Survivor’s Natalie Edges Out Fan Favorite Russell for $1 Million Prize

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 Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Natalie White is Survivor: Samoa's newest millionaire.

The 26-year-old former pharmaceutical sales rep from Arkansas took home the CBS competition show's top prize Sunday after outwitting, outplaying and outlasting 20 of her peers stranded on an island in the South Pacific.

White beat out Brett Clouser, Jaison Robinson, Mick Trimmings and ringleader Russell Hantz for the title — which came as a shock to viewers — and White herself.

"It's about having no regrets," White said after host Jeff Probst revealed that she earned five of the first seven jury votes, making her sole survivor. "I had to quit my job to do it. So I gave up a wonderful job — not just a wonderful job, but one that I loved so much… There was a lot at risk for me."

White's title didn't sit well with Hantz, the 36-year-old Texas oil worker who claims he made $2 million in wages last year, and insisted he played the better game.

After the votes were read and the cast gathered for a post-show reunion, Hantz made a proposition to White — who believed all along he would take top honors.

"Natalie, all I want is the title of Sole Survivor," Hantz pleaded in front of a live studio audience. "I will pay you $10,000 for the title. If Jeff says, 'Russell, you are the Sole Survivor,' and I get it in paper written down — that I am the Sole Survivor. I want the title," Hantz continued.

"Are you asking Natalie to tell you you're a better player?" Probst asked.

"No, I'm asking Natalie to ask you to tell me that I'm the Sole Survivor," Hantz replied. "I feel like I played the best strategic game in history, and I'm not the only one who thinks that," he continued. "I can guarantee you millions of people probably think the same thing. Natalie, her best move was to jump on my back."

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But White saw through his rouse.

"I'm going to decline Russell's offer," the champ said later in the broadcast. "I'm not interested."

In the end, Hantz walked away with the $100,000 fan favorite prize, as determined by a text message vote from viewers.

Probst confirmed that the landmark 20th season of the veteran reality series, dubbed Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, will feature 20 of the show's greatest former castaways. The installment is set to premiere Feb. 11.

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