‘Survivor’ Champ Vecepia Towery Robinson Revealed CBS Has Never Invited Her Back Since Her Win

Despite having an incredible social game and being one of the first to recognize Boston Rob Mariano as the huge strategic threat he is, Survivor: Marquesas winner Vecepia Towery Robinson has never received an invitation from CBS to play again.

Several fans stated they would have loved to watch the only African-American female winner compete in Survivor: Winners at War and wondered why she didn’t return.

Vecepia Towery Robinson
Vecepia Towery | Mark Mainz

On the morning of the premiere for the 40th season, Robinson posted a message to her Facebook account asking the same thing.

Vecepia Towery Robinson won ‘Survivor: Marquesas’

In 2002, Vecepia Robinson competed on the fourth season of Survivor as part of the losing tribe, Maraamu. She joined the majority alliance on the tribe and formed a strong relationship with Los Angeles-based teacher, Sean Rector.

When they swapped, Robinson and her alliance were in the minority but still made the merge. Once the tribes merged, the California-based office manager turned on her alliance and voted out Boston Rob Mariano, the biggest strategic threat left in the game.

She then joined four other “outsiders” and overthrew the dominating Rotu alliance. After Rector joined the jury and Paschal English drew the unlucky rock, it left her to compete against Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien and Neleh Dennis at the Final Immunity Challenge.

Once the former dropped out, Robinson struck a deal with Dennis to let the young competitor win the challenge if she took the office manager to Final Two. Dennis agreed, and the ladies went to the Final Tribal Council, where Robinson won in a 4-3 vote. 

20 previous winners returned for ‘Survivor: Winners at War’

For the 40th season of Survivor, 20 previous winners returned for a record-breaking $2 million grand prize and another Sole Survivor title. Those former champs include Ethan Zohn (Africa), Sandra Diaz-Twine (Pearl Islands, Heroes vs. Villains), Amber Mariano (All-Stars), Danni Boatwright (Guatemala), Yul Kwon (Cook Islands), Parvati Shallow (Micronesia), Rob Mariano (Redemption Island), Sophie Clarke (South Pacific), Kim Spradlin (One World), Denise Stapley (Philippines), Tyson Apostol (Blood vs. Water), Tony Vlachos (Cagayan), Natalie Anderson (San Juan Del Sur), Jeremy Collins (Cambodia), Michele Fitzgerald (Kaoh Rong), Adam Klein (Millennials vs. Gen X), Sarah Lacina (Game Changers), Ben Driebergen (Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers), Wendell Holland (Ghost Island), and Nick Wilson (David vs. Goliath).

Unfortunately, 18 winners, many of who were also fan-favorites, were either not invited back or couldn’t join the cast for whatever reason. These former champs include Richard Hatch (Borneo), Tina Wesson (Australian Outback), Vecepia Towery Robinson (Marquesas), Brian Heidik (Thailand), Jenna Morasca (Amazon), Chris Daughtery (Vanuatu), Tom Westman (Palau), Aras Baskauskas (Exile Island), Earl Cole (Fiji), Todd Herzog (China), Bob Crowley (Gabon), JT Thomas (Tocantins), Natalie White (Samoa), Jud “Fabio” Birza (Nicaragua), John Cochran (Fans vs. Favorites), Mike Hollaway (World Apart), Chris Underwood (Edge of Extinction), and Tommy Sheehan (Island of the Idols).

Vecepia Towery Robinson did not return for the 40th season

On the morning of the Survivor: Winners at War premiere, Robinson left a long message for “Survivor fans.” She explained that even though she’s the “first and only African American female to win Survivor and the first to win a reality show,” she did not receive an invitation to compete in the 40th season.

The Marquesas champ continued and revealed no one has ever asked her to return in 36 seasons despite several contestants coming back multiple times.

She then explained how “grateful” she is “for the opportunity to have had that one moment to complete and win a show I still to this day watch and love.”

Additionally, she survived breast cancer twice and is “proud of the way” she competed even if she doesn’t ever play again. She also included that she didn’t understand why only two competitors from Marquesas returned.

Robinson concluded her message by thanking “Boston Rob for keeping our season alive” and encouraged the Survivor 40 contestants to “play hard, play smart, and make it a great winners season.” Watch Survivor: Winners at War Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.