Due to Maraamu's early losing streak and a Tribe Switch that put more odds against her, Vecepia flew under-the-radar and often flipped between alliances to further herself in the game. Despite being accused of being a "holy roller" and duplicitous, her quiet strategy earned her the title of Sole Survivor in a close 4-3 jury vote. She also has the distinction of being the first African-American Sole Survivor.
Retrieved from CBS.com
Born in Portland, Oregon, Vecepia "Vee" Towery attended Grant High School and Portland Community College before receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services with minors in Sociology and Psychology from Troy State University in Alabama.
Towery currently works as an office manager for a software development company. A former member of the United States Air Force, Towery spent several years in Soesterberg, The Netherlands, while on active duty. She was assigned to the 32nd Security Police Squadron and was the base D.A.R.E. and Crime Prevention Officer. She was awarded the base Airman of the Year honors and inducted into the United States Air Forces Europe Sports Hall of Fame in the first year of its conception. She finished her Air Force career in the Reserves stationed in Portland, Oregon; Montgomery, Alabama; and Marietta, Georgia. After leaving the military, Towery worked as an administrative assistant, information specialist and events coordinator/executive secretary.
Towery enjoys dancing, basketball, volleyball, and tennis, working with young girls and writing poetry.
Towery currently resides in Hayward, Calif. with her husband, Leander, and his dog Kunta. Her birth date is Dec. 9.
Vecepia started out on the Maraamu tribe, which faced a power struggle between its leader-figures and the workers. This lack of unity heavily reflected on challenges, which sent them to Tribal Council three times in a row. Vecepia, as one of the subordinates, joined the Maraamu Alliance of Rob Mariano, Sarah Jones, and Sean Rector to overthrow the odd Peter Harkey and Patricia Jackson, who were the tribes' weakest members and answered to Rob's arch-rival, Hunter Ellis, who was voted out next. Being fellow African-Americans of Christian faith, Vecepia and Sean formed a close bond.
On Day 10, the tribes were switched, transferring Vecepia, Rob, and Sean to the rival Rotu tribe. The minute they moved to Rotu, it was clear that Vecepia, Rob, and Sean were on the outs of an already established Rotu Four alliance of John Carroll, Robert DeCanio, Tammy Leitner, and Zoe Zanidakis. Vecepia had the best chance of the three because of her ability to form bonds with her new tribemates and by flying under the radar. However, when Rotu lost the Day 15 Immunity Challenge, the two pacts banded together to eliminate the lone floating Rotu member, Gabriel Cade, who was accused of being untrustworthy and apathetic towards the game. After Gabriel's elimination, Vecepia, Rob, and Sean were left at the mercy of the Rotu Four but were spared when they won the Day 18 Immunity Challenge, entering the merge with seven members, as opposed to Maraamu's paltry roster of three. Vecepia had begun to play for herself from the merge on and, in doing so, she voted out her ally Rob on Day 21 when he was deemed as the biggest strategic threat on the new Soliantu tribe.
Following Rob's elimination, the Rotu Four became overconfident that they would run the game by making the others believe there was no alliance, until a rather revealing Immunity Challenge on Day 24. The challenge, which would require players to remove tribemates from the challenge until one remained, left Vecepia and the other non-Rotu Four members in particular trouble when the Rotu Four systematically eliminated them, thus revealing the alliance. The other outsiders were her only allies and remaining original Maraamu tribe mate Sean, Neleh Dennis, and Paschal English, who shared a father-daughter-like relationship, and the unaligned Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien. As a solution, the five formed a new Outsiders Alliance, dethroning the Rotu Four's leader, John, after a 6-3 vote. For reasons best known to herself, Zoe also voted for John.
The new alliance would then systematically vote out Zoe, Tammy, and Robert at the next three Tribal Councils, leaving the alliance of five to battle among each other, thus returning to their former sub-alliances, with the pairs of Vecepia and Sean, and Neleh and Paschal both vying for Kathy's vote. Ultimately, Kathy sided with Neleh and Paschal, both of whom she had been with since Day 1. The three voted for Sean because of his grating, vocal personality.
On Day 37, Vecepia won the next Immunity Challenge, leaving Kathy, Neleh, and Paschal vulnerable. Anticipating that Neleh and Paschal would never vote each other out, Vecepia and Kathy forced a tie vote between Kathy and Neleh. When the tribe agreed they would not change their votes, host Jeff Probst declared a deadlock and, after the final four could not unanimously agree on who to eliminate between Kathy and Neleh, Jeff handed a bag of rocks to Kathy, Neleh, and Paschal, stating that whoever draws the purple rock would be eliminated. Paschal, who received no votes at that Tribal Council, or at any point in the game, drew the unlucky rock, sending him home.
At the Final Immunity Challenge, after Kathy dropped out, Vecepia seized the opportunity to strike a deal with Neleh. She would give immunity to Neleh if Neleh promised to take her to the Final Two. Neleh agreed, and Vecepia gave immunity to Neleh. That night, Neleh fulfilled her promise, and Kathy was voted out.
It was revealed on Day 39 that Vecepia had made the move to betray Kathy because she felt that Neleh had been riding coattails, and the jury members would see that as well and not respect such a strategy. At the Final Tribal Council, several jury members castigated both Vecepia and Neleh for hiding behind religion despite their duplicities (Vecepia for betraying Kathy the night before, and Neleh for betraying the Rotu Four and only starting to play the game on Day 24). One particular comment came from Tammy, who found both of them to be hypocritical as both were religious followers and would boast ethics, morals, and integrity, but would then lie and deceive to get ahead in the game. Paschal, however, did not castigate either and said he felt both of them were deserving of the win, was proud of both of them, and would be proud to have them as his daughters.
When the final vote came in, Vecepia would receive votes from John, Tammy, Robert, and Sean, proclaiming her as the fourth Survivor winner, as well as the first African-American Sole Survivor.
|Vecepia's Voting History|
| Voted Against|
|4||Rotu Tribe Immune|
|6||Rotu Tribe Immune|
| Jury Votes|
|John, Robert, Sean, Tammy|
|Sole Survivor, Day 39|
- Vecepia married Leander two weeks before the finale of Marquesas. The two divorced at some point but remained friends.
- Vecepia was featured in the the TLC documentary A Baby Story where she chronicled the birth of her son Jordan.
- In the summer of 2009, Vecepia, along with the other first eighteen Survivor winners, appeared on a TVGuide special "Survivor Millionaires: Where Are They Now?"
- On January 9, 2010, Vecepia attended Survivor's 10-year anniversary party.
- Vecepia's Luxury Item was a notebook of poetry that she wrote.
- Vecepia is the only woman from the original Maraamu to make the merge.
- Vecepia, along with Rob Mariano and Sean Rector are the first contestants to be on a tribe with every castaway on their season.
- They are also the only ones to do so on a season with only two pre-merge tribes.
- Vecepia was the first woman to celebrate her birthday during the game, as she turned 36 on Day 28 of Marquesas.
- Coincidentally, Richard Hatch, the first man to celebrate his birthday during the game, went on to win as well.
- Vecepia was the first African-American woman to win an individual Immunity Challenge.
- Vecepia became the series' first African-American finalist and later the first African-American winner. In the latter feat, Vecepia was followed by Earl Cole in Fiji, Jeremy Collins in Cambodia, and Wendell Holland in Ghost Island.
- Vecepia is also the first African-American to win a reality show.
- Vecepia was the first Sole Survivor to win multiple individual Immunity Challenges.
- She is also the first female Sole Survivor to win individual immunity.
- She is the first Sole Survivor to win against someone of her own gender at the Final Tribal Council.
- Vecepia became the first winner to win against someone who started on the opposing tribe.
- Vecepia is the first Sole Survivor to be on every tribe in the season they won.
- Throughout her entire time in Survivor, Vecepia has never been on reward or won a Reward Challenge, making her the first finalist, and winner, with this distinction.
- Vecepia is one of only two female Sole Survivors to have only played once, the other being Natalie White.
- Vecepia was called back for All-Stars and accepted the offer, but was later cut.
- Vecepia is the earliest winner to have never returned in another season, as prior winners Richard Hatch, Tina Wesson, and Ethan Zohn came back for Survivor: All-Stars.
- ↑ https://www.cbs.com/shows/survivor/cast/20696/
- ↑ https://robhasawebsite.com/talking-with-t-bird-vecepia-towery/
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=be122Jgy3xg
- ↑ http://surpriselists.com/10-most-influential-black-winners-of-american-reality-shows/
- ↑ https://survivingtribal.com/2020/01/20/survivor-vecepia-towery-talks-winners-war/
|Sole Survivor Titleholder|
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|Survivor: Marquesas Castaways|