Sonja was born and raised in Olympia, Washington. Her studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, the University of Oslo in Norway, the University of Washington in Seattle and the University of California, Berkeley, produced a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, along with a teaching credential.
Before retiring, Sonja worked as an investment counselor, tennis teacher and elementary school teacher. She currently works part-time as a music therapist, playing the banjo as she leads sing-alongs at Alzheimer's centers. She also enjoys performing in local community theater. Her favorite sport is swimming, although it used to be tennis, which she played competitively for a number of years. She also enjoys playing Bridge.
In December of 1997, Sonja was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. She underwent pre-surgical chemotherapy, followed by lumpectomy and radiation and has resumed a full, healthy life.
Sonja describes herself as courageous, open and fun-loving. In describing her perfect day, Sonja would wake up feeling good and counting her blessings. She would enjoy a cup of coffee while reading the paper before heading out to exercise (walk, bike, swimming or yoga). Afterwards, she would connect with a friend by phone or over lunch before or after performing at a nursing home. At some point in her day, she would discover a new interest, "be there" for someone in need, have a new idea or fix something around the house and find that all the desk work which requires a good deal of her time would miraculously get done by itself. Capping off her perfect day would be an evening at the theatre or movies with a dear friend, after which she would crawl into bed with a good book.
Sonja currently resides in Walnut Creek, California, about 45 minutes from her son, Dan. She is on the Board of Directors at her the Unitarian Universalist Church and was instrumental as a fundraiser in the building of the Regional Center for the Arts. She is also is a member of the Diable Light Opera Company and Contra Costa Musical Theatre, and also participates in local video and computer clubs. Her birth date is Jan. 28, 1937.
- Episode One: Sonja was placed on the Tagi tribe with seven others, and began working with the rest of Tagi. In the challenge, however, Sonja stumbled on the way back to shore, in the water. This caused her tribe to see her as weak, and they voted her out, over Rudy Boesch.
- Sonja received four votes total during her time on the show, and received 16th place.
- Sonja was the first castaway from her tribe and overall to be voted out. She was also the first castaway eliminated in the history of Survivor.
- Sonja Christopher was the first homosexual on Survivor.