“I Stayed True to Myself” – An Interview with Survivor: Cook Islands’ Sundraby David Bloomberg -- 12/18/2006
Sundra didn’t quite go down in a blaze of glory – unless the blaze was Becky’s fire, but at least she can laugh about it. What did happen there? And what went on behind the scenes for the rest of the game? Read on to find out!
RealityNewsOnline: What was your strategy coming into the game?
Sundra: My strategy was to basically keep my eyes open and assess the situation. I don’t believe in saying I’m going to do this and that. I’m going to be a hard worker and not let them see me sweat or show any weaknesses or put a target on myself. I’ll be an active member, do what I have to do, get acquainted with the right people, and work my ass off. I’m not going to be the leader. That was basically what I set out to do and I did that so I’m very proud.
RNO: What went wrong with the fire-making challenge?
Sundra: (laughs) Becky and I had practiced making fire at camp and we had successfully done it at camp. Maybe it was nerves and different materials. I couldn’t believe it. I had been making fire. Nerves, the wind behind me, different materials – any combination. Honestly, I was sitting there striking the flint and matches. I couldn’t believe it. It felt like a cruel joke of the gods. What are you going to do? I was just happy to be there with Becky because we had grown so close. Our alliance had been as close as you saw. At the end of the day, you just have to realize it’s a game and that’s how it happens.
RNO: If you had made it to the final three, what would your main arguments have been?
Sundra: I would have just had to present myself and say I didn’t find the hidden idol, I wasn’t the physical phenomenon that was Ozzy, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t an active member in how things turned out the way they did. What a lot of people fail to realize is that Yul is not this puppetmaster – I was really annoyed at that term because it seems very manipulative and contrived to present a false picture. Becky, Yul, and myself discussed everything. Yul never ever said this is what we’re going to do, he always came to Becky and me and we all spoke about it together. Unfortunately they didn’t present that in the show.
There are many ways to win Survivor. If it was about physical strength, they’d get a bunch of physical animals to duke it out and we’d call it Olympics 2. Just because my agenda wasn’t that obvious doesn’t mean I didn’t have one. I was not a lazy person, I was always doing something. I also was smart. I realized I am not the best spear fisher, and I realized I could go out and spend my time and energy spear fishing or I can let Ozzy do it and rest and gut and clean and cook when he comes back, because it’s a team effort. You don’t help your team by being all things and trying to prove your point.
I would have presented that to the jury. I would have said, “Those of you who know me know I’m a hard worker and a smart woman. My game was just different.” What kind of game do you respect? That was the one thing that was one of my goals – do what I have to do best because I know I’m not the most phys threat. I didn’t have the idol to work with. So I worked with what I had.
RNO: Do you think you would have been more successful than Becky?
Sundra: I think it would have been an equal argument, because so many people saw us as similar. It was just a different approach. I knew Yul offered Becky the hidden immunity idol – I would have been surprised if he didn’t. That wasn’t a shock. I think people are impressed by how Yul is and how physically overwhelming Ozzy is. I think it would have been a similar argument. Because those two ways of playing are more visible and people tend to gravitate to them more. But it’s outwit, outplay, outlast however it is you do it. I would have hoped people would have been able to see that and not just go for the obvious.
RNO: Knowing how tight Yul and Becky were, did you consider trying to break them up before the final four?
Sundra: No, I didn’t. My goal in this game – you kind of have to know what your battles are. They had a long-standing relationship. It would have been stupid and slimy to try to break them up. It wouldn’t have worked. For me to break them up it would have required some part of scheming that I was not going to do. Every move that I made in the game, I needed to be able to look at myself in the mirror. Some things are worth more than money. I wanted to be able to feel proud of how I did it.
RNO: Why did you decide against going with Adam’s plan to get rid of Yul’s immunity idol?
Sundra: For basically the same reasons. It was a stupid plan, in my opinion. When you got a good thing going, why? I know he was on the way out, and he wanted to have that last bit of glory. But no, we went through so much in the mutiny, that really solidified us. That was the defining moment of my Survivor experience. To say you had to be there really applies. Yul and Becky are people I consider friends for life. That, to me, is more than anything.
RNO: Who did you vote for and why?
Sundra: I voted for Yul. Because nothing against Ozzy, I love Ozzy, but Yul and I had a closer bond from our early days before the merge. And there were a lot of times Yul and I spent alone that they never showed. We had a great bond a great friendship. I got to know Yul the person and his heart is huge. I don’t know anybody else who has as big a heart as that man does. We have similar values and similar ambitions and concerns. Yul’s a little bit older than Ozzy, and there’s an appreciation that Yul doesn’t take lightly. Yul’s the type of person where I know he will make it benefit a lot of people. I know that as much as I know my name. There couldn’t have been a more deserving person.
RNO: If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
Sundra: The only thing I would ever do differently is at the beginning when I started the game, I would have believed in myself a little bit more. I was very much very green. I knew nothing about the game. I came on the show a little overweight, very unsure of myself, but I prayed for the distraction that came in the form of Survivor. I was really intimidated a bit by people who had watched the game from day one, knew the different contestants, it kind of blew me away. But I said I’m not going to let anybody know I’m scared. I didn’t even like coconut going into the game, and now I’m addicted. That’s the only thing I would have done – there is nothing else I would have changed. I stayed true to myself the whole time, which was really important to me.
RNO: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your time on Survivor?
Sundra: I have yet to find the right words to describe my experience. It would do a disservice to even try to explain it. I wish they had shown a little bit more of our interactions with each other. It wasn’t just all seriousness, just sitting there contemplating and scheming. We joked and laughed and there were private times I had with Becky and Yul that really formed the foundation of a friendship that blooms every day. I wish they had shown that a little bit more, but I think I’m one of the luckiest girls ever to have the opportunity to play that game.
RNO: Thanks, Sundra!
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out 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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