“I Was Shocked He Really Thought That Was the Idol” – An Interview with Survivor: Micronesia’s Eliza
by David Bloomberg -- 04/11/2008
The other players really knew how to “stick” it to Eliza. If only she had known about it a bit earlier, how does she think she could have turned things around? And why didn’t she have an alliance with the Fans on Airai before Parvati came knocking? Eliza tells us all the details in this exclusive RealityNewsOnline interview.
Eliza started off in a good position that quickly turned bad. Then the tribal swap happened and she once again found herself in a good position (as she explains below) – which once again went bad on her. Then she thought she had the immunity idol and it turned out to be a stick – making it three times bad luck for her. What does she have to say about all this? What was her strategy? What could she have done differently if only she’d known about the stick earlier? Eliza tells all right here.
RealityNewsOnline: Hello, Eliza, and thanks for taking the time to talk to RealityNewsOnline! When I interviewed you after Vanuatu, you said that you had all sorts of strategies and they went out the window when you got there. Did you have any particular starting strategies coming into the game this time?
Eliza: Yes, I did. They actually kind of worked out. I made an alliance with people I thought I could trust, people I thought who were similar to me, smart and good game players and maybe not the biggest challenge threats in terms of individual immunity, people I wanted to go to the end with.
Then Fairplay went and Cirie went with the showmance alliance and I found myself in trouble.
RNO: When that happened, how did your strategy change?
Eliza: I just realized it was going to be like Vanuatu all over again and I needed to survive week to week and wait until the next stage of the game. On Day 12, I had been told by my tribe, “You’re going home if we lose an immunity challenge. If we lose, you’re done.” I knew I was in really big trouble. I even said to one of the producers during an interview that a swap would really help right about now. He said they’ll get right on it. That day, Probst said, “Drop your buffs!” I could barely contain the joy on my face. [Author’s Note: I feel I should clarify here that Eliza is not actually suggesting that the producers did this for her – all of this was said in a humorous manner that indicated she wasn’t serious with the producer and she knew they wouldn’t do something like that.]
RNO: Do you think your game was hurt by your portrayal the first time around?
Eliza: I think everyone’s game is hurt by their portrayal the first time. You’re portrayed a certain way and pigeonholed. Even if they say they won’t judge you from your past, it’s in the back of their minds.
You even saw that the first day, Parvati saying she didn’t want to get [fooled] by me because that was how I was shown in Vanuatu. I had trouble getting people to trust me, even though I felt that Yau-Man and Ami and Jonathan trusted me.
RNO: Speaking of Jonathan, he seemed to have a plan to join with you and the Fans on Airai to target Parvati. But when he left, Parvati pulled in Alexis and Natalie. Why hadn’t you formed an alliance with them before Parvati could get to them?
Eliza: What you didn’t see was I had formed an alliance with them and Jason. When Jonathan was there, it was a very solid alliance, with us telling them we were the four and we’d use Jason’s vote as we go because they didn’t really like Jason much. Having Jonathan leave didn’t make that offer very appealing anymore. They said, “We have a better offer on the table, we’re going to take it.” There wasn’t much I could do, though I spent a lot of time talking to them. We even planned to possibly throw an immunity challenge at one point [before Jonathan left].
Parvati approached them long after Jonathan and I had, and I’m convinced if he had stayed, they absolutely would have gone with us.
RNO: Did you really expect Parvati to align with you after her alliance was so obviously targeting you before the tribal switch-up?
Eliza: Expect? No, absolutely not. But did I hope I could maybe get back in with the Favorites and get in a final six situation with them? Yeah, I was hoping that could work out. Once I saw Ami was gone, I knew this wasn’t Fans vs. Favorites anymore. I wasn’t going to stay loyal to the Favorites, so I knew they wouldn’t stay loyal to me. It was a last ditch effort.
Parvati could have easily lied to me and didn’t. She said she wasn’t sure. I respected that.
RNO: Indeed, when Parvati made it pretty clear that she wouldn’t keep you around, did you try to talk to the others, who might be more open to the idea?
Eliza: Absolutely. I spent a lot of time talking to Cirie that day. But she said the Fans told them everything, told Parvati you were trying to get her out and maybe throw a challenge. She said, “You were playing too many people and there isn’t anybody who trusts you here.” While I did try, I knew it was hopeless at that point.
Later I found out there was something I could have done, but I didn’t have time. But I’m sure we’ll get to the stick.
RNO: Oh yes, we’ll get to that.
Eliza: Was it obvious from the episode that I knew it wasn’t the idol?
RNO: Yes, I wasn’t even going to ask you that.
Eliza: Good, because I’m sure somebody will ask that today.
RNO: Before we get to the stick – in your first time around, you told your mother that other players found you talkative and annoying, which I understand because some people can find me the same way. Did you try to do anything this time to overcome that?
Eliza: I did. I tried to just talk a little less and be friendly with everyone. I think I wasn’t as annoying as I was last time. But you know, I think I just I’m a little intense for some people.
RNO: What else did you learn from your first time around that you tried to put into effect this time?
Eliza: I think the first time I played, I was a little naïve. I was 21 and doe-eyed and I didn’t know what was going on around me. While I didn’t get farther, I think I was more self-aware this time. I felt like I knew at all times everything that was happening. Had I been that way last time, maybe I wouldn’t have been blindsided by Chris betraying me.
I also don’t think my dislike of anyone out there impaired my game play. There was nobody out there who I was so blinded by hatred of that I couldn’t see myself in an alliance with.
RNO: Time for the stick – what was your first thought upon looking at the non-idol stick?
Eliza: I thought Jason was trying to pull one over on me. He was so convinced that I actually thought he had the idol. When I saw that stick, I was like, he can’t possibly think this is the real idol. Why would he do that if he has the real idol? That’s when I stormed down to the beach to confront him and I found he really did think that it was the idol.
I was shocked he really thought that was the idol. But it wasn’t him being malicious. it was well-intentioned and so sweet that he wanted to share what he thought was the real hidden immunity idol with me.
RNO: So what was your other option that you mentioned a couple minutes ago?
Eliza: What you didn’t see was that the conversation with Jason on the beach was five minutes before we left for Tribal Council. Had that happened earlier – you saw me bugging him, that was a lot earlier and Jason gave it to me later in the day. Had I seen it earlier, I would have known Ozzy had the real one and would have brought the stick to Cirie and said Ozzy has the hidden immunity idol.
Cirie was my closest friend left. [I would have said] tonight’s the night to blindside him. I’ll play it up like I’m going and you guys vote with me. We wouldn’t have been able to tell Amanda or Erik or James. Cirie later told me says she would have been able to pull in Parvati, Natalie, Alexis, and the six of us would have blindsided him. I wish I’d seen it sooner so I could have tried to play that card.
RNO: On the reunion show, will you present Jason with a rock and tell him it’s a rare gemstone you found that you want to give to him as a token of appreciation?
Eliza: (laughs) I should do something like that – make some sort of present for Jason. A real diamond in the rough.
RNO: What was the most eye-opening thing you saw on TV that you didn’t know about while you were there?
Eliza: I wish I’d known how badly Amanda wanted to get out Alexis. If I did, I could have played up that jealousy with her. There were cracks in that alliance I didn’t see. If I could have exposed to James and Ozzy that Parvati was double-crossing them. Ozzy is a rational thinker, if I could have said these girls are playing you. I don’t mind losing to you in challenges or in the finals. Obviously, I think I would have beaten them, but that’s beside the point.
RNO: Why do you think you would have beaten them?
Eliza: I think that getting in front of a jury – that’s my strong suit, talking my way out of situations and being persuasive, making good arguments. I’m going to be a lawyer in less than a year. So I wanted to have the opportunity to get before the jury, no matter who I was sitting next to.
RNO: Do you have anything else you’d like to tell us about your time on Survivor?
Eliza: It was amazing, even the second time around. As miserable as I knew it would be and it was, I loved every minute of it. I was so lucky to be on there and to last as long as I did. I promise my jury speech, much like last time, will not disappoint.
RNO: We’ll be looking forward to it.
Eliza: It’s going to be a good one and a great rest of the season. You’re going to love it!
RNO: Thanks again, Eliza! http://www.realitynewsonline.com/cgi-bin/ae.pl?mode=4&article=article7908.art&page=1