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  • Writer's pictureJack Vita

Stephenie LaGrossa Kendrick talks 'Survivor', life and Philly sports

If you watched Survivor back in its heyday, Stephenie LaGrossa's face should be very familiar to you.

On her first season, Survivor: Palau, her tribe made history when it lost every single immunity challenge. She herself made history when she survived her entire tribe. With just two members of the Ulong tribe remaining, Stephenie and Bobby Jon Drinkard squared off in Survivor's first ever fire-making challenge. The stakes were clear: winner lives to see another day, loser goes home. Stephenie beat Bobby Jon, who had taught her how to make fire, and as a tribe of one, she instantly became a Survivor legend.

Few Survivor contestants have ever matched Stephenie's popularity. In fact, she's arguably the most popular castaway the show's ever had. After Palau, she received a high volume of letters from little girls that she inspired with her resiliency, toughness and perseverance. She was a hero to women and children (boys and girls) across the country. Stephenie was such a phenomenon, that the producers immediately brought her and Bobby Jon back for the very next season, Survivor: Guatemala, on which she lasted all 39 days and finished in second place. She later competed on Survivor's 20th season, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.

Following Survivor: Guatemala, Stephenie worked for the Philadelphia Flyers as an in-arena host on the Wells Fargo Center's video board. She opened a restaurant with one of her brothers, which is where she met her husband, Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick. A year later, Kyle's Phillies won the 2008 World Series, the franchise's first since 1980. As a baseball wife and Division I all-conference lacrosse player, Stephenie has a passion for sports and competition.

We were very blessed to have Stephenie visit the Jack Vita Show for a longform conversation about her upbringing, her athletic career, her time on Survivor, the Phillies (as well as the rest of her favorite Philly sports teams), and much, much more!

Find out how Stephenie got on Survivor, what drew her to the show, where her drive and strength come from, her thoughts on her experiences on Palau, Guatemala and Heroes vs. Villains, what reality show she would have gone on had she not been on Survivor, and what her kids thought after watching her seasons of Survivor for the first time! Stephenie also weighs in on one of the most baseless Survivor conspiracy theories on the internet involving the fire-making challenge in which she beat Bobby Jon.

Watch all three of Stephenie's seasons of Survivor (Survivor: Palau, Survivor: Guatemala and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains) and all of the 38 other seasons of Survivor on Paramount Plus. Get a free one-week trial when you sign up through this link:

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Amazon | iHeartRadio | Stitcher | Pandora | TuneIn | Listen Notes | Podtail | Podchaser | Hubhopper | Audio junkie | Himalaya | Podcast Addict | Available wherever podcasts are found.

Check out other Survivor contestants on the Jack Vita Show:

1) Survivor: China contestant Leslie Nease on her Christian faith and reality TV (October 28, 2019)

2) Jonny Fairplay talks "dead grandma" lie, faith, and life after 'Survivor' (February 18, 2020)

3) 'Survivor' Contestant Reem Daly on the 'Edge of Extinction', 'Winners at War', and social distancing (April 6, 2020)

4) Former 'Survivor' contestant Albert Destrade previews ALCS, NLCS (October 12, 2020)

5) 'Survivor's Jay Starrett on 'The Challenge' 36, 'Survivor' 33 (February 13, 2020)

6) What if 18 MLB players competed on 'Survivor'? (Feat. Albert Destrade, 'Survivor: South Pacific') (February 20, 2021)

7) 2021 MLB preview: Survivor's Albert Destrade previews the NL East (March 25, 2021)

8) Survivor: South Pacific's Albert Destrade talks Braves, Cubs, MLB trade deadline, injuries (August 4, 2021)

9) Stephenie LaGrossa Kendrick talks 'Survivor', life and Philly sports (September 21, 2021)

10) Orestes Destrade, Albert Destrade recap ALDS, NLDS; preview ALCS, NLCS (October 15, 2021)

11) Survivor: Africa's Teresa "T-Bird" Cooper on Braves, World Series (October 26, 2021)

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For more sports and entertainment analysis, follow me on Twitter @JackVitaShow, and subscribe to the Jack Vita Show on iTunes or wherever podcasts are found.

(Image via CBS)

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