May 9, 2003
Heidi Strobel (CBS/The Early Show)
"I played as a hard-core athlete, not as a teacher."
(CBS) It's coming down to the wire on Survivor: The Amazon. Jenna, Butch, Matt and Rob are in the final four after Heidi saw her million-dollar dreams go up in smoke. The 24-year-old P.E. teacher from Buffalo, Mo., the latest Survivor outcast to chat with The Early Show's Julie Chen.
At tribal council, Heidi had been pretty confident that she'd make it to the end. She had boldly referred to herself as a “mastermind,” and stated that she deserved to reach the final four. She even went as far as to say that the three men felt threatened by her. Chen wanted to know if she regretted making that speech. Was she a little overconfident?
"No, not overconfident," Heidi replied. "I was -- I was very, I think angry at that time. Where you work so hard to get where you're at, trying to make deals go, and trying to make things go the way you want them to, and then they just don't and you're like oh, darn it."
Why did she think she was booted?
"I know that the three guys were definitely in a hard-core alliance. And I know I was -- I mean, when it got down to the wire, you have to get rid of any competition you have."
When the game first began, it was the women vs. the men. Did she think that was how the game was ending up?
"I don't believe it just boils down to men versus women in the end. I definitely think it has to do with your relationships. You know, who has what in common with who -- you know, 'how can I see myself in the end with the final two.' And Rob was saying earlier I see myself at a better chance with Jenna. So obviously he wasn't thinking of it as guys against girls. And I know I wasn't either."
During the game, Heidi spoke a lot about loyalty being important to her. Chen noted that Jenna had been her buddy "through and through." But yet when Jenna displayed some weakness, it seemed like Heidi was going in for the kill. What was going on there?
"It does appear that way, definitely," Heidi replied. "But as I'm having the speech with Rob about, you know, she's sick and everything, she's right there. It's not like I was going behind her back. She was asking us, 'Heidi, is there any way I can go before you?' At that point, I felt there was no way I could win this game at all. I just thought, you know, well that's fine, she's sick, she'll go one day before me and I'll go the very next day. It wasn't like I was trying to beat her. It was just like she was sick. We were like maybe she can go first and I'll go the next day. At least one of us will be closer to the million dollar prize."
What was her strategy? People watching at home definitely felt as if she and Jenna used their sex appeal to get ahead. Was that a fair assessment?
"It is a fair assessment after a certain point," she answered. "Like in the beginning, that was not my plan at all. But once you see how the guys react to you in challenges and whatnot, then you're like, okay if this is how they're reacting to me, why not use it? I had no plan of that whatsoever. But you feed off what they give you. So I felt like if that can distract them from me trying to play the game out here, go for it."
Chen brought up the fact that on the previous week Christy had been on The Early Show and she was angry. She had called Heidi and Jenna the evil stepsisters. Chen offered Heidi the chance to give a "two-minute rebuttal."
"You know, I -- that one's hard. Because I really do like Christy a lot," she said. "I think it's hard because you have -- what 39 days -- to get to know somebody. And it's kind of like, if you're turned off from them in the beginning it's hard to make that relationship. In real life, it would have gone completely different. In the game of Survivor, it can't. You have only so much time to work on certain relationships.
A viewer wanted to know what made Heidi think she was such a key player in the game. The viewer said all she saw was Heidi, Jenna and Alex laying around, not willing to help, while the others did all the work and Heidi acted like the prom queen.
"Oh, ouch," Heidi said. "Okay. Well, I mean, that's hard to say. Because I mean there is a lot of -- I do understand where you're coming from. It does appear that way on TV. And you know, they've only got 45 minutes to show you what is going on. And there are times where I'm working. In the end, I was very angry. And that was, you know, and my real attitude is not like that at all. But you know, in the end it was kind of like I'm very angry so I'm going to rebel against you guys by not working."
Another viewer let Heidi have it: "Heidi, when Christy first announced she was deaf, you specifically made some really nasty comments about her. Since you claim you have ethics regarding personal relationships, why was her deafness a reason for you and the other prima donnas to alienate her as severely as you did?"
"Oh. I don't know what nasty comment you're referring to. I think the only thing that I ever said was it was hard to communicate with her. And that was not for the obvious reasons. It was because she got lost on the first or second day. And you know, it was really hard to find her. It was, like, okay, if that happens in a challenge or reward, I'm not sure what to do here. I was very excited to have Christy as a part of our team."
Yet another viewer was also bothered by some of Heidi's behavior. "Heidi, you also made several derogatory comments about people that were older than you, not as pretty as you or as skinny as you. As a teacher, I wonder if you plan to continue projecting those views on your students, or did you somehow gain enlightenment in the Amazon?"
(Heidi is phys-ed teacher at a middle school.)
"Yes. I do well understand that. No, I mean, nothing of my character on this show represents me as a teacher whatsoever. I played as a hard-core athlete, not as a teacher. And those comments come from other people saying things about myself. It was kind of like they hit me first but they show me hitting back. I mean, Deena's calling me a pantywaist, Janet and Jeanne and Joanna are all over me. And then that's what you get. You're like okay, first time shame on you. Second time shame on me. It was a little hard to go there.