Knoxville, Tennessee-born nurse and housewife Tina Wesson was the
winner of the second season of the CBS reality show “Survivor:
Australian Outback,” which aired from January 28, 2001 to May 3,
2001. She became the first female to win the $1 million prize in 2001.
Entering the show at age 40, she is the oldest female ever to win
“Survivor” to date. Tina returned in 2004 for
“Survivor: All-Stars,” where she was voted out of the
game in Episode 1.
Tina was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 1995. Three years
later, the avid athlete completed the Dublin, Ireland Marathon, placed
first in the Tennessee State Racquetball Tournament and placed first in
her age division in her hometown mini-triathlon.
Tina described herself as happy, outgoing, adventurous, content, and
very much in love. Among her favorite hobbies are running, racquetball,
motorcycling, paddleball and swimming. She mentions “Rosie”
as her favorite television shows, while “Out of Africa” and
“Shadowlands” her favorite films. She enjoys contemporary
Christian and pop rock music, and her favorite band is Match Box 20.
Currently, Tina is married to Dale Wesson. She has two children from
her previous marriage to Jim Collins (together 1986-1997).
Childhood and Family:
Tina Wesson was born Tina Nicely on December 26, 1960, in Knoxville,
Tennessee. She was adopted at birth by parents Carolyn and Jim McClain,
along with her brother Joe. She graduated from the University of
Tennessee in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic
From 1986 to November 1997, Tina was married to her first husband Jim
Collins. The marriage produced two children, Katie and Taylor. She
married Dale Wesson in May 1999.
The Australian Outback
Prior to joining “Survivor: The Australian Outback,” Tina
Wesson worked as a community education director, substitute
teacher, flight attendant, swimming instructor, and a private duty
nurse. Originally an alternative for the show, Tina found out that she
was going to Australia two weeks before the scheduled start date.
At “Survivor II,” Tina became part of the Ogakor tribe,
along with runner up Colby Donaldson, and later winner of
“Survivor: All-Stars” Amber Brkich, and was not targeted in
the beginning of the game. In Episode 4, she was part of a move
orchestrated on the way to Tribal Council.
On May 3, 2001, Tina eventually became the sole survivor after
defeating Donaldson in a vote of 4-3. She got the votes from
Keith Famie, Jerri Manthey, Elizabeth Filarski and Alicia Calaway. She
used part of her million dollar prize to buy a large, ranch-style home
in the mountains.
Since being announced as the winner of “Survivor: The Australian
Outback,” Tina has been working as a motivational speaker, for
which she has traveled around the country to encourage people to do
whatever it takes in order to live a fulfilling life. The mother of two
also appeared in television shows like “The 3rd Annual Family
Television Awards,” “Late Show with David Letterman,”
“The Rosie O'Donnell Show,” “Hollywood Squares”
(all 2011), “The Early Show” (2004) and “The 2nd
Annual TV Land Awards” (2004).
In 2004, Tina competed on “Survivor: All-Stars,” and became
part of the Saboga tribe, who lost immunity in the first episode. As a
previous winner, she was soon targeted, and was the first person
to be voted out of the show.