|Born||May 5, 1990|
|Residence||Freehold Township, New Jersey, U.S.|
|Education||Montclair State University (B.A.)|
|Occupation||Travel Agent, Tour Consultant, bartender, television personality|
|Television||Survivor: Kaôh Rōng (Winner)|
Michele Fitzgerald (born May 5, 1990) is an American travel consultant best known for competing on the reality competition show Survivor. She was voted the winner of the show’s 32nd season on May 18, 2016.
Fitzgerald grew up in Freehold Township, New Jersey. She attended Freehold High School, in Freehold Borough, then enrolled at Montclair State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications studies. Her parents are Ralph and Linda Fitzgerald; she also has a sister named Kim, and a brother named Joe.
In 2015, Fitzgerald was selected as one of 18 castaways to compete on Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, the 32nd season of Survivor. Though Kaôh Rōng was the 32nd season to air, it was the 31st filmed, having been shot before Survivor: Cambodia, which aired first; the two seasons were filmed back-to-back in the same location. As the theme of the season was Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty, she was assigned to "Beauty" and thus placed on the Gondol tribe at the very start. On Day 12, the tribes were switched around, and she ended up moving to the Chan Loh tribe, along with fellow Beauty Nick Maiorano. By Day 17, the tribes had merged, and both she and Maiorano had to decide whether to align with the former Brains or the former Brawns. They chose to align with Cydney Gillon, Kyle Jason, and Scot Pollard (the Brawns).
On Day 19, the first post-merge Tribal Council was cancelled when fellow castaway Neal Gottlieb was medically evacuated that afternoon. On Day 22, Fitzgerald and Maiorano each attended their first Tribal Council of the game. They had been able to avoid going to Tribal Council before the merge by always being on a tribe that won immunity. At her first Tribal Council, she joined the other women and Joe Del Campo in voting out Maiorano in a blindside. At the next vote, Debbie Wanner was voted out by all the other women, including Fitzgerald. On Day 27, Pollard was blindsided, even though Fitzgerald and Julia Sokolowski, being unaware of the plan to blindside Pollard, had voted against Tai Trang. When Fitzgerald and Gillon won the next reward, they brought Aubry Bracco with them, so that they could reconcile and reaffirm their alliance.
Fitzgerald ended up winning immunity twice in the game, making her the only player to win at least two that season. At the Final Four Tribal Council, she tried to eliminate Bracco, who ended up tied with Gillon on votes; Bracco would then defeat Gillon in the fire-making tiebreaker. The Final Three's last challenge would not be for immunity, as expected. Rather, it would be for a special reward, to determine which player would earn to right to vote one person off the jury. Fitzgerald won that challenge over fellow finalists Bracco and Trang, and later that night, she voted to send Gottlieb off the jury. Gottlieb, in his parting words, declared that Fitzgerald probably wasn't going to win, even comparing her to a "little puppy, still suckling at the teat."
At the Final Tribal Council, Fitzgerald was criticized for her perceived weakness at the start of the game, but praised for getting stronger as the game progressed. In the end, Fitzgerald won the title of Sole Survivor with five votes, from Wanner, Pollard, Sokolowski, Jason, and Gillon; Bracco only received two, from Maiorano and Del Campo; and Trang received zero.
As a result of her victory, Fitzgerald became the first Survivor winner to be born in the 1990s.
Fitzgerald had been working as a bartender at the time she started on Survivor. Before that, she also worked as a caterer, and as an intern with Rock the Earth, an organization that goes to various music events to raise awareness of environmental issues. At the time she was crowned Sole Survivor, she was working as a travel agent.
- Cerano, Clare Marie (April 26, 2016). "Freehold Township woman making a run at 'Survivor' title". Atlanticville News. Greater Media Newspapers. Retrieved May 25, 2016.[permanent dead link]
- Ross, Dalton (December 16, 2015). "'Survivor: Kaoh Rong': Jeff Probst gives intel on next season". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
- Hyman, Vicki (February 18, 2016). "Meet N.J.'s 'Survivor' contestants Michele Fitzgerald, Nick Maiorano". NJ.com. New Jersey On-Line LLC. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
- Turner, Ashley (May 19, 2016). "Freehold woman wins 'Survivor'". Asbury Park Press. Gannett Co. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
| Winner of Survivor
Survivor: Kaôh Rōng