Alec Merlino: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Alec Merlino

Getty Alec Merlino is a former contestant on "Survivor" and internet personality.

Alec Merlino is an athlete and actor who appeared on season 37 of “Survivor” in 2018. He was unanimously voted out on day 28 of the competition and sent to jury. Merlino is best known for his relationship with fellow castaway Kara Kay and his infamous Instagram post that got him banned from the reunion.

In 2018, Merlino posted a photo of Kara on Instagram with the caption “f*** it” before the cast list for season 37 was announced. According to TMZ, the post violated the non-disclosure agreement contestants’ sign before going on the show, which states contestants cannot post photos of each other on social media. The post caught the attention of production, and Merlino was formally uninvited from the reunion, TMZ reported. He deleted the picture shortly after posting it.

On “Survivor”, Merlino was the lovable, charismatic bartender from California. His relationship with Kara, which officially started after the show, captured the hearts of fans. In a 2019 interview with E! News, he shared that the two liked each other on the show, they “just didn’t know it yet.”

“Toward the end of the show, when I would walk back into Tribal when I got voted out, I was like, ‘She’s kinda cute.’ And it wasn’t until the very last night when the thing kinda happened,” he told E! News. The former castaways dated for nearly two years but eventually split, Showbiz Cheat Sheet reported in March 2020. Since his time on the show, Merlino has been busy embarking on new professional and personal endeavors.

Here’s what you need to know:

1.He’s Done Acting Work

Since appearing on “Survivor,” Merlino has dipped his toes into the acting world. In 2021 he appeared in the HBO series “The White Lotus,” created by fellow castaway Mike White. He told Entertainment Weekly about the experience stating, “I got to step into Mike’s world while spending three months in Hawaii acting on his show ‘The White Lotus’, which he wrote, directed, and produced. I could go on for hours about that experience, but to sum it up, it was full of laughs and good times. I’m hoping for a season 2.”

The show focuses on the complicated lives of various employees and guests at a luxury Hawaiian resort. The six-episode series gradually becomes darker and more complex with each episode as new truths emerge about the guests staying at the resort. The show was praised by critics, receiving a score of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. The New Yorker named it one of the best shows of the year, calling it a “near-note-perfect tragicomedy.”

In the series, Merlino plays Hutch, an employee at the hotel. Mike White joked about casting his “Survivor” ally, telling Entertainment Weekly, “Alec’s part isn’t huge, but it was still a stretch – he plays a hunky bartender at a resort hotel.” The role is a perfect fit for Merlino; he was a bartender in real life before being cast on “Survivor”. His appearance on the show isn’t surprising considering his close relationship with White. He told Entertainment Weekly that Mike is his closest friend from the show. “We connected early on, bonding over traveling and leading cool lives.” Merlino posted a picture on Instagram at the series premiere with the caption, “Great times with great people.”

2.He Started a Clothing Company

According to his LinkedIn page, he started Head and Hart Clothing in 2018. His company makes vintage-inspired premium clothing. In an interview with SDVoyager, he spoke about his motivation for starting the company.

“Getting a Bachelors in Business I knew I wanted to start something and work for myself,” Merlino said. “Clothing for me is something special. Everyone knows that feeling of buying a new garment and saving it for that Friday night out or that special occasion. … I wanted to make clothes people would cherish.”

Merlino got the inspiration for the company’s signature distressed tees from his time on “Survivor.” “We were given one outfit the entire time out there. I had this button-up shirt and by the end of my time on the show [it] became soft and faded. It felt vintage to me, and I loved it!”

The company has not been active on Instagram since 2019 and is “on a pause,” according to its website. However, a limited collection is available to purchase via the link in Merlino’s Instagram bio. The start-up is planning to relaunch in the future with a new line of products inspired by his fitness journey, the website says.

3.He Is a Competitive Runner

Since appearing on “Survivor,” Merlino has made running a priority in his life. He told Entertainment Weekly in June 2021, “I’ve been running a lot! Not from my problems … I mean literally running miles and miles every day. It’s been over a year now and has become a new obsession-turned-career path.” He told the publication that it started with casual beach jogs but evolved into participating in ultra marathons.

Running has become a real passion for the reality television star. In February 2021, he shared an inspiring post on Instagram to celebrate completing a 50 mile run with the caption, “Running is a lot like life. Brutal at times with the unexpected constantly being thrown at you.” He shared that he finished the race in 15th place with an impressive time of 10 hours and 40 minutes.

Merlino promotes his races on social media and uses his platform to help his followers stay focused on their goals. In April 2021, he took to Instagram to share that he ran 541 miles over the course of a month. In the post, he shared some helpful tips with followers about motivation. In the caption he wrote, “No matter the size of the goal, it all starts with one step.”

4.He Has a YouTube Channel

In addition to Merlino’s other business ventures, he also has a YouTube channel. His channel had 2.83 thousand subscribers and 169 videos in October 2021. His content consists of vlogs, fitness tips, and running videos. His YouTube channel captures his adventurous lifestyle and love of travel.

Merlino uses his channel to connect with fans and give updates on his life. On September 23, 2021, he posted a video telling his subscribers that he started an online fitness coaching business. In the video, he explained to viewers what his new business would entail.

“I’m taking my background, my experience, and I’m putting it into programs that I can then give to people to help them achieve whatever their goals are,” he said.

Merlino isn’t afraid to get personal and share intimate details from his life. In 2020, Merlino posted a YouTube video in which he revealed he was laid off from his job as a recruiter. In the video, he shared that he was no longer passionate about the job and was excited to focus his energy on running.

5.He Is a Brand Ambassador

After appearing on “Survivor,” Merlino started working with brands and promoting products on social media. He partners with companies like Hume Supernatural, a deodorant company. In a YouTube video, he shared that his work as a brand ambassador is his primary source of income.

Merlino teams up with brands to help promote products. Many of the companies he is associated with are in the fitness and health sphere. One of the companies he works with is Paceline. Paceline is an app that offers rewards when you reach your fitness goals. Followers of Merlino receive special rewards from this app when entering his promotion code, “alec.”

He also works with brands to arrange giveaways for his followers. In May, he shared a post on Instagram offering $500 worth of products from TruWild, Runinrabbit, and Hume Supernatural. To win, followers had to follow the brands listed and comment their favorite way to stay active on Merlino’s give-away post. He uses his role as a brand ambassador to help his followers discover new health products and receive benefits.

Merlino told Entertainment Weekly that he would “100 percent” play “Survivor” again if asked, so there is a possibility the former castaway will appear on a future season.