Lisa Whelchel, Castaway

Lisa Whelchel, Castaway

Those who only know her as “Blair” from Facts of Life may be surprised but the thousands who saw Lisa Whelchel at Women of Faith know from her intro video that Lisa always wanted to be on Survivor . . . and this fall, she is! Thanks to an audition video recorded backstage in San Antonio at the 2011 Women of Faith event and a flurry of Twitter support, Lisa made the team of castaways for Survivor: Philippines.

“I knew last year,” Lisa admitted, “and at the last Women of Faith I couldn’t tell anybody.” That was difficult but “surviving” Survivor: Philippines was even harder. “Emotionally,” Lisa said, “it was like an earthquake inside.” The show’s motto is “outwit, outplay, outlast” which translated to what Lisa described as “this epic battle” between wanting to be the “good girl” who reflected God and His character versus a burning desire to win the game. “Even if you’re the nicest person in the world,” Lisa points out, “you have to vote people off one by one.”

“It’s so funny,” Lisa muses, “the Facts of Life theme song is just such a pithy little jingle [but] it’s the theme song for my time on Survivor. ‘You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both…’ As a Christian I really thought it was only ‘you take the good’ and then you either deny the bad or pretend the bad away. But I am good and I am bad; I am human and I am filled with God’s spirit. Accepting myself, all that was in me, and being OK with that is very freeing.”

Lisa was in the audience at Celebrate What Matters in Oklahoma City. “I loved it! I think my favorite part was Ballet Magnificat! but I loved the live band and everything.” Like many of you, Lisa has been coming to Women of Faith events for years. “I went to Women of Faith before I was a speaker; even while I was on the platform I would go see the other team.” Why so many repeat visits? “I have always been ministered to when I go,” Lisa says. “That’s always the case.”

The season premiere of Survivor: Philippines airs tomorrow, Wednesday, September 19, at 8/7c on CBS. You can be part of a virtual watch party by following Lisa on Twitter at @LisaWhelchel and be sure to vote for Lisa for fan favorite!

What will be your favorite part of Celebrate What Matters? Join us in a city near you and find out!


  1. 2 years ago
    Shannon says

    I would have to disagree with lginco. Especially not knowing the circumstances behind Lisa’s divorce, I absolutely do not believe that the Christian community should turn our backs on those who experience divorce, expel them from the community, or refuse to allow them to use their gifts and graces to continue to minister. A divorce is an event. Even if one is at fault in it, we *all* sin. None of us are perfect. She testified widely on television about her faith even tonight (Dec. 16) and offered a beautiful, human portrait of a fallen, hopeful follower. There couldn’t *be* a better representative.

  2. 2 years ago
    lginco says

    Does anyone know if Lisa will continue speaking at WOF conferences since her divorce a few months ago? Although I have always enjoyed hearing her speak, I’m not sure if I will go to another WOF if she’s scheduled. No judgements here, but I need to hear speakers who put their money where their mouth is regarding marriage and family.

    • We have an exciting lineup of storytellers and Bible teachers scheduled for our 2013 events; many of them are new to our audiences. Click here to see who will appear in your city.

  3. 2 years ago
    muzjik says

    I was very sad to read that 9 days before heading out to film Survivor, Lisa’s divorce was finalized..ending a 23 year marriage.

  4. our older kids have always watched that show, & now i’m curious to see it! i hope lisa wins it all!

  5. 2 years ago
    Carol P. says

    I have watched Survivor since Season 1; however, i have watched less and less episodes the last 4 years mostly because my kids are older and we don’t watch TV during “school nights.” With that said, I will say, I WILL watch this whole season (God willing, given our crazy busy lives) JUST to see Lisa! How exciting for you! I’m sure you did great…and hopefully, you didn’t let any rotten contestants make you feel bad over your faith or having to vote anyone off…it’s part of the game! :-)

  6. 2 years ago
    Diane Cook says

    I have not been a viewer of Survivor since the very first season,as I did not enjoy watching people hurt others on purpose. This is not entertainment to me. I will, however, watch because of Lisa and I know I will learn a better way of handling tough situations and stay in line with God. I’m proud of you,Lisa! Saw you in Spokane,WA last year. Would follow you anywhere! God Bless~

  7. Way to go Lisa – so proud of you.

  8. 2 years ago
    Marnie says

    Can’t wait to see you on Survivor. It is one of our favorite shows. Even my 8 year old enjoys the challenges they face and gets into the show more than me.

  9. 2 years ago
    Carol D. says

    I must admit I was surprised(not pleasantly) to see Lisa was going to appear on “Survivor”! I had long stopped watching the show because it upset me to see the way the show brought out the worst in everyone. So, I’m anxious to see how Lisa shows the light of GOD through this experience. :) I know GOD can use any avenue(even the outrageous) to show He is in control and sovereign!