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Leon Joseph "LJ" McKanas[1] is a contestant from Survivor: Cagayan.

The leader of the pre-swap Beauty Tribe and a key member of the Solana Alliance, LJ came to be perceived as a patient, quietly dangerous player. For that reason, he was blindsided after the merge by his closest ally Tony Vlachos.


Retrieved from

Name (Age): LJ McKanas (34)
Tribe Designation: Beauty Tribe
Current Residence: Boston, Mass.
Occupation: Horse Trainer
Personal Claim to Fame: Making the Hall of Fame at Northeastern University and my high school.
Inspiration in Life: My mom because she beat cancer.
Hobbies: Horse racing, fishing and designing.
Pet Peeves: Incompetent people, liars and thieves.
3 Words to Describe You: Competitive, creative and witty.
If You Could Have 3 Things on The Island What Would They Be and Why? Starburst and an iPad.
Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like: Boston Rob, because he has just the right amount of charm, charisma and looks to persuade anyone to do what he wants.
Reason for Being on Survivor: The challenging adventure and the money.
Why You Think You'll "Survive" Survivor: My puzzle skills, athletic ability, my wittiness and logical thinking.
Why You Think You Will Be the Sole Survivor: My athleticism will carry me through the early stages, my charm through the middle, and smarts to play through to the end.
Do You Consider Yourself a Brain, a Beauty or a Brawn? I'd consider myself a Brawn. I'm a down-to-earth, rugged guy who is not afraid to get his hands dirty. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and brains seem to be smarts lacking the physical abilities. You can be brawny and good-looking and we have a brain.
Who Do You Think Has the Best Chance in the Game of Survivor: Brains, Beauty or Brawn? Brawn have the best chance. Perception is they are big, competitive athletes lacking the mental fortitude to go on. After dominating early physical challenges they present little mental risk for further advance in the game. Egos left aside, they have the best chance to win the game.[2]


LJ was a part of the Beauty tribe. He was elected the leader of the tribe and chose Morgan McLeod as the weakest member. On Day 1, LJ, Jeremiah Wood, Alexis Maxwell, and Jefra Bland formed a bond. On Day 7, he found a Hidden Immunity Idol by following Morgan in his suspicion of her. Solana won the first two Immunity Challenges so they avoided Tribal Council for the first six days. However they finally lost their first Immunity Challenge on Day 8. After the challenge, the alliance of LJ, Jefra, Jeremiah, and Alexis decided to split their votes between Brice Johnston and Morgan. At Tribal Council they split their votes and the vote ended a 3-way tie between Brice, Morgan and Alexis. The alliance unanimously voted for Brice in the revote. They won immunity on Day 11. On Day 12, a tribe swap occurred. LJ and Jefra remained on Solana. However they gained original Brawn members Cliff Robinson, Tony Vlachos, Woo Hwang, Trish Hegarty, and Lindsey Ogle. Solana lost the Immunity Challenge. After the challenge LJ was targeted by most of the original Brawns. However, Trish and Tony decided to spare LJ and get rid of Cliff because he was a physical threat. At Tribal Council, Trish and Tony sided with LJ and Jefra and Cliff was blindsided. Not too long after Tribal Council, Lindsey quit. Solana won the last Immunity Challenge before the merge.

LJ was able to make it to the merge. However, his new alliance which consisted of himself, Tony, Trish, Woo, and Jefra was outnumbered 6 to 5. At the first post-merge Tribal Council, Tony played his idol on LJ, and then LJ decided to play his idol on Tony. While neither of them received votes, Sarah was blindsided due to Kass Mcquillen flipping to LJ's alliance. On Day 20, the team of LJ, Jefra, Jeremiah, Morgan, and Spencer Bledsoe won the Reward Challenge. After Woo stole Spencer's Hidden Immunity Idol clue, almost everyone went looking for the idol. After the Immunity Challenge LJ and his alliance decided to vote Morgan out for not doing any work around camp. They also believed that if anybody had an idol they would not give it to her. At Tribal Council, Morgan was voted out in a 6-4 vote. On Day 23, Tony took a walk with LJ where he manipulated LJ into saying that he was okay with blindsiding Woo Hwang, after Tony claimed he was worried the latter had found a Hidden Immunity Idol. Tony wanted to get rid of LJ because he viewed him as a sharp player. On Day 25, Tasha Fox won immunity. After the challenge, LJ considered splitting the vote between Spencer and Jeremiah. LJ shared his plan to split the vote with the rest of his alliance to counter an Idol. He noted that the plan was foolproof unless someone flipped. However, Tony was still planning to blindside LJ. At Tribal Council, Tony and Woo sided with Spencer, Jeremiah, and Tasha and voted against LJ. LJ was blindsided in a 5-3-1 vote and became the third member of the jury.

At the Final Tribal Council,  LJ asked Tony who his gameplay self is in relation to his true identity, to which Tony replied that he was scared of LJ's strategic prowess and lured LJ into thinking about voting Woo out. Ultimately, LJ voted for Tony who won in a 8-1 vote.

Voting History

LJ's Voting History
Episode LJ's
Voted Against
1 Solana Tribe Immune
Solana Tribe Immune
2 Morgan;
3 Solana Tribe Immune
4 Cliff Cliff, Lindsey, Woo
5 Solana Tribe Immune
6 Sarah -2
7 Morgan -
8 Spencer Jeremiah, Spencer,
Tasha, Tony, Woo
Voted Out, Day 25
Voted For
Sole Survivor

^1 In "Cops-R-Us", the vote ended with a 2-2-2 tie between Alexis, Brice, and Morgan, forcing a revote. LJ changed his vote to Brice on the revote.
^2 In "Head of the Snake", Tony used a Hidden Immunity Idol on LJ, but did not negate any votes against him.


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  • LJ is the oldest member of the original Solana tribe.
  • LJ is the only man to make the merge and not have been an Aparri tribe member at any time.
  • LJ lost 24 lbs. (10 kg) during his time in Cagayan.[3]
  • LJ was the last original tribe leader in Cagayan to be voted off and the only one to not be the first person voted off of a tribe.
  • LJ won the Ozcar for "Sexiest Male" in 2013/14 over fellow tribe mate Jeremiah Wood.


Survivor: Cagayan Castaways
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