Survivor: China Exclusive: Meet the Fei Long Tribe
by Ileane Rudolph
The Fei Long tribe, Survivor: China
The heat and humidity are "indescribable." The snakes are deadly. And China is one of Survivor's most difficult locations ever. Despite all that, host Jeff Probst — speaking by phone from the rugged camp near the vast man-made Zhelin Lake in eastern China — admits he'd like to stay longer. "Usually I want to go home," he says. "But if somebody said, ‘You have to stay another two weeks,' I'd say, ‘All right.' "
The CBS show, which has been granted unprecedented access to some of China's greatest sites including the Shaolin Temple and the Great Wall, goes Chinese all the way. Probst says the first episode (premiering Sept. 20 at 8 pm/ET) involves a Buddhist ceremony, which a few tribe members find emotionally overwhelming. A 100-foot-tall replica of a historic temple has been built as the tribal-council set. Plus, players receive The Art of War, Sun Tzu's sixth-century B.C. treatise on military strategy. They're going to need it. "Survivor is a war," Probst says. "The book deals with leadership and how you defeat the other tribe. It's interesting how much it plays into the game all the way through."
What follows is Probst's take on the Fei Long tribe; click here for his first look at the Zhan Hu tribe.
THE FEI LONG (FLYING DRAGON) TRIBE
1. AARON REISBERGER
32, Venice, California; surfing instructor, bartender, restaurant manager
Jeff's take: "Aaron is a threat. He's a charming, good-looking guy, and he's got a side to him that's cold like steel. He's a bartender and he told us that he sizes up people fast to get a bigger tip. He'd tell you one thing and there was always something else going on. He's the guy who could be playing everybody."
2. COURTNEY YATES
26, New York City; waitress
Jeff's take: "Courtney's not the kind of girl who wakes up and says, ‘Should we go catch fish?' She'll say, ‘I need a cup of coffee and a cigarette!' She admits she can be a bitch with a negative attitude. At first, she is off-putting. But there's something oddly appealing because she's being real. She's tiny, but she can take care of herself with her mouth alone."
3. AMANDA KIMMEL
23, Kalispell, Montana; hiking tour guide, beauty pageant winner
Jeff's take: "Amanda probably is the most physically fit woman this season, very strong and confident. She's been outdoors a lot and she's not afraid of sticks or stones. Plus, she really knows the show — she's watched every episode — and after 15 seasons, that's an advantage."
4. JEAN-ROBERT BELLANDE
36; Las Vegas; professional poker player
Jeff's take: "He's a big guy with a big, big personality, exactly what you want a poker player on Survivor to be. Jean-Robert will tell you what he's going to do and you don't know if he'll do it or not, because he's a card player."
5. LESLIE NEASE
38, Tega Cay, South Carolina; Christian-radio host, fitness instructor
Jeff's take: "Being a Christian-radio host can hurt you if your religious beliefs come ahead of making decisions in this game — say, you can't lie to somebody because of your faith. On the other hand, people might trust you and you could pull the wool over their eyes."
6. DENISE MARTIN
40, Douglas, Massachusetts; school lunch lady, black belt in karate
Jeff's take: "Denise is a likable, blue-collar woman with the most lovely mullet. She has it, she tells us, because it fits her life. There's nothing pretentious about her. She's very honest and endearing and a hard worker. I just adore Denise."
7. TODD HERZOG
22, Pleasant Grove, Utah; flight attendant
Jeff's take: "Todd is a Survivor superfan who's wanted to be on since he was 14. Next to Courtney, he's probably the smallest person here. He's what you look for — a great personality who knows how to play this game."
8. JAMES CLEMENT
30, Lafayette, Louisiana; burial service owner, grave digger
Jeff's take: "He is without question the biggest guy we've had on this show. He's actually a gentle giant, a very decent guy who works extremely hard. But if you rile him up, he'll let you know what he's thinking."