Jesse Lopez: 5 Things To Know About The Strategic ‘Survivor’ Season 43 Finalist

After pulling off a blindside against his biggest ally last week, Jesse Lopez is a frontrunner heading into the 'Survivor' finale.

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Image Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

  • Jesse Lopez is a contestant on ‘Survivor’ season 43 and has made it to the Dec. 14 finale.
  • Jesse is a political science Ph.D student.
  • Jesse lives in North Carolina with his wife and two children.

Jesse Lopez led the charge to take out Cody Assenmacher during the penultimate episode of Survivor on Dec. 7. Despite Cody being his biggest ally, Jesse also knew that Cody was his biggest competition left in the game, and he orchestrated an epic blindside, playing Cody’s own immunity idol against him. Now, Jesse is one of five players left, along with Owen Knight, Karla Cruz Godoy, Mike Gabler and Cassidy Clark.

Going into the finale, Jesse still has one hidden immunity idol left in his pocket, which he earned earlier this season. The idol will be good to use through the final five vote. From there, it will be a tough journey for Jesse to make it into the top 3, as he’s emerged as the clear threat of the remaining players. Learn more about Jesse below.

Jesse Lopez
Jesse Lopez on ‘Survivor 43’ (Photo: Robert Voets/CBS)

1. Jesse Lives in North Carolina.

Jesse is from Venice, California, but now he lives in Durham, North Carolina with his family. Jesse bought a house in Durham with his wife and children in July 2021. “We did a thing,” he wrote on Instagram at the time.

2. Jesse Is A Ph.D Student

Going into Survivor, Jesse’s occupation was a political science Ph.D student, though he kept that a secret from his fellow castaways. Jesse told Parade magazine that he studied at Berkley before he got his Ph.D from Duke University. He finished his Ph.D in June, according to Instagram.

3. Jesse Was In A Gang

Jesse was in gangs growing up, and he was even sent to juvenile hall at one point. It seemed like prison was the next step for Jesse, but he miraculously turned his life around for the better. “I think that sort of journey that I’ve had, just navigating life’s challenges and finding a way to make it and come out on top, I think that’s prepared me for this game,” he told Parade.

Jesse Lopez
Jesse Lopez on ‘Survivor 43’ (Photo: Robert Voets/CBS)

4. Jesse Is married.

Jesse is happily married to his wife, who actually gave him some advice before Survivor. “The best advice I received was from my wife, who told me just to be myself and have fun,” Jesse said.

5. Jesse has two children.

Jesse and his wife have two young daughters. He constantly gushes over his little girls on Instagram. Jesse even received a letter from his daughters after a Reward Challenge on the show, which left him in tears. He’s vowed to win the show for his family.

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