Denise Stapley - Survivor: Philippines
Denise Stapley on social media: Instagram | twitter
Seasons: 2 | Days: 75 | Wins: 1 | Jury: 1

Survivor: Philippines (2012) - Winner, 6-1-1.

  • Received six jury votes to win (6-1-1), in Episode 14, "Million Dollar Question" (Day 39).

Survivor: Winners at War (2020) - 6th place, 17th out - 14th juror.

  • Idoled/revoted out in Episode 14, "It All Boils Down to This" (Day 36).

Denise Stapley - Career statistics
Challenge stats Tribal council stats Jury stats
Season ChW ChA ChW% VFB VAP TCA TC% wTCR JVF TotJ JV% SurvSc SurvAv
S25: Philippines 1.65 13.36 0.12 11 6 14 0.78 2.20 6 8 0.75 1.65 8.35
S40: Winners at War 2.48 10.07 0.25 6 4 11 0.54 1.91 - - - 0.79 4.39
Career 4.13 23.43 0.18 17 10 25 0.68 2.07 6 8 0.75 1.23 6.39
Denise Stapley - Challenge record
  • S25 logo Philippines challenges (click to expand/collapse)

    Swing Break - Ep4 RC/IC

    Tribal/team challenge record (3-for-11)

    • Philippines Ep. 1 RC/IC: "Share the Wealth" - Does rowing stage, Matsing blows the puzzle, finishes last (3rd/3).
    • Philippines Ep. 2 RC/IC: "Manila Folders" - Caller for Matsing, which is last again (3rd/3).
    • Philippines Ep. 3 RC/IC: "Deep In Thought" - Dives to retrieve puzzle pieces, Matsing... last again (3rd/3).
    • Philippines Ep. 4 RC/IC: "Swing Break" - Competes, carries pots, but once again, Matsing loses (3rd/3).
    • Philippines Ep. 5 RC: "Idol Hands" - Now with Kalabaw, wins her bout against RC, but Kalabaw loses.
    • Philippines Ep. 5 IC: "Thrash, Splash & Bash" - Competes again. Kalabaw loses again.
    • Philippines Ep. 6 RC: "Bog Roll" - Mired in the mud as Tandang surrenders.
    • Philippines Ep. 6 IC: "Philiping Out" - Launcher, but Kalabaw loses.
    • Philippines Ep. 8 RC: "Catch of the Day" - Part of winning team effort (with Malcolm, Penner, Lisa, Jeff Kent).
    • Philippines Ep. 9 RC: "Muddy Waters" - Part of winning team again (with Malcolm, Penner, Carter).
    • Philippines Ep. 10 RC: "Snare the Drum" - Part of losing team once again (with Skupin, Lisa, Penner).


    The Ball Drop - Final 4 IC

    Individual challenge record (1-for-11): (Mean % finish: 53%)

    • Philippines Ep. 7 IC, "Wrist Assured" - Wins immunity for the women (1st of 4).
    • Philippines Ep. 8 IC, "Snake in the Grass" - One of seven eliminated in first stage (bottom 4/10).
    • Philippines Ep. 9 IC: "Paddle Out" - One of many losers (tie-4th/9).
    • Philippines Ep. 10 IC: "Push Your Luck" - Eliminated in the third and final stage (3rd/8).
    • Philippines Ep. 11 IC: "Brains and Brawn" - Misses two trivia questions, eliminated in the second stage (4th/7).
    • Philippines Ep. 12 RC: "Mud Slinging" - With her husband, Brad, comes close, but loses (5th/6).
    • Philippines Ep. 12 IC: "Fish and Game" - Neither among the leaders nor the worst (5th/6).
    • Philippines Ep. 13 RC: "Sliders" - One ring hooked, tied with Lisa (tie-3rd/5).
    • Philippines Ep. 13 RC: "One Track Mind" - Unclear of exact finish place, but did not win (tie-2nd/5).
    • Philippines Ep. 14 RC: "Dragon Slayer" - Barely edged by Malcolm on the puzzle (2nd/4).
    • Philippines Ep. 14 IC: "The Ball Drop" - Second to drop out (3rd/4).


    Redemption/Exile Island duel record (0-for-0):

    • Philippines: None.
  • S40 logo Winners at War challenges (click to expand/collapse)

    Diswhwalla - Ep7 IC

    Tribal/team challenge record (2-for-11; 2 2nds; 1 sit-out):

    • Winners at War, Ep. 1 F20 IC: "Water Slaughter" - With Natalie, concedes the final point; Sele loses, 3-1.
    • Winners at War, Ep. 1 F19 IC: "Blue Lagoon Bustle" - Paddles, crosses obstacles, and Sele wins!
    • Winners at War, Ep. 2 RC/IC: "Draggin' the Dragon" - Works the puzzle with Boston Rob, but Sele loses.
    • Winners at War, Ep. 3 RC/IC: "Along the Watch Tower" - Crosses obstacles, digs and carries ladder, but Sele loses.
    • Winners at War, Ep. 4 RC/IC: "Beyond the Wheel" - Jumps for keys but misses, but eventually, Sele wins.
    • Winners at War, Ep. 5 IC: "Block in a Hard Place" - Now with Dakal, crosses obstacles, and Dakal doesn't lose (2nd*/3).
    • Winners at War, Ep. 6 IC: "Rice Race" - Crosses obstacles, carries rice, but Dakal places no balls, loses.
    • Winners at War, Ep. 7 RC: "Ball-istic Missiles" - (Unaired). Dakal finishes last (3rd/3).
    • Winners at War, Ep. 7 IC: "Dishwalla" - Carries the dish, works the puzzle with Jeremy, and Dakal doesn't lose (2nd*/3).
    • Winners at War, Ep. 9 RC: "New School" - Sits out when not picked, ineligible for reward.
    • [Winners at War, Ep. 11 RC: Unaired - Not a part of the winning team.]


     Get a Grip - Ep8 IC

    Individual challenge record (2-for-8): (Mean % finish: 53.9%)

    • Winners at War, Ep. 8 IC: "Get a Grip" - Outlasts all the other women, and Denise wins! (1st/5).
    • Winners at War, Ep. 9 IC: "Bermuda Triangles" - Second person out, in the first stage (10th/11).
    • Winners at War, Ep. 10 IC: "Got a Hunch" - One of nine people to not win (tie-2nd/10).
    • Winners at War, Ep. 11 IC: "10 Foot Pole" - Second person to drop out, on the third stage (8th/9).
    • Winners at War, Ep. 12 IC: "When It Rains" - Lasts 15 minutes, and that's good enough. Denise wins! (1st/4).
    • Winners at War, Ep. 13 F7 IC: "Running Down a Dream" - One of five working the slide puzzle, does not win (tie-2nd/7).
    • Winners at War, Ep. 13 F6 IC: "High Step Back" - One of five people to not win (tie-2nd/6).
    • Winners at War, Ep. 14 F6 IC: "Running Down a Dream" - Still on the first layer as Michele wins (tie-4th/6).


    Redemption/Exile Island duel record (0-for-0):

    • Winners at War: None.
Career challenge totals
  • Team/tribal challenges
    Wins: 5
    2nd place: 2
    Played: 22
    Win%: 0.27
    Sat out: 1
  • Individual challenges
    Wins: 3
    Played: 19
    Win%: 0.16
    Mean% Finish: 53.6%
  • Duels
    Wins: 0
    Played: 0
    Win%: --
    Mean% Finish: --
Denise Stapley - Tribal Council record
  • S25 logo Philippines Tribal (click to expand/collapse)

    Final Three

    Idols held/played (0/0):

    • Philippines, Ep. 5: Finds Matsing's idol with Malcolm, but he keeps it for himself.


    VFB - Votes for the person booted (11/14):


    VAP - Votes against (6):

    • Philippines, Ep. 5: One vote, from Dawson.
    • Philippines, Ep. 11: Three votes, from Penner, Carter, and Abi-Maria.
    • Philippines, Ep. 13: One vote, from Abi-Maria.
    • Philippines, Ep. 14: One vote, from Malcolm.


    Jury votes received (6/8):

    • Philippines, Ep. 14: Received six jury votes, from Malcolm Freberg, Abi-Maria Gomes, Jonathan Penner, Pete Yurkowski, and Artis Silvester, to win, 6-1-1.
  • S40 logo Winners at War Tribal (click to expand/collapse)

    Ep1 F20 Tribal

    Idols/advantages held/played (2/2; 4 votes voided):

    • Winners at War, Ep. 2: Finds a split idol at Sele camp; gives half to Adam (Day 4).
    • Winners at War, Ep. 6: Buys Sandra's idol with one of her two fire tokens (Day 16).
    • Winners at War, Ep. 6: Plays an idol for herself, voiding 4 votes and saving her, and one for Jeremy, which voided no votes (Day 16).


    VFB - Votes for the person booted (6/11*):

    *Denise attended the Ep10 Tribal Council but did not vote, due to Sarah's steal-a-vote advantage.


    VAP - Votes against (4):

    • Winners at War, Ep. 1 (F20 vote): Two votes, from Michele and Natalie.
    • [Winners at War, Ep. 6: Four votes, from Jeremy, Kim, Sandra, and Tony, all voided by her idol play.]
    • [Winners at War, Ep. 10: Two votes, from Sarah and Sophie, both voided by Kim's idol play.]
    • Winners at War, Ep. 13 (F6 vote): Two votes, from Michele and Nick.
    • Winners at War, Ep. 14 (F6 vote): Received no first-round votes, but out 4-0 on revote, over Sarah.


    Jury votes made (1/1):

    • Winners at War, Ep. 14: Voted for Tony Vlachos, who won, 12-4-0.
Career Tribal Council totals
  • Hidden idols
    Found: 2
    Played: 2
    Votes voided: 4
  • Voting record
    VFB: 17
    Tribals: 25
    VAP: 10
  • Jury votes
    Made: 1
    For winners: 1
    Received: 6
    Total jurors: 8
Denise Stapley - Pictures
  • S25 logo Philippines image gallery (click to expand/collapse)
  • S40 logo Winners at War pictures (click to expand/collapse)
Denise Stapley - Interviews
  • S25 logo Philippines interviews (click to expand/collapse)

    Pre-game interviews


    Post-game interviews

    • Rob Cesternino at RobHasAPodcast (12/17/12): "Interviews with the Survivor Philippines Final Four"
    • Gordon Holmes at (12/17/12): "Denise: 'It's Hard to Believe It's Really Real'"
    • Dalton Ross at (12/17/12): "Denise reveals the person still mad at her, and that she is the one who told Penner about Lisa's past"
    • Daniel Fienberg at (12/21/12): "Denise Stapley Discusses Her Survivor: Philippines Win"
  • S40 logo Winners at War interviews (click to expand/collapse)

    Pre-game interviews

    • Sangita Patel for ET Canada (1/15/20): "Denise Stapley Says She Couldn't Say No To Joining Survivor: Winners at War"
    • Gordon Holmes at (1/21/20): "Survivor Champion Denise Stapley - 'I'm Not Here for a Fijian Vacation'"
    • Mike Bloom at (1/28/20): "Denise Stapley Brings a Record-Breaking Underdog Story to Survivor: Winners at War"


    Post-game interviews

    • Dalton Ross at (5/14/20): "Denise Stapley reveals she almost took out Tony instead of Sandra"
    • Mike Bloom at (5/14/20): "Denise Stapley Learns to Slay, Endure, and Let Go on Survivor: Winners at War"
    • Rob Cesternino at RHAP (5/14/20): "Survivor 40 FINALE Exit Interviews with the Final 6"
Denise Stapley - Bio
  • S25 logo Philippines bio (click to expand/collapse)

    Excerpts from her Survivor: Philippines bio page:


    "Personal Claim to Fame: The decision to leave the safety and stability of my previous job to open my own business is without a doubt my proudest accomplishment. It took planning and preparation to make that transition smooth and successful. It also took some serious courage to risk the financial security I had.
    Inspiration in Life: At this point in my life, I struggle to identify any one hero, but a hero in my eyes is someone who follows their passion.
    Hobbies: Sprint triathlons, reading and playing dress up/goofing off with my kiddo. 
    Pet Peeves: My number one pet peeve is laziness and people who expect that change will happen without them having to put in any real level of effort. Life is what you make it folks... dig deep! 
    3 Words to Describe You: Determined, energetic and goofy.
    If You Could Have 3 Things on The Island What Would They Be and Why?
    1) A seriously sturdy jogging bra – no one needs to see my 40 year-old ta-ta’s dangling out. This is for function, not fashion.  
    2) My baseball cap or pink dew rag – sheer comfort and a reflection of who I really am. 
    3) My favorite picture of my husband and daughter for motivation and connection with them. 
    Survivor Contestant You Are Most Like: I really like Stephenie from Survivor: Palau. If that wasn’t 'digging deep' I don’t know what is. She has sheer will power and determination. That is what drives me. 
    Reason for Being on Survivor: Believe it or not, for the experience!
    Why You Think You’ll 'Survive' Survivor: At work, I have to be able to engage and connect on some level with every person who walks through my door. I’m also a worker bee who will seek out ways to help camp life run smoothly. 
    Why You Think You Will Be the Sole Survivor: I have a job that requires the ability to engage people to share very personal information and gain their trust to know it will remain confidential. Survivor will require that same skill set and honestly, I’m good at it. My motto in business, life and now Survivor is 'keep it simple, keep it smart.'"


    From her interview, by Dalton Ross:

    "Please welcome Iowa's only certified sex therapist! Could Denise's training help her out on the island? 'I have a way of disarming people and getting them to tell me things that are really uncomfortable,' she says. However she's already a bit concerned about some of the other female contestants. 'Some of the women, I don't know how the hell they're going to last out here. They're doing the cuticles and they're painting their nails, and I'm like, Seriously? What the hell are you doing here?!?'"


  • S40 logo Winners at War bio (click to expand/collapse)

    Excerpts from her official CBS Survivor: Winners at War cast bio page (1/15/20):


    When did you first watch Survivor?

    I started watching Survivor in 2000 with my husband Brad.


    Do you still watch Survivor?

    Ummmmm, yes!!! Every Wednesday.... work, activities, and life in general is planned often around our Wednesday night family viewing!


    Who is your inspiration in life?

    This hasn't changed for me and I continue to be inspired by anyone who embraces life with passion. When you see it... you can feel it... and you can't help but be impacted and inspired by it.


    What does Survivor mean to you and your family?

    Survivor is something that is a shared experience for all of us. We've laughed, we've cried... and we've hooted and hollered at our TV many times over the years. It's the one time where we don't just slow down—we stop and are all focused 100% on the same thing. It's our time.


    What is one way playing Survivor changed your life?

    I think Survivor has changed my life in many ways... but not because of the money. At the core, I remain the person I was before, which until very recently included driving the SAME car, now almost 12 years old, complete with dents and duct tape patching. But playing Survivor fueled parts of me that were always there, maybe untapped, or maybe pushed me to honor those parts. It's made me more open to life experiences in general, fueled the desire to travel, and now plays a huge part in our family motto of #GoSeeDo (go places we don't normally get to go, see people we don't normally get to see, do things we wouldn't normally do). Ultimately, it was a reminder that life is too short, so suck it up during the crappy parts, and embrace and appreciate the rest.


    As Survivor approaches Season 40 and celebrates 20 years on television, what does it mean to be a part of the legacy?

    It's funny, this answer should be easy... but it's not. Being given the chance to play a second time is huge in and of itself. But for it to be the 40th! EPIC! The game has changed SO much since Season 1 and has brought with it so many incredible players. It feels like a huge honor to be able to be a part of that legacy (even if I was on one of the worst tribes EVER!) so I don't take it lightly.


    How will you play differently than you did in your past season?

    My honest answer... I have no clue! LOL! Why?? Because we are who we are, good or bad, and once you're out on that island... all of the best-laid plans, intentions, etc. can quickly dissipate into a miserable mess. So in truth, the core of how I played the first time will remain: adapt, adapt, adapt. And hope that the Survivor "gods" are in my favor."