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“I Shot Myself in the Foot” – An Interview with Survivor: Cook Islands’ Stephannieby David Bloomberg -- 10/13/2006
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Stephannie might have appeared quiet on Survivor, but she has plenty to say about her time on the show. When she talked to RealityNewsOnline, she told us everything:
RealityNewsOnline: What did you first think when you found out the tribes were divided by race?
Stephannie: Wow. I was extremely excited about it. I thought it was very bold and daring and brave. And I thought it was necessary and long overdue. It was wonderful to see such diversity represented.
RNO: So what did you think of all the hoopla, including even politicians speaking out about it?
Stephannie: I thought that all of the negative images and comments and hoopla was just overrated. And for the most part I’m sure most of the people never even watched the show and didn’t know what it was all about – like that there would be a merge. They brought more attention to the issue of different races and if nothing else it created discussion and dialog, and with dialog always comes change. Hopefully that was all positive.
RNO: What was your strategy coming into the game?
Stephannie: My strategy coming into this game was to fly low under the radar. My natural personality is to be very kind, sweet, and nurturing. But at times I can be overbearing and demanding. I’m tall and have a presence about me. When I open my mouth at times I can be a little aggressive, so I wanted to downplay all of that and be very humble and quiet, almost to the point where you didn’t know I was there. That was working for me. As I watched the show, I was a little too soft, I don’t really like all of that. For the most part I was flying low under the radar. Once we merged, I was going to really assert myself and show the competitive nature.
RNO: What did you do to prepare yourself for the show?
Stephannie: I run regularly, so that’s something I looked at something to help me with endurance and challenges involving my legs. I tried to cut back on my food portions and intake of fluids and try to prepare myself mentally for the unexpected.
RNO: You said in Tribal Council that you didn’t really form any close-knit bonds with other players. Why not?
Stephannie: Well, that was something that I regret. On my part, I thought that if you kind of mixed and mingled with everybody and didn’t play the villain, just hung loose, that you’d be safe. That was a mistake on my part. Coming from the Hiki tribe, we had talked about strategy and what things we should do to go forward and watch our backs, but once we got to Raro, we did not reaffirm that. That was a mistake on my part, I should have made sure we reconnected. And I did not really bond with the other tribe members and secure my position with the other players.
RNO: So then you didn’t have any specific alliances?
Stephannie: Yes, on the Hiki tribe we had all discussed sticking together no matter what. Once we joined with Raro, that was never discussed. I never really aligned myself with anyone. I had discussions with Rebecca but in terms of hardcore strategy, no. Again, that was a mistake on my part.
RNO: You said you weren’t going to beg to stay, but what did you do to try to undo the damage caused by Nate telling everyone about your “mashed potatoes and gravy” comment?
Stephannie: When Parvati brought the comment to me, I knew it was him because he was the only one I’d said it to. I said that in confidence, not as if it was a “don’t tell anybody,” but we talked about food all the time. It was not unusual. It was very commonplace. I felt comfortable sharing that with him because we were Hiki.
When that comment got back to me the way it got back to me, I was a little surprised. I could not believe he was doing this to me. My initial instinct was to confront him, but that would not have worked well for my image (laughs). I thought if they don’t realize who I am and what I do to contribute to this tribe, the heck with it. I caught an octopus – they didn’t show that – I brought wood for the fire, I was bringing water, various things. I felt like if you knew there was a person who was the irritant and that person was scheduled to go but yet you’re going to look in my direction, to heck with it. I knew it would have been blown out of proportion and I would have been voted out anyway.
I did tell Parvati I was in the game, and Cristina. I told them my game face was on. When I’m in my private time, my thoughts are my own. I certainly was thinking about my husband and kids, but we all had our thoughts. When the game is on, I’m here, I’m playing. I clearly told everybody that. My thoughts are my own but my game face is on. If I had started going down that road of every week having to eat humble pie and grovel, I would have had to do that all game. I was not going to go out on my knees – absolutely not.
RNO: So then did you know you were probably leaving when you arrived at Tribal Council, or did you think the tide had turned by that point to send Cristina home instead?
Stephannie: I wasn’t sure. I kind of thought I was going to be going. But I’m very strong in my faith and I had prayed about this. I was prayerful that this week I would be saved again. I had that hope that I would be. I sang around the campfire almost every other night – they’d ask me to sing and we’d enjoy that. I’m not Mariah Carey or anything, but I would sing and pray and I thought those positive attributes would outweigh the comment taken out of contest. And since Cristina was scheduled to go anyway, I was hoping they’d vote that way. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way for me that time.1 2 Next-->
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