Portrayal or Personality? An Interview with Heidi Strobelby David Bloomberg -- 05/27/2003
Heidi Strobel was a target for viewers everywhere as this teacher talked about three-ways, stripped for peanut butter and cookies, and talked about how cute she was. After it was all said and done, RealityNewsOnline had the chance to ask her a few questions about her time – and actions – in the Amazon.
RealityNewsOnline: Hello, Heidi, and thanks for taking the time to answer these questions from RealityNewsOnline! Let's start at the most obvious point: What do you think about the way you were portrayed on the show?
Heidi: I don't believe I was portrayed like I really am (obviously) because they can only touch on a couple things that are going on with my character. For example, I was playing the game from day one! Jenna and I would talk strategy with Deena 60% of the time. When I switched camp sites and merged with the men, I made a strategic move to vote Jeanne off because I couldn't trust her, and I knew that she would do it to me. Plus, it would show that I was still loyal to my old alliance! Then when we merged... GAME ON! I took everything in... then reacted in however I saw that I could best go ahead and always had the final two in mind. I played out every scenario in my head before I reacted. And the rest of me (my personality)... I had to check that out before I played the game because I knew if I acted like who I really am... that they would spit me out in a matter of minutes... I am way too nice and naive to play Survivor... so I relied on just being an athlete. I figured that would get me the farthest in the game.
RNO: At your final Tribal Council, you gave a speech about how you were behind most plans and everybody was afraid of you. Can you explain your thinking behind that speech?
Heidi: Ha ha... I knew I was being kicked off and I was just upset! I just wanted to let the boys know that they weren't the only ones who were in control of this game. As far as the mastermind comment... that was so silly of me to say! I did play a big part in getting Jeanne, Roger, Deena, and Christy off. And as far as saying the men were scared of me... Rob didn't want me in the final two because he thought I was the only one who would beat him. Butch said I was too competitive to keep around and Matt always referred to me as the triple threat... the players liked me, I was smart, and I would stop at nothing to win (athletic). Even though you don't see me being intelligent in the game... the final four knew who I really was... and they wanted to take that person out. And they should have!
RNO: Also, you were shown numerous times talking about how hard you worked, but what we, the viewers, saw didn't seem to support that. Can you talk about that a bit?
Heidi: I understand completely! I did work very hard at Jaburu... build shelter, cook, clean, tend to fire, gut fish (I was actually the only one who knew how to do this... too funny!), get water and keep it boiled, and most of the time I always got the fire wood… But once the tribes switched up... it was like I didn't have to work that hard anymore! Christy and I are the only ones who did build the bathrooms (together) for both camps, but besides that, my main job was to do all of the cooking. The boys would let me go fishing with them, but none of us caught very much. At the merge... too many fish in a pond... I just kept to my cooking job. I would help get firewood... but Rob and I were the cooks... Now as far as what I was saying about working hard in the game... I meant I worked very hard at the game. I was always trying to figure every move out. I was exhausted from thinking about strategy! If you asked the people closest to me... they would all tell you that I thought about it ALL of the time! It was exhausting trying to figure out everyone's move at all times. I know it may not seem like it... but I always knew how people were going to vote... even when Rob voted off Alex... I was just hoping that he wouldn't... Wishful thinking... and there is nothing I could have done to prevent it! I would have had to turn on Alex and Jenna to pull that off and lose their vote as a Jury member. it wasn't worth it.
RNO: Do you regret taking off your clothes for chocolate and peanut butter in the first immunity challenge and what is going on with your school board right now?
Heidi: I do not regret it... I think back to that time and my state of mind and I would do it again. I had been starving for 21 days... and when Jeff said some of us may not reap the rewards of the challenge... I made sure I was not one of those people... plus sometimes when you show a weakness, people don't look at you as a threat... and when a merge occurs, you try to make yourself look like you are not a threat at all. So for me to do what I did was based on starvation and strategy. My school board is fine. Two of them had a problem with it, but there were so many people that supported me, that the two didn't stand a chance.
RNO: What lesson do you think your students learned from watching you on the show?
Heidi: Direct quotes: "You inspire me to be what I was before scared of doing." "You make me want to be my best and I am proud of you." "You make me believe in myself." "Seeing that you stop at nothing makes me believe that I can do anything." Quote from staff: "You have done one thing that no one else has been able to do... bring this school and community together." "A lot of educators just talk... there are very few like Heidi that show students that instead of talking about, just do it." I have at least 300 more like this! The basic message... as Butch puts it... "Believe in Yourself." I never tell my students to do what I do. But I do tell them to believe the way I believe. To be positive and not let anything stand in your way.
RNO: What kind of reaction did you get from your family and friends? ?
Heidi: My family and friends are in shock that I could pull off the personality that I did. They are so used to seeing the kind, considerate Heidi... and I will admit it was very hard for me... but I didn't want people to think that I was a "panty waist" as Deena puts it. Other than that my family and friends are sooooo proud of me! They beam every time someone mentions my name! They are really funny about it! We would watch the shows together and just laugh! We couldn't understand why everyone was taking the show sooo seriously! Half the things they show me saying are really funny... they were not meant to be serious! Yikes... lay off, people! Ha!
RNO: What do you have to say about your relationship with Christy and how it was portrayed?
Heidi: From day one I knew I would have to work really hard on a relationship with Christy. Not because of anything obvious, but when I told her how excited I was that she was on our team... she seemed to not want to take to me right off the bat. I understood that I had to earn her respect... and I worked very hard at that. On that note... she never told us what she needed, she would run off by herself and get lost... causing mass chaos at camp, and she NEVER cared what anyone one else might have going on... that she at all times was to by number one. And I do believe that she is used to that. In all fairness... to the end of the show I wanted to be close to Christy... but I knew there was no way letting me in.... she was that way to everyone. And so my thinking was that if this person isn't willing to take a chance on me, then I need to move on! This game is only going to last for 39 days and I can't spend it all on getting Christy to like me. I was never mean to her, despite what some may think... We dug the holes for the bathrooms together, I was the only one who would help her build a shelter, I was the only one that would always go fishing with her (until later in the game – then she did go fishing with other people). And when I was told that Roger, Butch, and Dave wanted to vote her off next... I refused to put her name down! When she had an infection in her leg... I was the only one who gave her my dry clothes so that it wouldn't get infected, and I always offered to do fire duty with her. I also would have gone into the final 2 with her. So you can see where my aggravation comes from when they played the two evil girls against the innocent girl! (However, Jenna and Christy hated each other, so to make a story line they had to include me in that mess.) And I still to this day would love to be friends with her! I think she is an amazing person who I actually have a lot in common with!
RNO: Did you regret voting off Dave after having apparently gotten fairly close with him?
Heidi: I wanted to keep Dave. Besides Jenna, he was my best friend. And besides if I were to save him, there's no way we would turn on me. However, so many people wanted him off, that if I were to go against them, then I would be their next mark. So there is no regret... but it would have been great to pull it off to where he could have stayed. Just not possible.
RNO: When Deena suggested voting off Alex, why did you side with Alex rather than Deena, who had been one of your original alliance partners? ?
Heidi: I thought that the final 3 would be Deena, Jenna, and I. When Rob, Alex, and Jenna told me that she had different plans, and that I wasn't a part of her final 3 pick, then I knew she couldn't be trusted. [Editor’s Note: Also see our interview with Rob, where he said something similar.] So when she mentioned to vote off Alex... she was already turning against the alliance! How did I know that I wasn't next? I would have been loyal to Jenna and Deena down to the end, but she didn't let that happen. No one got to me (Not Alex... I wasn't siding with Alex)... I was taking out someone who had turned. If it had been Alex I would have tried to do the same to him.
RNO: What was your biggest mistake in the game? ?
Heidi: When Rob first started telling Matt "false" information. I knew he would turn if it got down to it. It's just that I wouldn't have had the majority vote to vote him off... and I would have had to turn on Jenna and Alex. Not worth it! It was very hard for me to keep quiet on that one! When I overheard Alex tell his plan to Rob... I knew what Rob would do... So I convinced Alex to stay in the game and take out Jenna and I if he had to, to keep Rob on his side. He agreed and was going to tell Rob this new info the night he got kicked off. Too little too late.
RNO: Thanks again!
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at email@example.com.
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