Survivor 30: Worlds Apart, Ranking the Castaways

worlds apart

With the premiere of Survivor: Worlds Apart, its historic 30th season, just two weeks away, let’s take a look at the castaways vying for the million dollar prize and the title of Sole Survivor. In press interviews for the show, Jeff Probst, host of the show since its inception back in 2000, has made the bold claim of this being one of the greatest, if not the greatest, cast the show has ever had.

“Person for person and pound for pound, I will say that this is the best group of people I think we’ve ever had,” Probst told EW in December. “Just based on my experience, this was one of my favorite seasons of all time.”

We will be the judge of that, Probst. So what is the “twist” this year? Well, the producers have decided to break up the castaways into three tribes:

Blue Collar, those whose occupations entail physical or manual labor.

White Collar, those whose places of work are in offices or a professional environment.

No Collar, those whose “occupations” are a bit more untraditional.

So, which tribe will do the best? Tune in Wednesday, February 25th on CBS to watch the journey begin. But, since this is ryanscountdowns, I have decided based on their pre-season interviews on, to share my pre-season power rankings; a countdown of the least likely, to most likely of becoming the 30th Survivor champion.

18. Dan, Blue Collar

Dan, a postal worker technician, from Maine, has tried to get on Survivor for quite some time. He claims to have sent in over 100 tapes, and driven over 25,000 miles for open casting calls. No question about it, this dude deserves a spot on the show. It is unfortunate for him, however, that the season he finally gets on, the castaways are spilt into three tribes, which means there are only 6 people per tribe instead of the usual 8 or 9. This makes it even more difficult for him to hide the fact that he will be the biggest liability on the team when it comes to winning challenges.

Overall finish: First one voted off the Blue Collar tribe.

17. Nina, No Collar

I fear as though Nina’s biggest hurdle she will need to overcome is not the fact that she is deaf, it is the fact that she lies awake in bed at night, and wonders if she is going to be able to lie. This is Survivor. Lying is a requirement. The 51-year-old housewife from Palmdale, CA is physically fit, but will have to hope for the “No Collar’s” keep winning immunity, as she may be expandable due to the fact that her tribe mates all seem to be more valuable in the challenge department. No lie.

Overall finish: First one voted off of the No Collar Tribe

16. So, White Collar

Sooooooo, So, from Long Beach, CA,  plans on proving that “women can be strong, strategic, and smart and get there on their own”, and then in her next breath says she will have to use the “cute card” to survive. It seems as though So does not have any clue what she plans on doing, but my prediction is that she will do less than a So-So job at proving women can be strong, strategic, and smart, and win Survivor on their own.

Overall finish: Pre Merge

15. Tyler, White Collar

CBS lists Tyler as an “ex talent agent assistant”, and while I am a bit confused as to how that is an occupation, the 33-year-old from LA seems confident, a bit too confident, that his life skills will propel him to victory. His claim in his interview, however, that he “will not go out with a whimper or missed opportunity” screams like he is foreshadowing his own demise. And I am confident that his over confidence will likely be his downfall.

Overall finish: Pre Merge/Early jury

14. Will, No Collar

41-year-old Will is noted as a youtube sensation. I am now certain that there will be a youtube “star” casted on every major reality show from now until the end of time, but I digress. Apparently Will sang a song while he was pumping gas, and the video went viral.

Survivor is no Shell station though, and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” will not be ringing through the beaches of Nicaragua. Will will have to find something else to help him survive. He may have a fun-loving personality, but on a tribe with 4 younger, cooler, better looking, free spirits, Will may be the odd man out.

Overall finish: Pre Merge

13. Lindsey, Blue Collar

Let me start by saying that Lindsey seems very sweet, likable and fun; someone I would hang out and have some beers with. Let me follow that by saying, we have seen “Lindseys” before on Survivor; the tattooed, crazy haired, attractive hairstylist. In fact just TWO seasons ago we had this….

Her name? You guessed it. Lindsey. Yes, they are both named Lindsey. Lindsey from Survivor 28 ended up quitting the game. And what does new Lindsey say in her interview will be the hardest part of playing Survivor? That going without food is going to be very difficult for her, but she is NOT going to quit.

She is going to quit.

Overall finish: Pre merge

12. Carolyn, White Collar

This 52-year-old Corporate Executive from Tampa, FL is going to be a feisty one. She openly says that she “wants to make good television” and that she may lose her cool, so she will have to run to the confessional so she doesn’t “go off on somebody.” My prediction: she will “go off” on a few people but will make it far in the game because she will not be a threat. Even if she is in the final 3, she will have no shot at winning the game.

Overall finish: 3rd place

11. Joaquin, White Collar

Joaquin, the 27-year-old marketing director from Valley Stream, NY is a self-described alpha male that is “wild, selfish, and egocentric” and its “his way or the highway.” Translation: he will be an amazing Survivor contestant, and he will be the first one booted once the tribes merge.

10. Mike, Blue Collar

Texan oil driller, Mike Holloway, is a nice guy, but has the “itch” to be the villain. This could work one of two ways for the 38-year-old, who lists picking up the ladies as one of his hobbies.

   “If a girl wants to be sweet on me, that’s fine. I will use that against them. For sure.” says Mike.

This strategy will either land him one of the first spots on the jury, or one of the spots in the final 3. My prediction: about 40 minutes into episode 8 we will hear Jeff Probst say “We’ll now bring in the members of the jury; Joaquin, and Mike, voted out at the last tribal council.”

I also predict they will be best bros once on the jury, and we will have the luxury of seeing them high-five and fist bump multiple times as they watch the people who voted them out squirm in their seats as they are interrogated by Probst.

Overall finish: 1st or 2nd jury member

9. Joe, No Collar

 Joe, a 25-year-old jewelry designer from Scottsdale, AZ may fade into the background with all the strong personalities this season. He said and did nothing in his interview that would lead me to believe he will have a chance at winning this game. He seems like a cool, fun, nice, carefree dude, which is great. But, in Survivor, carefree and fun often leads to 7th, 8th, or 9th place; right after all the bigger threats are sitting in the jury.

Overall finish: early-mid jury member

8. Kelly, Blue Collar

Kelly, a 44-year-old, New York State Trooper, has everything it takes to win Survivor. She is likable, physically fit, mentally tough, and competitive. Her only downfall could be that she is a bit older than the majority of her tribe. This should not be a factor during the challenges, as she is sure to excel in that category; but when it comes to fitting in with the rest of her tribe, she may be in trouble. If she can avoid being “bad cop” to the twenty somethings on her tribe, and let them have their fun, she could make it very far.

Overall finish: Mid Jury (6th place?)

7. Vince, No Collar

The Coach Wade vibe is oozing out of Vince Sly (what a great name). From the feather in his hair, to his eccentric personality, Vince Sly could very well be the break out star of Survivor: Worlds Apart. His occupation is listed as a Coconut Vendor. I don’t know about you, but I am hard pressed to think of an occupation better suited to live on a Nicaraguan beach for 39 days. But the best part about Vince, has to be the fact that he is a LIFE COACH. I would pay good money for just one “life coaching” session from Mr. Sly. I would be co-co-NUTS to pass up life advice from this gem.

We could be on the verge of pure casting gold here, ladies and gentlemen.

6. Shirin, White Collar

Shirin, 31, from San Francisco, CA, is a Yahoo Executive. Clearly she has the brains to do well in this game. But, there are a few lingering unanswered questions that will determine Shirin’s fate on Survivor. Will her tribemates consider her too much of a mental threat, and vote her out? Will she be the biggest liability in the physical challenges for the White Collars? If White Collars lose a few immunity challenges before the switch/merge, (which I am leaning towards) Shirin could be toast. But if they can somehow string together a few wins, Shirin, a huge fan of Survivor since the age of 16, could have what it takes to win it all. Yahoooooooooooooooooo!

5. Sierra, Blue Collar

Two seasons ago, Survivor split up the tribes based on Brains, Brawn, and Beauty. Sierra could have been the shining star on all three of those tribes.

A) Brains – She is currently in school going for her masters of Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Corrections.

B) Brawns – Not only is she a cowgirl and a rancher, but she is also an “extreme athlete”, who was offered college scholarships for both basketball and rodeo.

C) Beauty – She is a 6’1″ model, and complete beauty. Possibly one of the best looking girls to have ever appeared on Survivor.

This girl is the full package, and should sail along to the merge with zero threat of being voted out. Once the merge happens though, if she does not downplay her physical and mental abilities, she could be targeted once the big dogs get their torches snuffed. On the plus side for Sierra; if she can stay away from the spotlight post merge, she is likable, strong, confident, and educated enough to lasso up most of the jurors votes.

Overall finish: mid-late jury

4. Max, White Collar

In 30 seasons, I have never been more excited to watch somebody play Survivor, then I am for Max Dawson. I have been following Max Dawson on Twitter for years, as he is a reality tv aficionado, and quite comical. He very much reminds me of a hairier version of myself. He is a professor, I am a teacher. He is a media consultant, specializing in reality tv, and I am months away from having my masters in new media journalism, specializing in entertainment. He likes kale, and I like kale. We are basically the same person, and are bound to be instant best friends should our paths ever cross.

That being said, due to the fact that he taught a college course on Survivor called “The Tribe has Spoken: Surviving TV’s new Reality” at Northwestern University, he may be seen as a huge target. I certainly would have recognized him if I were on this season, and due to the fact that a lot of this seasons contestants are self-proclaimed “huge fans” of the show, no doubt someone is bound to know him, and his vast knowledge of the show.

I hope he wins, but I am unfortunately predicting a late jury finish for Professor Dawson.

3. Jen, No Collar

With the exception of Max, whom I have “known” for years, Jen, a 22-year-old sailing instructor from Long Beach, CA, is far and away my favorite contestant this season, and gave one of my favorite pre-season interviews of all time. She is quite possibly the coolest 22-year-old girl on the planet, and I instantly fell in love with her. Should she win Survivor, she wants to start her own vineyard, but isn’t really even sure how to make wine. As I am in the process of getting my masters of sommelier certification, Jen, Jon Misch, last seasons Oenophile, and I should move to Napa Valley and live out the rest of our lives making wine, drinking wine, and talking about Survivor.

So, how will Jen fare in the game? Well, she wants to align with the dudes because she gets easily annoyed by chicks (This girl is amazing, right?) and she is a huge fan of the show. However, I fear that she may be a bit too laid back to win it all. If she gets to the end, I think she will win. But, she may be too likable, and the merged tribe will give her the boot right before the final 3. And I will be crying in my wine when that happens.

Overall finish: 4th-5th place

2. Hali, No Collar

Much like Sierra, Hali, a 25-year-old law student from San Francisco, is a triple threat, as she has the brains, brawn, and the beauty to stand out above the rest. Hali will no doubt fit in with her “No Collar” tribe, and should be likable enough, to catapult her deep into the game. If she makes some big moves, this game is hers to lose. If she rides coattails, she screams 2nd place finish to me. Regardless, Hali has all the tools she needs the win the game.

Rodney Blue Collar

1. Rodney, Blue Collar

“I may go down as the best person from Boston of all time”, says Rodney Lavoie, 24, and general contractor from Boston, MA. It is a bit unclear whether he is saying he was going to be the best person of all time from Boston to play Survivor, or simply the best person from Boston of all time. Period.

He basically is Boston Rob, the second coming, and I hope that we see Rodney, and not Boston Rob playing for a fifth time. If he is right however, and he does end up winning this sea

son and becoming a Survivor legend, I smell a battle of the Boston season on the horizon, as Rodney Vs. Boston Rob would be Jeff Probst’s wet dream.

I do think that Rodney will have control over this game, and will take a few young girls to the end and crush them in the finals, much like his protégé, Boston Rob Mariano. And like Mariano, Rodney was basically incomprehensible throughout much of his 1:10 interview.

Either way, Rodney should be a major character starting next Wednesday, when Survivor: Worlds Apart premieres at 8pm EST on CBS.

*All pictures are copyright of CBS and

Mother Nature is no Match for this Woman of all Trades


            Not only is she a wife, a mother, and a middle school teacher, but Jacquelyn Lawton is also the woman behind the wildly successful JTL Landscaping company, based in Foster, RI.

Over the past ten days, parts of New England have been bombarded with nearly four feet of snow, nearly crippling much of the area. While most New Englanders were buying bread, milk and batteries, Jacquelyn Lawton was  preparing their company and employees to be able to meet the needs of over 100 customers, including both residential and local businesses.

“Impeccable planning is the key to ensuring customer satisfaction”, says Jacquelyn Lawton, who balances her time as the owner of JTL, with being a full time reading teacher at Ferri Middle School in Johnston, RI, being a wife, and a mother of two beautiful children.

Not only does JTL strive to satisfy their customers’ needs, but they also make it a point to make sure the needs of their crew are met.

Christopher Lawton, manager at JTL says “Jacquelyn, and everyone at JTL always do a fantastic job making sure the equipment is at the appropriate sites, including machines and fuel, in addition to materials such as ice melt, sand, and salt being well stocked.”

Ryan Mitchell, JTL company manager says, “It was a long and tiring 10 days, but in the end, JTL was a success and lived up to the quality that customers have come to expect. This could not have been accomplished without Jacquelyn, her husband Steven, and the entire JTL crew working together towards a common goal.”

Jacquelyn began JTL in 2008 in Foster, RI and the business has been steadily growing with a consistent amount of new customers regularly seeking their services. In addition to snow and ice management, JTL also manages four other companies: JTL Landscaping, Organic Lawn Company, Mulch RI, and their newest company, Sitescapes. JTL claims that “their people, their services, and their prices will truly exceed your expectations” and you do not have to take their word for it, just ask their customers.

“Jacquelyn, and her company, JTL are not only reliable, but their customer service is above the rest. I can always be certain that my lot will be plowed in a timely manner, and with great attention to detail”, says Kaitlin Dinwoodie of Foster, RI and JTL customer since 2011. “I have recommended them to many of my family and friends, and they have all had nothing but positive experiences with the company.”

In fact, even as I was conducting this interview with Lawton, she received two phone calls from satisfied customers, thanking JTL for their exceptional services. “Most customers reported they were very satisfied with the quality of the service, especially considering the significant amount of snow we received over the course of the two paralyzing storms” said Lawton.

Lawton, an avid fan of reading, exercising, and spending time with her children, rarely finds time for herself. “I am just happy that within both of my occupations I am able to have the sense of giving back to the community. That is what truly makes me happy,” says Lawton.

If you are in the area and would like to reach JTL for inquires or to schedule one of their services, they can be reached in the following ways.



Phone 401-487-7000

Wine is a Work of Art

The barrel room was filled with the scent of paint, the sound of laughter, and the clinking of wine glasses as Jonathan Edwards hosted the second of three scheduled Barrels & Brushes events last Thursday evening.

Over 40 people were in attendance at the event, which is more than double the amount of attendees that were at the first Barrels & Brushes event, held earlier this month.

“We were satisfied with the attendance for the first Barrels & Brushes, but are very excited about the huge turnout for tonight’s event” says Dawn McEwan, tasting room employee.

From ladies night out, to couples date night, the barrel room was filled with people shedding their artistic insecurities and finding their inner Picasso; all while enjoying their favorite Jonathan Edwards wine, of course.

“This is my first time at a Barrels & Brushes night at Jonathan Edwards” says Erin Burke, 31, of Westerly, RI. “I always thought I was an awful artist, but now that I have had a few glasses of wine, I don’t think I am so bad” she said as her accompanying girlfriends cheered her on with excitement and enthusiasm.

The dynamic, fun-loving personality of Felicia, the owner of the Drunken Palette, the art center responsible for supplying the artistic part of the event, afforded everyone in attendance the opportunity to relax and feel as if they were among forty friends in a novice art class for adults. Wine was flowing, brushes were stroking, and laughter was echoing through the room as the event carried on throughout the three-hour event.

As the night drew to a close, each participant gathered their newly painted work of art and made their way to the tasting room to find their coats and pay their tabs, (and maybe pick up a bottle or two of Jonathan Edwards wine for the long weekend ahead).

“The appetizers were filling, the wine was delicious, and the paint lesson was a blast,” says Burke. “I am going home and signing up for the third Barrels & Brushes event right when I get back.”

And I have a feeling that there will be many familiar faces on February 5th, when the final of three scheduled Barrels & Brushes events takes place at Jonathan Edwards winery.