Two men from Long Island are participating in the 36th season of CBS’ “Survivor.”
The network announced Wednesday that among the 20 “superfans” of the show competing this season are music teacher Jacob Derwin, 22, from Merrick on the Malolo tribe; and Domenick Abbate, 38, a construction supervisor from Nesconset on the Naviti tribe.
“I stick out like a sore thumb,” the affable Derwin says on the announcement’s accompanying video. “On top of the fact that I’m not a very athletic person in general, I’m not the prettiest guy here, either,” he says lightheartedly. “Right off the bat, first impressions, I gotta make sure that people like me for my personality and that people feel good about me.”
“Ultimately, I’m a family man first,” says Abbate. His wife, Kris, and their young children “are my life.” Otherwise, “I work construction in Brooklyn” where “I run a crew of about 12 to 15 guys.”
Derwin, who lives in Brooklyn, graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism from Kent State University in December 2016. He worked at his college radio station and as an intern at the Manhattan storytelling theater The Moth. Derwin, a singer-songwriter who has taught music at summer camps and synagogues, has also been a clown in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade four times.
“I was, like, isolated and bullied my entire, like, grade-school life,” he says in a video on the “Survivor” YouTube channel, “and I had to learn how to be a social person. I had to learn how to make friends. And I think because I actually had to practice it, it’s a stronger skill than other people’s social abilities. So going into the game I think my strongest skill is I know how to make people comfortable, I know how to make people trust me, I know how to make people talk to me.”
Abbate has a smaller online presence than Derwin.
In his “Survivor” YouTube video, the CrossFit enthusiast says, “I like to think my biggest strength is my experience with dealing with people. . . . I think I have a pretty strong, heightened sense of self-awareness. I’m pretty sure I know how people perceive me and that’s obviously a strong pull to have in this game.”
Subtitled “Ghost Island,” with a theme of misused artifacts from previous seasons “haunting” the locale, the two-hour season premiere airs Feb. 28, at 8 p.m.