob's elimination. Now on the outs alongside Sandra, Courtney appeared next in line to be voted out after the Villains lost again on Day 21. However, she was narrowly spared in a 4-3 vote after Sandra tricked Russell into believing Coach was planning to vote him out.

In spite of this reprieve, when the Villains lost immunity for a third consecutive time, Courtney was targeted once more, specifically due to her connection with Amanda Kimmel from the Heroes tribe. Despite her best efforts to turn the vote onto Jerri, Courtney was voted out unanimously at Tribal Council on Day 24, becoming the second member of the jury.

At the Final Tribal Council, Courtney did not address Russell, but complimented Parvati for her athleticism and also highlighted Sandra's loyalty, which she viewed as an underestimated quality. In the end, Courtney joined all of the original Heroes in voting for Sandra to win the game, who defeated Parvati and Russell in a 6-3-0 vote.

Episode Tribe
Challenge Challenge Type Sit-Out? Result
1 Villains Battle Dig Reward No Lost
Lock, Load and Light Immunity No Won
2 A Crate Idea Reward/Immunity Yes Won
3 Sumo in Mud Reward/Immunity Yes Lost
4 Slip, Slide & Score Reward No Won
Roll With It Immunity Yes Won
5 Schmergen Brawl Reward Yes Won
Blind Cube Crisis Immunity No Won
6 Rope-a-Dope1 Immunity No Lost
Reward Yes Won
7 Basket Brawl Reward Yes Lost
Caught in the Web Immunity No Lost
8 Fauxconut Bowling Reward Yes Lost
Mud Slide Immunity No Lost
9 Chimney Sweep Reward No Won
Strung Out Immunity No Lost
Voted Out, Day 24
^1 The tribes competed in separate individual Immunity Challenges where the winners from both tribes competed against each other for tribal reward.

Episode Courtney's
Voted Against
1 Villains Tribe Immune
2 Villains Tribe Immune
3 Randy -
4 Villains Tribe Immune
5 Villains Tribe Immune
6 Parvati1 -
7 Russell Coach
8 Coach Coach, Jerri, Russell
9 Jerri Danielle, Jerri, Parvati,
Russell, Sandra
Voted Out, Day 24
Voted for
Sole Survivor

^1 In "Banana Etiquette", Parvati used a Hidden Immunity Idol, negating Courtney's vote against her.



  • Courtney was recruited to compete on Survivor when a casting agent noticed her at her job. Courtney also had not watched Survivor before competing and originally expected to be the first person voted out.[5]
  • Courtney and fellow Fei Long Alliance member Amanda Kimmel both received no votes against them in China. They are the first pair of runners-up to both receive no elimination votes.
  • Courtney is the first of three contestants to finish in second place outright in a Final Three with all finalists getting jury votes. She was followed by Jaclyn Schultz in San Juan del Sur and Chrissy Hofbeck in Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers.
  • Courtney was offered to compete on Micronesia, but she declined.[6]
  • In both of Courtney's seasons, she was on a red starting tribe, and the merged tribe was black.
  • In Heroes vs. Villains, Courtney wore Todd Herzog's hat that he wore in China.[7]
  • Courtney lost 7 lbs, in China, and 4 lbs. in Heroes vs. Villains.[8]
  • After arriving at Ponderosa after her elimination in Heroes vs. Villains, Courtney formed a musical band with Coach Wade and J.T. Thomas. They called themselves "The Dragonz."[9]
  • Courtney is the only Villain to vote for Sandra Diaz-Twine to win in Heroes vs. Villains.


Survivor: China Castaways
Fei Long
S15 aaron t
Fei Long
S15 amanda t
Zhan Hu
S15 ashley t
Zhan Hu
S15 chicken t
Fei Long
S15 courtney t
Zhan Hu
S15 dave t
Fei Long
S15 denise t
Zhan Hu
S15 erik t
Zhan Hu
S15 frosti t
Zhan Hu
S15 jaime t
Fei Long
S15 james t
Fei Long
S15 jeanrobert t
Fei Long
S15 leslie t
Zhan Hu
S15 peihgee t
Zhan Hu
S15 sherea t
Fei Long
S15 todd t
Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Castaways
S20 amanda t
S20 candice t
S20 cirie t
S20 coach t
S20 colby t
S20 courtney t
S20 danielle t
S20 jt t
S20 james t
S20 jerri t
S20 parvati t
S20 randy t
S20 rob t
S20 rupert t
S20 russell t
S20 sandra t
S20 stephenie t
S20 sugar t
S20 tom t
S20 tyson t