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If youíre not the final winner, youíre just one of the runners-up Ė and CBS put the three runners-up, Amanda, Cirie, and Natalie in one conference call with reporters to talk about what it was like to be close to a million dollars only to fall short in the final hours. FORT joined the call as Natalie was explaining her views on the male sexÖ
Natalie: You know what, I love men! They make our world colorful. Just because you want to empower women doesnít mean you hate men. It doesnít have to be black and white.
Q: But was that your plan all along, to go after the men?
Natalie: I think it was better for us to do it once Parvie and I and Alexis got close, and Cirie and Amanda got close on their tribe. So once we all came together, it really made sense at that point because we had the numbers if we could execute it properly.
Amanda: I think itís something that just developed and it got stronger and stronger as the season went on. We got excited about it. We were like, ďLetís keep going!Ē
Q: Cirie, when you found out it was final two, how did you feel at that point?
Cirie: UhÖlike the air was let out of my balloon. It was devastating because I knew there was no infiltrating between Parvati and Amanda. I knew that if I didnít win the next challenge that I was going home. I think I was so focused on getting to the final three that I never even thought about it being a final two. The thing that sold me on the fact that it was going to be a final three was Ė Iím a super fan as well Ė and I never knew it to be an even-numbered jury.
Q: What was your plan to get to the final three, Natalie?
Natalie: I sat there at my boot off Tribal Council, and Cirie and I had had joking comments before with each other like, ďMaybe you and I should do something.Ē But it was kind of in passing because literally from day one, the fans and the favorites on their collective tribes, we just all took it for granted that it was going to be a final three. So when we are at day 37 of this games, our brains our shot. We canít even process that it might be a final two. Cirie and I joked about it, and if weíd actually had the wherewithal to say, ďIf this does actually shake up this way, we need to have a plan.Ē We just didnít.
Q: Amanda, did Natalie ever try to talk you out of your immunity necklace?
Amanda: I donít even think she tried.
Q: What was it like coming back from the Tribal Council where you got rid of Erik? What was the atmosphere like?
Natalie: Pretty awful. We were jumping up and down.
Cirie: It was unbelievable. I mean, going into it, I thought we had maybe a 20% chance that he might do it. But to actually see Natalie with the necklace on Ė I was amazed.
Q: That must have taken coordination on your part. How much did you sit and discuss the plan?
Cirie: Oh, my gosh. Iím a coordinator by trade. Iím the coordinator for my hospital, and I feel like I lost about ten pounds running back and forth between the women to make sure. Itís just crazy.
Natalie: Itís funny because when we were just sitting down and Cirie and Amanda were saying, ďYou should go talk to Erik and make him give you the necklace,Ē I told them to screw off. ďNow you guys are making fun of me.Ē I told them, ďYou guys are not cool,Ē and they were like, ďNo seriously, go do it, go do it.Ē The coordination it took was literally a three-minute conversation where they coerced me into talking to Erik. But what they didnít show was Cirie, running around from the back beach to the front beach, ďOkay, heís coming.Ē They didnít show Amanda doing her magic with the situation. It was a concerted effort on each one of our parts to make this shakedown happen, and every one held their own. The actual conversation was like three minutes, then it was like, ďAndÖscatter. Go.Ē Then it had to be executed.
Q: Was there that kind of coordination for the elimination of Ozzy?
Natalie: Gosh, I think with Ozzy, Cirie felt like ďIt had to be this or itís never going to happen.Ē The girls were like, ďYeah, got it.Ē And there was no more discussion about it.
Q: Natalie, everyoneís talking about your question to Parvati. How did you come up with that question, and what did it mean?
Natalie: Oh, man. Okay. I know, people are really confused all over the States right now. The thing is, I really respect Amanda and Parvati being the final two. No one can argue that they didnít play an amazing game. I had twelve days to bond and connect with Parvati on the Arai tribe, so I got close with Parvati, I got to know her. I got insight into who she was as a person. She kept her word to me. She was loyal to me as far as she said she was going to be loyal to me. She honored our relationship, and therefore I knew she was going to get my vote. So I didnít really have a jab to jab to her, but she had honored all of her commitments to me. So I thought, ďOkay cool, but Iím not going to just hand her a million dollar check, Iím not going to just give her my million dollar vote, Iím going to make her sweat. Iím going to make her think on her feet.Ē And I tried to embarrass her just a little bit, and thought if she answered quickly she had my vote. So thatís all that was. I was just trying to shake her up a little bit.
Q: Amanda, how are you doing, are you disappointed?
Amanda: Iím fine. Things happen for a reason, and Survivor isnít my life. I have a lot of other things going on. Itís just that, it is kind of funny when you make it to the finals two times in a row and you lose both times. Itís upsetting. But you get over it. Me and Parv both knew going to the final two we both had a good chance.
Q: So Ozzy declared his love for you in front of the whole world, and I think because everyone was watching you didnít have the chance to say what you were thinking, but you did say, ďOh thank you,Ē but everyoneís wondering Ė
(all the women laughing)
Amanda: It doesnít really show it but after he said that I was pausing for like twenty seconds with my mouth open. I was shocked. I didnít know what to say. But I think heís adorable, and weíre together.
Q: How are you coping with not being in the final two, Cirie?
Cirie: Things happen for a reason, like Amanda said, and I can hold my head up high because people didnít expect me to make it as far as I did this time or the last time. So Iím good with the outcome. I donít think I would have done anything differently. Maybe make a plan for the final two. Outside of that, I love the game that I played and I have no regrets.
Q: What happened when you lost the ball, you lost your concentration or what happened there?
Cirie: Ugh! Itís blinking, itís losing concentration, I canít even tell you. Iím going to watch that over and over and over again because I donít know what happened. I was totally concentrating, and I may have blinked. I donít know.
Q: Amanda, what did you think when Eliza called you mean and superficial?
Amanda; I know, the girl was so mean to me. Seriously.
Q: How hard is it to be nice to someone in that hot seat when you have to suck up to the jury?
Amanda: Honestly, Iíve gone through this my whole life Ė girls being kind of petty and mean to me. Just because Iím in pageants doesnít mean Iím superficial, and just because I donít talk all the time doesnít mean I have nothing to say. Itís just frustrating.
Q: Amanda, Iím confused on the timing, so would have gone to film Survivor Micronesia before the finale of China?
Amanda: Yeah, actually when I was at the finale of China I had just come back from Micronesia.
Q: I remember because I saw bug bites on your wrist.
Amanda: Yeah, I kind of knew some people would know because I had bug bites all over my body! (laughing)
Q: So in other words, you didnít get to see and analyze how you did in China. So do you think that hurt you?
Amanda: It was kind of a good thing that I did back-to-back because mentally, the game was still in my head. But definitely there is a benefit to be able to reflect on your season, and reflect on how you come across on TV, how you come across Ė there are things about yourself that you donít realize that you do. I never got a chance to watch myself in final Tribal Council, and that probably was a disadvantage for me.
Q: What about the rest factor? Do you think it was harder for you because you had just done another season of Survivor?
Amanda: Yeah, I was a mess. I actually went to Micronesia saying, ďOh, weíll just see what happens.Ē I wasnít really prepared at the beginning to make it to the end. I was thinking, ďJust go, it will be fun, it will be an experience.Ē At the end, emotionally, I had a hard time, like I blew up at Cirie. I mean, it happened in China, too, it was exactly the same. I blew up at Todd for no reason because I -- (laughing) I was just done.
Q: Would you and Ozzy ever consider doing the Amazing Race together?
Amanda: Yeah! I think we would, definitely. Itís a fun show.
Q: Thereís no jury at the end.
(all the women laughing)
Amanda: Yeah, thereís no jury. Thatís good. Thatís good for me!
Q: Cirie, by the end of the show, even Erik was saying that he now realizes you were behind a lot of moves in the game. Do you think staying behind the scenes hurt you or helped you in the game?
Cirie: I think it definitely helped me. When youíre perceived as quote/unquote running the game, it puts a bigger target on you than someone like me, where they may think or have an inkling that I had something to do with something, but they have no idea that I was the one who was behind it. I think that works to my advantage.
Q: As viewers, you seemed like an obvious target to flip on week after week. How did you deflect the focus from ever landing on you?
Cirie: (chuckling) I donít know, bigger targets, bigger fish to fry!
Q: But when you think back, you engineered booting Yau-Man, there were just several times Ė why didnít anyone ever turn around and say, ďYou know, why arenít we ever looking at Cirie?Ē
Cirie: I think a lot of the times, people underestimate me because they look at the game as a physical thing, but the reality of it, no pun intended, the physical aspect of it is a mere percentage, and itís a low percentage. A lot of the time the person being voted out, they would agree with and they would need my vote. So they looked at me as just a vote than as someone who was actually making power moves.
Q: Going back to the week Amanda had the hidden immunity idol, did you know she had it and was planning to use it to get out Alexis?
Cirie: Yes, I did.
Amanda: I told her.
(Cirie and Amanda laughing)
Q: For some reason they didnít show that. They made it seem like it was news to you, and you didnít react afterwards, so I wondered if you actually knew.
Cirie: Yeah, itís editing. Right after she asked me would I have stayed true to her and Parvati had the circumstances been different, and I said ďAbsolutely,Ē she pulled me aside and said, ďWell, Iím going to show you something.Ē Thatís when she told me.
Amanda: And we freaked out, and we jumped around, and it was fabulous.
(Cirie and Amanda laughing)
Q: Natalie, was Parvati kind of a flirt with you?
Natalie: You know what? No. Parvati flirts with everybody. She has an amazing quality about her, and I think on camera itís one-dimensional that you see, ďOh Parvatiís a flirt.Ē But you know, when sheís there as a human being on an island with you, you get to see layers to her, and thatís a quality she has where she brings guys and girls and opens up and welcomes with her personality. Sheís loving and engaging and funny and charismatic. Everybody labels it a ďflirtĒ but thatís just one flippant term you can throw on it and sheís a lot deeper than being a quote/unquote flirt. So did she flirt with me? No, she didnít flirt with me. Sheís very amazing and very charismatic with me as she was with quite a few people in this game.
Q: Amanda, did you tweak your game from China?
Amanda: Um, honestly, I really didnít have the time to think about it. Iím good at positioning myself into a good position to make it to the end, and thatís what I did the first time, and itís what I did the second time. You canít really have a set strategy, you just have to kind of take it day-by-day and take it as it comes. We didnít know who we were up against or anything. You canít go in with a set strategy, itís kind of impossible.
Q: Right at the end, whose jury speech was the most harsh or the most surprising to you?
Amanda: Natalie, Alexis, and Eliza were pretty harsh to me. I donít know. I wasnít expecting that, really.
Q: All of you did a good job at planting a seed in a conversation, especially Cirie, like when you wondered if Erik would give up the necklace to Natalie, then boom Ė it was in action. Was that your plan going in?
Cirie: No, actually, I just watch and listen a lot, and if I see an opening and if I think the people Iím working with would be open to that suggestion, I just go for it. But thereís a lot of factors that come into play before I would be comfortable enough to make that move. Thereís a lot of things that have to line up before I would just go out on a limb and say something crazy like that. I mean, I have been around Erik and I saw how naÔve he was Ė and heís young, heís allowed to be naÔve at that age. And on the slim chance that it just might work, we had to go for it. And the ladies, I knew theyíd be all for it. We couldnít beat him any other way.
Q: Amanda and Natalie, would you agree with that, that the Cirie planted a lot of seeds?
Natalie: 100 percent.
Amanda: Yeah, definitely.
Q: You got away with a lot of things, Cirie. It seemed like you came up with a lot of ideas but somehow someone else always had the blood on their hands.
Amanda: Very true, sheís the dangerous one in the game. I think a lot of people underestimated her in the game. She just has a way of being so grateful, and she doesnít put too much energy into making a comment, and everybody just kind of runs with it and it happens.
Cirie: Thank you very much.
(all the women laughing)
Q: Natalie, about the bitchiness, was that you or just something that came out in the game?
Natalie: I think through the casting process, I think thatís kind of what they saw in me. Thatís one of my layers. It was my ability to be nice and sweet, friendly, and be that part of myself, really reserved in the game, but in my one-on-ones I could also really go off on somebody that aggravated or annoyed me, or itís day 27 and I havenít had food, and itís now day 32 and Iíve had 32 days of 2 hours sleep a night. So I could vent and go off a bit in my one-on-one interviews. Is that who I am? No. Is it a layer of who I am? Absolutely. Do I own it? Yes, I do.
Q: Other than the final two final/final three thing, what really threw you for a loop in this game?
Natalie: Maybe the medical exits?
Q: Did any of you sustain any big injuries that we might not have seen?
Natalie: A lot of diarrhea!
Amanda: Ami had infections, because the waterís so polluted, and itís so humid. She had a scrape turn into a really bad infection. I had skin infections on my ankles for a while.
Natalie: It was fun!
Q: Cirie and Natalie, when you discovered you were going to be on the jury, what went through your mind?
Cirie: Well, first I was disturbed; I didnít want to be on the juryóthen I really had to think, ďWhich of these two ladies deserves my vote, and the million dollars that Iím giving them?Ē
Q: Did you go in with a set vote, or did anything change your mind at the final Tribal Council?
Cirie: No, I think for me, nothing really changed at Tribal Council. Itís kind of hard to hand a million dollars to another person who took it from you. I love Amanda, she knows that, but nothing was going to change my vote.
Amanda: She pretty much told me that she wasnít going to vote for me if I voted her out, but I knew I had no chance against Cirie at all, so it was kind of like, ďWhat do you do?Ē
Natalie: I canít emphasize enough that I respect the position of the final twoóthey played a mad crazy game. I got to spend twelve more days with Parvati than Amanda; had I spent more time with Cirie, it could well have gone the other way.
Q: Amanda, what was the biggest move that got you to the final two?
Amanda: Definitely blindsiding Alexis. Using the hidden immunity idol was a huge thing for me, and I had to save my butt.
Q: How long did it take you to find the idol?
Amanda: The harder part was getting it all schemed together so it would work. Finding the idol was actually not that hard, except the trench was hardóI had to dig this huge trench all the way down the island, I didnít think I was going to find the last clue until I found it.
Q: So then how did you find time to go on your own island and find that idol, back at camp?
Amanda: I talked to Parv right away, and she was really good about making sure everybody was out of the area, so I could dig for it; it just took me a couple of seconds, since I knew where it was.
Q: Ozzy was really sore at Parvati at the last council. Do you think he still is, in real time?
Amanda: Ozzy was hurt because this was like his game; this game perfect for Ozzy. But he understands itís a game, and he has other things going on in his life too. Heís moved on.
Q: Whatís it like sitting next to two people who gave away the million dollars to someone else? Are you guys tense?
Amanda: Itís okay. I just canít get over how mean people were to me at the final tribal.
Q: If you had been on the jury, would you have been kind of mean? Or what kind of questions would you have been asking?
Amanda: No! This game is so crazy. Maybe this is just the wrong game for me. I donít like to hurt peopleís feelingsóIím like a generally nice person. I couldnít sit up there and ridicule someone for making it further than me. Itís ridiculous!
Q: How has this experience changed you?
Amanda: Iíve learned a lot about myself, and Iíve learned a lot about people in general. Itís definitely been an experience thatís made me grow.
Q: What do you miss most about the jungle? I know you guys probably donít miss too much about it.
Amanda: Actually I miss it a lotóI miss the feeling of simplicity, and feeling of just being able to take care of yourself, and not have materialistic things. When I came home, I simplified my lifeóI got rid of half of what I owned, and moved to the beach.
Cirie: She took my answer!
Q: So what donít you miss?
Cirie: Letís see, the rats, the bats in the cave, the little things that float around in the water we drank, having to swim, the heatÖshall I go on?
Q: Natalie, what do you miss?
Natalie: In our daily lives, we have cell phones, we have TVís, and cars, and we are pretty blessed with what weíre given to make our live functions, but when youíre in the jungle itís sort of instant gratification because ever day wake up and you see the coconut that youíre going to open to eat; you see the trees that youíre going to use to make fire to boil wateróyou have instant gratification of your process and things that you do on a daily basis. Whereas in regular life everythingís kind of cloudy, and youíre working for a goal, but you donít see a result for a while. Itís kind of satisfying to be stinky and gnarly and know that you survived for one more day.
Q: What about games in real life? Are you more savvy in the business world?
Cirie: I actually got my training for Survivor from my job. The operating room is a tough place to work. You have to deal with several peopleóand surgeons arenít the easiest people to deal with, so I play Survivor every day at work!
Q: One of the things that came up at the jury was that Amanda played more of an alliances game, and Parvati played more of a cutthroat game. Amanda do you wish that youíd been more cutthroat?
Amanda: Honestly, Iím proud of the game I played. If it takes that to win Survivor, then I will never win Survivor. Itís a game, yeah, but when youíre out there, youíre really hurting real people with real feelings. Itís not like theyíre pawns. The emotional part of the game is very hard for me.
Q: I think Natalie said that Parvati played the flirt card really well. Do you think in the end it was a popularity contest that got her the million dollars?
Amanda: Parvati is an amazing person. She has qualities that I really admire. She doesnít go with the flow, she does her own thing, she says her mindóshe has amazing qualities, and I wish her the best.
Q: Whatís it like knowing that people are googling your name on a daily basis?
Amanda: I think itís fun but itís hard because your life is on display. Pictures are taken from your life, your Myspace, and put on blogs and stuff; itís fun but your lifeís not private any more.
Q: Amanda, you said you didnít have a chance to win against Cirie, so I was wondering why you didnít say that to the jury in that final tribal council instead of what you did say to Cirie, which was mostly praising Parvati?
Amanda: I donít know. I told her that when we were at camp, and then, I donít know!
Many thanks to CBS for letting us talk to the Survivors this season.