Long-running reality competition series Survivor can be pretty cut-throat as players viciously compete for the million-dollar prize. Throughout the 38 seasons to date, we’ve seen all kinds of players, from those who excel at a social game, to competition beasts, floaters who remain quietly in the background, and outspoken leaders. One type of player we’ve seen quite a bit of are villains. And some villains are more notorious than others, having made their mark in Survivor history as some of the best, most cunning, manipulative, and even outright mean players.
We wrote about the best male villains of all time throughout the series. Now let's take a look at the most villainous female players from the past 38 seasons.
10 Sarah Lacina
This police officer played twice, the first time on Cagayan not revealing her occupation to other players. By the second time, when she returned for Game Changers, she learned from her mistakes and tried to play more aggressively, taking on more of a villainous, hard-playing role, though she was, unlike others on this list, well-liked.
She was a villain mainly because she treated the game like an undercover operation, making friends when she needed to, then turning her back on alliance members when it was necessary – even if she did feel bad about it. While she wasn’t a traditional villain, her cunning gameplay makes her the most clever one.
9 Courtney Yates
Known for her sharp tongue and acidy attitude, Yates, who played in China then returned for Heroes vs. Villains, dominated the game the first time around with allies Todd and Amanda. And while she made it to the end, she ultimately lost to Todd.
In Heroes vs. Villains, her lack of physical ability immediately put a target on her back, but she was kept in the game by top male villain “Boston” Rob Mariano, who felt she could help him eliminate a rival, Russell Hantz. But she ended up being voted out 11th.
8 Katie Gallagher
Playing in Survivor: Palau, Gallagher wasn’t a skilled player. She didn’t have much of a social game, sticking with her core alliance while treating others badly and making snarky comments during her diary sessions. She didn’t do much work around camp and wasn’t helpful to her tribe in competitions.
Then, she stabbed her own alliance member Ian in the back when she was bitter because he didn’t take her on a reward challenge. She found herself in the finals alongside Ian and Tom and plotted with Tom to convince Ian to quit the challenge. At the end, however, she only received one vote to win the game, and even that person admitted that they weren’t voting for her, but simply voting against Tom. Ouch.
7 Danielle DiLorenzo
First playing in Panama, she was recognized then as a top villain and brought back to play on Heroes vs. Villains. She betrayed friends, had a rivalry with Shane, and teamed up with another notorious villain, Russell Hantz, during Heroes vs. Villains.
She made it to the final tribal council in Panama but lost in a 5-2 vote. In Heroes vs. Villains, however, she herself got backstabbed and blindsided by Hantz who flipped a vote to get her out when he felt she was getting too close to another female villain, Parvati Shallow.
6 Jerri Manthey
Considered to be the game’s first-ever female villain, Manthey played in the Australian Outback, as well as All-Stars and Heroes vs. Villains. She was a great player, but she was also at the center of many fights and disagreements, and never held back, making her disliked by many on the tribes. In fact, she was even booed when she appeared on the reunion show for All-Stars!
She adjusted her attitude slightly in Heroes vs. Villains and ended up making it all the way to fourth place. But her reputations preceded her, and she was voted out before the final tribal council.
5 Abi-Maria Gomes
One intense stare from this otherwise sweet-looking woman made tribemates tremble. Gomes played by intimidation and anger, making her unlikable and untrustworthy. She flipped back and forth, unable to trust a single alliance or person, always displaying a negative attitude and paranoia that people were out to get her.
After her debut in Philippines, she returned in Cambodia and tried to adjust her villain-like behavior. But it proved too difficult, and she reverted to her old self, picking fights and making enemies.
4 Corinne Kaplan
Using every diary session as an opportunity to roast her tribemates, Kaplan played twice – once in Gabon then in Caramoan. Dubbed a Queen of Mean, her acid tongue held nothing back when it came to how she felt about others in the game.
In fact, during a speech to the jury, her rival Sugar Kiper actually flipped her the bird after she continued her streak of humiliation and insults. She tried to tame her own internal voice in Caramoan, but it didn’t work as she found another person to fling insults at, Philip, and she was ultimately voted out 12th, not even making it to the jury.
3 Kass McQuillen
An attorney in real life, McQuillen is a master of argumentation, and she made no bones about her plans in Survivor when playing in both Cagayan and Cambodia. She even nicknamed herself Chaos Kass, with plans to wreak havoc wherever she went, if it meant getting herself further in the game.
One of the older female players, she was aggressive, made good use of sarcasm any chance she got and shifted allegiances as it suited her. This helped get her to a third-place finish the first time, but everyone’s dislike for her meant she couldn’t inch out the win. When she returned, she was voted out quickly, making it only to 13th place.
2 Sandra Diaz-Twine
Diaz-Twine sat like a queen at camp, calling the shots, manipulating others, and not doing much of anything in competitions or around camp. But no one wanted to cross her, because they’d feel and hear her wrath.
It worked, twice, as Diaz-Twine, who has played three times, is the only person to have ever won the game twice. Her mouth and clever strategies won her the game both times. Even if people didn’t necessarily like her, they listened to her, and it was her clever moves that shifted the vote week after week in her favor.
1 Parvati Shallow
Credited with creating the only truly successful all-female alliance, which she called the Black Widow Brigade, Shallow has played three times and won once. She aligned with other strong female players, flirted and manipulated the men into trusting her, and charmed everyone into believing she wasn’t a threat.
She not only won the game once but made it to the finals a second time as well, ultimately losing to Diaz-Twine. She also teamed up with one of the most notorious male villains, Russell Hantz, and managed to outwit and outlast him.