Sophie Clarke was crowned the winner of “Survivor: South Pacific” Sunday night (Dec. 18). She tells Zap2it that she wasn’t surprised she won and who would’ve gotten her vote if she had not been sitting in the final three.
How do you feel? Is it just overwhelming?
“It is. I honestly haven’t slept at all, I’ve been up for like 48 hours or something. I’m hoping if I go to bed, I’ll wake up and everything will make sense and I’ll have a better grasp on it. I haven’t watched it yet, maybe it’ll feel more real if I see the whole thing. It’s fantastic, though. I’m just overjoyed.”
Were you surprised that you won?
“No, I had a pretty good feeling coming out of Tribal. I felt like I understood what the jury wanted at Tribal. They just wanted some honesty. They’re smart people and they wanted to be told what our strategy was and they didn’t want to be bulls******. And I gave that to them. I could tell they appreciated that.
Also, Albert and Coach had epically bad Tribal Council performances. I honestly thought I would get more votes, so when the third Coach vote came, I got really nervous. My hands started sweating.”
Why do you say they had epically bad Tribal Councils?
“I mean, Albert could never have won it … but they specifically said tell us the truth and Albert could not give Brandon a straight answer. But Coach, I think actually the jury was not decided. I think if Coach had said the right things he would’ve won it. Jeff even let us have closing statements, Ozzy said to him just own up. Whether or not Coach believes to this day that he played an honorable game, it was very obvious the jury wanted him to say, ‘Look, I manipulated all of you.’ But he couldn’t say it, he couldn’t admit that.”
What did you learn about yourself from being on “Survivor”?
“Everything I could say to you could be a cliche. The crazy thing is it’s all true. It’s weird to go on reality TV and change your life and change your perspective on life and become a much more outgoing, confident person. I think ‘Survivor’ puts you, it brings you to your most vulnerable. I was bawling in that Tribal Council, I’ve never felt so much extreme emotion in my whole life. I know nothing will ever be as hard [as ‘Survivor’]. It’s true what I said at Tribal Council – I did learn a lot about my weaknesses and I learned where my limits were.”
If you wouldn’t have been sitting in the final three, who would’ve had your vote?
“It depends on how far back you want to go. Obviously, Dawn would sweep the game easily. Jim could’ve gotten my vote, but if we go to the final six players, I think Brandon would’ve gotten my vote first, then Coach, then Ozzy, then Albert.”
“I think Brandon got a bad wrap. 5% of the time he’s the guy you see on TV. But 95% of the time, Brandon was fishing for the whole tribe, he was a really sweet, sweet kid. He’s only 19 years old, he’s gone through a lot. He’s been in a gang, he has a wife, two kids. So not only is his life situation something I would feel good about giving the money to, but I just felt like he was a real gentleman out there. Everybody had their ups and downs and you saw more of Brandon’s [on TV].”
Would you go back, if asked?
“Yeah, of course, right? It’s so sadistic, why would I ever want to flog myself like this again? At the time, we were like why are Coach and Ozzy doing this again? But there’s some kind of weird obsession with it. I think it’s about the intensity of the emotions that you feel. Being cut off from the world, it’s all so intense. You form these bonds. When you’re out there, you really feel like the friendships you have made are the most important friendships of your life and voting these people out is going to make them hate you and jeopardize these friendships. A great testament to that is the Whitney and Keith relationship. These people found love within five days on ‘Survivor.’ It’s such an intense experience. I’d also want to win a second time. [laughs] I’d want to be in Sandra’s group.”
Any messages to your fans?
“I don’t think I have any fans. [laughs] I think I really screwed myself over by getting in a fight with Ozzy. I don’t know where my fans were. Well, thank you to people who were fans of me. I think I played a very subtle game. So I’m very thankful to anyone who noticed.”