One of our favorite players on this season of Survivor is easily Xander Hastings. He not only has all the makings of a challenge beast but, as of Episode 7, his strategic prowess and intuition are getting more impressive. But while Xander appears to just be a young and savvy Survivor player, there’s a lot more to him.
The now 21-year-old (although he was 20 while Survivor 41 was filming) is one of the first Survivor contestants to be born after the first season premiered. Yet, his youth doesn’t stop him from being a stand-out player, potentially following in the footsteps of legends like Ozzy and Malcolm. So who is Xander and could he win Survivor?
Xander is now a favorite to win ‘Survivor 41’ after the merge.
Xander’s move during the final tribal council before the official merge makes him an easy pick to win the game. Although he’s not currently in the power alliance, that’s all the more reason he could win the game as a whole. An underdog story plus expert strategy and his great use of advantages make him a clear winner (if he makes it to the final three).
In Episode 7, he pulls one of the greatest moves in the season thus far: He tricks Liana, knowing she has the “Knowledge Is Power” advantage. Along with Evvie and Tiffany, they play up that Xander will be holding the idol. However, Tiffany actually holds onto both his idol and his extra vote advantage.
Xander is still in possession of two powerful advantages and has the ability to win immunity challenges. These factors, along with his strong alliance with Tiffany and Evvie, could make Xander the youngest Survivor winner ever.
There’s a lot more to ‘Survivor’ contestant Xander than meets the eye.
When Xander first showed up on our screens, some fans were fawning over him while others were belittling him for his youth. “Young players don’t have good instincts!” Survivor experts tend to argue. And when it comes to Xander, at first glance, he seemed like he’d be a fun player to watch but maybe not the smartest.
But as we learn throughout the season, he is actually extremely savvy. Xander told Parade, “I grew up being the nerdy guy, the chubby guy. So for people to tell me that they think I’m some dumb jock is really interesting to me. … I’ve always had a huge appetite for learning and knowledge. I love being a nerd. I love being an intellectual.”
So while some of us at home and some of his fellow contestants might see Xander as solely a physical threat, there’s way more to him.
He also knows the game of Survivor like the back of his hand. He grew up watching with his family when his father would come home from late nights with the Navy. And he idolized Malcolm and Ozzy. “These guys who were so sure of themselves and such determined challenge beasts. I wanted that,” he explained.
Is Xander going to win Survivor 41 and make Survivor history? If he doesn’t, we can be sure he’ll return in a future season. (And if he does, we still hope that he’ll return.)
Tune into Survivor every Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.