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Denise Martin is a contestant from Survivor: China.

Denise's likability and strong work ethic led her to become a loyal member of the dominant Fei Long Alliance. Perceived as a huge threat at the end, she was voted out unanimously at the final four, a day before the Final Tribal Council.


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Denise Martin was born and raised in Revere, Massachusetts. She attended Revere High School, Class of 1985. She spent one year at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and then attended Wentworth Institute of Technology, where she received a certificate in Technical School/Telecommunication Electronics.

Martin rides her scooter to her job as a lunch lady for fourth through seventh graders. This involves preparing and serving lunch, along with cleaning the kitchen, five days a week. She previously worked as a short-order cook and a central office technician for a phone company. She also operated and maintained a video game route at eight different colleges, repairing and maintaining video games and juke boxes.

Martin is a Second Degree Black Belt in American Kenpo Karate. She is a student at Revere Karate Academy in Revere. She recently opened her own karate school, Douglas Karate Club. She is a member of the International Kenpo Karate Association. Her hobbies include collecting Budweiser memorabilia, axe and knife throwing, stick fighting, and playing sports with her three daughters. She is an avid Red Sox and Patriots fan; she even named her dachshund Tedy Bruschi K9. She describes herself as competitive, outgoing, strong-willed and determined.

Martin currently resides in Douglas, Massachusetts with her husband of 16 years, Robert. They have three daughters, Erin, 13; Emily, 10; and Samantha, 9. Her birth date is May 5, 1967.[1]


Denise Martin was amazed by the welcoming ceremony as she was a lunch lady who had an opportunity to be in a Chinese temple. After the ceremony, the castaways were told to find the bag with their name on it. Denise's bag was red and she was placed on the Fei Long tribe. Fei Long started off wonderfully, winning the first three challenges of the season. However, Fei Long's winning streak ended when the Zhan Hu tribe's women won the Day 7 Reward Challenge. Zhan Hu also won tribal immunity, sending Fei Long to Tribal Council. Denise followed Aaron Reisberger's lead and voted out Leslie Nease after the latter revealed Fei Long's tribal dynamic while she was kidnapped. Fei Long resumed their winning streak by winning a nighttime Reward Challenge, winning a visit from a local Chinese fisherman and his family. Denise believed Fei Long was the best reward Fei Long won and amazed the family and their fishing techniques. At the Immunity Challenge, Denise was teamed with Courtney Yates. However, neither woman scored. Thankfully, James Clement and Amanda Kimmel won Fei Long immunity.

On Day 13, Fei Long got a note from two Chinese men to select Zhan Hu's two strongest members to make them Fei Long. The speculated that Zhan Hu got the same note and was about to lose James. Sure enough, Fei Long received a note revealing that Zhan Hu picked James and Aaron to join their tribe. Denise was upset because she was good friends with James. When the newcomers, Frosti Zernow and Sherea Lloyd arrived, Fel Long was also given a basket of food. At the Immunity Challenge, Fei Long won the challenge. However, this was in part because of Jaime Dugan and Peih-Gee Law throwing the challenge to protect Frosti and Sherea. 

At the next Reward Challenge, Denise sat out of the Reward Challenge along with Amanda and Courtney. Fei Long won the Reward Challenge for a trip to a local tea house and the tribe chose to kidnap James. The group was amazed by the house and was delighted to have bathing areas and toiletries along with food and tea. Denise was later told by Todd Herzog that the Hidden Immunity Idol was on the archway in the camp and he needed her to win the next Immunity Challenge so James could use it to eliminate Jaime. Denise was amazed that the idol was right in front of them and she agreed to try her hardest at the Immunity Challenge. However, Denise struggled to eat her balut and was unable to swallow it, giving James the round for Zhan Hu. Zhan Hu would win the challenge. Denise was upset after losing the challenge because she felt it was her fault for the lost. At Tribal Council, despite Courtney lobbying to have Jean-Robert Bellande voted out, Sherea was voted out over Jean-Robert in a 5-2 vote.

On Day 20, the tribes would merge into one and live at Fei Long's campsite. The castaways were treated to entertainment by Chinese performers and a feast. The next day, Jeff Probst came to the newly merged Hae Da Fung tribe's camp to quiz them on details at the merge feast for the Immunity Challenge. Frosti would win Immunity Challenge and Jaime was voted out in a 7-3 vote. At the next Reward Challenge, Denise was left unpicked and ineligible for the trip to the thousand-year-old village. Denise was upset because being left unpicked brought back memories of being an outcast all of her life. Peih-Gee tried to form an alliance with the five castaways at camp. Denise considered it but didn't want to anger the majority. Courtney won individual immunity and Denise presumed Peih-Gee was the target. However, Denise was confused when Jean-Robert was voted out in a 5-3-1 vote over Peih-Gee.

Denise was upset that she was left out of the loop when it to came Jean-Robert's blindside. It took James to calm her down and reaffirm that she was not on the block. At the next Reward Challenge, Denise was chosen by Todd to be on his team with Peih-Gee and James. The quartet struggled and they lost the challenge. Denise talked to James after she witnessed him arguing with Peih-Gee and agreed that all parties were responsible for the loss. At the Immunity Challenge, The castaways were given the choice of competing or eating Burgers with the fixings and fries until the challenge ended. Denise chose to eat and Peih-Gee won immunity. Despite Erik's vulnerability, the target became Frosti because of his challenge performance and he was unanimously voted out.

After Frosti left the Tribal Council area, Jeff announced there was going to be a challenge for a trip to a Chinese temple. Although she didn't win the challenge, Peih-Gee chose Denise and Erik to join her on reward. On the way to the temple, Peih-Gee attempted to forge an alliance with Denise. Denise was amazed by the temple itself and the martial arts prowess of the monks and how effortless they can do their moves. Denise herself, demonstrated her prowess in front of everyone revealing she has been a karate student for eight years and almost near the rank of receiving a black belt. Denise said she was very grateful to Peih-Gee for selecting her to go on the trip. When the trio returned to camp, Denise revealed to Todd of Peih-Gee's plans. At the Immunity Challenge, Denise was eliminated in the preliminary round. Erik ended up winning immunity over Amanda. Amanda believed that James was the biggest threats because of his idols, athleticism, and likability and wanted to blindside James at Tribal Council. Denise was unsure at first, but she joined Amanda in voting out her friend and James was voted out in a 5-1-1 vote.

All of the Hae Da Fung was relieved that James didn't play one of his idols and avoid his wrath. At the next Reward Challenge, the castaways were partnered with their Loved Ones. Denise and her husband, Robert, won the challenge. After being given a Sprint phone, Denise had to pick two castaways and she chose Todd, Amanda, and their sisters respectively to join her and Robert. The group enjoyed the food and the time with their loved ones. Denise also got emotional when she got a phone call from her daughters. When she returned to camp, Denise attempted to do damage control with Peih-Gee. Peih-Gee asked why she picked Amanda and Denise explained that Amanda was feeling faint at Tribal Council. At the Immunity Challenge, Denise struggled early on. Peih-Gee ended up winning immunity. The Zhan Hus attempted to get Denise to flip. Although Denise considered this because she felt she was at the bottom of the Fei Long Alliance, Denise deemed it her best interest to stay with the Fei Longs and joined them in voting out Erik Huffman.

After the vote, Denise was worried about having made a mistake by not flipping. At the Reward Challenge, the castaways use a crossbow to shoot arrows at a board and score a point for whoever's target it landed on. After the castaways gave arrows to each other, Denise ended up with two arrows from Courtney and Todd. Denise missed once and score one point on her second shot. However, Denise ended up winning the challenge and the trip to the Great Wall of China because of Amanda and Courtney landing arrows on Denise's targets. Denise quickly chose Courtney. However, Denise was told she can choose a second person to join her. Peih-Gee begged Denise to pick her, pointing that she picked her to go to the Shaolin Temple and was likely going to the jury. Denise didn't want Peih-Gee to get any stronger and opted to pick Todd, leaving Peih-Gee upset. The trio enjoyed the sights and the food, once they learned how to cook it. At the Immunity Challenge, Denise was eliminated in round two after struggling to eat balut again. Denise considered voting out Todd because he would backstab anyone in a heartbeat. However, Denise believed that Todd angered too many people on the jury and voted out Peih-Gee instead.

The final four were happy to be still in the game. Denise felt this was a life-changing experience and felt she could overcome anything. At the final four Reward Challenge, Denise once again fell behind early. Amanda would win the challenge and the food that came with the victory. After a difficult decision, Amanda only chose Todd to join her in eating. Denise was upset that Amanda didn't pick her. Denise linked it to her being the outsider all of her life and was worried that she would be voted out without immunity. Todd talked to Denise about who is the most likely to win the Final Immunity Challenge. The next day, the castaways partake in the Rites of Passage and in the Final Immunity Challenge, Denise attempted to convince Amanda to throw the challenge and she won't vote her out. Amanda wasn't interested and wanted to battle it out. Denise ultimately lost the Final Immunity to Amanda. Denise was nervous because of her being the oldest of the final four. Denise attempted to sway Amanda to vote with her and vote out Todd. Ultimately, Denise was voted out over Todd in a 3-1 vote.

At Final Tribal Council, Denise claimed to have dedicated her life to honestly and being fair and believed that she would have won had she been a finalist. Denise pointed out that Amanda had lied to multiple people on the jury, despite the latter claiming otherwise. Denise then pointed out that Todd was so deceptive that she couldn't tell when he was being truthful, that he would backstab someone in a blink of an eye and needed to cleanse his conscious. Denise ended her speech by saying she respected Courtney for her honesty. Denise gave her jury vote to Courtney, who lost the title of Sole Survivor to Todd in a 4-2-1 vote.

Voting History

Episode Denise's
Voted Against
1 Fei Long Tribe Immune
2 Fei Long Tribe Immune
3 Leslie -
4 Fei Long Tribe Immune
5 Fei Long Tribe Immune
6 Sherea -
7 Jaime -
8 Peih-Gee -
9 Frosti -
11 James -
12 Erik -
13 Peih-Gee -
14 Todd Amanda,
Courtney, Todd
Voted Out, Day 38
Voted for
Sole Survivor


  • During the live Reunion Show, Denise stated that she was displaced from her job as a lunch lady after her return from filming. Upon hearing this, producer Mark Burnett offered to help her out by giving her US$50,000. But the school district that employed Denise refuted her version of what happened upon her return from Survivor. According to Douglas Public School District Superintendent Nancy T. Lane, Denise asked for and received a promotion to a higher-paying full-time custodian position, before filming began for Survivor. When Denise returned to work, she resumed her new position. She then requested to transfer back to her old position, but it was no longer available. On the December 19, 2007 edition of The Early Show, Martin apologized, stating that it was "not [her] intention to be misleading" and asked that the $50,000 be donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
  • On January 9, 2010, Denise attended Survivor's 10-year anniversary party.


  • Denise is the oldest member of Fei Long and the oldest woman to compete on China.
  • Denise auditioned at an open casting call and had applied for Survivor: Fiji and Pirate Master before getting cast for China.[2]
  • Denise was the only woman from the original Fei Long tribe to be on the jury.


Survivor: China Castaways
Fei Long
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Fei Long
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Zhan Hu
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Zhan Hu
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Fei Long
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Fei Long
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Zhan Hu
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Zhan Hu
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Zhan Hu
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Fei Long
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Fei Long
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Zhan Hu
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Fei Long
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