'Survivor' Season 35 Player Profile: Meet Patrick Bolton

Survivor 35 Patrick Bolton - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of CBS

Welcome to the Survivor: Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers preseason! THR's Josh Wigler reports from his exclusive visit to the show's shooting location in Fiji, where he interviewed host Jeff Probst, as well as the 18 new castaways battling it out for the million-dollar prize.

Click here to make sure you're all caught up on our stories from the island, including our weekly podcast series "First One Out," an in-depth look at all of the new players, culminating in an interview with the first person voted out of the season.

In order to properly prepare Survivor fans for what they're getting into with Patrick Bolton, let's begin with a story from his future tribe mate Ryan Ulrich.

"On the flight over here, his carry-on on the plane was a Nike shoebox," says Ryan, referring to Patrick. "It's like an episode of Seinfeld, right? Kramer's got an empty Nike shoebox as a carry-on and Jerry is like, 'What are you doing? The carry-on is the filet of the flight!' And he's got a shoebox?" 

That's Patrick in a nutshell, or at least in a shoebox: someone you have to see to fully appreciate. The co-owner and co-founder of a moving company in Alabama, Patrick steps into Survivor susceptible to sunburns and always smiling, apparently to the dismay of some his fellow castaways, as you'll read further below. Speaking with me in the Fijian jungle, at least, the man seems to come by his smiling nature honestly.

"I've already told somebody else that I'm not a good liar," he says, speaking in hushed tones. "It depends on the situation. If my life depends on it? I'm gonna have to be serious. I'm not a naturally good liar. I've always told the truth. Sometimes, that's not a good thing. Most of the time? Yeah, it's perfect! People love hearing the truth! But in this game, the truth is not the thing you really need to be telling people, necessarily. You have to tell some people the truth, and some people not the truth."

Even if he's not much of a liar, Patrick has certainly come to the realization that needs to bend the truth in this game: "I've definitely figured that out. I've watched lots of seasons. If there's one thing that's true in Survivor, don't believe what you hear. Nobody is going to tell you exactly what they want."

Patrick's journey toward Survivor actually begins with another CBS reality series: "My sister and I, we wanted to be on The Amazing Race. We submitted a video for The Amazing Race, and we got contacted about our casting video. I was told that they wanted to see me as a possible Survivor castmember. So I sent in a video for that. After that, I got the call: 'We want to possibly have you come out to LA, and really get to know you better, to see if you're the fit we need for our show.'"

Clearly, Patrick won over the right people, seeing as he's out here in Fiji. And since learning about his successful bid to get on Survivor, the professional mover (though hopefully not shaker) has been in full-on study mode.

Listen to the podcast below to hear from Patrick and the rest of the Hustlers in the fourth episode of our preseason series, "First One Out."

"I was binge-watching season after season," says Patrick. "I probably watched a season in a day. That can tell you how much I was watching to catch up and see what everybody's been up to. I've probably watched eight or nine total seasons. I don't know if that would consider me a superfan or not — you probably gotta watch every one. But since then, I've watched a lot more episodes, and I've gotten a lot more familiar with the show. Even watching this most recent season, Game Changers, they're all veterans for Survivor, and they come in with the knowledge of what they need to bring into this as players. You expect certain things from certain people. You're still sitting on the edge of your seat, not knowing what's about to happen with some of these players here."

For his part, Patrick knows exactly what it's going to take for him to win Survivor, at least as far as he's concerned.

"You have to be fully in," he says about his Survivor philosophy. "You have to be constantly watching your back. Watching your back is so vital. If you think at any point in time you're comfortable because people are saying the things you want to hear? That is not true. In some cases, you're going to have to trust people. But you can never give your 100 percent trust and know that that's the truth. So many times, people are blindsided, and they're taken out of the game, and they're heated. The last thing I want to do is go into Tribal Council and think I'm ready to go, and then I get cut off from the feet, and I'm sitting there going, 'Wow. This really just happened to me.'" 

Beyond the strategy of it all, Patrick knows that Survivor requires enormous physicality. He feels up to the task in that regard, due to the physical nature of his work. Still, there's the matter of how his fair skin will fare against the Fijian sun — and so far, it's faring unfairly.

"Gosh, it's so freaking hot," Patrick laments, not quite a quarter of the way into the interview. "Man, I hope I'm not sunburned after today. I put on sunscreen three times already today. I'm as pale as they get. It's hot. I don't know if the sunscreen … when I put it on, it burns my face and my skin, after I've been hot. I don't know if I need a different kind of sunscreen or what."

Patrick knows he won't be the only one forced to weather the weather, even if it's especially difficult for him at this point in time.

"We're hot. We're sticky. It's not a luxurious thing by any means, unless you're winning a reward and going to a resort for part of the day," he says. "But the majority is very strenuous on your body. It's not easy. I'm going to be hoping to stay in the shade as much as possible. I get sunburned so easily. Being a ginger, it really just eats you up. It's awful. If I need to build a nice shelter to provide us shade, I'm going to be doing that, and catching fish, and making sure all the girls are happy, and making sure that pretty much I stay off the main topic of thought — aside from when I blindside somebody and cut someone down."

As far as blindsides, consider one in the books for Patrick already: he went to Auburn University with Ali Elliott, also on the Hustlers tribe, and said absolutely nothing on the subject over the course of our interview. His comments on Ali were quick and casual, and raised no alarms with yours truly — not that it was even on my radar yet, but still, listening back to the tape, it was one of few times that Patrick Bolton was cool as a cucumber under the Fijian sun. 

"I'm ready to get out there and play," he insists early in the interview, "and hopefully leave there last."

Watch the video below for more from Patrick on why he's going to win Survivor.

That's Patrick in his own words. But what does everyone else think? Over the course of these interviews, I showed the castaways pictures of each other from casting, to get their pregame impressions of their future competitors. Read on for their takes on Patrick.

Note: comments from the castaways have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Mike Zahalsky (Urologist, Healers Tribe): How can anybody not like that guy, right? 

Ashley Nolan (Lifeguard, Heroes Tribe): I sort of want to slap his face. He's always smiling, but it's not a smile I want to get to know — it's like he knows something that we don't, and that might just be part of his ploy to trick us or something like that. He's always got this face, where you look and you do a double take, and you're like, "What?" You just want to be like, "What is up with you? Like, what is going on in your head?"

Ben Driebergen (Marine, Heroes Tribe): He's got a weird smile. He's really outgoing and doesn't know when to shut up. I just hope he goes first. Being overconfident and thinking that you're something that you aren't ... that kinda comes off the wrong way to people. It rubs people the wrong way. 

Alan Ball (NFL Player, Heroes Tribe): I don't trust him. That picture alone. He's always smiling. Every time I see him, he's smiling. I think he's cool, but I don't trust anybody that smiles that much. He smiles every time I see him. I know smiling is good for the soul. Yeah, it's good for you, it's healthy, and you should smile — but somebody that's always smiling? You can't smile that much. When I've been drinking, I smile that much, but nobody's been drinking.

Katrina Radke (Olympian, Heroes Tribe): He prays at dinner at every meal, and so that [gets me thinking] that he's got some sense of religion or spirit or whatever. A sense of humility, I guess, too. He's always smiling. 

Chrissy Hofbeck (Actuary, Heroes Tribe): I love that guy! I call him Red for short. He has a smile on his face at all times, which I also have a smile on my face at all times. 

Jessica Johnston (Nurse Practitioner, Healers Tribe): He's a class clown and he's a redhead. Redheads are class clowns. Always. They always are. They always talk a lot. They always make fun and poke jokes, and I thoroughly love to laugh. I can not wait to pass some jokes on this kid.

Cole Medders (Wilderness Therapy Guide, Healers Tribe): From day one we've always been goofing around and laughing at stuff and trying to just stir up a ruckus wherever we can. We're always looking at each other first whenever something happens to see if we should laugh about it.

Simone Nguyen (Diversity Advocate, Hustlers Tribe): He keeps trying to flirt with me, and he's nowhere near the hottest guy out here. 

Josh Wigler (Reporter, THR): What's he doing?

Simone Nguyen (Diversity Advocate, Hustlers Tribe): Just this, all day.

Josh Wigler (Reporter, THR): Let the record reflect that Simone just leaned in really awkwardly close.

Simone Nguyen (Diversity Advocate, Hustlers Tribe): He leans in really awkwardly close, he stares at you right in your face. You have to break eye contact or else you know he's going to take it in a really sexual way. He's doing this to all the women. I'm not impressed. You know what? He doesn't have a six pack. Look at the other guys who have a six pack here and reflect on your life, reflect on changing your body to the person and the persona that you are trying to adopt right here.

Watch the video below for an early look at what Patrick's victory speech might look like.


It's Pat! More on this #Survivor coming soon at the link in the profile.

A post shared by Josh Wigler (@roundhoward) on

Lauren Rimmer (Fisherman, Hustlers Tribe): That poor guy looks like Beavis or Butthead. I haven't figured out which one yet. 

Devon Pinto (Surf Instructor, Hustlers Tribe): I don't see him doing well out here. I feel like he's trying too hard. In this stage, he's trying to connect with everyone a little too much, to the point where I could see him being one of those players that gets on the annoying side and gets on people's nerves.

Desi Williams (Physical Therapist, Healers Tribe): He's a knucklehead. He's just a knucklehead, through and through. I assume he's from Texas. He wore this Longhorn shirt yesterday and we were sitting, waiting to come do these interviews, and there was a nest in a tree and everybody else just leaves it alone, because it's obviously a nest. And he takes a big stick and starts knocking it out of the tree. Why would you do that? Because you're a knucklehead. So I think he's going to need some babysitting, or just needs to go home, because if he's going to be knocking nests, that's going to be an issue for me.

Roark Luskin (Social Worker, Healers Tribe): He is reading a book that is essentially the modern version of "How to Win Friends and Influence People." So, if he is trying to acquire those skills, in the next three days or for the past three days, whatever it's been, then maybe this is somebody that I want on my team, because maybe he doesn't know what's going on. So, we'll see. I want to get to know him for sure.

Ryan Ulrich (Bellhop, Hustlers Tribe): He's like my Ron Weasley, you know? Wouldn't that be great? And there's another girl that kind of looks like Hermione here. And the bald guy kind of looks like Voldemort. Maybe this is the prophecy fulfilling itself.

Joe Mena (Probation Officer, Healers Tribe): So, let me tell you a little story. We're in Ponderosa and we're eating and he loves the fist-bump thing, to everyone, especially to me. 

Josh Wigler (Reporter, THR): You're not a fist-bumper.

Joe Mena (Probation Officer, Healers Tribe): Nah, I'm whatever. I'll give you a hug and kiss. I don't give two shits. If that's your way of communicating, I'm cool with it, especially in this game. So, what happened, we're having lunch and he cuts everyone in lunch. He wanted coleslaw, so he just puts out his plate for one of the females to feed him. Like, who does that? You don't know this person. I mean, yeah, she's going to do it because she's nice, but just little things like that. 

JP Hilsabeck (Firefighter, Heroes Tribe): Seems like a fun, energetic type of guy. There are times to talk and there are times you don't, so hopefully it all works out.

Josh Wigler (Reporter, THR): I know we've already discussed this guy...

Ali Elliott (Celebrity Assistant, Hustlers Tribe): He's a goof, man. I'm just scared. Even looking at that picture, I'm scared. I don't know what to expect. I hope he's watched the game. For someone like me, when a conflict hits or if something happens, I can kind of probably try to figure out a way to solve it, because I've watched the game, and seen what other people have done. But for him? I don't know...

Patrick Bolton (Small Business Owner, Hustlers Tribe): Hey, I'm open to everyone. If I'm on a tribe with some of these people I'm saying have not been looking to have a fun time, or be joyful, or happy while we're around... well, they may have to learn to like me, because they're stuck with me here, and vice versa. So, I'm 100% open to game play. 

Click through the gallery below for photos of Patrick and the rest of the Season 35 castaways.

Keep checking THR.com/Survivor for more coverage of the Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers preseason.