Participating in this discussion eats up my day. And yet I can't step away.
On a little side note, there has been some discussion over Bob vs. Susie from Survivor: Gabon... I won't even begin to state my opinion on that in this thread, as I'll probably get a little too invested it. I'll just say that I would have preferred Susie.
I've been reading some post-show interviews of both Natalie and Russell (Natalie says, "I don't like to count my eggs before they hatch," a lot ). Well, I'm pretty much reading only Natalie's interviews, since I can't get through Russell's bitter attitude. There are a couple of things that I found interesting. She said that she did a lot more than what her edit showed, which I believe since it's hard to cram everything in 42 minutes, especially with a lot of that time dedicated to one guy.
She stated that every day that she was out in Samoa, she would stroke Russell's ego as much as possible. She would praise him all that she could, just so that he would get even more overconfident. Well, I say job well done. Obviously, Russell was about himself and only about himself. It turned off the jury. Also, by Natalie making herself seem like Russell's minion, it led Russell to believe that she was this weak little blonde girl that would do anything for him. So that's why he wanted her by his side until the end--he thought he could beat her. But with his ego the size of Texas, he didn't see that it turned other people off. Natalie had a hand in that. So with her established relationships and Russell's overconfidence, she walked away with the victory.
She also also talked about how she would have liked to have played more aggresively, but her #1 strategy coming into Day1 was to adapt. She wanted to see where she could fit within the people around her. She spoke about this strategy to the jury when she talked about Marisa and Betsy going out first. Because of that, I don't think she did a horrible job at the FTC. In fact, I think she did the best out of three. In her interviews, she also talked about how she wanted to form her opening speech in the way that she thought the jury members would have liked it. So she definitely had a plan going into the FTC. She didn't feel defeated just yet.
And the last interesting point I want to mention is Erik's boot. She doesn't say it was only her that had planned to boot Erik. Other Galu members had already been thinking of it. But after she spoke to the girls about possibly voting for Erik, the plan was a done deal. With her--yes, I'm going to say it again --her social game, she was able to finalize the plan. I know people argue that Natalie wouldn't have made it to the end if it weren't for Russell. I agree, she wouldn't have. But at the same time, he wouldn't have made it to the end if it weren't for her. What if Erik's boot didn't fall through? Foa Foa would have been decimated, and we probably would be discussing why Brett won.