“We Discussed Every Decision” – An Interview with Survivor: Cook Islands’ Beckyby David Bloomberg -- 12/18/2006
Becky had a strong bond with Yul – that much was obvious. But what does she say wasn’t at all obvious thanks to the editing? Read on to find out about this and much more.
RealityNewsOnline: What was your strategy coming into the game?
Becky: I’m a fierce competitor but I didn’t want to go all out and show how strong I was in the beginning, because Candice and I had talked and she was all out and I didn’t want to put a target on my back. I also knew the importance of finding people who you trusted. With 20 people, I knew I had to find some allies right away. People asked if race was an issue, I don’t think it was in the game as a whole, but with Yul, I think because we had similar backgrounds and [were similar in] what we believed in and public interest minded lawyers, we clicked. Trusts have to be built based on experience and you have see if the trust is there. We didn’t have to test it, we already had that bond and that was really amazing. It was luck of the draw for me to have him on the Puka tribe right away, in a game with this much paranoia. We both knew we had each other’s back.
RNO: And what was your specific strategy going in front of the jury?
Becky: I knew already that having a final three was different. We had a very emotional jury. The Raro kids I know were upset with Jonathan flipping and us basically picking them off one by one. We knew they would be more favorable towards Ozzy. For every decision that would benefit or hurt one of us, the contestants were so surprised I was so quiet. I was always game face on. I knew they would be seeing me as a coattailer.
But the girls would micromanage. Candice and I both knew how strong we were with our relationships with Jonathan and Yul, so we would strategize and go back to our respective male partners. It was not shown that way, but I had to prove that in front of the jury. I was behind the scenes making the necessary alliances to stay in the game.
RNO: You’ve had a lot of time to think about it – what did you expect as the outcome?
Becky: People in this season – we like each other for real more than other seasons. Talking to them, I really wanted it to come down to Yul winning. I worked my hardest and it was an amazing opportunity to have the final three and go that far with them, but I was nervous that votes would come to me and hurt his challenges and have a live fire-making challenge. I was happy at the vote. We were really nervous. Seeing Yul win, that was awesome.
RNO: I was a bit worried that with a three-person final, two might split the vote and let the third win, so you might have taken some votes from Yul.
Becky: I know Sundra and Candice probably would have voted for me, but they’re smart players. They knew I was nervous about the tiebreaker and they voted for Yul because they were nervous about that. I was so glad they did that.
RNO: What do you think the average viewer’s perception of you is?
Becky: I was a little disappointed in the editing this season. People were like, “you were so under the radar.” My friends were like, “I’ve never seen you so quiet, ever.” I talked to Probst and other people, and the show actually showed much more behind the scenes. Unless you were with me, you didn’t know about it.
Yul was a puppetmaster, but he was not a dictator, we discussed every decision. It was interesting to see how that was portrayed and how the Raro tribe saw it. Then, two weeks ago, when the thing with Jonathan was going down and it looked like I was ignoring him, I looked not nice, but that was editing. I was sad about that because the work I do and the way I played the game ethically, they showed me as such as mean person.
RNO: Did you ever consider turning on Yul because he was too big a threat to win it all?
Becky: I know it sounds so cheesy, but no. I think we both represent the same things, so for him to win was the same kind of thing for myself. We both are really big into the idea of how Asians are portrayed in the media. More than one of us on a reality show was great. We wanted to be calling [the politicians who were complaining before the show began] and tell them to wait and watch. It was so beautiful that the Aitu four was able to stick together. Turning on him would have been like turning on your family.
RNO: I know what you mean about the politicians – most of them had never even watched the show!
Becky: We were really mad because he [the main complainer] tends to jump on things that make a political statement. I was upset and thought, “just give it a chance, you’ll be so pleased at the end.”
RNO: What went wrong with the fire-making challenge?
Becky: We practiced at camp. I think we were very very nervous. Yul had told me later on that I was huffing and puffing when I got nervous, and I would blow it out. And also Parvati’s dad is a boy scout and he mentioned to my sister yesterday that they gave us magnesium, so it’s different from flint in the way you strike it. Obviously we were under a lot of stress and it was a big moment. I know we practiced and made fire before. I think it’s fun that they made it comical – you never see a comical situation like that.
RNO: When Sundra ran out of matches, could she have picked the flint back up again?
Becky: She ran out of husks first and I gave her some. Then she ran out of matches. And before that she stopped and said let’s just do rock/paper/scissors. But we continued and her matches were done.
RNO: If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
Becky: I’m trying to think of anything. I think my relationship with the Raro kids – I might have tried to figure out a way to maybe… they were so upset with the whole flip with Jonathan. And they would prefer Ozzy. I would have maybe tried to do more things with them. We were very separate when the two tribes came into one. There was not much going and talking to teach other. I might have tried to create better relationships with Adam, Parvati, and Nate.
RNO: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your time on Survivor?
Becky: Just it was a very amazing experience. I purposely went onto the show to do the same thing as Yul with the Asian stereotypes. And I wanted to raise money for a non-profit I created a few weeks ago about battered women (the Becky Lee Women’s Support Fund). I wanted to use the proceeds to go into that and help battered women with childcare or housing or education or being financially independent. That was one reason I did this was to create more awareness for that. I would never expect to meet people you actually want to be friends with afterwards in an environment like one where you’re competing for a million dollars.
RNO: Thanks, Becky!
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.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recaps and other info on this show at the Survivor: Cook Islands page, and take a look at our The Amazing Race 8 page and our Apprentice: Martha Stewart page. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!