Meet The Queer Women Contestants of “Survivor” Season 44

During the previous season of Survivor, I wrote about the glorious Karla Cruz Godoy — whose narrative arc was energizing, inspiring, and ultimately devastating (please do another season, Karla!!).

This season, there’s no Karla, which is very sad, but all is not lost because guess what? There are not one, not two, but THREE queer women on season 44! In the holy name of Jeff Probst, what a delightful turn of events!

Who are they, you ask? How will they fare? I have no idea, but if there’s one thing you can count on me for, it’s to jump to conclusions about Survivor contestants’ personalities extremely early on, with no idea whatsoever if I am even vaguely correct or not! Let’s dive in.

Claire Rafson

First up, we have Claire Rafson. I could tell you what I’ve gleaned from social media and other publications, like that she’s from Brooklyn and is a 25-year-old tech investor, but why share that when I could instead tell you who I think she is in Survivor universe? Let’s do that.

Survivor Season 44 contestant Claire Rafson reclines against a log, looking positively annoyed by whatever the people next to her (not pictured) just did

This look was the precise moment in which Claire Rafson became an icon

Claire lodged a secure spot in my heart in episode two, when she dubbed herself the “Czar of Laziness.” It was a short moment — some would argue, so brief that you can’t base an entire personality assessment on it. But to them I would say, stop it, that’s what I’m here for! In this fleeting instant we learned that Claire is (1) socially masterful, (2) strategic, and (3) in the school of queen Sandra Diaz-Twine (#queenstaysqueen). Claire knows how to control a social situation — people could’ve been annoyed with her for doing less than others, but she turned it into a joke, and her tribemates ate it up! Claire’s strategically resourceful — in a show where food is hard to come by, you should be lazy! (And also generally, we could all benefit from being more lazy.) And finally, I think Claire is a student of Sandra — Claire’s already sat out two challenges and made laziness her “thing,” much like a legend who turned taking it easy into a path to (spoiler alert) victory!

Frannie Marin

Next up, we have Frannie Marin. The basics are that she’s 23 years old, from Massachusetts, and works as a research coordinator, but, humbly, who cares? I’d much rather tell you about how this queer gal seamlessly combines being freaking adorable with being extremely cunning!

Survivor 44 contestant Frannie Marie smiles while looking off camera, listening as someone asks her "Is he giving you lovey eyes?"

The real question is whether or not FRANNIE is giving lovey eyes or… strategy eyes

First of all, she lied about her job, right out of the gate, telling people she works at a mindfulness center, rather than at some kind of research facility (unless I completely misunderstood and the mindfulness center is ALSO a research place??). Willfully positioning yourself as less analytical than you really are? Sounds like something two of my faves, Maryanne Oketch and Aubry Bracco, would do!

Second of all, is Frannie starting up a showmance with the recently heartbroken Matt Blankinship? Does she really like him, or is she using him to further her own game? I don’t know, but let’s just say… secretly I kind of hope she’s using him because that would be an epic twist for someone who comes off so sweet and sunny! (Sorry Matt.)

Carolyn Wiger

And finally, we have a contestant that truly defies all comparisons: 35-year-old drug counselor and mom Carolyn Wiger, from Minnesota. Carolyn is, in just about every sense of the word, a wild card.

Survivor 44 contestant Carolyn Wiger sits on the ground, legs in the air, hands gesticulating wildly, yelling something indecipherable

This is how Carolyn processes her emotions and I love that for her

I think she’s the most openly emotional player we’ve seen on Survivor so far, and as a very emotional person myself, I just have to say, representation matters! Despite appearing to process all of her emotions out loud, in real time, in concert with all of her tribemates, Carolyn has already completely surprised me by finding an immunity idol and telling NO ONE! And what’s more — no one in her tribe suspects her, because as I mentioned, she comes off as someone who definitely wouldn’t be able to hide that! Carolyn is an absolute joy to watch, or really I should say, to listen to — because the sounds that come out of that woman’s mouth are truly indescribable and utterly unexpected.

Will this be the first-ever season of Survivor with three queer women at the final tribal? Probably not, but maybe! As Jeff would say, “dig deep”, if by ‘dig deep’ he meant let me know what you think in the comments!

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Anya Richkind

Anya is a writer, a Pisces, and a huge fan of Survivor. She lives in Brooklyn with her partner Jess and their kittens, Buckett and Tubbs. She writes a substack called Questions I Have in which she explores questions big, small, medium, and more. Check it out here:

Anya has written 37 articles for us.


  1. just read this outloud to PB and she will be adding her own thoughts but let me just say WE ARE BOTH OBSESSED, both with this season of survivor and with your hot takes about it! i will say personally that i was starting to HATE frannie and matt, but if frannie is playing a long game by leaning into the showmance that instantly catapults her wayyyyyy higher in my esteem. can’t wait to see what happens next!!!! (also claire is jewish!!! which made her my #1 choice in our family draft but tragically PB was able to draft before me so i didn’t get her OR carson, my other fave. alas, i still hope she wins!)

    • omg i LOVE the readaloud of this!! What an honor.

      honestly, i think all three of these ladies could go far! did you catch the moment when claire (while she was sitting out of a challenge, icon) pulled someone else aside (maybe other matt?) and was trying to figure out what happened with the three people that got on the boat? It was such a fast moment but it showed me she’s potentially, ruthlessly strategic and sneaky! i loved it.

      i’m also nervous for claire BECAUSE she’s so smart and sneaky! If anyone figures that out, i think they’ll instantly see what a threat she is… but here’s hoping they never figure it out!

      truthfully, i’m not sure if frannie IS playing matt, that’s just my secret wish. but i think she could be! whereas like, i don’t think there’s a chance he’s using her?

  2. yes give me all the queer survivor content!! i had no idea any of these folks were queer; makes me love them even more! but frannie’s showmance hurts, they’re going to ruin both their games this way. i feel like carolyn is going to go far just from her edit, i can’t wait to see all the chaos she’s going to sew. and i clearly need to see more from claire. being on the dominant tribe always means we don’t see so much of them at the beginning…

    • absolutely here for all your queer Survivor content, here’s hoping we get more and more of it!!!

      And I totally agree with you on the showmance — i think it’ll ruin her game if it’s real, just because that’s usually how it goes! but if she’s using his affection for her to her advantage? that’s Parvati-level manipulation, while acting like Aubry ! I would love that.

      I really do have high hopes for Claire, I feel like she’s aware of how she’s being perceived, so I think she’ll do what she has to do to make sure no one realizes she’s a threat! I’m rooting for her!

      and I am just so excited to see what Carolyn does. it feels like anything could happen with her — I wonder if people also won’t realize how good she is, just because she’s so emotionally open!

  3. survivor content is my FAV content. thank you anya, for bringing us the important facts and the more important opinions.

    carolyn cracks me up so much. i can’t tell you how much i truly cackled from her strange antics. when she FELL ON THE JUNGLE FLOOR when cutie carson was trying to strategize with her LOLOL 😂

    i got claire in the survivor draft that my fam does every season (as vanessa mentioned) and i am quite pleased. though a bit confused about how a 25 year old becomes a venture capitalist? i don’t know how these things work? anyway. laziness tzar. into it.

    • HAPPY TO HELP!!!

      Carolyn makes me laugh so much, and i feel like she’ll just double-down on her weirdness — that’s my hope!

      and yes i’m very intrigued by claire’s life path! i do think being a venture capitalist at such a young age implies a serious level of analytical thinking and just an ability to convince a lot of people that your opinion is correct, and i love that for her! but most of all, i love that she’s a laziness tzar.

  4. I’m still too deep in this season of Australian Survivor to truly give my heart or attention to 44 yet, but I am enjoying this Survivor first in Claire representation and how well it’s going so far. Truly makes me so happy to have this content on AS!

      • It’s a bit of a different beast (longer and more episodes, a few non-elim episodes every season, much less diversity in casting) but if you’re a big survivor fan then when it’s good it’s great, and this current season is up there with my fave US seasons ever.

        I’d recommend any of 2017/season 2; 2019/season 4 (has one returnee from 2017); 2021/brains vs brawn; 2023/heroes vs villains (half returnees so does spoil other seasons but if you were just going to watch one season before this one it would be BvB)

  5. I’m so confused by this article. How are you labeling 3 people as “Queer” when one is married to a man and the other is clearly open about a potential relationship with the tall nerdy kid? I don’t know if the African is queer or not, but this seems like click-bait reaching. 😂

    • Hi Kevin, happy to help clear up any confusion you might have — all three of these folks have self-identified as queer several times on social media and in interviews. Someone can be attracted/married to a man and also be queer — for example, that person might be bisexual or pansexual (attracted to all genders, as Carolyn has identified herself!). Finally, it feels odd to refer to Claire as “the African” since she’s from Chicago (currently living in Brooklyn) lol. Have a nice day!

      • ciao! Just in case you didn’t see my comment above, happy to help clear up any confusion — all three of these folks have self-identified as queer several times on social media and in interviews. Someone can be attracted/married to a man and also be queer — for example, that person might be bisexual or pansexual (attracted to all genders, as Carolyn has identified herself!).

  6. Yes. First of all, what gives you the right to “out” anybody if they have not publicly done so, themselves, on Survivor! Secondly, I take offense to the term, “queer.” Did you ask each of these individuals how they self-identify? How presumptuous! It’s like the use of pronouns,i.e., he/she/they. I,along with many women, am not queer. I am a lesbian. Whatever you may think is inclusive or politically correct is not. Not all black people are African American. Neither are all LGBT+ folks queer!

  7. Absolutely loving this coverage. I picked Frannie as my contestant to root for on episode 1 (no going back!) and am deeply hoping the Matt flirtation is a strategy, please keep us updated on your thoughts

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