“Mark Burnett Is the One Who Outwitted Me”: An Interview with Survivor: Cook Islands’ Jennyby David Bloomberg -- 11/17/2006
Jenny certainly knew what was going on with Adam and Candice – what did she do about it that we didn’t see? What were her plans? And how does she wish she had handled the situation when they found out they were voting somebody else off? Jenny talks about it all right here.
RealityNewsOnline: What was your strategy coming into the game?
Jenny: My strategy was to come in and kind of lay low. I know a lot of this game has to deal with social and people skills. Sometimes you have to bite your tongue. I wanted to lay low and see what the dynamics were all about.
RNO: You were obviously unhappy after being voted off, but—
Jenny: Ya think?
RNO: But I couldn’t tell if it was more directed at your tribe or the producers for throwing in a twist that you weren’t prepared for. Which was it?
Jenny: I’m glad that you asked it that way. I really do see that I was not outwitted by my tribemates. We were thrown for a loop by the twist, with no time to discuss who to vote for next. I didn’t have a chance to defend myself. I didn’t think initially I was going to be on the chopping block. What I noticed was Jeff [Probst] said you never know if there will be a merge, so he instilled a paranoia. They noticed what he said and they had to weigh it out and thought they might need more manpower. It’s Mark Burnett’s game and he can throw a twist any time he wants to. In my eyes, Mark Burnett is the one who outwitted me.
RNO: What would you have done differently if you had known the double-vote was coming?
Jenny: I probably would have, in Tribal Council, I would have defended myself and voiced my attributes and what I’ve done and reassure my alliance that you need me. [Jonathan] may be stronger and may have brought 22 fish, but I will stay faithful to you.
RNO: Speaking of Jonathan, his tribemates on Aitu described him as “creepy” and untrustworthy. How would you describe him?
Jenny: I would have to agree that there’s just something about Jonathan that you kind of want to second-guess and we all sensed that, even the original Raro. I’m sure he’s a very good father and husband in his real life, but he really was playing the game. Sometimes you have to be a little deceiving to get far, and he’s done a good job.
RNO: If you were suspicious that Adam might not want to vote out Candice, what did you plan to do about it?
Jenny: Let’s say I was still there and we got rid of Jonathan instead of me, I would have made sure my alliance with Adam and Parvati would have been strong enough to overcome any votes with Candice. I voiced it with Adam and asked if he would vote Candice off. He said yeah, I’m with you guys. I really didn’t believe it, you could just see they had the hots for each other. If I had my choice of who would have been next if Jonathan had taken my place, it would have been Candice first then Adam. but if we went in with the five and merged, then I’d keep that five as long as we could.
RNO: What made you decide to vote against Rebecca so soon after talking about how important it was to stick together with your five-person alliance?
Jenny: It was a really difficult decisions. We talked about it before and agreed we’d tell each other if one of us was going. I felt bad because the tribe didn’t want to tell Rebecca and I said I wanted to. The decision really was I know she performed poorly in the earlier swimming challenge, but I have to support her because she said she was strong. It’s not until you’re out there that you realize how much your body is deprived of what you need to perform the really difficult challenges. It’s unfortunate that challenge stuck with her. She’s not to blame for any of the other challenges. I even told her before last night’s challenge that she had to shine. It was my way of letting her know you have to do well today.
RNO: Can you explain your vote with the gun pointing at Cristina’s name?
Jenny: It was just a drawing. I drew a drawing for everyone. J.P. got a volleyball. Brad got a fish. Cristina is a cop, she got a gun. It was not meant to hurt her or be malicious. It was just a drawing.
RNO: Many of the contestants this time around were not as familiar with the show. How much did you know about Survivor ahead of time?
Jenny: I knew it, I’m a fan of the show too. I have not seen every single show but I have caught it a few seasons. I was very familiar with how the game is played.
RNO: Why do you think your tribe lost so many challenges?
Jenny: It just took us a lot longer to figure out where our strengths and weaknesses were and to keep that balance. Lack of communication was a huge factor in our tribe. We all wanted to win but then under pressure and anxiety we lost communication. We should have strategized a lot better. We thought we were putting in our best players but it’s just unfortunate. It took a while to finally get it. The point where we finally got it was when we won the zipline challenge. We left thinking, “Thank God we’re even.” Then there was the mutiny. We finally got our mojo and then Jonathan and Candice came over and threw a wrench into it.
RNO: Do you feel we saw the real you on the show?
Jenny: Yeah, I think you saw the real me on the show. Although I probably would have been a lot more outspoken. You have to babysit a lot of personalities. You may or may not choose to be with them in real life. You’re with them 24/7 and it’s difficult to balance out the dynamic personalities in the tribe.
RNO: If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
Jenny: I would have defended myself at Tribal Council. I would have spoken up and said something just in case. Maybe it would have helped me, maybe it would have hurt me. I would have gone out on a little bit fairer ground. All the other times, if you have the idea it might be you, you go and defend yourself. I didn’t get that opportunity. I wish I had taken advantage of that.
RNO: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your time on Survivor?
Jenny: I thought it was the most rewarding, most humbling, and most challenging thing I’ve ever done again in my life. If given the opportunity, I’d definitely do it again. It’s something that will stay with me forever. I’m so thankful to Mark Burnett for giving me the opportunity. In Tagalog, my language (the Phillipine native language), I say, “Forever, ako’y Survivor” – that means, “Forever, I am a Survivor.”
RNO: Thanks, Jenny!
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my interview with Rebecca and these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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