Meet the 'Survivor 45' Cast! Attorney Jake O'Kane Plans to "Blow Smoke" in His Final Tribal Council

While the curtain has just risen on Jake O'Kane's time on Survivor 45, he's already preparing for his 11:00 number. The 26-year-old has a unique background as a new attorney and children's theatre teacher, something he thinks will make him a master of using Tribal Council to his advantage. And though he knows he can be seen as someone more likely to talk "brewskis" than Broadway, he's ready to prove from the get-go that he's full of surprises.

Read on for my interview with Jake, and check in with every day for interviews with this season's contestants and other tidbits. Survivor 45 premieres on September 27 with a 90-minute premiere on CBS.

Related: Meet the Full Cast of Survivor 45

Interview with Jake from Survivor 45

To start, tell us about yourself.
So, my name is Jake. I'm from Hanson, Massachusetts. I live in Boston with my grandmother in her house. I am a newly "barred" lawyer. And I teach theatre to kids. I am a bartender. That's kind of the quick rundown. I also recently lost 80 pounds.

Those are such disparate career choices! First off, congrats on becoming a lawyer. I'm assuming that theatre teaching predated the law career?
So, I did theatre throughout middle school, high school, and undergrad. And then, I stopped doing it during law school because I needed to focus on my studies. Then it was actually funny because I got a call from my old theatre director. She has her own dance studio. And she was like, "Jake, I'm trying to revive my theatre program post-COVID." And I'm like, "You know what, I'm not in school anymore. Let me direct a show with these kids." And I have a co-director who's a great friend of mine. We're doing The Lion King right now. I had to leave the kids. It was super sad, telling them, "Oh, I got to do something with work." And one of the preschoolers wrote me a letter, and I was like, "Oh, man!" I'll be back to see the show, though. I will get to see the show. But I'm missing a bulk of it. And I feel bad about it.

So what brings you to the Pridelands that is Fiji? Why are you here competing on Survivor?
I'm competing on Survivor because I want to test myself, man. I've been watching this show since One World. One World I watched kind of sporadically. And then, by Philippines, I was in every episode. I remember watching the first episode of Survivor: Philippines, and I'm in my living room. It's showing the Matsing beach. Everyone's in their underwear. Denise pops on the screen. It says "sex therapist" on the chyron. And my dad walks in, and he's like, "Jake, what the hell are you watching?" It just took off from there! [Laughs.]

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[Laughs.] On the note of a Survivor winner, give me one winner and one non-winner you identify with the most.
I've been saying two names for winners that I identify with. I've been saying Chris Daugherty because I feel like I can bullshit like him.

Wow, a Vanuatu reference! That's a deep pull.
Dude, I love it, man. Is it the tightest cast? No. But there are some great moments there. Eliza, Amy, Twila, Scout, Chris, Sarge, Rory. I love Vanuatu. I feel like something that's been lost in recent seasons, and I think Jeremy Collins is to blame for this. I love him; he's amazing. He's repping Boston, so I'm big pro-Jeremy. But everyone thinks they have to be super honest at Final Tribal. And I don't think that's true. I think you see that with Chris. I think you see that with Todd. They bullshit. I mean, you have to be a good bullshitter because people have to believe you. But you don't have to be 100% honest at Final Tribal. And I think people have kind of gotten away from that in recent seasons. So when I get to the Final Tribal, I'm hoping to bring that back, and hopefully, I'll have to blow some smoke up some asses. [Laughs.]

Does your non-winner also have that BS superpower?
I like Dom Abbate a lot. Dom brings a lot to the table. I mean, he's the person to get the closest to winning without actually winning, you know what I mean? Wendell rightfully wins that season. Because Wendell has one hell of a social game, and I don't think that can be taken away from him whatsoever. But Dom reminds me of a lot of people that I know. I just think of that scene where he's talking to Kellyn, and he has the coffee in his hand. He's like, "Yeah, okay. All right. We can do that." And then not doing it. I love that moment.

What's your favorite moment in Survivor history?
[Laughs.] I gotta give a basic one. Tony holding the idol like, "Can you validate this for me, Jeff?" That's a great moment. Like, "I'm looking back at all of them." I love the theatre of it. People need to play into the theatre of Tribal Council. Jeff told us the other day that you need to take his questions and throw them back. And that really wasn't something I was thinking about before the game. But I think I'm really equipped to do that just based on my training as an attorney.

I may not have done a trial yet because I'm a new lawyer. But I have argued things in court, and I do have the training to do a trial. And then I also have my performance background. So I don't think there's a better combination of things to going to be able to use Tribal and take Jeff's questions and turn them into my advantage. I always got crap doing theatre and stuff because I was always last to remember my lines. But I feel like they're more guidelines than actually "say these things," you know what I mean? Some people worked really well with it. Other people didn't, and I had to learn my lines. [Laughs.]

You've just spoken about how your occupations have made you ready for Tribal. But what's one life experience you feel has prepared you most for the game?
So it's kind of, in tandem, two things. When I went to law school, I tell everyone that law school is kind of like boot camp mentally. It's supposed to break you down and then build you back up to think in a more efficient, logical manner. And then, during my time in law school is when I finally stopped binge eating, and I adopted a healthier lifestyle. So, the more healthier I made my lifestyle, the better I did in school. And the better I did in school, the more motivated I was to deal with my eating problems and work on myself.

When I was studying for the bar, all I did was study and work out, and it was just able to get me in the right mindset. And I think [with] that hard work and determination, I reorganized myself over the course of two to three years. I ran my first Spartan Race this last year, and that was a super emotional experience. Because at 15, I would have never imagined that I would do that. That was a big moment for me. And so I feel like I know how to work hard. During law school, I worked two jobs. I'm not a person who was taking the weekends to ride yachts. My daddy's not a lawyer. I didn't have the money to do that.

Related: Everything to Know About Survivor 45

What do you think people will perceive you as?
The first thing people are gonna realize is that I'm loud. People say, "Jake, you come across like you used to be a football player." I'm like, "No, dude. I can name more Broadway actors than MLB players." [Laughs.] I think as soon as people get to talk to me, they're gonna realize that I'm not. Dude, I like drinks with fruit. That's just like my thing. I'm not a big beer guy. I'm not a big car guy. I hate driving; it freaks me out. I do drive, reluctantly. But I think people might have this idea, "Oh, he's a big Boston bro. He's probably going out drinking with his buddies on the weekend." And I'll do that from time to time. But I work with kids. I work in juvenile court. I'm not a big bruiser.

What are you looking for in an alliance?
I'm looking for people who can't lie. I think one of the things that is gonna benefit me in this game is that, one of the things that I read a long time ago–and it pisses my parents off–the more people cuss, the more people believe they're being honest. That's an actual psychological fact. So, I might drop a few more four-letter words than everyone else.

You're gonna cost the show so much money in standards and practices. [Laughs.]
I'm going to try to avoid it where I can. But that works psychologically. I don't think I come across as a typical lawyer. So the more I can be just me and present myself to these other people, that's going to do better. But I'm looking for honesty. If I sniff out the dishonest, I'm gonna have to get rid of you like that. I mean, I'm gonna go out there, and I'm gonna lie. I'm an ADA; I'm going to tell him I'm a public defender. But I feel like that job's close enough to what I do. I'll still be a public defender in the juvenile court. But I'll just flip sides.

Is there anyone in particular that is catching your eye as someone you either want to work with or look out for?
So I mean, the big thing I'm sure everyone's talking about is Bruce. Bruce is here. He's someone I'm open to working with because he's in my area. I mean, there's a lot we know about him. But there's a lot we don't know because he only played for 12 hours. I'm also looking at a girl here who seems like she has a little wilderness training experience. She has a bunch of tattoos. She's a taller girl. She has curly hair. She's got a fox tattoo on her leg. She seems like the kind of person who is going to try to get a lot of guys out. With other people, you make eyes at them and nod, "Good morning." But she hasn't been given too many smiles and stuff. I've been smiling at everyone. I don't know if I'm supposed to do that or not. But I haven't been getting great vibes from her.

I've been getting good vibes from the kid with an afro who's walking around. He looks like a great time; he's just been smiling at everyone. He's smiling at me. And I see him smiling at other people, so I don't know if I trust him. But I still want to hang out with them. I gotta watch out for that. Because before I came out here, my girlfriend's like, "Jake, you can't just trust everybody out here," and I'm like, "I'm not gonna do that. I'm not gonna do that." [Laughs.]

Well, let's finish with someone you can trust: A loved one. What celebrity or fictional character would you want to come out for a Loved Ones visit?
I need a past player out here to take notes from. That's what I want. Give me Tony! Give me Tony to give me some advice. I'm using that to an advantage. If I could pick anyone, give me Tony. Give me some advice and maybe give me a couple of laughs, too.

Next, check out our Survivor 45 interview with contestant Bruce Perreault.