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Courtney Yates

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Courtney Yates

S20 Courtney Yates

S15 Courtney Yates

Contestant Profile
Birth Date March 26, 1981 (1981-03-26) (age 34)
Hometown New York City, New York;
Boston, Massachusestts
Occupation Waitress


Tribe(s) Fei Long
Hae Da Fung
Placement Runner-Up (2/16)
Alliance(s) Fei Long Alliance
Challenge(s) Won 9
Vote(s) Against 0
Day(s) Lasted 39

Heroes vs. Villains

Tribe(s) Villains
Placement 11/20
Alliance(s) Rob's Villains Alliance
Challenge(s) Won 8
Vote(s) Against 9
Day(s) Lasted 24

Courtney H. Yates is a contestant from Survivor: China and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.

She is primarily known for her much smaller frame compared to the other female competitors, but compensated for it with her quick wit, sarcastic remarks and one-liners towards other cast members.



Courtney Yates grew up in Boston, the only sister with three brothers, two older, one younger, all much bigger. She attended Suffolk University, studying at both the main Boston/Beacon Hill campus and the University's West African campus, located in Dakar, Senegal. She paid her way through college working nights as a passenger service agent for a major airline at Boston's Logan International Airport, spent time as a receptionist at a high-end hair salon, and has even worked as a "historical interpreter" (a tour guide in costume) at historic homes in Salem, Massachusetts. She graduated in May 2003, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Yates is currently a waitress in a popular restaurant in New York City's Union Square, where she enjoys the fast pace and the freedom her job affords her.

Yates' main hobbies include reading and learning new things. She loves history and enjoys keeping ongoing lists of things to look up whenever she comes across something new or interesting. Yates has a large and varied collection of friends with whom she loves going out, eating, drinking and, of course, gossiping, a long-practiced skill she hopes will serve her well on SURVIVOR: CHINA. Originally from Boston, her sport of choice is baseball, and despite now living just a few stops from Yankee Stadium, she remains a loyal member of Red Sox Nation.

Yates is best described as honest (sometimes interpreted as cruel), sarcastic (often interpreted as bitchy) and physically small. She is aware that people find her slight frame curious, and at times controversial, but she warns people against judging her on looks alone. She proclaims that her body weight (or lack thereof) is purely genetic, as both her parents are tall and thin as well. She claims to be tough as nails, both mentally and physically, and is ready for the challenge of SURVIVOR.

Yates currently resides in New York City with her rescued, semi-reformed alley cat, Catullus (named for the poet)

Heroes vs. Villains

Tribe: Villains
Hometown: Boston, Mass.
Current Residence: New York, N.Y.
Personal Claim To Fame: “Punctuality.”
Inspiration in Life: “The laughter of children.”
Previous Finishes: China: Runner-up
Favorite Past Moment: “Seeing my Dad bust out from behind the bushes at the family reward.”
Previous Survivor She Respects Most: Yau-Man Chan (Fiji, Micronesia)
Previous Survivor She Respects Least: “All the strong people, because they are so smug.”
Why Did She Come Back?: “Couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”

Survivor: China

Courtney Yates was annoyed during the Chinese welcoming ceremony. Once the ceremony was compete, Courtney ended up the Fei Long tribe. During her time on Survivor, Courtney often made sarcastic comments and witty confessionals. Courtney gotten irritated with her tribe's optimism and joy, likening it to her own private hell. Fei Long won the first challenge of the season over its rival tribe, Zhan Hu. However, Courtney grew annoyed with Jean-Robert Bellande's laziness and annoying snoring. At the Reward Challenge, Courtney didn't need to compete as Fei Long won the challenge and fishing gear. Fei Long also won the ability to kidnap one of Zhan Hu's members and chosen Jaime Dugan to kidnap until the Immunity Challenge. During Jaime's time, Jean-Robert argued with Aaron Reisberger about the former's lack of work ethic. Courtney thought the fight was ridiculous, especially in front of Jaime. At the Immunity Challenge, Courtney sat out along with Leslie Nease and Fei Long won immunity again.

When a crab was found in the fishing nets, the tribe argued about what to do with it until agreeing with Courtney's idea of boiling it for crab stock. At the next Reward Challenge, Courtney sat out along with Todd Herzog because of their smaller sizes in the physical challenge. However, The women of Zhan Hu managed to give the tribe it's first victory. Later, Courtney was collecting tree husk with Todd when they overhead Jean-Robert and James Clement loud and lewd comments about who to vote out. At the Immunity Challenge, Courtney struggled with the cutting potion. This gave Zhan Hu a major lead and allowed them to win immunity. At Tribal Council, Courtney voted against Jean-Robert because of their conflict. Although Courtney was spared, It was Leslie who was voted out in a 6-2 vote over Jean-Robert.

Courtney was annoyed that Jean-Robert was still in the game and wanted him to go but didn't care as long as it isn't her. At the next Reward Challenge, Courtney sat out and watch and Fei Long won the visit from a Chinese fisherman and his family. At the Immunity Challenge, Courtney was partnered with Denise Martin for the first round. Despite the women's failure to score, Fei Long was able to win the challenge.

On Day 13, Fei Long gotten a note from two Chinese men telling them to pick Zhan Hu's two strongest members to make them Fei Long. The tribe chose Frosti Zernow and Sherea Lloyd to be Fei Long, but it was assumed that Zhan Hu gotten the same note. Fei Long was correct about their assumptions and Zhan Hu chosen Aaron and James. When Frosti and Sherea arrived, The Chinese men gave the tribe a basket of food to celebrate. At the Immunity Challenge, Courtney sat out with Amanda Kimmel. Fei Long won the Immunity Challenge, in part of Jaime and Peih-Gee Law throwing it to protect Frosti and Sherea. 

At the next Reward Challenge, Courtney sat out once again with Amanda and Denise. Fei Long won the challenge, winning the tribe a trip to a local tea house and they chose to kidnap James. Courtney and Amanda bathed together in the bathtub farthest away from Jean-Robert. The Immunity Challenge was an eating contest of Chinese foods. Courtney faced off against Jaime in the second round but lost. Fei Long ultimately lost the challenge. Although Sherea was slated for elimination, Courtney liked her and lobbied for Jean-Robert's ouster instead. However, it was Sherea who left the game in a 5-2 vote. 

Courtney was annoyed that Jean-Robert was still in the game and believed that her tribe sucks up to Jean-Robert, including Amanda and Todd who she like to be friends with and when she protested to the others, Todd told her that they do dislike Jean-Robert, but didn't want him to be aware of it. On Day 20, the tribes merged into one and they would live at Fei Long's camp. Courtney was pumped because they feasted instead of doing a challenge. The next day, the castaways were quizzed on details for the Immunity Challenge, Which Frosti won. At Tribal Council, Courtney put aside her disdain for Jean-Robert to help vote out Jaime. At the next Reward Challenge, Courtney was chosen by Peih-Gee to be on her team with Frosti and Erik Huffman. Courtney struggled at the challenge and lost her round and her team would lose the challenge. At the Immunity Challenge, Courtney surprised herself when she won individual immunity. After her win, Todd informed Courtney that Jean-Robert was the target for the vote. Despite her doubts, Jean-Robert finally left the game in a 5-3-1 vote much to Courtney's delight.

Courtney felt hat everyone was happier with Jean-Robert gone. However, Denise was agitated that she was left out of the loop for Jean-Robert's blindside. At the Next Reward Challenge, Courtney ended up teamed with Erik Huffman, Frosti & Amanda. Their team won the challenge easily and won a river cruise. The group of four enjoyed eating food and enjoyed the scenery. At the next Immunity Challenge, The castaways were given the choice of competing or Eating Burgers with the fixins, Fries and cold sodas until the challenge ended. Courtney chose to eat and Peih-Gee ended up winning immunity over Frosti. After the challenge, Courtney was told that she may have to vote out Frosti. Although Courtney was hestitant because of her bond with him, She joined the tribe in voting out Frosti.

After Frosti left, The castaways were quizzed on China for a trip to a Shaolin temple. Peih-Gee won and chose Erik and Denise to accompany her. Camp life was miserable due to heavy rains and everyone was crowded into an cave. Courtney was upset as the cave was her private spot. Amanda told Courtney that she wanted James gone because him being the biggest endgame threat. At the Immunity Challenge, Courtney scored an six and advanced to the final round. However, Courtney failed to score and Erik won immunity and she quietly cheered Erik won over James. Amanda rallied for James' elimination and At Tribal Council, he was blindsided with 2 idols in his pocket.

After Tribal Council, Courtney believed that the jury, Jean-Robert in particular were happy with James' blindside. The Reward Challenge was the Loved Ones Challenge and Courtney was teamed with her father. Denise and Her Husband won the challenge and picked Todd, Amanda and their sisters. Courtney told Peih Gee and Erik she thought that it was convenient that Todd's other sister had a miscarriage and believed Todd was going for an Oscar with his performance with Peih Gee and Erik agreeing. Courtney even linked it to Jonny Fairplay's Dead Grandma Lie except it wasn't funny. Peih-Gee won the Immunity Challenge and Erik was voted out in a 4-2 vote. 

After Tribal Council, Courtney declared Erik on the nicest people on earth. At the Reward Challenge, the castaways had to use a Crossbow to shoot Arrows at a board and score a point at someone's target. After the castaways gave each other arrows, Courtney ended up with the most at 12. Courtney mostly landed her arrows on Todd or Denise's targets, giving the latter the win and the trip to the Great Wall of China. Denise picked Courtney and Todd to join her on the trip. When they arrived at the Great Wall, the castaways was confused when they saw all of the uncooked meat surrounding a fire pit. However, The trio realized it was an hibachi and enjoyed themselves. Todd and Courtney agreed to go to Final Tribal Council because of them angering the most people on the jury. When the trio returned, Courtney and Todd upset Amanda when they complained about not having prepared food. At the Immunity Challenge, Courtney was eliminated in the third round. Amanda won Immunity and Peih-Gee was unanimously voted out at Tribal Council.

After Peih-Gee left, the remaining castaways were happy they were the final four. Courtney in particular that was proud because she believe she would be the first out. At the Final Reward Challenge, Amanda won the food reward and picked Todd to join her. Courtney eavesdropped on Denise and Todd's conversation when they mention her and told Amanda about this. After the Rites of Passage, The final four participated in the Final Immunity Challenge. Courtney was the second person eliminated from the challenge and Amanda would win the final immunity over Todd. Courtney, Todd and Amanda agreed to vote out Denise and at Tribal Council, The 40 year-old lunch lady was unanimously voted out over Todd. The next Day, the finalists enjoyed the Day 39 Breakfast.

At Final Tribal Council, Courtney's opening statement was that what sets her apart from Todd and Amanda is that she wasn't an lifelong fan and learned to survive on her own in a highly physical game. When the merge happen, Courtney claimed to have gotten her footing, pointed out her immunity win and the jury have to give credit to the little girl still here on Day 39. Most the jury focused their attention on Todd and Amanda. When the final vote was came, Courtney was revealed to have two votes and finished in second. Courtney earned her votes from Denise and James (originally stated to be Frosti by CBS).

Voting History

Courtney's Voting History
Episode Courtney's
Voted Against
1 Fei Long Tribe Immune
2 Fei Long Tribe Immune
3 Jean-Robert -
4 Fei Long Tribe Immune
5 Fei Long Tribe Immune
6 Jean-Robert -
7 Jaime -
8 Jean-Robert Individual Immunity
9 Frosti -
11 James -
12 Erik -
13 Peih-Gee -
14 Denise -
Jury Votes
for Courtney
Denise, James
Runner-Up, Day 39

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

Statistics of Courtney Yates
Seasons competed 2
Total number of days 63
Challenge Wins
Tribal wins 15
Individual wins 2
Total 17
Tribal Council
Total votes received 9
Exile Island
Times exiled N/A
Redemption Island
Days spent at Redemption Island N/A
Duels won N/A

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Voting History

Courtney's Voting History
Episode Courtney's
Voted Against
1 Villains Tribe Immune
2 Villains Tribe Immune
3 Randy -
4 Villains Tribe Immune
5 Villains Tribe Immune
6 Parvati1 -
7 Russell Coach
8 Coach Coach, Jerri,
9 Jerri Danielle, Jerri,
Parvati, Russell, Sandra
Voted Off, Day 24
Voted for
Sole Survivor

^1 In Banana Etiquette, Parvati used a Hidden Immunity Idol, negating Courtney's vote against her.


  • Courtney dated Tocantins contestant Stephen Fishbach and is close with former tribemate Todd Herzog.
  • On January 9, 2010, Courtney attended Survivor's 10-year anniversary party along with all of her Heroes vs. Villains cast mates.
  • In August 2015, in an interview Courtney gave her thoughts about how her former Survivor: China castmate Peih-Gee Law would do in Survivor: Cambodia.[1]


  • Courtney was recruited to compete on Survivor when a casting agent at her job noticed her.[2]
  • Courtney and fellow Fei Long member Amanda Kimmel both received 0 votes in Survivor: China. They are the first pair of runners-up to both receive 0 votes.
  • Courtney is the first castaway to finish in second outright in a final three with all finalists getting jury votes. The second was Jaclyn Schultz in Survivor: San Juan del Sur.
  • In Heroes vs. Villains, Courtney wore Todd Herzog's hat that he wore in Survivor: China. [3]
  • Courtney was the only female Villain to not make the merge in Heroes vs. Villains.
  • After arriving at Ponderosa after her elimination in Heroes vs. Villains, she formed a musical band with Coach and J.T. They called themselves "The Dragonz."
  • Courtney is the only Villain to vote for Sandra Diaz-Twine to win Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.
  • In both of Courtney's seasons, she was on a red starting tribe, and the merged tribe was black.


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