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25 year old waitress Stephanie is the latest boot on Survivor. Read on in this conference call interview as the "love child of Parvati and Russell" dishes on her experience and what she really thinks of some of the other contestants...
Q: Who do you think is the weak link within Zapatera?
A: I thought it was Sarita since day one. I knew it was Sarita because after the challenge, we won the first challenge which was awesome, but I could tell it took so much out of her so I was like, I donít think this person is going to do well in competitions and challenges. And then the second challenge came and she was a very weak swimmer and Ometepe had caught up. So the entire time Iím thinking, okay, sheís weak, she has to go, the focus here is winning challenges so that we donít even have to go to Tribal Council, so we can get to the merge and have numbers.
Q: Do you think it was a bad idea to align with Russell so early? Should you have played it differently?
A: No I donít think it was a bad idea. I think I should have defended my decisions of why I was aligning with Russell. I should have been more vocal about it because once I was closed off from the other alliance I just thought, whatever, they donít know what theyíre doing, theyíll realize what theyíre doing. I should have talked to them more about looking at the big picture. Letís get to the merge with the numbers then we can get rid of Russell, but letís not throw a challenge and give up our momentum, itís not worth the risk.
Q: Take me into your head, when you had just lost the duel on Redemption Island and you started disclosing information about Zapatera to Ometepe, is there anything that you told Rob and Phillip that you think theyíre really going to be able to use moving forward?
A: When I told Rob he needed to watch his back I meant it more, like, Iím not worried about Rob, I donít really care. I wanted to create some paranoia in them so that when the merge does come, the first thing on their list is to get rid of someone from Zapatera. I donít want any of them to be in the top three, so if I canít go along any further in the game I want to at least have some influence in how far the other members of Zapatera can go, and I donít want them to get far.
Q: Going back a couple of weeks, when you guys were campaigning to try to keep Russell, it looked like Julie was the swing vote in that plan you had. Later on, you were able to convince David to jump to your side. Did you try to make a play for David earlier on?
A: We tried for David day one. In fact he did align with us, it lasted for a couple of hours and then he completely chickened out. He heard what everyone was saying about Russell and he got scared and backed out on it. So we did try for David, we really did get along, I mean we had our ups and downs, solely because we were on different alliances, but we could talk for hours and just hang out and laugh at really dumb stuff. We were able to get along as friends whereas with the tribe he has now theyíre just tribemates, theyíre not really friends. I had told him he should join us since we really did get along but he had already chickened out. So, our only shot was Julie at that time, and since the tribe thought we had an immunity idol, I think it would have been such an awesome move on her part if she had switched over to Russell.
Q: If you guys had Rob on your tribe instead of Russell do you think you would have played it differently or do you think your tribe would have handled Rob in the same way?
A: Watching Rob now, it makes me very grateful that I didnít have him on my tribe because he is running the game and heís making everyone look like a complete fool. Heís even keeping secrets from his true alliance so heís really just playing for himself which is great and masterful. I love it. But with Russell, he was honest with me all the time, he would tell me everything that was going on, and I just wouldnít want to get worked by Rob. Heís actually more dangerous than Russell.
Q: Not from your personal point of view, but from a team point of view, would it have been disruptive to keep Russell around?
A: From a team point of view it would have been better to keep him around. I wouldnít want to stop my winning streak at all, not even to get rid of Russell. He is an intense person and heís exactly the same as he is on TV, but heís intense all the time. I would not want to throw a challenge to get rid of him. You risk having numbers at the merge. I wanted to win the million dollars and to get there, Iíd have to wipe out the other tribe and then turn around and backstab each other, each guy for himself. So I think on the teamís part, it really was a bad decision to get rid of him. Just ignore him, deal with it, so what if he gets to the top three, no oneís going to vote for him.
Q: Russell said he tried to change his game this time. Heís been criticized in the past for not playing the social game. He said he tried to do that this time, and yet you still see him lie to the other people. Do you think he did try to change his game?
A: I was really worried about that when he said he was trying to change his game, because one of the things about Russell is that no one will vote for him if he gets to the end. I wasnít sure what he meant by that comment, I wanted him to stay the same. I think maybe he meant he was going to change from his first season when he was doing immature things like burning the socks. But to tell the truth, it was the other tribe members who did immature things to him because they were expecting Russell to burn their stuff. I mean we lied to them, they lied to us, but he didnít do any of that stuff like burning clothes, in fact Iím pretty sure they hid his clothes. They would disappear for a few days then show up all folded and dry.
Q: What was it like with David? He seems like a cerebral, intelligent kind of guy. Was he annoying? Was he really smart and intellectual?
A: Dave was not annoying to me. I reached out to him and tried to form an alliance. It was annoying that he backed out, it made me feel like he didnít have a backbone, that he was afraid of these other people, other than that, I love him, we had fun, like normal stuff. Everybody else would just seem fake, like making rice and saying oh, isnít this the best rice weíve ever had, and isnít this the best fire weíve ever built, it just seemed so insincere. Nothing that is like just talking to help you get to know each other. When he turned against our alliance in the first couple of hours because he was afraid of Russellís reputation, I was like, you are the dumbest smart person I know.
Q: What was Sarita like? Did you guys have any kind of relationship at all?
A: No, we didnít have a relationship. Weíre from different planets. She thinks Iím rude, but I think sheís very rude, condescending, high maintenance, and doesnít like to do work. She acts nice to people so people will do work for her, which is basically what Ralph is doing. So, I donít have anything to do with her. Weíre never going to get along, we donít have anything in common.
Q: Did you have anything in common with any of those six?
A: Ralph, Ralphís a worker bee and I think of myself as a worker bee, hardworking. Steve was tough to get along with because heís such a big guy so the challenges took so much out of him. And to maintain that big of a machine you have to feed it all the time. So you could really tell on down times he was taking the hardest hits physically because he lost so much weight and everything was making him tired. So you donít really get to know these people, so Iím hoping in New York Iíll get to know them, clean slate, whatever. But in the game, no, I didnít really have much in common with any of them. I tried, but it wasnít working.
Q: Tell me about your life on Redemption Island. How long were you there, and tell me about Matt.
A: I was there overnight. I got there at night and then the next day, tree mail, I was swimming. I donít even remember talking to him that much, and when I watched the episode I was like, did I really talk about red velvet, and cake, and stuff like that? But I donít even remember talking to him that much. So when he said I was annoying I was like, oh freaking great. I guess heís not as nice as I thought.
Q: I wanted to start out with Jeff Probstís predictions about you before the game began. He said in a lot of pre-game interviews that he thought you were going to be the first person kicked off. Did he tell you that directly?
A: No, he didnít tell me that directly, but our last meeting together, I felt it didnít go well at all. I felt he was trying to push me a littleÖ trying to get some excitement out of me, and to tell you the truth, I was ready to play this game. I didnít want to do another interview, like, I want to get on this island and play. So I can see where he thought I wasnít pumped and ready to go but I was so ready to go that I literally thought talking to Jeff Probst was a waste of time. So when I heard that comment I thought, he doesnít know me at all. All my friends and family members were like, has he ever even met you before, and I was like, apparently not! He thought I was this little girl in hair and makeup ready to drink wine. But I could tell day one on the island I think he noticed something a little different in me like, okay, maybe sheís ready to play the game. I think he was just worried that I was out there just to look pretty or something.
Q: It seems like Julie and Steve have something up their rear, whatís going on with these two?
A: I have no idea whatís wrong with them. Julie, I heard, is going through a hard time in her life so I didnít want to get too close to her, she didnít seem stable. Steve just seemed like he wanted to go home and eat his dadís popcorn because he always talked about his dadís popcorn, and what his diet usually is whenís home. Home, home, home, this is what I kept hearing on the island. I kept thinking, weíre here, whatever. They tried to get along, it did not work.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the duel itself. How long did that actually take to play?
A: When I was watching it I was thinking, gosh, that felt long, being in the moment. I think it was under an hour, but for me, when I saw the duel, I wished it was something more physically challenging because all I want to do is go go go and thatís easier to do physically than when you have to stop and think. Even during the challenge Jeff said something like, so what do you think, itís tied, or heís ahead, and I told him, Jeff Iím thinking, can you stop talking so I can think about my next move, and heís like, go ahead. So when I saw the memory cards I thought, okay, focus. My mind runs so quickly and Iím thinking so many things and I distract myself. I wanted to win, it didnít happen.
Q: Did they separate quite a bit of time between each round or was it pretty immediate?
A: Just a couple of seconds. Jeff would say something, but it wasnít fast enough for me. As soon as Matt flipped over his, I wanted to go right away. So, it wasnít dragged out, but for me it was, for someone who is quickly quickly move move move.
Q: You said you didnít get to talk much to Matt. Everyone weíve interviewed so far in this exit process has said they hope Matt goes far in this game. Do you feel the same way? Is he who youíre rooting for?
A: No. Iím rooting for anyone whoís Ometepe. If itís Matt, thatís awesome, I think he has a cool story, but I donít know that thatís really playing the game since heís been on the island that long. I would want to see more effort on his part. I know heís winning all these challenges but I do want to see a player who had to go through the whole Survivor thing with everyone. The social aspect of the game is really what makes it so unique. Heís isolated right now so weíre not seeing what he would do under different circumstances. I want Ometepe to win, as long as itís no one from Zapatera Iím fine with whoever the winner is. Iím enjoying watching Rob and Phillip, theyíre hilarious, Grantís cute but I donít really know much about his game strategy or anything from watching, and the girls are pretty. So, anyone Ometepe, Iím okay with.
Q: Ralph has possibly been the worst speller in Survivor history, every vote heís cast has been way off base, I think yours was the worst, he had a bunch of ďiísĒ in your name, does anyone bring that up after Tribal Council? Does anyone make fun of him? Itís no secret who he voted for.
A: I donít use Kristaís real name, her name is Krasta, and that has been an inside joke for months. No one knows why I called her Krasta because I canít say, oh, when she got voted off, blah blah blah. But now I can, now everybody knows. Spelling or no good spelling, whatever, Ralphís doing a good job in the game and I donít want to make him feel less because he has a spelling problem. Heís accomplished a lot and heís a hard worker, and I respect hard workers.
Q: How did you get selected for the show?
A: The deal was offered to me and I couldnít say no because it was completely up my alley. At first I was really hesitant just because I know thereís such a large fanbase and I didnít want to do what Jeff said. I didnít want to go on there appearing like I got lucky. If Iím going to come on here, Iím going to play hard, I want to make sure the fans are happy with my gameplay because Survivor is its own thing, its own world out there and I wanted to be seen as a strong competitor, not just as a cute little girl.
Q: What was your luxury item that you received when you arrived on Redemption Island?
A: My luxury item initially was different, they changed it on me. I was supposed to get a dream dictionary, which is fun if youíre sitting around doing nothing and analyzing your dreams or your nightmares. My friend, before I left on my trip, he had gone to Spain and went running with the bulls, and he made it all the way to the end. He said it was the scariest thing heíd ever done, heíll never do it again, and he gave me his red sash that he ran with the bulls with. And I just thought it was awesome, so I took that with me, and I wanted to switch it to my luxury item and they said no. But they completely surprised me and they had it there and it meant a lot to me because I am kind of running with the bulls and itís either do or die here so I loved it.
*Thanks to TheIrishEyes for transcribing and Mariner for attending!