Denise Stapley, a 41-year-old Iowa sex therapist, became the winner of Survivor: Philippines Sunday night. As reported on CBS News, Stapley beat former child star Lisa Whelchel and Survivor veteran Michael Skupin for the $1 million dollar prize.
Stapley set a Survivor record by attending all Tribal Councils this season. She also played on all three tribes and survived all the council meetings. Stapley won the $1 million dollar prize at the end of the two hour finale.
The two-hour finale was not without challenges. The first challenge was an obstacle course won by Malcolm. His reward was an advantage in the final immunity challenge. In the final immunity challenge, the contestants had to hold pieces of wood together with a ball in the middle which couldn’t drop. Skupin won the immunity challenge. Then, Skupin and Whelchel strategized together and voted Malcolm off leaving Stapley, Skupin, and Whelchel as the final three.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the last final Tribal Council was the tensest with fellow cast mate Jonathon Penner telling her:
“You shared with me once that the one thing you were afraid of being seen as was a bitch. You can rest assured that you have now shown the world that side.”
Penner than gave her his vote. She was voted the winner by the last eight cast offs.
After the finale was a reunion show for the cast members. According to CBS, Stapley waved the million dollar check and told the show’s host, Jeff Probst:
“In Iowa you you can do a lot with this.”
She also called it life changing.
Lisa Whelchel, the former Facts of Life star, won Sprint’s $100,000 Player of the Season award.