“I Really Have Been Shocked the Last Couple Weeks” – RealityNewsOnline’s Exclusive Interview with Survivor: Tocantins’ Debbie
CBS P.R. Guy: Hi, David, I have Debbie to talk to you.
RealityNewsOnline: I was hoping you’d have Coach!
RNO: I say that because it means he would have been voted off last night!
Debbie: Oh, that’s sweet. Thanks! That’s a good way to start an interview.
RNO: Well, thanks for taking the time to talk to RealityNewsOnline!
RNO: You said we started off well, but now I have to ask – What’s $40 plus $20?
Debbie: (Sarcastically) Okay, you’re hilarious, David. It’s $60. Let me tell you, when you’re starved, adding wasn’t the first thing in my brain. I wanted those french fries! I’d have given my whole bag of money for those fries.
CBS P.R. Guy: You almost did!
Debbie: (Sarcastically again) Thanks. But I know how to add, David.
RNO: Starting at the beginning, what was your strategy coming into the game?
Debbie: My strategy coming into the game was really to not take a leadership role immediately. It was to be myself – I love to have fun and I knew my social part of the game would be easy because I really do like people. I knew I would have a hard time if we had people who were difficult to get along with – we are lacking so much that it makes life at least bearable if you have people you like around you. I was going to lay back and see how the chips fell early. It was very evident at Timbira that Coach took a leadership role immediately. He was more out there and Brendan was more secretive. Coach, Tyson, and I formed an alliance within the first three days out there.
RNO: J.T. and Stephen seemed to have a huge amount of respect for your strategic game – what did you do in the time after the merge that made them fear you so much?
Debbie: I’ve thought about that myself. First of all, I was very well-liked by my tribe, they really did love me and I feel the same about them. Second of all, I was a physical threat and I did well in the challenges. Even at Tribal Council last week, Jeff made the statement asking, “How does it feel to be such a threat out here?” I was a physical threat and a social threat. Plus, I stepped up and started really playing the game. You already had three Timbira members of the jury and me making it towards the end, they knew the possibility of Timbira staying with a Timbira member was pretty strong.
RNO: You’ve somewhat answered this already, but having now seen the episode and those leading up to it, do you have a good understanding of why you were voted off?
Debbie: I do – I would have played the game differently in a lot of ways. I wouldn’t have been so strong in challenges. Honestly, there’s a part of this game that I really didn’t wrap my brain around. I’m a very competitive person and when Jeff would say go, I’d go all out. But really, I wish I’d have stepped back and not been as strong a player in the challenges.
RNO: Did you have any idea of all the scheming and planning being done by J.T. and Stephen?
Debbie: I had no idea. As a matter of fact, I really have been shocked the last couple weeks because Stephen out in the game came off as a follower of J.T. and didn’t say much. Now that I watch it, Stephen was really manipulating this game and we didn’t give him enough credit out there. Whenever any of us talked, we talked to J.T.
I knew when Tyson was voted out, my days were limited. I liked J.T. and Stephen a lot, but I didn’t show Stephen enough respect. If you notice last night, Stephen said, “I don’t think we need to get rid of Debbie yet.” With Erinn, we knew if we took her to the merge, she would jump ship. All Erinn had to do was hear Stephen say one thing about me and she was like, “Take her out,” so that didn’t surprise me.
RNO: You were with Coach longer than anybody. Can you explain how he could talk about how he’s never lied in the game when we saw him flat-out lie about the situation with Sierra last week?
Debbie: Right. You know, honestly, in his mind, I don’t think he thinks he lied. I don’t truly think he thinks he lied. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear me step up and admit to what I did. I said, “Yeah, we were checking out our options.” Coach was in there checking out our options too, but I really don’t think he honestly thinks he lied. I’ll man up and say I did – it’s a game, not a game of truth but a game of who can win a million dollars. I really don’t think Coach thinks he lied.
RNO: Why did you get so frustrated with Sierra in the discussion after the reward challenge last week?
Debbie: Because there was a lot of editing in that show. What you didn’t see was two days of stuff going down. Let’s just put it that way. Of manipulating, of arguing, of fits, there was a lot that wasn’t shown. I can take a lot but by then I’d had enough. I was like, I’m done, I’m done listening. Sierra and I have a relationship where we still call each other sisters today. It became a sister-mother-daughter relationship like I have with my own daughters where I’m like, “Stop – I don’t want to hear it anymore!” It wasn’t that I wanted to be mean to her, I had Just. Had. Enough. Sierra was determined to have her point heard out there for two days. It was enough for everybody. Sierra and my relationship was like sisters. We loved each other dearly but we also had our disagreements.
RNO: What made you decide to turn on Coach this week, in particular, when it seemed like the two of you were a lock to get into the final four together with J.T. and Stephen?
Debbie: I felt bad about it but I was out there to play the game. There wasn’t a lot shown as to what was really going on behind the scenes with Coach. Taj had had it with Coach, and Taj and I went on a couple walks where she really talked to me about it. J.T. and Stephen said the same thing. Erinn said the same thing. Basically, they were playing me to get over to what I felt was their side. And I did, and on the show it looked like me taking out Coach.
As a matter of fact, that will come to light hopefully in episodes coming up. I wasn’t angry but I was like, man, there would have been a lot of other things they could have done to blindside me other than to make me go against my alliance. Coach was getting on my nerves, but we had none of the basic needs and, at 33 days, tempers were short. I looked like one of those dried up apples, we were all were mentally exhausted, and we were all on each other’s nerves. Coach was driving me nuts but so were a lot of people. It looks like I tried to take him out and that absolutely was not the case.
RNO: If they had gone along with you and voted him out, would you have followed through on your promise to give away immunity at the final three?
Debbie: Absolutely. And we’ve talked about that since then. I would not have given my word to J.T. and Stephen privately or on national TV and gone back on it. I would have been okay with third. They were playing so hard and I wanted to get in with in them. Like they said last night, they didn’t know me that well, but they do now and I think today they might have gone along with me. They were worried I was going to win immunity and then one of them would have maybe lost their position in the game.
RNO: But you just said it’s a game for a million dollars, so why would you have given it up?
Debbie: I really knew my head was on the chopping block – I really felt it. I told them I would have given it up to them. If I was sitting there with [the immunity necklace] on in the final three, I don’t know, but I really believe I would have followed through with my word. I was really proud of myself to make it as far as I did, so top three, I would have felt like a winner.
RNO: We’re about out of time, so do you have anything else you’d like to tell us about your time on Survivor?
Debbie: My time on Survivor was absolutely the most amazing experience of my life. It was the hardest experience and there were times when I would have quit for a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. But I would not take back one moment of the entire experience – it was just a classy overall amazing experience. Not many people are privileged enough to get to do it. I’m just thankful I was selected to participate in this amazing event.
RNO: Thanks again, Debbie!http://www.realitynewsonline.com/cgi-bin/ae.pl?mode=4&article=article8892.art&page=1