What Tina Wesson From Survivor Is Doing Now

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Over the years, more than 600 "castaways" have competed on "Survivor," CBS's reality TV powerhouse packed with unexpected twists and dramatic eliminations. On "Survivor: The Australian Outback" (Season 2) in 2001, Tina Wesson was able to "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast" 15 other competitors to take home the $1 million prize.


As the first woman to triumph on "Survivor," Tina should be considered one of the most iconic figures in the franchise. However, her triumph often gets eclipsed by debates over whether fellow competitor (and all-around nice guy) Colby Donaldson goofed by choosing to bring likeable Tina instead of arrogant Keith Famie along to the final jury vote, per The Washington Post.

For the record, Colby doesn't regret his decision, even though it led to Tina besting him in the end. Colby told Entertainment Weekly in 2010: "I gotta tell you, I'd play it the same way. I haven't lost one night of sleep since Australia."

In 2021, Tina shared with Entertainment Weekly, "I really wish that I had won the last challenge in 'Survivor: The Australian Outback.' If I had, I would have taken Colby with me to the finals and still hopefully won, and there would be none of this Colby gave it to me type of mentality to my win."


But what is she up to now?

Winning $1 million didn't change Tina Wesson

Tina Wesson swears that she's still the same person she was before winning the grand prize on "Survivor."

On the 2009 TV Guide special "Survivor Millionaires: Where Are They Now," she said, "Since 'Survivor,' my life hasn't really changed. We bought a ranch-style mountain house in the middle of nowhere. We overlook a beautiful lake. We sit up on a mountaintop." The special also revealed that Tina is an advocate of adoption as well as a member of the Evangelical Free Church.


"I don't feel as if 'Survivor' has changed me, I don't feel like I'm defined by 'Survivor,' I'm not 'Tina the "Survivor" girl,'" she told WVLT in 2018. "My life is basically what you see — I live here in the woods," she said. "I bike, swim, kayak, motorcycle, anything I want to do, just take your pick. And then I play, and travel." She also expressed gratitude for all of the many opportunities that the television show has afforded her.

Tina's net worth is unknown, but it's a safe bet that it's far less than either host Jeff Probst's net worth or that of the richest "Survivor" contestants.

She became a motivational speaker

Appearing and winning on the reality TV show boosted Tina Wesson's image enough that she became a motivational speaker. Her profile with the All American Speakers Bureau says she can be booked to talk about leadership, health and wellness, and Christian topics — and notes that Entertainment Weekly once described the former nurse and flight attendant as "about as threatening as June Cleaver holding out a plate of warm cookies."


She became a spokesperson for the National Arthritis Foundation, per HealthDay. In an appearance on "The Dr. Bob Show" in 2011, she talked about getting diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 1995. "I was like a lot of people who thought that, well, it can't be arthritis — that's an old person's disease," she said. "But in all actuality, it's very common for women in their 30s to develop RA." She felt it was important to spread the word about early diagnosis of RA and potential treatments.

Tina also does personalized videos on Cameo. Reviews praise her for being kind and personable in the videos.

Tina Wesson wrote an inspirational book

While on "The Dr. Bob Show," Tina Wesson spoke about the inspirational book she published in 2006, "Out Live, Out Laugh, Out Love." The Knoxville native said, "My message in the book is to just be a good human while you're here on the planet."


The book shares her personal journey toward achieving a successful life, along with daily devotionals taken from her own journals. It doesn't cover her time on "Survivor" other than tangentially, when she argues that no one should ever allow external factors to determine their self worth.

"You better like yourself from the inside out or you are setting yourself up for a fall," she wrote. "A great example of this from my own life comes from going from first to worst on a reality show. Internally, it had zero impact on me emotionally. I believe that stems from not allowing a television show to define who I am."

The heartbreaking death of her son

Tina Wesson is married to Dale Wesson. Her previous marriage, to Jim Collins, resulted in having son Taylor Collins and daughter Katie Collins, per CBS.

In December 2013, Tina underwent the most tragic event that can befall any parent. According to the Daily Mail, Taylor was 25 years old when the car he was in crashed. Taylor, who wasn't wearing a seatbelt, got thrown from the vehicle. He later died in hospital.


Taylor's friend Braylon Davis was driving the car that night. He was arrested in May 2014 for vehicular homicide by intoxication and several other charges, per the Chattanooga Times Free Press. In February 2016, Tina spoke in court just before Davis heard his sentence, per the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "I want you to know I harbor no bitterness," she said. "I have forgiveness for you. I understand mistakes and I understand grace. You have my grace today, Braylon, and I just hope you will take that grace and make better choices in your future."

Davis received a 2-year sentence for criminally negligent homicide. "I really feel a passion now to tell every youth to buckle up, and if I see someone driving a car and they don't have their seatbelt on, I just might have to pull them over," Tina told Entertainment Weekly. "I've become a seat belt vigilante!"


The three-time competitor would appear on Survivor again

After her initial win, Tina Wesson competed on "Survivor" two more times. On "Survivor: All-Stars" (Season 8) in 2004, she was the very first person voted off the show. "I missed out on six weeks of an adventure," she lamented to Entertainment Weekly in 2013. "So that was very disappointing."


Then she teamed up with her daughter, Katie Collins, for "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" (Season 27) in 2013. She finished in fourth place while her daughter finished eighth. "Katie has always been a real bore to play games with," Tina confided. "If she wins, she doesn't celebrate. If she loses, she's okay with that too. So she's really not a very competitive person."

In an interview on Rob Has a Podcast, Tina admitted she was disappointed not to have been invited to take part in "Survivor: Winners at War" (Season 40) in 2020. But she's still open to future appearances with the long-running franchise.

"I hit the big 6-0 this year but I still think I could give it a run for its money," she told Entertainment Weekly in 2021. "It might not be pretty, but the heart of this 'Survivor' girl beats strong and 'Survivor' true."