Xander Hastings is a “Survivor 41” fan-favorite. At 21 years old, the Florida native is one of the youngest cast members to ever appear on the show.
Xander became a target early on after securing an immunity idol and an extra-vote. Despite his athleticism and intelligence, his dwindling social relationships have made him a bit of an underdog. His closest allies David Voce and Evvie Jagoda were eliminated early on in the season, leaving Xander in a vulnerable position.
“Survivor” fans love to root for an underdog, and Xander has undoubtedly caught their attention. In November 2021, Gold Derby conducted a poll asking fans to vote for their favorite “Survivor 41” castaway. Xander scored a whopping 61% of the vote. The other seven castaways didn’t score anywhere close to that percentage. Erika Casupanan and Ricard Foye tied for second, both receiving 9% of the votes.
Here’s everything you need to know about the season 41 fan-favorite:
He Goes to a Top University
According to his LinkedIn page, Xander currently studies economics at the University of Chicago. The school is quite prestigious. Forbes reported that the university has a 6% acceptance rate and an impressive alumni network. Forbes ranked the University of Chicago #23 in the nation in 2021. Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and American writer Susan Sontag are just a few of the famous faces that attended the university.
Xander is a member of the school’s track and field team. According to the Department of Athletics & Recreation, Xander ran track and field for three years in high school before joining the University of Chicago team. His stats are featured on the department’s website and are pretty impressive. His mile record is four minutes and 33 seconds.
In September 2021, Xander told Entertainment Weekly he plans to keep his education a secret from his fellow castaways.
“I don’t want them to know that I go to one of the top universities in the country,” he told the outlet.
He Is an App Developer
According to his LinkedIn page, Xander is an app developer. He recently “started [his] own company for developing apps, and is currently working on [his] first release.”
In the summer of 2018, he interned at Cortland, a real estate investment company, in Shanghai, China, according to his LinkedIn page. One of his responsibilities as an intern was to “travel the countryside meeting with prospective producers to tour facilities and negotiate deals.”
Xander is a self-described nerd. He opened up about his love for learning to Parade magazine in August 2021.
“I really have this ferocity for learning. I love learning; I love knowledge. It’s so incredible that we can learn things from other people without ever doing them,” he told the outlet. He revealed that he loves to geek out about science and history in his CBS bio. He said he could spend hours discussing Kepler’s 3rd Law or the algorithm he used for his latest app’s feed widget.
His Dad Was in the Navy
Xander’s dad was in the Navy when he was growing up. In August 2021, Xander spoke to Parade magazine about his dad being in the military and how they bonded over “Survivor.”
“My dad was in the Navy, and he would leave early and come home late. But the time that we got with him, the staple of our family time, was always ‘Survivor.’ He would come home late at night, and we would all sit around the couch and watch,” he told the publication.
In his CBS bio, Xander revealed that his dad is his hero.
“That man sacrifices everything for his family and especially for me to live out my exuberant adventures and ambitions,” he said. “He served in the Navy, Peace Corps and now serves as a prominent doctor in the Jacksonville community. People adore him, most of all me.”
He’s on TikTok
Xander recently joined the popular social media app TikTok in October 2021. The “Survivor” castaway currently has 16.1 thousand followers and 218.1 thousand likes as of December 2021.
He currently has four videos posted on his page. He shared his first TikTok on October 15, which showed the 21-year-old showing off his new haircut. He captioned the video, “kicking off my TikTok career [with] the first chop in over a year. No more malcom hair.”
On October 19, Xander took to TikTok to answer questions about app development. He told fans that he is a self-taught app developer and encouraged them to learn this valuable skill by Googling YouTube video tutorials. He captioned the post, “I code with Flutter/Dart, it’s really easy to learn online. Would you like future videos taking you inside what it’s like to run a startup?”
Fans were quick to comment on the post and express their interest in learning business tips from Xander. One fan wrote, “yes yes yes! This is all so fascinating. Googling flutter now lol.” Another TikTok user wrote, “Tell us more.”
He Likes to Travel
“Survivor 41” isn’t the first time Xander’s found himself far from home. The 21-year-old is well-traveled. He often shares photos from his adventures on Instagram.
In June 2019, Xander shared a series of photos from a trip to Europe on Instagram. He captioned the post, “A place where you can spend a few pounds and gain a few pounds? Europe is nifty.”
In the summer of 2020, he took a trip to several national parks across the United States. He documented his travels on his Instagram page. On August 17, he posted a series of photos from the trip with the caption, “plot twist I’m traveling more.”
“Survivor 41” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.