Finding herself out sooner than she expected, 39-year-old fitness instructor Laura Morett wants to set the record straight about her edit. In this conference call conducted the day after she was voted off the show, Laura explains that the Galu tribe was not a clique - heck, even Shambo was invited to do yoga with them.
How surprised were you that John flipped during the second vote?
Um, I wasn’t surprised; I was more surprised that he didn’t write my name down on the first vote. I knew he was coming for me. What’s really not shown on there is that Brett and I had a really tight alliance, so I knew that when Russell Swan was still on the show, that John was threatened by me and that he wanted me out. I knew that he’d thrown out both Monica’s and my name out earlier, so when this opportunity came up to get rid of me and it wasn’t really even his original idea? I knew he’d be on board.
So, since that crazy blind side last week, did you ever regret voting Erik off?
Yeah. [laughs] We did. At the time when Erik was still there, you know what’s going through my mind is, I know that John’s coming. I knew that John had thrown my name out there. I knew Shambo was coming for me. I knew Russell was coming for me, and Nick, and Jaison and Natalie. And then, to hear that Erik’s coming after me too; it was just one of those things like, I picked up a gun, and I’m like, “I’m going to shoot at somebody because I have everybody coming after me.” He was the one that got shot, and obviously, I ended up shooting myself in the foot, because, you know, we should’ve kept him on there. So, definitely a bad choice.
Fair enough. What was it like facing him at Ponderosa?
Wow. You know, I love Erik. One of the great things about him is, he’s a huge competitor, and I appreciate that. But he was still, clearly, just a little bit … “How could you do that! I’m purple all the way!” you know? What he didn’t know was that Brett was telling me these things that the guys were talking about, so whether he denied it or confirmed it or not, I knew that he was really threatened by me and Monica, and that I was definitely on his range as a target. So I’m like, Erik, come on, let’s be real. You know that you were coming for me. I mean, I get how he was upset, but it wasn’t until not this episode but the episode before when Kelly got blind sided that he actually sent me a text and was like, “Morett, I’m really sorry.”
He thought he could control Shambo the whole time, but the woman hates me, Erik. Trust me; she is not going to not write my name down. He was like, “Morett, I can control her!” And so, he texted me, and he was like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you had that many people coming after you.” He thought I was delusional. He was like, “Morett, you need to calm down.” And so after he saw the show, and after he saw that yeah, John would flip, Shambo would flip, you know, it was nice to hear him say, “Okay, I see where you were coming from.”
Speaking of Shambo, what was behind the division between you two? What happened there?
You know, that’s a really good question. It’s tough watching it, and it’s tough watching me being cast as Medusa, and the mean one. I guess I would challenge anybody to show me one thing that I did to be mean to her. Because believe me, if I did something mean, CBS would show it. CBS would be playing it again, and again, and again. I didn’t do anything to her. She, I think, was threatened by the fact that every time we’d go to a challenge, and they’d say, “Okay you need your strongest girl and your strongest guy,” and the team would be, you know, “Lo Lo, Laura, you’re our strongest girl.” Okay, thanks, Shambo’s really gonna hate me now! It’s like, who do we want to go for the stronger girl: the ex-Marine, or the grandma? And they’re like, “We’re gonna take the grandma.” [laughs] I’m sure she was like, “Okay, nice.”
You know, my mother’s full Hawaiian, and so I’m very familiar with the islands, and all my family lived there. So, people would come to me and go, “Lo Lo, how do you do this?” Or, “how do you weave this?” People were always asking me how to do things, and I’m sure that probably irritated her. She wanted to be the go-to, um, and I think the final straw was just my relationship that I had with everybody else. I have, you know, two adult kids. And Monica and Kelly reminded me a lot of my daughter; we really bonded, and we really cared about each other and loved each other, and I think that she just hated the fact that I got along with everybody, and she felt isolated. I don’t know. I don’t know; the better question would be to ask her.
Since Galu won pretty much every reward challenge, which one was your favorite?
By far, my favorite was the wrestling one. Where we were in the pit and you had to make the basket? So fun. I mean, how often do you get the chance as a 40 year old woman where someone says, “Okay, toe-to-toe, you’re in this pit, here’s the rules, there aren’t any rules, somebody probably will get hurt, ready, go!” [laughs] So fun.
Back to Shambo, so Shambo was more jealous of you?
Yeah, that sounds so … I don’t know if that’s the word. I think that, um … I wish there was a better word to say that, because that sounds so petty, that somebody was just jealous of you. I think that she was just hurt that the tribe didn’t see her as the strong one, as the one to go to. I don’t know; that’s a question that you just have to ask her. I just know that she didn’t like me. Again, I will just say that I was not mean to her. They would show the footage on the TV of me being mean to her, if I was. But they don’t have any.
You see the whole canteen incident, when we were talking about the canteen? The reality of it was that I wasn’t even addressing her, I wasn’t even talking with her. I was just looking for my canteen that we had given her, because mine was full. So, I’m like, “Here, take my canteen,” and she takes it to Foa Foa, and I’m looking for it, because we see what happens to Russell when you don’t have water. And I’m counting the canteens because I didn’t want to take somebody else’s, and she says, “I don’t like being called a liar, Laura,” out of nowhere, and I just said to Shambo, “I’m not calling you a liar.” And that’s where it all began. I mean, if you go back and look at the footage, I go and I kneel, I’m kneeling at her feet, and I’m like, “Shambo, lookit. I didn’t call you a liar; I’m just looking for my canteen.” And then it just escalates because she starts accusing me of things that I have no idea what she’s talking about.
I don’t even remember what they were. She said, “Laura you did this,” and Dave was standing there, and Dave said, “Shambo, that was mean.” And then she said, “Oh, you did this,” and Monica goes, “Shambo, I said that.” And I think that made it worse, because she felt like they were defending me … it’s like a 90210 clique, that they were coming to my protection, rather than saying, “Shambo, that’s not even accurate. Laura didn’t do any of that.” And, I think it just kept making it worse and worse.
Since you said the word “clique,” why did not only you, but the Galu seem to play such a cliquish game?
I guess my question would be, give me an example of something we did that was cliquish.
[laughs] Did you say yoga? Well, yoga, everybody was invited to do yoga. They just didn’t want to do it. I mean, we were right there; Shambo was standing right there, and it doesn’t show us saying, “Hey Shambo, come do yoga with us.”
But then, why with the merge did Galu continue to play a tribe game, and not start an individual game?
Well, because you can’t do it on your own. You need other people in order to get you further, and we had to stick together. I mean, we had the numbers; it was a sensible thing. We knew that Shambo was going to Foa Foa, and at this point, we still had Erik and Kel, we thought we needed to stick together, let’s just punch out Foa Foa. You need numbers, you have to stay together in order to go further in this game. And so that’s what we did.
And Jeff even asked the question of loyalty, and Shambo agreed with that; I guess would disagree. I would say, I don’t know about you, but I saw three people save Brett and Monica, that were willing to go to stones for somebody. I think that’s pretty danged loyal. Those people are amazing that they said, “Lo Lo, we will draw lots for you.” So, you know I would say, was the loyalty still there? Yes.
Well, you said in your video, that your philosophy is serving others. Do you feel you did that?
I hope I did it. I hope I did it. I know that at camp, I was always making sure people had food, and that people were warm, and that people had a place to sleep. I hope so. I hope you ask them that question and they say that I did, because that was what I was hoping to do.
What was the hardest part of the Survivor experience for you?
By far, being away from my family that long. It’s so tough when you’re in the game, because you can’t … you can think about your family; I mean it’s natural; I’ve been married almost 22 years, more than half of my life, and I have great kids, an amazing granddaughter, and when they come to your mind, it does no good to think about them but it just makes you sad. And so you would have to consciously push those thoughts out of your mind. And it was really hard to do that like, after a challenge, and when I won my first immunity challenge, and it was baseball, and my son plays baseball. I just would well up and think, “Oh, I hope my son is proud of me.” You know, I just really wanted to make them proud, and it was really hard going through the game and trying not to think about them. So that was tough for me.
What was the easiest part?
Oh gosh. The easiest part. [hesitates] That is a good one! You know, I guess the easiest part for me, and I know this sounds really weird, but, the lack of food. You know, I have never been a person that, like, craves food all the time. I’ll go half the day, and like six o’clock at night realize that I’ve only had a Starbucks. So I wasn’t consumed with needing to eat, so the lack of food was probably the easiest for me. Living on coconuts.
Considering the relationship that you had with “Evil Russell” as they call him, were you at all surprised when you saw him creating a little chaos with the socks and the canteens in the first episode?
Yes. I … I mean, I knew he was creepy. You can’t hide creepy; you meet somebody and you immediately know, oh, okay, this guy’s off. But I mean, I had no idea, he was burning socks, he was pouring water out … mind you all we do after challenges is we go back to our camp, they go back to theirs, and we don’t see them again until the next challenge. And so, we were thinking this whole time, we could sense kind of a division amongst their whole tribe, we could see they had this kind of cohort relationship, and our tribe was kind of like a family; we really cared about each other. So we couldn’t figure out what this was. Now, it’s like, okay yeah, they had Evil Russell over there burning socks and pouring out water.
So, once the merge happened, and you saw Russell, and you saw Natalie, Nick and Jaison weren’t shown doing a whole lot. Were they strategizing a lot more in real life, or were they just kind of hanging around and allowing Russell to do everything?
You know, I hate to assume, because if they were strategizing, then they weren’t clearly doing it with us, because we were on the other side. So I don’t know; let’s just say they didn’t strategize a lot with us.
You mentioned earlier that you were close with Brett. Would you say he was your closest ally out there, or was it more of the Monica and Kelly deal?
No it was Brett. Yeah. [pauses] Brett, as a matter of fact, if he would’ve won that challenge, then he was giving me the necklace. And I have no doubt in my mind he would’ve. So it was kind of under the radar; we kind of have a little bit of history. Nobody knew how tight we were.
How awful was that long period of rain for you?
[shudders] Okay, and I’m from Oregon, where it rains a lot, and it was miserable. Constant, no break, constantly raining. We were never, ever dry. And then we had to sleep in the shelter where, no matter where you laid, every three seconds, this drop of water would hit you somewhere on your body. It would either be, like, on your eye, or on your neck, down your leg, and you wouldn’t even hear it drip. It was like this constant torture. You know how when you put a bandage on for a while and your hands get all white and wrinkly? That was what it was like, times ten. We were never dry, so. Miserable.
What’s the story behind you getting cast for the show?
Well, I originally was going to be on The Amazing Race with my partner Jody, and, um, pretty much right when we were getting ready to leave, they said, “Good news, bad news. Good news is Jody, you’re going on. Laura, you’re cut, because we want two flight attendants.” So Jody grabbed another partner and went on, and I was stuck at home. Clearly the Lord had different plans for me, because the minute that I got okay with not being on, Survivor called and said, “We have a spot; would you be interested? We want you to come to L.A. and audition.” And so I did!
Now that it’s all said and done, which would you have rather?
Oh, this. Survivor. Come on, Survivor is a million dollars I don’t have to split with anybody; The Amazing Race is $500,000 and I have to split it. No, no, no, no. I want the money.
Would you ever do Survivor again?
The whole game kind of shifted when Erik was voted out. What really happened in that whole ten minutes?
Okay, what really happened was this. When Russell Swan was still on the show, Brett comes to me, and what people don’t know is that Brett and I had a really tight alliance. Brett is telling me everything that the guys are saying, so Brett comes to me and says, “Lo Lo, the guys want you and Monica gone. They’re really worried about your alliance.” Well when the next challenge comes up, after Russell’s gone I get sent over to Foa Foa. I come back for the challenge, I’m standing on the mat, Brett leans over and he says, “Lo Lo, they want to throw this challenge and send you home.” Meaning Erik, John, and Shambo. And Brett goes, “Dave and I we aren’t going to do it.”
So then Jaison goes, “Shambo, who are you sitting out?” She sits out Monica, because she knows she wouldn’t throw it, John, and Laura. And I’m thinking I can’t even fight for myself. So this challenge is taking forever, and the whole time I’m thinking “Are they throwing it? Are they really trying?” They really were trying, and then we win. So I knew at that point how serious things were; John and Erik were willing to throw a challenge to get rid of me.
So! [laughs] We come to Erik’s show, and we were all going with Jaison. Jaison was going to be the name voted in. But we see Erik out talking to Foa Foa. We have Dave talking to Kelly out in the jungle, the same time Natalie comes in and says, “Erik just told us that we can stay in the game if we vote for Monica.” Which is totally true; which isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. Kelly comes in and says, “Laura, Dave just told me that they’re going to vote for Monica tonight.” And it was that instant that I said, Erik’s gotta go. And Kelly agreed. It was that quick; we spread the word, we go to tribal council, and boom, he’s gone.
Did you ever in that ten minutes think twice about getting rid of one of your “numbers”?
No, because at that time we knew we still had the numbers. We knew we didn’t have Shambo, but we knew we still had the numbers at that point.
When you guys were all looking for the Idol with Russell, did you know he found it?
[laughs] You know, it was so ... I so wish you could see all the footage to that. It was hilarious. You have little Russell running through the woods like a cat and mouse and he’s like, “Come on, Dave! Keep up with me!” And he’s running through the jungle, and Dave’s chasing him. I just followed Jaison, who likes to walk, luckily for me. I followed him for about an hour, and then we see Russell, back at camp, you know he’s walking around, he goes in and lays down with his hands behind his head. He pretty much had the mouse’s tail hanging out of his mouth. I mean, he’s like laying there like life is good. So we’re like, that turkey found it. Darn it!
Do you respect his game play? Or do you think he went about it completely the wrong way?
You know, I wouldn’t say I “respect” his game play, because that would mean I looked up to it. I get what he’s doing; I completely see his game play. There was a couple times when he crossed that line; I know he did it with me, and he did it with a couple other people where his game play got really aggressive, he tried to be intimidating, he tried to bully some people, and I don’t like that. But you know what, he’s playing hard, he’s playing really aggressive, and if it’s working for him, then it’s kind of hard to argue that with somebody that’s holding a million dollars in his hand. I guess it’s different than how I would’ve played, but he’s still in the game.
Right after you got voted out, if you were the one person who decided the winner, who would you have picked?
Okay, right after I got voted out … Brett. Brett. Yup.
You mentioned that you and Brett had a history. Is that related to you both being from Salem?
So you knew each other in Salem?
*Moderator intervenes and instructs Laura not to go into that.*
When did you find out what the tie-breaker rule would be?
A couple days before we went to tribal, before the competition. Because most of the time people assume it’s starting fire. But they laid it out and it gave us time to think and strategize.
Among the remaining members of Galu, who has the strongest ties?
Hmm. I would say Dave and Brett.
Is there anything you would’ve done differently in retrospect?
Yeah, I so have ran that question through my head time and time again. Would I have not been so aggressive? I think I was the only female in Survivor history to win two Immunity Idols back to back, so I think, okay, did I have to be so aggressive? Yeah, I did have to be so aggressive. I wouldn’t change a thing. I know if I’d have given 80%, I’d be like, “Why didn’t you play 100%?” I know that I played big. And if that meant I went home, that meant I went home.
What did you see on TV that surprised you the most?
I guess how hateful and how bitter Shambo was towards me. I mean, I knew she didn’t like me. I didn’t know that she hated me.
What haven’t we seen that you think would surprise us the most?
This is kind of a back-ended question, but I think what you haven’t seen is me being mean to Shambo, but yet I’m being edited as this mean person. And so it kind of perplexes me, like I don’t know why people, why I’m getting this persona like I’m this mean person. Show it, CBS. Show me being mean; show me being mean to Shambo, or calling her names. I just, yeah, okay, I mean I called her Gilligan. Wow. That was the meanest I was to her; I called her Gilligan, and I get portrayed as the mean, wicked one? Wow.
You say that you’re a Christian; do you have any regrets about that? Being edited as a mean person, is there any way you would’ve played that differently?
No. No because … they haven’t shown me being mean. I guess that would be my challenge to somebody and that’s what my challenge is – show it. Show the footage of me being mean to her. Just because she says it, then show it, and I will gladly own it if you show something of me being mean to her.
Why did Monica pick John to be the pseudo-target?
You saw them in the shelter when they were talking to Monica, with Nick and Jaison. So Monica was saying, “Okay, I might be the one; they’re already trying to get me to flip.” I think that they knew it, because they knew that John was already targeting Monica and myself. So they thought that we might have a vengeance against John. They knew that we never trusted John, so he would be the most likely one that we would flip on, if we would flip on somebody.
That's all the time we have. Thanks everyone.