Sandra Diaz-Twine is a Survivor champion, who is back in the game for the fourth time with “Winners at War,” which is tied for second-most times playing behind Boston Rob Mariano, who will be playing for the fifth time this season. She previously won two seasons, “Pearl Islands” and “Heroes vs. Villains.”
Read on below for the details on Diaz-Twine.
1. Sandra Is an Army Veteran
Sandra Diaz-Twine was born in Stamford, Connecticut, where she lived until she was in sixth grade. She then attended middle school in Puerto Rico and high school in Miami. She then served in the U.S. Army as a quartermaster, which included a tour of duty in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War.
Prior to her Survivor experiences, Diaz-Twine worked as a bank teller and as a legal secretary for a law firm in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Of course, after winning Survivor twice — she is the only person to do that, though chances are someone else will join that list after “Winners at War” — Diaz-Twine left her 9-to-5 job behind.
When asked in a 2012 interview what she was up to, she laughed as she told People, “I don’t do a damn thing.”
She also said, “I’d play Survivor again and I’d probably win.”
That wasn’t exactly true. She did play again, on season 34, Survivor: Game Changers, but as the only two-time winner, she came in with a huge target on her back. It was actually kind of surprising that five other people were voted out before she was.
2. Sandra’s Husband is Also In the Army and They Have Two Children
Diaz-Twine is married to Marcus Twine, who is active in the Army. In fact, in 2012 he was shipped out on his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan. When that tour completed, he was a Brigade Operations Sergeant Major in Fort Gordon, Georgia, and then in 2018, he became the Senior Enlisted Leader (SEL) at DISA Central Field Command on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Bay, Florida, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Sandra and Marcus have two daughters: Tatiana, 24, and Alanna, 22. Tatiana studied anthropology at Tacoma Community College and Alanna graduated magna cum laude from Eastern Carolina University in 2018. When Diaz-Twine posted the good news to Facebook, she wrote, “I’m soooo happy right now. My daughter graduates from college. Thank you Survivor. She’s getting her degree with zero debt. That’s one of the things I did with my money for those that always ask.”
Their family also includes their beloved Pomeranians, one of which passed away while Diaz-Twine was filming “Island of the Idols” this past summer. His name was Rio. She also lost her 14-year-old pomeranian named Papa on February 5.
3. Sandra Knows How to Get Down
In August 2019, Diaz-Twine posted a video of herself rapping along with Slick Rick’s song “Mona Lisa.” She and her husband have also recently been traveling a lot — Stonehenge, Paris, going on a cruise, swimming with dolphins in Florida.
And a peek at Diaz-Twine’s social media is all you need to see how frequently she hangs out with other Survivor alums. Last year, a group of them went to Japan together and three years ago, Diaz-Twine randomly met up with Adam Klein in Topeka, Kansas.
“I have a lot of relationships with these people outside the game, but I don’t know everyone here … some I’ve known for years and some I’ve met for like five minutes at the last charity event,” she reveals to ET Canada before “Winners at War.”
4. She Always Thought Host Jeff Probst Didn’t Like Her As Much as Other Winners
When it was time to head to the island for “Game Changers” in 2017, Diaz-Twine told Parade Magazine that she was surprised to be asked back again.
“I always thought that Jeff doesn’t love me the way he loves other winners. On ‘Heroes vs Villains,’ it was winners people love and winners people hate. But Jeff said, ‘Sandra, I’m really glad you said yes.’ I said, ‘Jeff, I don’t forget how I got to where I am. I have nothing but love for Survivor. I can’t say no. I cannot say no. It’s the quickest money I’ll ever make. Everything else takes a back seat.'”
She also revealed that she and one of her daughters were almost a part of “Blood vs. Water.”
“My daughter and I made it all the way to the end of [casting], we just didn’t get on. But it seems like whenever they do bring me on, it’s always the right time. I don’t question the Survivor Gods on why I’m here. I just come and handle my business.”
5. Sandra’s Survivor Strategy Has Changed a Bit
Diaz-Twine is obviously a huge target because she’s the only person who has won the game twice. In “Game Changers,” her strategy was “to link up with the alpha males” because she thought those guys could protect her.
“If I can get them to agree to protect me from day one, once the tribes merge and it’s every man for himself, that’s when the weaker players who outnumber them are going to come gunning for them. That’s when I’m going to step in and repay the favor. We can get far in the game,” she told Parade before the season filmed.
That strategy worked for a little while, but she still went home before the merge. So what will she do differently in “Winners at War”?
“I needed to have more strategy,” she told ET Canada in a pre-show interview, adding, “I have to play from the bottom up. I have to play like I’m the target day after day after day, which is what I am. But I’m not the only target out here … [the big targets] need to all get together, stay together.”
“The game has changed so much … [mentoring on ‘Island of the Idols’] opened my eyes to a lot of things,” she says.
Survivor: Winners at War airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
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