You obviously were so grateful last night for the experience of being on the show. It is still just a dream come true?
“Absolutely, like literally a dream come true. I can’t tell you how many dreams I’ve had about playing ‘Survivor.’ Being on the beach, seeing Jeff, going to the challenges, even the horrible challenges, it was all dream-like. It still feel like it was a dream.”
Some of the Savaii members took issue with how they were characterized. The editing showed them being pretty mean to me at times and the word “bullied’ was thrown out. What do you think of the characterization?”
“I don’t think anybody’s a bully. I don’t think I was bullied. I think there was a level of some disrespect and condescension and me feeling on the outs. But I don’t think any of them are bad people or anything, or bullies. I feel maybe it’s possible I invite that sort of reaction. I make fun of myself, so if I get made fun of in turn, I’m partially to blame for that maybe.
But I don’t think the the show portrayed them that badly. Coach used the word ‘bullying,’ which is a really charged word and I don’t think that’s an accurate characterization of how it was. But I felt on the outs. I didn’t feel bullied. Like kids from high school that kill themselves over bullying, that’s a serious thing. Me being forced to hold a chicken while it’s being beheaded and them being laughed at about it, that’s no comparison. It’s a completely different situation.”
Do you regret your big move?
“I don’t regret flipping. I regret my inaction after flipping. I think I got a little bit complacent and felt a little bit too save, undeservedly so. Which is when I should’ve been trying to cobble together some kind of new alliance. Flipping wasn’t fatal to my game, but I didn’t really follow up on it with another really big move that would’ve gotten me to the end of the game.”
At the point when you left the game, were you rooting for Ozzy, Coach or someone else entirely?
“Pre-game, we knew there were going to be two returning players, but the sense was after Redemption Island, we didn’t want another returning player to win. But you get there and your perceptions change, it’s not us vs. them. So I wasn’t rooting for anybody just because they were a returning player.
I just wanted someone to play a good game and make a compelling argument at the final Tribal Council. And really demonstrate why they deserved to win. I’ll give my vote to anybody. I didn’t have any specific horse in the race. There were some I preferred over others, but I made it my goal to not vote based on personal feelings.”
You definitely strike us as someone who wouldn’t get to the final Tribal and be really bitter and we think it’s because you’re such a fan of the game.
“Absolutely. 100%. As a fan, I can step back and be like, ‘OK, objectively speaking this person played a good game.’ Not ‘did this person hurt my feelings the least.’ I take the responsibility of being a juror very seriously and I think it’s silly to base your vote on really wild emotions that you’re going to have for a few days that you’re going to forget in a couple months once the bitterness passes.”
Do you have any messages to your fans?
[laughs] “I have fans?! If I do have fans, thank you so much. People send me very kind messages on Twitter. If you’re a fan, apply for the show. They’re taking applications right now. This was my first time applying. They do watch these videos. If you’re a super fan and you’re a compelling character, you can get on. And you’ll probably play a better game than I did. Don’t hesitate just out of inertia. You won’t regret it. It’s a dream.”
Would you go back if they asked you?
“I’d love to play again. My only hesitation is I don’t know how well I would do because I don’t know if anybody thinks I’m some loser/weasel/coward/traitor. It’s not the best reputation to have. I’d love to play again, it’s jsut whether my reputation is too negative for me to have a good shot at doing well.”
“Survivor” airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.