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'Survivor' Winner Wendell Holland Reveals the 'Smart' Way He'll Spend His $1 Million Prize (Exclusive)

Jennifer Drysdale‍
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'Survivor' Winner Wendell Holland Reveals the 'Smart' Way He'll Spend His $1 Million Prize (Exclusive)

The show's 36th winner also opened up about making history after the season nearly ended in an unprecedented tie.

Wendell Holland Jr. is our newest Sole Survivor

The 33-year-old furniture company owner was crowned the winner of Survivor: Ghost Island on Wednesday night by one castaway and one castaway only: his "sister" on the island, Laurel. 

The CBS series' ended in a tie vote for the first time in its 36 seasons, when a 10-member jury was gridlocked between Wendell and his ally, Domenick. It was then that host Jeff Probst decided to read the votes, then and there at the final tribal council, and instruct the third member of the final three, Laurel, to cast her vote. Ten months later, Probst read her vote aloud, and declared Wendell the winner. 

So how is Wendell going to spend his $1 million prize? "I'm going to be smart with my money," he told ET on the red carpet at CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles after the finale. "I'm probably just going to invest it or save it and let it work for me." 

Monty Brinton/CBS

Yes, that means despite almost a year of "having a good feeling" he was going to become a millionaire, he doesn't even have a splurge item. "I have a tremendous law school loan debt, so I'm going to find the smartest way to pay that off. Whether it's giving them a big chunk of money or whether it's paying monthly, but that's the one monkey on my back," Wendell explained. "So as much as I want to just invest the whole million, I need to be smart about how I spend it on my law school loans."

Wendell isn't just walking away with a million-dollar check, he's also walking away with a piece of Survivor history.

"This has never happened before, and you don't think this is ever going to happen because you got people playing super strong games and bringing different people to the end. In our cast, we had two very strong players come to the end, and it's really a matter of what the jury wants to reward," he said of his reaction to the shocking final tribal council. "A lot of people rewarded his super strong strategic game, and a lot of people rewarded my super strong social game, and at the end of the day, it was a tie, 5-5, and thankfully Laurel was sitting next to us."

"Thankfully two tribals before, I gave her my immunity necklace just to show her that I was here to protect her, and it paid off," he added. 

At the end of the day, however, it was interestingly Wendell's relationship with Domenick that will stick with him. "I like the bromance that I walked away with. Me and Dom, we walked away great friends," he gushed, before revealing that he could see the two hitting the island again in another game of Survivor. 

"I think it's in the umbrella of possibility that Dom and myself will be out there, whether it's a dynamic duo kind of thing, or Heroes and Villains again, or a winner's season," Wendell shared. "If Dom goes out there, he's such a good Survivor player, Domenick will win. He will win the game."

"So if he wins the game, Dom I will see you at the winner's season," he said, flashing a big smile. 

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