“I Threw My Physicality Out the Window” – RealityNewsOnline’s Exclusive Interview with Survivor: Gabon’s Crystalby David Bloomberg -- 12/12/2008
Sometimes when we watch Survivor, we wonder if things really played out exactly the way they were shown or if editing was involved. For example, was Crystal really just listening to whatever Ken told her to do? Did she really go through that much of an emotional roller coaster on the show? Was she really that bad in challenges? Surprisingly, the answer to almost all such questions here is “yes”! So read on to see what Crystal had to say.
RealityNewsOnline: Hello, Crystal, and thanks for taking the time to talk to us here at RealityNewsOnline! You know I have to start by asking this: What happened to you, the Olympic gold medallist, in all the challenges?!
Crystal: That just went out the window after I had a chance to run up the first hill. It’s hot as hell, I’m hungry. It just snowballed downhill. I think I had one good challenge, when I pulled Paloma off the pole.
RNO: But why did you go downhill?
Crystal: The challenges are not devised for everyday things that people do. They were hard as hell. For a person who’s been in tip-top shape, those challenges were hard. So I threw my physicality out the window and [decided to] play a social game.
RNO: So then, starting at the beginning, what was your strategy coming into the game?
Crystal: My strategy coming into the game was to have numbers, to build up a strong alliance where we could trust each other and always have each other’s back and take us to the end. Once GC left the game, I had to throw that out and stay close to Kenny. We brought in Kelly and she threw me under the bus so she had to go. We brought in Sugar and Sugar just totally annihilated me last night.
RNO: From what we saw, Ken seemed to do most of the strategizing with you following along, other than when you saved him from Marcus. Was that really the way things happened?
Crystal: Yes, that’s the way things happened. Kenny would put a bug in my ear. I would try to help him see a different perspective, but Kenny is a strategist and he could see things down the road that I couldn’t see, which I think is what made us an awesome team.
To some extent, people were afraid to tell me things, but I wasn’t biting my tongue. He would plant the seed and I would execute.
RNO: How did you end up becoming so close with Ken?
Crystal: We knew we were going to hang in there when Ace convinced Matty to join his alliance. That’s when I knew Matty could not be trusted. Kenny and I pretty much had to protect ourselves. Week after week, folks were gunning for him. “He’s so weak, he’s so small.” Blah blah blah. That’s when we knew we had to protect each other.
RNO: You mentioned in your final words that it probably didn’t help that you yelled at Matty. Did you realize how great an impact that had on Sugar prior to watching last night’s episode?
Crystal: I didn’t realize how much impact that had on Sugar. I just realized that at some point in the game, she changed emotionally. We told each other everything. But once we got back from the gorilla reserve, Sugar was very distant. I knew it didn’t help that I yelled at Matty, but I didn’t know she was going to save him.
RNO: What do you think of the reason behind you being voted off?
Crystal: I thought of the fact that I was social threat out there. I think folks didn’t want to go to the finals with me because I would have won. I think I had a great relationship with many of the castaways out there. To some extent, we had some sort of connection with every single one of the castaways. I would have won.
RNO: You had a connection with all of them? Even with Randy?
Crystal: Even with Randy, I had a connection with that troll. We were very similar as far as… we didn’t bite our tongue. He knew when I told him something, I was very honest. And most of the time when stuff came out of his mouth, he was speaking from the head. When I wanted a straightforward answer, I could get it from Randy.
RNO: When I interviewed Randy, he told me one reason he disliked you so much is that when your tribe won the reward challenge early in the game where you got two blankets, you took both – one for underneath you and one as a cover, and you didn’t see anything wrong with that. So I wanted to give you the opportunity to respond.
Crystal: I could never do that. I grew up with four brothers and had to share everything. I think that was a bit overexaggerated. That was ridiculous. If anything, Randy and I slept next to each other because we cuddled and held each other to keep each other warm. He must have forgotten about that.
RNO: Getting back to Matty, why did you yell at him, especially since the plan was for him to be gone next anyway?
Crystal: I yelled at Matty because he was in the hut fretting over the fact that his name was put down and he was so upset at Kenny. I’m like, “Why are you so upset? You wrote my name down. And my name has come up numerous times.” He was upset and shocked that he was a threat in this game. That was my downfall, for yelling at him.
RNO: Also, a reader has requested that I ask you why you trashed people so much when voting them off, such as flipping off one and probably being the first player to purposely be loud enough at the voting booth to be heard by the rest of the contestants sitting and waiting.
Crystal: I think every time I went to the booth to vote, folks knew I had some anger. I was in an alliance with Kelly and she threw me under the bus. I warned her payback is a B and I had to show her that. Randy had the complete tribe turn against me. All of them had preconceived notions. So when it was his time to go, I had to let him as well as the rest of the world know that the troll is gone.
RNO: A number of previously voted off contestants have indicated that they felt you and Ken were more lucky than good in your strategy. How do you respond to that?
Crystal: The game happened the way it happened. There were numerous flops and tribe switches. When we had to form alliances with people, that’s what we did. The game is about outwit, outplay, outlast. Up until that point, that is what we did. They got a taste of the KFC attack. That means “Kenny Freaking Crystal” by the way. (Laughing.)
RNO: Sugar said several times last night that she wanted “the good people” to win. Why are you not considered a good person?
Crystal: At that point, she considered me a bad person because I yelled at Matty. But the way she blindsided folks and switched alliances, I don’t consider that good either. People who know me personally know I’m a good person and probably one of the most likeable people that you’ll ever come across in life.
RNO: Speaking of life outside the game, have there been any repercussions with your cousin for voting off Marcus?
Crystal: No, we talk all the time. He has no bitter feelings and understands it was a strategic move. I had to protect Kenny the same way Kenny protected me.
RNO: Heading in to Tribal Council, were you pretty confident that either Bob would give up immunity and leave, or that Matty would go instead?
Crystal: Going into Tribal Council, I am never confident. I knew it was probably going to be me going. When Matty made his spiel about Kenny and Crystal being a strong alliance from Day 1, I knew at that point one of us would get broken up. Watching Sugar’s facial reaction with immunity, I knew it was time to go.
RNO: Sugar isn’t really good about keeping secrets in her face, is she?
Crystal: No, she wears it on her shoulders.
RNO: Earlier in the show, we saw you get pretty down in the dumps. Then your mood seemed to pick up quite a bit. And so on. Did you have that much of an emotional roller coaster, or was it mostly the editing?
Crystal: I really did have an emotional rollers coaster out there. I was without food as many of us were and it was taking a toll on me. [In my outside life,] I was never in a situation where I was among a bunch of losers. Success breeds success and for me to be among a situation where we were constantly losing, it was hard. I had to dig deep, pull from home and my family. That was very much the emotional side of Crystal.
RNO: In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently?
Crystal: Definitely. Looking at the way everything played out, I would have not voted out Corinne. I would have joined alliances with Bob, Corinne, Kenny, and myself. Any move during the whole game, that would be one of them. And I would not have chosen Susie from the playground pick.
RNO: From what we saw, you seemed to have doubts about writing Corinne’s name when Ken overthought the whole immunity idol situation, but you still went along with what Ken told you to do. Is that a good summary?
Crystal: Exactly, I trusted Ken because I trusted him from Day 1. But several times during the game I had second thoughts. We took a chance that night when Corinne went home because judging from personalities and the way past players have flip-flopped alliances, we went with what we thought was going to happen. My gut, which has never lied to me, regrets not writing down Matty’s name.
RNO: We’re out of time, so do you have anything else you’d like to tell us about your time on Survivor?
Crystal: It was an amazing experience being able to play the game with a diverse group of people. I completely enjoyed myself and hope it opens doors for Crystal Cox. Vote Crystal at 81818, number 5! [Note: That’s the vote to determine the player who gets $100,000 at the finale.]
RNO: Thanks again, Crystal!
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Gabon articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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