Sonja Christopher: A Pioneer on Survivor

Sonja Christopher made history in the year 2000 when she became one of the first contestants on the reality TV series, “Survivor: Borneo.” At the age of 63, Sonja, who had recently moved to a retirement community, saw an article about “Survivor” in the newspaper and immediately knew she wanted to embark on a new adventure.

Although Sonja’s time on the show was short-lived, she will always be remembered as the very first person ever to be voted off of “Survivor.” Her early departure from the competition made her a memorable figure in the show’s history.

Earlier this year, at the age of 87, Sonja Christopher passed away. In honor of her memory, Jeff Probst, the show’s host, shared heartfelt words about her on the official “Survivor” Instagram page. Probst described Sonja as one of the kindest individuals to ever play the game and reminisced about their positive interactions over the years. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to have crossed paths with her.

Rob Cesternino, a former contestant on season 6 of “Survivor,” also paid tribute to Sonja on social media. He acknowledged her significant contribution to the show, stating that she paved the way for every person who followed in her footsteps. In his tribute, Cesternino included a ukulele emoji, symbolizing Sonja’s memorable performance on the show when she played the ukulele and sang “Bye Bye Blues” to fellow contestant Richard Hatch, who eventually won the season.

Despite being voted off early in the competition, Sonja’s love for “Survivor” did not waver. In fact, she proudly revealed in 2017 that she had not missed a single episode in the past 17 years. She expressed her intention to continue watching the show for another 17 years before gracefully departing to the “giant Tribal Council in the sky.”

Before her retirement, Sonja worked as a music therapist. Three years prior to her appearance on “Survivor,” she was diagnosed with breast cancer. During that challenging time, her significant other sought solace elsewhere, leaving Sonja alone as she faced her battle as a survivor. It was during this period that she came across the article in the morning paper, announcing CBS’s search for Americans to participate in a desert island challenge lasting 39 days. Sonja’s unexpected journey began from that very moment.

Sonja Christopher will forever hold a significant place in the storied history of “Survivor.” Her adventurous spirit and courageous outlook on life continue to inspire both fans of the show and future contestants.