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“I Hope Everybody Can Forgive and Forget” – An Interview with Survivor: China’s Deniseby David Bloomberg -- 12/24/2007
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Up until now, Denise was only able to talk about the janitor/lunch lady scandal on Survivor The Early Show and through a short press release. Now she is back at home and ready to discuss all that happened. Read on with an open mind and make your own decision about what she has to say.
RealityNewsOnline: Hello, Denise, and thanks for taking the time to talk to RealityNewsOnline! We might as well start with the topic people have been talking about the most since the end of Survivor, the situation with your job. In your apology on The Early Show, you said you never intended to be misleading. Can you explain to us why you told the story the way you did?
Denise: Actually, when I was telling the story, I forgot to say the words “old job back.” There was no misleading intended. I had been a lunch lady for four years and a janitor for approximately six weeks. You just go with what you know. I didn’t try to misrepresent myself. I tried to get my old job back but I was declined, so I just proceeded with the job I had at the time, which was a janitor.
RNO: Did you consider that people from your home town would be watching and might react to the way you described the events?
Denise: After it had come out, as soon as I heard what was going on back at home, I called and apologized and tried to rectify the situation. When I was trying to tell the story on The Early Show, I was cut off and they wouldn’t let me finish. I had started speaking and all of a sudden it was gone. They said, “eight seconds,” and I was gone.
RNO: Have you talked to the school superintendent since you appeared together on The Early Show and, if so, how would you describe the situation?
Denise: Actually I have not talked to her yet. I just got in yesterday [Friday] and they had a half day. But I do plan on talking to her Wednesday morning at 7 am when I’m supposed to report to work.
RNO: 7 am?
Denise: When the kids are on vacation, my shift switches to 7-3. when its back to regular school, I’m back on the 2-10 shift.
RNO: One thing I know people will want to know – you got a $10 per hour raise, but you still want to give that up?
Denise: Yes, I do. The money doesn’t mean much to me. My quality of life means much more to me. I would rather spend the hours with my children. I’m not poor and it’s just a matter of my personal opinion.
RNO: So you played the money situation up more on Survivor for sympathy?
Denise: Of course I played it up! It’s a million dollars. It’s TV, that’s how it goes! (laughs)
Who else hasn’t lied on Survivor? And not really lied, but you go with what you go with. I was not planning playing the sympathy vote to the jury. I wanted them to see how hard I worked at camp and in challenges and how I didn’t make any enemies.
RNO: So then if you had made it to the final three, that would have been your jury argument?
Denise: Yes. I am a hard worker, I tried to be as honest as I could, I did the best I could, I tried to play the game as honest as I am, I didn’t lie to anyone – lie lie, I mean. There wasn’t no looking for sympathy. I would have talked about how I did in challenges and how I worked at camp and people respected me while I was out there. That’s what I was going to say to the jury.
RNO: Some people who didn’t see the official CBS release might not be familiar with the outcome regarding the $50,000 Mark Burnett said he was going to give to you. Can you explain what is happening with that money?
Denise: The statement did come from me. If I misrepresented myself, I don’t feel comfortable taking the money, I would rather have them donate the money to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. We could have used the money and I’d love for my kids to go to college, but other people need it more than I do. I would rather have them give it to them and do some wonderful things with it.
RNO: Have you heard from Mark Burnett if that’s what he’s going to do?
Denise: The last thing I heard is they are going to do it. Whether they’re going to do it in my name or just give it to the Foundation, that’s what I’d like them to do with it.
RNO: Moving to the game itself and starting at the beginning, what was your strategy coming into the game?
Denise: My strategy was basically to get all the weaker people together and form an alliance and get rid of the stronger players, then get rid of the weaker ones and end up being the ultimate Survivor.
RNO: Did your strategy change once you got into the game?
Denise: No, actually, it kind of fell right into place. We all kind of stuck together from the beginning and then after Aaron and James left our camp, the four of us sat down and said we’re going to be the final four, and it just happened to work out that way.
RNO: In your final words and at a couple other times, you said you thought you’d have won the whole thing if you’d made it to the final three. Having watched the show, do you still think that you could have beaten Todd?
Denise: Yeah, actually, I do. He made a lot of people angry. He messed over on Frosti and promised James… he had an alliance with every single person and backstabbed them. Everybody knew he was responsible. I’m pretty sure I would have had three or four votes on the jury.
RNO: Whose votes do you think you would had?
Denise: Jean-Robert for sure. And James. Frosti was up in the air but I was pretty confident he would have sided with me.
RNO: Todd did a pretty good job talking at the jury. He convinced several peole to vote for him then and there. You think you could have overcome his silver tongue?
Denise: I definitely think I could have. They had a choice between him and Amanda. I would have definitely made a better case than him. He does fool a lot of people, he did convince a lot of people. I think the choice was made because he outplayed Amanda and he played the game.1 2 Next-->
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