|Birth Date||February 14, 1975|
|Hometown||San Mateo, California|
|Tribe(s)|| ██ Puka Puka|
Yul Kwon is the winner of Survivor: Cook Islands.
Yul Kwon was born in Queens, New York to parents who emigrated from South Korea. The family moved to the West Coast when he was six years old and he was raised in Concord, California. He attended high school at Northgate High in Walnut Creek, California, where he played varsity water polo and track and graduated valedictorian.
Kwon then attended Stanford University and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in symbolic systems (theoretical computer science). While at Stanford, he received the James Lyons Award for Service, attended officer candidates school for the U.S. Marine Corps and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Kwon went on to receive his Juris Doctor Degree from Yale Law School, where he served on the editorial board of the Yale Law Journal.
Kwon has enjoyed a diverse career straddling both the private and public sectors in law, business and technology. He practiced a mix of litigation, appellate, transactional and regulatory work at several law firms. He also served as a judicial clerk to a federal judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. Additionally, he worked as a legislative aide to Senator Joseph Lieberman in Washington, D.C., where he helped draft sections of the Homeland Security Bill and other technology-related legislation. Several years ago, Kwon decided to switch careers and become a management consultant at McKinsey. From there, he joined Google's business strategy group and most recently went back into consulting.
Kwon's favorite hobbies include politics, boxing, ultimate fighting and volunteering with kids. He describes himself as idealistic, compassionate and ambitious. He became passionate about creating awareness for more minority bone marrow donors in the U.S. after launching a major search to find a match for his best friend who was diagnosed with leukemia, but ultimately succumbed to the disease.
Kwon is a member of the Washington, D.C. and California State Bar Associations. He is also a member of the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity.
Kwon currently resides in San Mateo, California. His birth date is February 14, 1975.
Survivor: Cook IslandsEdit
Yul Kwon began the competition as part of the green Puka Puka (nicknamed "Puka") tribe, which was entirely comprised of Asian-Americans. When the tribes marooned off the Cook Islands, the four racially divided tribes scoured the ship for supplies. Frantic as everybody, Yul got distracted by all the commotion, causing the chicken he was holding to escape, only to end up in the hands from another contestant, Jonathan Penner.
Four to five days in, Kwon immediately began a friendly bond with tribemate Becky Lee, which would eventually blossom as a formidable alliance of two, while slightly became distant to another tribemate, Cao Boi Bui, whose "Asian jokes" silently aggravated the other tribe members, Jenny Guzon-Bae and Brad Virata. Any strategies within Puka Puka were put on hold, as the green tribe won two consecutive Reward/Immunity Challenges. Within this time period, Yul was sent to Exile Island, where he solved the clues to a broken compass, which was revealed as the Hidden Immunity Idol, giving him a high degree of power.
When the four tribes became two in day six, Yul, Becky, and Cao Boi were transferred into the new Aitutaki tribe, along with members from the other three original tribes. Yul bought time to expand his alliance, adding former Rarotonga members Jonathan Penner, who happened to be the only other person to be sent to Exile Island at the time, and Candice Woodcock. After losing the subsequent Immunity Challenge, an added twist that sent Candice to Exile Island ruined Yul's plans to take his new alliance in motion. To make up for Candice's absence, Yul improvised by convincing Cao Boi and Jessica Smith to eliminate Cecilia Mansilla. The new Aitutaki tribe later enjoyed a lengthy winning streak, winning four of the next five challenges.
After a double elimination twist that would forcibly send "Aitu" to Tribal Council, Yul was approached by Cao Boi, who presented a plan which he called "Plan Voodoo." The salon owner speculated two things: 1.) Jonathan had the Hidden Immunity Idol; and 2.) there is a budding "Whites' Alliance" once the Caucasian contestants are reunited at the merge. As a solution, Cao Boi proposed that the vote should end up a 3-3 tie between Candice and Jonathan to nullify any power obtained by playing the idol. While oblivious of the fact that Yul was the true owner of the idol, this, and his eccentric personality caused Cao Boi's "Plan Voodoo" to backfire, sending him home and keeping Yul's alliance intact. When Rarotonga finally broke Aitutaki's winning streak, Yul joined in sending Jessica home for being an alliance outsider.
On Day 20, the castaways was given the chance to mutiny. Candice and Jonathan took the opportunity, leaving only himself, Becky, Sundra Oakley, and Ozzy Lusth, who was the next intended target. Despite the numbers disadvantage, the Aitu Four rallied together and won the remaining challenges and entered the merge with five Raros. Needing someone to flip, Yul turn towards Jonathan to flip back to Aitu. After showing him the Hidden Immunity Idol, Jonathan agreed and would like to vote off Nate Gonzalez instead, trusting him the least. Yul agreed and Jonathan flipped to the Aitu side, resulting in Nate being blindsided.
After the remaining Raros, including Jonathan, were voted out, Yul was in the final four, with his alliance. On day 38, A tree mail stated to performed the Rites of Passage and proceed to the final immunity challenge. Confused by this, Jeff revealed that this season will featured a Final Three at Final Tribal Council instead of the usual Final Two. Although unable to win immunity, his immunity idol kept him safe. He offered to Becky, but she rejected it stating it is only fair to due a tiebreaker after all they been through.
In the end, Yul was declared the Sole Survivor for his brilliant strategy and excellent social game over Ozzy's dominance in challenges in a 5-4-0 jury vote.
|Yul's Voting History|
| Voted Against|
|1||Puka Puka Tribe Immune|
|2||Puka Puka Tribe Immune|
|4||Aitutaki Tribe Immune|
|5||Aitutaki Tribe Immune|
|9||Aitutaki Tribe Immune|
|10||Aitutaki Tribe Immune|
| Jury Votes|
|Adam, Brad, Candice,|
|Sole Survivor, Day 39|
- Yul is now currently hosting America Revealed, a show on PBS that explains how America gets its energy. It premiered on April 11, 2012.
- Kwon made several notable lists in 2006/2007, including People Magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive, People Magazine's Hottest Bachelors, and Extra TV's Most Eligible Bachelors. He was profiled in VIBE Magazine’s “Juice” issue as part of the New Power Generation, consisting of people who will shape the future. An online poll by Entertainment Weekly also found Kwon to be the favorite Survivor winner among its readers.
- Yul was the only person to be exiled and not be a member of the original Rarotonga tribe.
- Yul is the first and only Survivor contestant to reach Day 39 without ever being in danger of being voted out. After the second of Puka Puka's two consecutive Immunity Challenge wins, Yul found the Hidden Immunity Idol, which he continued to possess after the two-tribe phase, the Mutiny, the Merge, and the Final Four. This record is not likely to be tied due to the format change of the idol's usage the following season.
- Yul is the first and currently only Asian-American contestant to be a Sole Survivor.
- Yul is the first person to find the Hidden Immunity Idol and reach Day 39.
- Yul was considered for Survivor: Micronesia and Survivor: Heroes vs Villains, but was ultimately not cast for either season.
|Sole Survivor Titleholder|
| Succeeded by|
|Survivor: Cook Islands Contestants|
Adam Gentry · Becky Lee · Billy Garcia · Brad Virata · Candice Woodcock · Cao Boi Bui · Cecilia Mansilla · Cristina Coria · J.P. Calderon · Jenny Guzon-Bae · Jessica Smith · Jonathan Penner · Nate Gonzalez · Ozzy Lusth · Parvati Shallow · Rebecca Borman · Sekou Bunch · Stephannie Favor · Sundra Oakley · Yul Kwon