Sophie Clarke is a Survivor veteran, who has returned to the game for the first time since winning Survivor: South Pacific, which was the 23rd season of the show, airing in the fall of 2011.
Read on for the rundown on Sophie Clarke below.
1. Sophie is a Medical Doctor
This native of Willsboro, in upstate New York, is the youngest of three siblings; her two older sisters are twins named Edwina and Phoebe who actually share a birthday with their mom, Antonia Bullard. Bullard is the daughter of
After high school, Clarke graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont with a degree in economics and Russian, and then attended the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, graduating in 2017. But in between, she played Survivor — and actually, she flew out to tape the show the day after she graduated from college. There, her goal was to be able to pay for medical school by winning the game.
“I have been bragging to friends for way too long about how easy Survivor is and how good I would be,” Clarke told CBS prior to her first appearance on the show. “I would like to have the freedom in med school to choose my specialty based on passion and not money and the potential to more quickly pay my debts.”
After graduating from medical school, Clarke treated herself to a European vacation, visiting France, Greece, and England.
2. She is Recently Married
Clarke might have filmed “Winners at War” in the summer of 2019, but that was hardly the biggest thing that happened to her. She married her now-husband Robert Shady on August 24, 2019. The wedding took place on the shores of Lake Champlain at her parents’ house in Willsboro, according to the announcement in the New York Times, and then they honeymooned in Greece.
Clarke now works at McKinsey & Company as an engagement manager focusing on improving health care, while her husband works as an entrepreneur in residence in health care for Venrock, a venture capital firm. He previously worked at McKinsey along with Clarke, which is how they met back in 2016. Robert proposed in 2018 while they hiked the Adirondacks in New York.
Robert attended Brown University where he earned a degree in human biology and international development, then he was a Fulbright scholar at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, from which he received a Master’s degree in health policy, planning and financing.
3. Sophie’s Grandparents and Great-Grandparents Were Famous British Political Figures
Clarke’s mom Antonia Bullard is the daughter of Sir Julian and Lady Margaret Bullard (pictured above with Clarke) and the granddaughter of Sir Reader Bullard. Reader was the British ambassador to Iran in the 1940s, among several other Foreign Service offices he held over a 25-year career. His son, Julian, was perhaps even more famous, working as a political agent in Dubai in the 1960s and then as ambassador to Bonn, Germany, in the mid-1980s.
In the 1970s, he headed up Britain’s relationship with Soviet Russia and was responsible for the expulsion of over 100 KGB operatives from London. He was awarded The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, a British order of chivalry, first as a Knight Commander in 1982 and then as a Knight Grand Cross in 1984. He died in 2006.
In 2019, his 90-year-old wife Margaret told the Gulf News about their time in the United Arab Emirates, then known as the Trucial States. They lived in the newly-built compound that is now known as the British embassy. Margaret planted a garden there that is still standing today. She also helped found Dubai’s very first public library.
4. Sophie’s Dad is a Famous Author
Clarke’s dad is Thurston Clarke, a noted historian, journalist, and author. He attended Yale University and Columbia University and has been the recipient of the Guggenheim fellowship and the Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Literature.
Thurston’s bibliography includes Dirty Money: Swiss Banks, the Mafia, Money Laundering, and White Collar Crime; The Last Caravan; By Blood and Fire: The Attack on the King David Hotel; Lost Hero: The Mystery of Raoul Wallenberg; Equator: A Journey; Pearl Harbor Ghosts; California Fault: Searching for the Spirit of a State Along the San Andreas; Searching for Crusoe: A Journey Among the Last Real Islands; Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and The Speech That Changed America; The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America; JFK’s Last Hundred Days: The Transformation of a Man and The Emergence of a Great President; and Honorable Exit: How a Few Brave Americans Risked All to Save Our Vietnamese Allies at the End of the War.
Of his most recent book, the New York Times Book Review wrote, “His enthusiasm is infectious… he entertains and illuminates, writing gracefully, and with a fine sense of irony… He’s funny and he’s fair and he swims well against powerful cultural cross-currents.”
Thurston has also written some recent essays that include “Peace With Honor: What Vietnam Can Teach Us About How to Leave Afghanistan” for TIME and “Helping Refugees Saved Lives in 1975. It Gets You Arrested Today” for the Los Angeles Times.
5. Sophie Wants to See How Her Grown-Up Self Will Play Survivor
Her first time playing, Clarke was one of the youngest castaways to ever win Survivor at age 22 (she was 21 when the season filmed). Now nine years later, Clarke was a bit worried about how long ago it was that she played the game.
“When I first arrived, I was like, ‘Oh god, I’ve been out of the saddle for a long time,'” she tells ET Canada in a pre-“Winners at War” interview. “Do I even know how to do this still?’ … it’s been so long [since I played], I feel like I’ve changed so much as a player. I look back at my 21-year-old self and I’m really proud of her, but I also think, ‘Hmph. I would play a little differently.’ My 29-going-on-30-year-old self wants a shot to play … I’m a different person now and I want to play Survivor.”
Clarke also says she is so grateful to be a part of this season.
“Just being a part of Survivor is really important to me. I was a fan before I ever was on the show. And I’m now like back in the Avengers movie, that’s what it feels like. Just getting to be a part of this season and celebrate this thing that I love, it’s, even if I lose, the most cool thing ever.”
Survivor: Winners at War airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
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