The Vanuatu island chain in the South Pacific has been home to volcanoes, poisonous insects, and tribal groups who practiced cannibalism and black magic -- in other words, it's an ideal locale for a season of backstabbing and physical challenges on ''Survivor.'' On Tuesday, CBS announced the cast of the reality show's ninth season, officially called ''Survivor: Vanuatu -- Islands of Fire.'' This season, there are 18 castaways instead of the usual 16. They'll be divided by sex, women in the Yasur tribe, men in the Lopevi tribe. The players range in age from 21 to 59 and include a sheep farmer, a mechanical bull operator, two highway construction workers, a coffee barista, an FBI agent, a drill sergeant, and an amputee. The competition begins on the season premiere, scheduled to air Sept. 16.
The Yasur tribe members are:
Julie Berry, 23, a youth mentor from Gorham, Maine
Ami Cusack, 31, a barista and model from Lakewood, Colo.
Mia Galeotalanza, 30, a finance manager from Tom’s River, N.J.
Lisa Keiffer, 44, a real estate agent from New Orleans
Scout Cloud Lee, 59, a rancher and entrepreneur from Stillwater, Okla.
Dolly Neely, 25, a sheep farmer from Mercer, Pa.
Eliza Orlins, 21, a pre-law student from Syracuse, N.Y.
Leann Slaby, 35, a research assistant from Kansasville, Wis.
Twila Tanner, 41, a highway repair worker from Marshall, Mo.
The Lopevi tribe consists of:
Chad Crittenden, 35, a teacher from Oakland, Calif. (He's the amputee.)
Chris Daugherty, 33, a highway construction worker from South Vienna, Ohio
Brady Finta, 33, an FBI agent from Huntington Beach, Calif.
Rory Freeman, 35, a housing case manager from Des Moines, Iowa
Brook Geraghty, 27, a project manager from Boston
John Kenney, 22, a mechanical bull operator and model from Los Angeles
Lea ''Sarge'' Masters, 40, a drill sergeant from Columbia, S.C.
John Palyok, 31, a Home Depot sales manager from Los Angeles
Travis ''Bubba'' Sampson, 33, a loss prevention worker from Johnson City, Tenn.