Lauren Alexandra O'Connell is a contestant from Survivor: Edge of Extinction.
Forming a faction with returning player Kelley Wentworth and the forceful Wardog DaSilva, Lauren found herself in a strong and strategic trio that maintained control on both the Manu and Lesu tribes until the merge. Despite Wardog's blindside of Kelley and the dissolution of the Manu Alliance, she swiftly made inroads with the remnants of the Kama Six alliance and reached the final five. After misplaying a Hidden Immunity Idol for eventual winner Chris Underwood and playing Rick Devens's fake idol, she was taken out due to her calculated gameplay by both men.
Retrieved from CBS.com
Hometown: Bakersfield, California
Current residence: Waco, Texas
Occupation: Student at Baylor University
Hobbies: Binge-watching multiple Netflix series at once, sleeping through my alarm, and eating a party-sized Peanut M&Ms bag in one sitting.
Pet peeves: People who are intolerant of someone else's personal opinions and beliefs, unnecessary rudeness, and those misguided people who choose Twizzlers over Red Vines.
Three words to describe you: Competitive, committed, and compassionate.
What is your personal claim to fame? I believe my claim to fame is my resilience and grit. Throughout my physically demanding career as a collegiate athlete on the Baylor Women's soccer team, I've endured four orthopedic surgeries, rehabilitated physically and emotionally in order to remain an integral part of an Elite 8 team, and will obtain a Bachelor's degree in Medical Humanities (in four years!) from a phenomenal university while prioritizing service and volunteerism in the community of Waco.
Who or what is your inspiration in life? My parents inspire me. They love passionately: each other, their family, and their friends. They model compassion and selflessness through their daily actions and have taught me to persevere through grief and smile through life's toughest obstacles. They've inspired me to fight for things I believe in and they always remind me that my value is not determined by the perception of others. They love abundantly and without reservation, cheer for others in every circumstance, and model how to reflect Jesus in my life.
If you could have three things on the island, what would they be and why?
My Bible to remind me that I can only find my worth in Him.
Sunscreen. But only SPF 25, because a little tan looks good on everyone.
Which Survivor contestant are you the most like? Parvati Shallow is my spirit animal. Her infectious smile, smart wit, and expertise in using her sexuality has won her a place in my heart and I feel like my gameplay could be similar to hers. I also strongly relate to Kelley Wentworth's gameplay. She is unapologetically herself, dominates the physical demands of Survivor, and is a threat in any type of challenge. Ideally, I would play the game as a perfect mix of these two powerful females.
What's your reason for being on Survivor? My primary motivation for being on the show is to test my INDIVIDUAL capacity to rise to all the challenges I will face. I have played team sports from the time I was four years old and so have always had teammates to rely on when competition was intense. This game will push me to rely on MYSELF, with no parents or teammates who have my back, nobody to lift me up emotionally, and nobody to help me through the physical demands. It will be a true test of MY strengths, my confidence in my social skills, and my individual ability to build alliances that will benefit me, all in a very short and intense time period. The fierce competition from the starting moment is what draws me to this game. This has always been a dream and goal of mine! I told my family when I was seven years old that I would be on Survivor, and I FINALLY am! My final motivation is that I will be applying to dental school next year which is an extremely expensive dream, so when I am named Sole Survivor I'll be able to pay for this dream without incurring more debt. As a dentist, I plan to change lives by instilling confidence through beautiful smiles, and winning this game will help me to achieve this without the burden of debilitating debt.
Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor? I have a competitive drive that few people can hope to match. I am a fierce athlete with the ability to endure extreme physical battles coupled with the desire to throw myself wholeheartedly into new adventures and challenging situations. "Surviving" won't be an issue—I plan to outlast and win. I am brilliantly strategic, but subtly humble about it, so people are not intimidated. In addition, I have a plan for a spectacular social game that cannot be beaten: allowing people to feel like they are in charge, while ensuring them that they are important, loved, and valued, all while I am masterminding moves in the background. I've studied this game for years, my Barbie and Ken doll were named Tina and Colby, and I know exactly how to manipulate if necessary in order to win.
Lauren started the season on the Manu tribe where she bonded with returning player Kelley Wentworth, and became a member of the majority Manu Alliance against Reem Daly, Keith Sowell, and Wendy Diaz, due to them isolating themselves from the rest of the tribe. When Manu lost the first Immunity Challenge, Lauren and Kelley were targeted for being a power couple, but the Manu Alliance wanted to target Reem as her motherly instincts rubbed most of the tribe the wrong way. Wendy's allegiance to Reem soon caused the alliance to split the vote between the two. At Tribal Council, Lauren joined the Manu Alliance in splitting the vote between Reem and Wendy, with the former being voted out. The next day, Lauren found the tribe's Hidden Immunity Idol and kept it secret, after Kelley led an open idol hunt to prevent Wendy from finding it. When Manu lost the Day 6 Immunity Challenge, most of the tribe targeted Keith for being a liability in challenges. At Tribal Council, Lauren joined the Manu Alliance in blindsiding Keith. After losing their third Immunity Challenge in a row on Day 8, the alliance initially targeted their last outsider Wendy, after she hid the tribe's flint to prevent them from cooking the chicken they won in the Day 7 Reward Challenge. However, one of the alliance's members, Chris Underwood, wanted to target Kelley for being a bigger threat, so the Manu Alliance's core trio of Lauren, Kelley, and Wardog DaSilva turned the vote on Chris for his disloyalty. At Tribal Council, the trio got their way when David Wright and Rick Devens joined them in blindsiding Chris, mainly because Chris disobeyed them in not telling Wardog about targeting Kelley.
On Day 9, a Tribe Switch occurred. All of the Manu tribe's remaining members, minus Wendy, were switched to the new Lesu tribe. However, as the days went on, Lauren got sick and could no longer eat the rice. Lesu lost the following Immunity Challenge on Day 11, and Kelley and Lauren targeted Rick for being the most likely to integrate with the rival Kama tribe at the merge, while David and Rick targeted Lauren for her illness, and also in fear that Kelley had an idol, leaving Wardog as the swing vote. At Tribal Council, Wardog stuck with Lauren and Kelley in voting out Rick. However, after Rick was voted out, Lauren was targeted again by Wardog because of her illness, but she was spared when Lesu finally won immunity on Day 13, and for the first time this season, Lauren abstained from Tribal Council. However, Lesu lost immunity again on Day 16 and had to go to a Joint Tribal Council along with Manu. Before Tribal Council, Wardog suggested targeting Wendy in hopes that her tribemates would not risk a rock draw tiebreaker to save her, but Lauren and Kelley were frustrated by Wardog's adamancy. Kelley then found Lesu's Hidden Immunity Idol and when she shared it with Lauren, she in turn told Kelley about her own idol. At Tribal Council, Lesu went with their plan voting Wendy while Manu voted Lauren, forcing a tie. In the revote, Eric Hafemann, Gavin Whitson, and Victoria Baamonde joined Lesu in voting Wendy out unanimously.
Lauren was one of only five original Manu's to make the merge on Day 17, as Rick returned from the Edge of Extinction after winning the re-entry duel. However, the trio of Lauren, Kelley, and Wardog wanted to persuade the former Kama's to vote Rick out and send him back. Although the Kama minority alliance of Aurora McCreary and Joe Anglim were open to the plan, Julie Rosenberg was appalled by the Lesu trio's cruelty to send Rick back to the Edge after he returned. After the first individual Immunity Challenge on Day 19, the Lesu trio continued to target Rick, but unknown to them, Julie leaked Kelley's plan to Rick. At Tribal Council, the Manu Alliance and Joe's alliance split their votes between David and Rick. However, the Kama Six alliance took the opportunity to blindside Joe for being a physical threat.
The Manu Alliance tried to regroup with David and Rick to bring in Aurora and target the Kama Six leaders Eric and Ron Clark, but David and Rick had sided with Eric and Ron for longterm safety. After Lauren's team lost the Day 20 Reward Challenge, Lauren became depressed as she was so hungry and couldn't win anything no matter what team she was on. This later took its toll on her in the Day 22 Immunity Challenge when she passed out and collapsed on the ground, with Jeff Probst calling in the Survivor medics so that she could recover. After the Immunity Challenge, the Kama Six decided to split their votes between Lauren and Kelley. However, Wardog spoke with Julia Carter, Gavin, and Victoria about Eric and Ron using David and Rick as allies for when the Kama Six had to turn on each other. At Tribal Council, Wardog's pitch payed off when Aurora, Gavin, Julia, and Victoria flipped and joined the Manu Alliance plus David in blindsiding Eric. However, following Eric's elimination, Julia had pitched on reuniting the Kama Six into targeting the Lesu trio. At Tribal Council, Julia's comment about reuniting the Kama Six caused a lengthy series of discussions as the entire tribe minus Aurora turned on Julia.
Now in a new majority alliance, Lauren's new alliance targeted Aurora, feeling that her comments cost Julia the game. However, their plan was thwarted when Aurora won the following Immunity Challenge. At Tribal Council, Lauren joined the rest of the tribe minus Rick in voting David out. Although Rick was intended to be the next target, Rick shocked everyone when he won the next Immunity Challenge with the help of an advantage he received from David on the Edge of Extinction, forcing the majority alliance to go with their earlier plan in targeting Aurora. At Tribal Council, Lauren stuck with the plan in voting Aurora, but she, Gavin, and Julie were left in the dark when Wardog betrayed the Manu Alliance in blindsiding Kelley.
Following Kelley's elimination, Lauren wanted to get revenge on Wardog's betrayal, but still wanted to target Rick for being the biggest threat to win, but she was concerned as her bond with Kelley made it seem like no one wanted to work with her. However, Lauren's fortunes turned as after winning the Day 28 Reward Challenge, during the reward trip, Julie talked with Lauren about working together against Wardog, although Lauren felt Rick was a bigger threat than Wardog. After Rick won the Day 29 Immunity Challenge, the majority were forced to target Wardog. At Tribal Council, Lauren got her revenge for Kelley when she joined the majority in blindsiding Wardog. At this point, Lauren had made several inroads with the former Kama alliance as she also became a part of a final four alliance consisting of herself, Aurora, Gavin, and Victoria. After the Immunity Challenge, Lauren's new alliance decided to split their votes between Rick and Ron in case Rick played an idol, and Ron was the second target due to his tactic as playing double agent being exposed after he won the Family Visit. At Tribal Council, Lauren stuck to the split vote plan when Rick played his idol and Ron was blindsided. Although Lauren's alliance had set their sites on targeting Rick next, their plan was once again thwarted when Rick won immunity on Day 34. But although Julie wasn't apart of her alliance, Lauren wanted to turn on Aurora as she was a bigger threat to win than Julie. At Tribal Council, Lauren joined the rest of the tribe in voting Aurora out.
Chris returned from the Edge of Extinction the next day after winning the second re-entry duel. Later on the night of the same day, Chris told Lauren that he knew about her idol as Kelley told everyone about it when she arrived on the Edge of Extinction, and he told Lauren from Kelley's words that she needed to play her idol correctly on herself or somebody else as a "big move" in order to gain respect from the jury. After Lauren was chosen to go on a reward along with Chris after Julie won the Day 36 Immunity Challenge, Chris claimed that the jurors believed that Rick and Victoria were the biggest remaining targets, making Lauren consider blindsiding Victoria for being a jury threat. At Tribal Council, Lauren played her idol for Chris to make the "big move" that he talked about earlier, but it only negated one vote and Victoria was blindsided. The next day, Lauren scrambled to find a new idol and eventually found one as well as Julie, but were both unaware that their idols were fake ones made by Rick. After Rick won the Day 37 Immunity Challenge, the majority decided to vote out Chris instead. At Tribal Council, Lauren and Julie played their idols, but were dumbfounded when they were found out to be fake. Chris then played a real idol that he had received when he returned from the Edge of Extinction, negating three votes against him. Lauren was then voted out by Chris and Rick for her calculated gameplay, becoming the twelfth juror.
At Final Tribal Council, Lauren's idol getting leaked by Kelley became a main topic as it helped benefit Chris's time back in the game. Lauren voted for Gavin to be the Sole Survivor, but he lost to Chris in a 9-4-0 vote.
|5||Lesu Tribe Immune|
|Voted Out, Day 37|
^1 In "It's Like the Worst Cocktail Party Ever", the vote ended with a 4-4 tie between Lauren and Wendy, forcing a revote. On the revote, Lauren did not receive any votes to be eliminated.
^2 In "I See the Million Dollars", Rick used a Hidden Immunity Idol, negating Lauren's vote against him.
^3 Also in "I See the Million Dollars", Chris used a Hidden Immunity Idol, negating Lauren's vote against him.
- Lauren, along with nineteen other former Survivor, Australian Survivor, Survivor South Africa, and Survivor New Zealand contestants, competed in the second Survivor-themed mini-competition of Sequester on June 20, 2020. She was eliminated in the twelfth round, finishing in 8th place.
- Lauren graduated from Georgetown University with a masters in Physiology and Biophysics.
- Lauren is the youngest woman on Edge of Extinction.
- Lauren is the youngest woman to find a Hidden Immunity Idol, being 21 at the time.
- Lauren is the first woman to survive a revote while in possession of a Hidden Immunity Idol and the third contestant overall, following Marty Piombo in Nicaragua and Ralph Kiser in Redemption Island.
- Lauren was eligible to be voted out 15 times, the most for any castaway in a single season: she attended 15 Tribal Councils and never won individual immunity.
- Lauren is the highest-placing woman on the original Manu tribe.
- Lauren is the only original Manu member and, by extension, the only person to be a member of Lesu who never went to the Edge of Extinction.
- Lauren was the last member of the Manu tribe to have her torch snuffed during the season. Chris Underwood and Rick Devens, who both placed higher than her, had their torch snuffed earlier in the game before returning from the Edge of Extinction.
- Lauren is tied with Baylor Wilson and Mike Zahalsky for the latest day to be voted out as a direct result of an idol play; all three of them were eliminated in fifth place on Day 37.
- Lauren lost 11.5 lbs. during her time on Edge of Extinction.
|Survivor: Edge of Extinction Castaways|