Survivor has a new reigning champ and he’s breaking it aaaaall down!
It was a bumpy 26-day road for Season 44 Sole Survivor Yam Yam Arocho, who after just four short episodes saw half of his tribe decimated. Despite a pre-merge tribe swap that separated him and Carolyn from their third ally Carson, Yam Yam and the Tikas spent the season smartly playing the middle, forming strong bonds and dodging bullets and richochets as the Soka and Ratu tribes waged war against each other.
But once he hit that Final 3 seat, no one could stop the man’s charm and charisma, as he defeated Heidi and Carolyn by a vote of 7-1-0. (Danny voted for Heidi to win — read all about it in our full finale recap.)
“I’m so excited, over the moon, I cannot believe it, oh my god!” Arocho tells TVLine with a sigh of relief. When we ask about how it felt to keep such a huge secret to himself (the season wrapped filming in June of 2022), he has this to say: “Have you ever had to hold going to the bathroom for 11 months? That’s how I feel.”
While we can’t quite relate to that experience, Yam Yam was an open book when we spoke to him the morning after his big win. In the video embedded above, the Survivor 44 winner details his relationship with Carolyn, explains why he helped Carson during his time of need (and what would’ve happened had Carson made the final Tribal) and spills on what it felt like watching Heidi make the season’s biggest mic drop. He also names the one castaway whose story he thought was strangely told and so much more!
Watch the full interview above, then give us your reaction to Yam Yam’s victory in the comments below.