This Contestant Prepared for ‘Survivor’ by Existing as a Queer Black Jewish Woman

Claire Rafson has wanted to go on the reality show since she was 4 years old — and she'll "do whatever it takes to win."

Hold on to your idols, Jewish “Survivor” fans! (Or maybe don’t, depending on how closely you follow Jewish law…) The show just announced its newest group of castaways for its 44th season, and it looks like we already have a Jewish contestant to root for!

“Growing up as a queer black Jewish woman, I have always been the odd one out. I feel like I’ve been playing a social/strategic game of ‘Survivor’ my whole life to fit in, succeed, and reach my goals,” contestant Claire Rafson recently told Entertainment Weekly, when asked about a life experience that has prepared her for the show.

The 25-year-old tech investor who hails from Highland Park, Illinois also told EW that it has been her dream to be on the show since she was 4 years old, and she’ll “do whatever it takes to win,” adding, “I’ve got the strategic knowledge and social skills to get me where I need to go. I’m also easy to underestimate. These people won’t see me coming til my knife is in their back.”

YES, CLAIRE! We’re obsessed.

To the credit of “Survivor,” Claire isn’t the first Jew or even Jew of Color/queer Jew on the show. On Season 41 alone, the show featured four Jewish contestants. This included fan favorite and genderqueer Jew Evvie Jagoda, Tiffany Seeley (who had a perfect “Baruch Hashem” moment) and Liana Wallace, who came in seventh place. Over the years, the reality competition show has also featured a gaggle of anxious Jewish contestants like Stephen Fishbach from Season 31 and Hannah Shapiro and Adam Klein from Season 33. And, of course, who could forget the first Jewish winner of “Survivor” and total mensch, Ethan Zohn.

Ultimately, we love to see someone wear their Jewishness so proudly, and we cannot wait to root for Claire when the season premieres on March 1!

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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