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Matthew von Ertfelda is a contestant from Survivor: The Amazon.

Known for being the "student" of skilled strategist Rob Cesternino, Matthew knew little about the game. However, his physical strength and likability made him an asset around camp, although at times his tribe mates would grow concerned about his "crazy" behavior, such as his obsessive sharpening of the machete. Eventually, with Jenna Morasca winning the last two Immunity Challenges, Rob's teachings would backfire as Matthew formed a Final Two alliance with her, ultimately getting him to the end where he would become the first finalist to lose in a landslide 6-1 vote.


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Born in Hong Kong, Matthew von Ertfelda has traveled all over the world. He was raised on a horse farm in Massachusetts and attended Middlesex School where he graduated with honors and served as co-captain of the football team. He received a Bachelor of Science degree with distinction at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University in New York. In addition, he attended the Taipei Language Institute where he studied Mandarin Chinese. He also holds a culinary diploma with honors from L'Ecole de Gastronomie Française Ritz-Escoffier in Paris. von Ertfelda currently designs restaurants and bars for a global lodging company. He has previously worked as a restaurant and bar developer in Hong Kong, a print model in Asia and a chef's apprentice/cook in Paris.

von Ertfelda enjoys screenwriting, foreign language study, cooking, rock and ice climbing, weight lifting and hardcore adventure. In 1994, he successfully crossed the Darien Gap, a storied stretch of jungle linking Panama and Colombia. In the summer of 1998, he organized a deep jungle trek into unmapped areas of New Guinea to track cannibals. He dove for sunken treasure off Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands and participated in Earthwatch research expeditions to St. Croix and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. In the past, he has also competed in sprint triathlons and marathons.

In 2002, von Ertfelda was listed as one of People Magazine's Top 50 Bachelors. He describes himself as unique, multi-faceted, hardworking, mentally and physically strong and tenacious. He credits his older brother, Eric (a bodybuilder and writer), with teaching him respect and humility at a very early age. If von Ertfelda could hold political office, he would like to be Director of the CIA because he loves the cloak & dagger operations and the inherent risks. If he wins the $1 million, he will buy a bottle of 1929 Chateau d'Yquem to share with close family and friends. von Ertfelda's favorite quote is "The things you regret most in life are the risks you didn't take."

Currently single, von Ertfelda resides in Washington, D.C., with his vivacious fish, Reggie. His birth date is July 24, 1969.[1]


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Voting History

Matthew's Voting History
Episode Matthew's
Voted Against
1 Roger -
2 Tambaqui Tribe Immune
3 Daniel -
4 Tambaqui Tribe Immune
5 Jaburu Tribe Immune
6 Shawna Alex, Shawna
7 Roger -
8 Dave Dave
9 Deena Individual Immunity
11 Alex Alex, Heidi, Jenna
12 Christy -
13 Heidi Individual Immunity
14 Butch -
Ineligible -
Jury Votes
for Matthew
Runner-Up, Day 39


  • On January 9, 2010, Matthew attended Survivor's 10-year anniversary party.


  • Matthew is the first contestant from Washington, D.C.
  • Fluent in Mandarin, Matthew frequently spoke the language with tribemate Daniel Lue.
  • Matthew is the first person to only garner a single jury vote at Final Tribal Council and Matthew is the first male finalist to gain less than three jury votes at Final Tribal Council.


Survivor: The Amazon Castaways
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