Amber Brkich is from Beaver, Pennsylvania and is a recent graduate from Westminster College, where she earned a B.A. degree in Public Relations, minoring in Speech Communications. Prior to departing for Australia, while Brkich searched for her "career job," she was an administrative assistant and lived with her parents. Her previous occupations while attending school included waitress, librarian assistant, swimming instructor, lifeguard and babysitter for her professor. Brkich's favorite hobbies are going out with her friends, dancing and just generally having fun. She's a member of Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority, where she was Vice President and New Member Coordinator. Brkich also belongs to the Catholic Church. Her primary reasons for trying out for Survivor: The Australian Outback include lack of change, excitement, and kangaroos in her life, although the million dollars wouldn't hurt either! Her birth date is August 11, 1978.
Born and raised in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Keith Famie currently makes his home in West Bloomfield, Michigan. While still attending high school, he began working in restaurant kitchens and after graduation, traveled the world working in hotels located in such exotic locales as Brussels, Monte Carlo and New York. In 1988 Famie opened his own restaurant, Les Auteurs an American Bistro, and in the same year was recognized in Food & Wine as one of the "10 Best New Chefs" and Les Auteurs was featured in Esquire Magazine's "Best New Restaurants of 1988." During 1993, Famie began appearing in cooking segments called "Famie's Adventures in Cooking" for local Detroit television stations. The popular segments ultimately led to several half-hour specials airing in Detroit. In 1996 Famie opened Forte and was selected yet again in Esquire's yearly "Best New Restaurants" — this time in 1997. Last year, he produced and hosted his first one-hour prime time Emmy-nomina.
Originally from Christoval, Texas, Colby Donaldson is a successful, self-employed custom auto designer and builder currently living in Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in business marketing and began working as a sales representative at an HMO carrier until he decided to leave the security of a successful corporate job to pursue a passion and start his own company. Donaldson describes himself as imaginative, dedicated and flexible. A competitive athlete, he enjoys water skiing and mountain biking before gathering with friends for a barbecue. When not customizing cars, Donaldson enjoys designing and building furniture. His favorite sport to watch is football, but he prefers to play sand volleyball. His birth date is April 1, 1974.
Jerri Manthey has been living in Los Angeles, California, for the last six years, pursuing her acting career while bartending to help pay the bills. She credits her acting coach, Manu Tupou, with whom she has been studying with for four years, for pushing her beyond her own limitations and encouraging her to write and direct, as well. Her biggest accomplishment was a play that she and her best friend wrote, directed and produced, titled Beautiful Chaos, for the Hudson Theater in Los Angeles. Additionally, she has had roles in various independent films, commercials, and feature films, including the telefilm That Championship Season. As Manthey puts it, she grew up an "army brat"; her father served 28 years in the United States Army, having retired in 1997. Due to the military way of life, she moved every three to four years of her childhood, spending a total of 12 years on various Army bases in Germany. Graduating from high school in 1988 in Neu Ulm, she then attended the University of Maryland in Munich, Germany. Manthey describes herself as adventurous, fun loving, spontaneous, honest, and kind. Her favorite hobbies include photography, cooking, painting, writing, reading, and her all-time favorite, camping. She enjoys hiking and/or backpacking to very remote, unknown places in order to escape the craziness of Los Angeles. Her favorite event is Burning Man, a festival that takes place every year in the vast, barren Black Rock desert of Nevada. She has gone for the last two years and says she will go every year for as long as she lives or until the event no longer takes place. At Burning Man 2000, she and a group of friends from all over California organized a theme camp and stayed for 12 days. They built their own shelter and brought all the supplies necessary to survive in the harsh environment and extreme weather. Manthey named their temporary residence "Camp Chaos" and adopted the slogan "The Ultimate Order Lies in Chaos," a motto she believes applies directly to her life. A perfect day for Manthey always begins with a cup of coffee! Then, a hike in one of the various canyons of Los Angeles, playing with her dog Gidget and her cat Kiya, writing in her journal, surfing the net, e-mailing, watching a good movie, spending time with a close friend over dinner, and curling up with a good book. Her favorite movies are The Big Lebowski and Search for the Holy Grail. Her favorite TV shows are The Sopranos and and the City. She enjoys all types of music-depending on her mood- ranging from Al Green and Barry White to Creed and Tonic. When she's ready to dance, she enjoys funky, soulful, house music. Manthey was born in Bad Konstatt Hospital on the Army base in Stuttgart, Germany. She is proud to report that her mother and father--both from South Dakota--are still together and happily married. She has two brothers and one sister. Her birth date is September 5, 1970.
Tina Wesson currently works as a private duty C.N.A. nurse while also working as a full-time mom. Formerly, she worked as a community education director, flight attendant, substitute teacher and a swimming instructor. Wesson obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in therapeutic recreation from the University of Tennessee in 1983. An avid athlete, she is most proud of having completed the Dublin, Ireland Marathon, placed first in the Tennessee State Racquetball Tournament and placed first in her age division in her hometown mini-triathlon, all in the same year (1998). Her quest in life continues to be to "live the life less ordinary."Wesson describes herself as happy, content, adventurous, outgoing, and very much in love. Her favorite hobbies are racquetball, paddleball , running, swimming, and motorcycling. Her favorite television show is Rosie, while her favorite feature films are Out of Africa and Shadowlands. She prefers classic, contemporary Christian, and pop rock music, citing Match Box 20 as her favorite band. While rooting for the University of Tennessee Volunteers, she's always game for a round of Balderdash. Her perfect day consists of eating a good breakfast followed by a ride on her motorcycle to the mountains with her husband and her best friend. After a hike, she'd play racquetball, take a shower, have dinner, see a movie while eating a big bag of popcorn and then head home to bed. She's an early riser.Born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, Wesson currently resides there with her husband, Dale, and her two children, Katie and Taylor. She is a member of the Outstanding Young Women of America and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Her birth date is December 26.
Captain Kel Gleason is an Intelligence Officer in the United States Army. He has a bachelor's degree in radio/television communications and has completed work toward a Masters degree in telecommunications at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Before entering the Army, Gleason worked as a production assistant for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio. Gleason was commissioned in the Army in 1996 and immediately posted to Germany for three years. While posted there, he was a platoon leader and a battalion staff officer for intelligence and security. During that same period, he was also assigned to Bosnia in conjunction with the peacekeeping operation there. Born in Murphysboro, Illinois, Gleason and his family moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, where he lived until he completed high school. After graduation, Gleason moved back to the United States and has been based here ever since. On visits home, Gleason enjoys camping, fishing, and kayaking with his dad, a retired professor. In addition, he is avidly interested in his South American Indian (Quechuan) heritage, particularly its history, art, and cuisine. He loves to cook, having learned his culinary skills from his Peruvian mother, who teaches gourmet cooking in the family home. Gleason's hobbies include weightlifting, running, rollerblading, snorkeling, photography, and skiing. Currently single, Gleason recently relocated to Fort Hood, Texas. His birth date is January 5, 1968.
Maralyn Hershey spent 26 years with the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C., having become one of the first women to be assigned to street patrol. Over the course of her tenure, she was promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant to Captain and ultimately, Inspector. She is most proud of her promotion from Captain to Inspector, when she served as Commanding Officer of MPD Communications 911 for Washington, D.C. She retired in May of 1996. During her career, Hershey received over 70 letters of commendation and four Incentive Awards for Outstanding Perfomance of Duty. An avid rider and competitor, Hershey enjoys showing her horse, G-Man, in various competitions in her area. Approximately two years ago, Hershey fractured two ribs from a horse fall, followed by a fractured pelvic bone from another fall six months after that. Despite her injuries, Hershey got back in the saddle again and continues to compete in regional equestrian competitions. Hershey was the recipient of the 1999 Peninsula Horse Show Association's Annual Sportsmanship Award. For their 2000 season, Hershey was named champion of her Beginner Equitation/Jumping Division. Hershey describes herself as determined, dramatic, and multi-faceted. In addition to her love for horses, Hershey's other favorite hobbies are yard work and reading. Her perfect day includes riding and jumping her horse, running three miles, mowing her lawn, swimming in her pool, reading a good book, and watching a good science fiction or horror film. Her favorite television shows are The Sopranos and The Corner, and her favorite motion pictures are Dune and Bram Stoker's Dracula. She prefers oldies rock music. Her favorite sports team is The Washington Redskins, while her favorite game is Scrabble. Originally from Rockville Centre, Long Island (New York), Hershey currently resides in Wakefield, Virginia. In addition to her her horse, Hershey also cares for her walker hound, Eunice Bea, her two goats, Harley and Boomerang, and her donkey, Cappuccino. She is a member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy, Virginia Horse Show Association, the American Donkey & Mule Society and the Peninsula Horse Show Association. Her birth date is January 24.
Mitchell Olson is an aspiring singer/songwriter who has traveled around the country performing in various stage productions. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in vocal music performance from South Dakota State University. He is most proud of having the courage to leave his family and friends behind to move to New York City in pursuit of his career. Olson describes himself as witty, outgoing and (with tongue in cheek) downright all-around, completely and totally, without a doubt, y. He is 7' tall, which affords him a slightly different perspective on many things. His perfect day goes something like this: wake up with friends there to greet him; avoid long commute to work where more friends are there to greet him; lunch with friends; avoid long commute home to make a timely dash to the clubs with friends. His favorite television show is CBS's The Price Is Right while his favorite motion picture is Adventures In Babysitting. He prefers pop music, insisting that Britney Spears has a crush on him, although he concedes that it may be the other way around. Olson is happy to report that his "List of Things To Do Before I Die" is coming along quite nicely (established when he was 12 years old, he is able to add to the list as he scratches a task off). Being a contestant on CBS's The Price Is Right was Number Two on his list -- he accomplished that in 1998. He gleefully admits that he once tried out for the Harlem Globetrotters (Number Twelve). Olson actually applied for the first installment of Survivor, and now that he's finally made the show, is happy to scratch off Number Sixteen. According to Number Six on the list, Olson is to run for President of the United States as soon as he comes of age. Having been raised on a farm in Vermillion, South Dakota, Olson currently resides in Union City, New Jersey, when not traveling with a production. He is a member of the National Academy of Popular Music for Singers/Songwriters. His birth date is March 17.