She's one of the most iconic players from the Survivor franchise and made history as the first contestant to win the game twice. Now, Sandra Diaz-Twine has joined the cast of Australian Survivor alongside her daughter Alanna "Nina" Twine.
The pair will be competing on the new Australian Survivor: Blood vs Water season, which is set to see family members on the show together. They'll be joined by the likes of former contestants and married duo Mark Wales and Samantha Gash.
"Survivor has always been an individual game. But this season, that's all about to change," host Jonathan LaPaglia says of the new season, due to premiere on January 31.
"I have a secret weapon – my baby girl Nina. Y'all better look out, because I taught her well," Sandra says in the teaser.
Sandra is a 47-year-old former chemical repair specialist from the US Army, who shot to reality TV fame after appearing on the American version of Survivor in 2003.
She shares two daughters with her husband Marcus Twine, the youngest of which (Alanna) will be joining Sandra on the next season of Australian Survivor.
"I'm the Queen of Survivor because I'm the first two-time winner ever," Sandra says in the new Blood vs Water trailer. But what you may not know is that she's appeared on the show an epic five times now - tying her with Rob "Boston Rob" Mariano for the most games played by a single contestant.
The first was in 2003 on Survivor: Pearl Islands, where she was initially viewed as an underdog but wound up victorious over Lillian Morris in a 6–1 jury vote in the finale. Known for her clever game-play and ability to maneuver her way through tribe alliances, she easily defeated her runner-up.
Sandra backed it up by returning to Survivor: Heroes vs Villains in 2010, where she became the first contestant to win Survivor twice and proclaimed herself to be the "Queen of Survivor."
But Sandra wasn't done just yet. In 2017 she joined Survivor: Game Changers as one of three former winners to challenge the fresh-faced newbies. She was eliminated on Day 16, but she made it the furthest of the returning champs.
In 2019, Sandra joined Boston Rob in mentoring contestants on the Islands of the Idol season. There for the full 36 days, it required a little less effort than playing the game itself - but Sandra was still hustling, revealing she was taking on-board advice from Boston Rob the entire time on how to play the game better.
For the show's 40th season Sandra agreed to return for Winners At War, telling Entertainment Weekly she "couldn't say no" to host Jeff Probst. She was once again voted out on Day 16, and told the publication it would be her final season.
Until, of course, she said yes to 10 for the chance to play the Australian version of the game.
Already finished filming in Queensland (where the series moved in 2021 due to COVID), there's every chance Sandra may have been victorious in her efforts to win a third title. Though, we'll have to sit through a lot of nail-biting television to find out the answer.
She'll have a target on her back from day one (much like that annoying Russell Hantz in 2018, when he played the Aussie game) but there's every chance she could pull off a win. Especially with her daughter by her side.
Though, Nina might want to watch out for her mum if they end up against each other.
"If me and my daughter have to go head-to-head, I'm beating her ass to remind her who's Queen," she says in the teaser.
Sandra admits to Entertainment Weekly that her "weakness has always been that I don't have any physical strength." Though her strength lies in her creative game-play, it's clearly worked to her advantage in the past.
The main difference Sandra will need to contend with on Blood vs Water will be the length of the game - if she makes it to the end.
Australian Survivor is a longer game, playing out anywhere between 48 to 55 days, compared to the usual 39 days on the US version. There are also 24 players, compared to the usual 18 to 20 in the US.
Can Sandra pull off another history-making win? Time will tell.
Australian Survivor: Blood vs Water premieres January 31, 7:30pm on 10 and 10Play.
This story was originally featured on our sister site, Who Magazine.
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