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​Lauren O'Connell
Age: 21
Hometown: Bakersfield, California
Current residence: Waco, Texas
Occupation: Student at Baylor University
Hobbies: Binge-watching multiple Netflix series at once, sleeping through my alarm, and eating a party-sized Peanut M&Ms bag in one sitting.

Pet peeves: People who are intolerant of someone else's personal opinions and beliefs, unnecessary rudeness, and those misguided people who choose Twizzlers over Red Vines. 

Three words to describe you: Competitive, committed, and compassionate. 

What is your personal claim to fame? 
I believe my claim to fame is my resilience and grit. Throughout my physically demanding career as a collegiate athlete on the Baylor Women's soccer team, I've endured four orthopedic surgeries, rehabilitated physically and emotionally in order to remain an integral part of an Elite 8 team, and will obtain a Bachelor's degree in Medical Humanities (in four years!) from a phenomenal university while prioritizing service and volunteerism in the community of Waco.

Who or what is your inspiration in life?
My parents inspire me. They love passionately: each other, their family, and their friends. They model compassion and selflessness through their daily actions and have taught me to persevere through grief and smile through life's toughest obstacles. They've inspired me to fight for things I believe in and they always remind me that my value is not determined by the perception of others. They love abundantly and without reservation, cheer for others in every circumstance, and model how to reflect Jesus in my life. 
If you could have three things on the island, what would they be and why? 

My Bible to remind me that I can only find my worth in Him.
Sunscreen. But only SPF 25, because a little tan looks good on everyone. 
Which Survivor contestant are you the most like?  
Parvati Shallow is my spirit animal. Her infectious smile, smart wit, and expertise in using her sexuality has won her a place in my heart and I feel like my gameplay could be similar to hers. I also strongly relate to Kelley Wentworth's gameplay. She is unapologetically herself, dominates the physical demands of Survivor, and is a threat in any type of challenge. Ideally, I would play the game as a perfect mix of these two powerful females.

What's your reason for being on Survivor?  
My primary motivation for being on the show is to test my INDIVIDUAL capacity to rise to all the challenges I will face. I have played team sports from the time I was four years old and so have always had teammates to rely on when competition was intense. This game will push me to rely on MYSELF, with no parents or teammates who have my back, nobody to lift me up emotionally, and nobody to help me through the physical demands. It will be a true test of MY strengths, my confidence in my social skills, and my individual ability to build alliances that will benefit me, all in a very short and intense time period. The fierce competition from the starting moment is what draws me to this game. This has always been a dream and goal of mine! I told my family when I was seven years old that I would be on Survivor, and I FINALLY am!  

My final motivation is that I will be applying to dental school next year which is an extremely expensive dream, so when I am named Sole Survivor I'll be able to pay for this dream without incurring more debt. As a dentist, I plan to change lives by instilling confidence through beautiful smiles, and winning this game will help me to achieve this without the burden of debilitating debt.
Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?  
I have a competitive drive that few people can hope to match. I am a fierce athlete with the ability to endure extreme physical battles coupled with the desire to throw myself wholeheartedly into new adventures and challenging situations. "Surviving" won't be an issue—I plan to outlast and win. I am brilliantly strategic, but subtly humble about it, so people are not intimidated. In addition, I have a plan for a spectacular social game that cannot be beaten:  allowing people to feel like they are in charge, while ensuring them that they are important, loved, and valued, all while I am masterminding moves in the background. I've studied this game for years, my Barbie and Ken doll were named Tina and Colby, and I know exactly how to manipulate if necessary in order to win.