Hometown: Phelps, Kentucky
Current residence: Kimper, Kentucky
Hobbies: Discovering new music on Spotify, vinyl record collecting, binge watching Survivor on CBS All Access, and photography of nature and portraits.
Pet peeves: People who think they know it all, people who are disrespectful toward others for no reason, people who judge the book by its cover (people have treated me that way my entire life), people that say "literally" without it being literal, people who aren't straight forward when they need to be and finally, getting my name wrong. It is D-O-N-A-T-H-A-N, not Jonathan or Donovan.
Three words to describe you: Determined, whimsical, and rare.
What's your personal claim to fame?
I was a part of a national and state level winning dance team. I danced in the hip-hop routine. I am proud of being openly gay and dancing in front of thousands in this area. My goal is always to try to change the opinions of others when it comes to the LGBTQ community and through dancing, I was able to open the arms of many.
There will never be another me when it comes to those years and for that impact, I feel very accomplished. Being the only guy to hold a national championship among the basketball, football and baseball guys—yeah, that felt really nice!
Who or what is your inspiration in life?
My hero is my grandmother, Deloris Bentley. Always has been, always will be. My grandmother had seven children between the years of 1960-1968, with my mom being the youngest. She raised them all with very limited food, no power until 1975, no bathrooms, only outhouses—all while dealing with the day-to-day struggles of having an alcoholic as a husband.
Over the years, things got better for her. She raised her children, divorced and re-married (twice), and ended up being very independent and open-minded! In 2006, she had a brain aneurysm. She flew out to have emergency surgery and you know what saved her that time? Her blood was so thick from smoking three packs a day for so many years, that the aneurysm was sealed shut.
After her surgery, she was up the next morning eating on some ice. Now if that isn't inspiring, I don't know what is! She has always been the glue in our family. She is such a hero in my eyes because of all the sacrifices, determination and selflessness she has expressed and shown all her life! Many people are probably picking celebrities and all that jazz, but my little 'ole Maw Maw is my hero.
If you could have three things on the island, what would they be and why?
My cross necklace my grandmother got for me, my glasses (if that counts) so I can snap them in half to help with making fire, and just the clothes on my back.
Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
While there are tons of castaways that I have related to, especially those from the LGBTQ community (Colton, Todd, Tia), and my hillbillies (Keith, Sandy, JT), I always find the most relatable to be Cirie.
No one expected the gameplay Cirie played in her first season. She went out there, hated leaves, and really didn't know much about the game. But you know what? She went out there and learned the way. She kept her mouth shut when need be, made the big moves when she needed to, and had a great sense of the people on the island what they were thinking.
She is the type of player I see myself being. I adore her, and it doesn't hurt that her birthday is July 18th and mine July 19th. We Cancers just have a way about us that is charming, yet manipulative. Our knife is always ready for backs (figuratively)!
What's your reason for being on Survivor?
It's for me and my family. We have always been below the poverty line. We have always struggled year to year to make ends meet. But it does make you stronger having to live that way. But you know what? I am tired of living this life.
I want to be a great influence for my family—prove to them that when you try, things can happen. It takes you to put the first foot in the door, no one else. I don't want to end up being stuck here in a rusted old trailer. I want more for my family, especially my mom and grandmother, and also help those in my area who are less fortunate.
Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
Living in Eastern Kentucky has its perks. We are outdoors people. We love the lakes, we love to roam trails and mountains, and I have learned a lot about nature and survival. And while I have never been in a dire situation to use these skills, I truly believe when the survivalist in me kicks in, I would have a lot to offer.
Now darlin', I ain't no lumberjack. But I can offer common sense solutions in order to help make my tribe grow. I already plan on breaking my glasses to help with fire and prove that this little gay hillbilly nerd isn't afraid of what nature can bring! I really think I will surprise a lot of people.