Janu Tornell

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Janu Tornell
Born (1965-05-09) May 9, 1965 (age 52)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Known for Miss Nevada USA 1989 (winner)
Miss USA pageant 1989
Television Survivor: Palau

Janu Tornell (born May 9, 1965) is an American reality show contestant and former Las Vegas showgirl and beauty pageant contestant of Cuban descent.

Early life[edit]

Tornell was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, the daughter of Juan and Maria Tornell. She attended Valley High School, then relocated to Spain, and later moved to Los Angeles. She then studied at Los Angeles Valley College, a two-year institution, before moving back to Las Vegas and pursuing a career as a showgirl.[1]


In 1989, Tornell won the Miss Nevada USA title and went on to represent Nevada at the Miss USA pageant broadcast live from Mobile, Alabama. She failed to place at the pageant, which was won by Gretchen Polhemus of Texas. The following year she competed in Miami's Nuestra Belleza Internacional pageant, and was first runner-up.[2]


Tornell was one of 20 contestants who competed on Survivor: Palau.[3] She became the 13th person eliminated when she voluntarily laid down her torch in a shocking twist, partially to save Stephenie LaGrossa, who was destined for elimination by her tribemates.[4] Also, she had not been getting along well with the other players, particularly Katie Gallagher, who would make it to the Final Two along with Tom Westman. As a member of the jury, Tornell voted for Westman to become Sole Survivor in the Final Tribal Council.

Tornell was the fourth person to quit the game since Survivor's start in 2000,[5] and the first player to quit the game while still being allowed to participate in the jury. It should be noted that she was the first person who made it that far in the game before deciding to quit, with the other quitters leaving before the jury had started. Her final words were aired during the closing credits (the first to quit the game, Osten Taylor of Survivor: Pearl Islands, did not get his final words aired upon quitting).[6]

After competing on Survivor: Palau, Tornell was considered for Survivor: Micronesia — Fans Vs. Favorites, but was ultimately cut along with fellow Palau castmember Coby Archa.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Tornell speaks four languages: Spanish, English, French, and Italian. She currently teaches French at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.[8]


  1. ^ "Curtain slowly closing on Las Vegas showgirls Long a staple of gambling capital, they're losing to times, bunions". Winnipeg Free Press. 2001-03-25. 
  2. ^ "Michelle Policastro of Orlando Named 1990 Miss 'Nuestra Belleza' in Live Nationwide Broadcast". PR Newswire. 1990-10-26. 
  3. ^ Lang, Derrik (2005-01-13). "CBS Reveals Identities of 'Survivor'". Associated Press. 
  4. ^ "'Survivor' quitter Janu deserves slack, not flak". The State Journal-Register. 2005-04-28. p. 16A. 
  5. ^ Strachan, Alex (2005-04-28). "Survivor at boiling point: Probst under fire. And Apprentice doodad big seller". Montreal Gazette. p. D8. 
  6. ^ Lang, Derrik (2005-04-23). "Janu Tornell Quits 'Survivor: Palau' but still gets to stay on Jury". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. C8. 
  7. ^ "Jeff Probst Media Teleconference". Archived from the original on 2010-02-16. Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  8. ^ "Department of World Languages and Cultures at UNLV". Retrieved 2014-04-06. 

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