After Stephenie survived the first merged-Koror vote, it looked like she might stick around a while. But only two weeks later, she was sent packing. In this interview with RealityNewsOnline, Stephenie talks about some of what we didn’t see on Survivor, including her attempts to keep alliances going and what she believed and didn’t believe when she heard it from her tribemates.
RealityNewsOnline: Hello, Stephenie, and thanks for taking the time to answer these questions from RealityNewsOnline! What was your plan coming into Survivor, and how did that plan change along the way?
Stephenie: My plan coming into Survivor was to make good alliances and do my best around camp and in challenges and have no regrets. It did not change much because I have no regrets and did all that I could to succeed. My only wish is to have been on a winning tribe because then I definitely would have stayed around to the end.
RNO: How do you think you were able to be the last person standing from Ulong?
Stephenie: I played hard and my best and proved my self to everyone on the tribe, and since we lost so much at that point they wanted to keep me around because we needed the strongest to win an immunity. But then the final one was a fire challenge and I got fire first. Even though Bobby Jon taught me how to get the fire going in the end I was able to make it faster than him and win immunity.
RNO: Back before the tribes were picked, what exactly was the deal you made with Tom, Ian, and Katie?
Stephenie: Tom, Ian, Katie, and I made a deal that basically we had an alliance and did not know what was gonna happen, whether we would be separated into two tribes or not. But even if we split up, if we all joined together in a merge somehow in the end we would all stick together. And it worked through the first Tribal Council over at Koror when I got there. But Gregg and Jenn were part of their new alliance all along and eventually they did not keep their word and voted me out!
RNO: Why do you think they backed out of it – did you ever get any real explanation?
Stephenie: I never really got a real explanation but I think they backed out of it because they saw me as a threat and no one wanted to bring me to the end because I would possibly get all the votes.
RNO: What tipped you off to the fact that you were being targeted before the Tribal Council at which Janu quit?
Stephenie: Actually, I thought Janu was going at that Tribal Council, but as they all spoke I realized it was me which is what made me so upset. So honestly, I didn't really know.
RNO: We’ve heard some of what Janu had to say about the Tribal Council in which she quit – can you fill us in on your thoughts about what happened that night?
Stephenie: I think she was just ready to go and she was done with the game and very sick. Fortunately for me she quit, which allowed me three more days on the island. She did not do it for me – she was done with being their pawn – but I am grateful to her that I had three more days to try to prolong my stay on Palau...
RNO: Did you believe a word of what your tribemates were telling you after that Tribal Council?
Stephenie: Not really, because I knew I was gonna be gone if Janu didn't quit. They tried to make it seem like that wasn't the case but as we saw, it was at the next Tribal Council.
RNO: You approached Katie and Jenn in an attempt to make an all-women alliance – did you try to get Tom to understand just how dangerous his own position was and convince him to be part of an all-threat alliance instead?
Stephenie: Tom and I spoke about being threat and sticking together but he could not convince the others to stick with him and keep me around. He also feared that if he pushed too hard he was the next to go, so he went with the numbers and voted me out. I also tried to pull and all girl alliance but they were threatened and didn't go for it.
RNO: By the time you got to your final Tribal Council, did you pretty much know you were going, or did you still have hope for the all-women alliance?
Stephenie: I still had hope that maybe just maybe Caryn would go because when Tom and I spoke right before Tribal Council he said it might be Caryn, not me, but he was not sure. So I was somewhat prepared but not fully. As the votes were read, I realized it was me and I just tried to hold my head high and be proud of the game I played because at that point there was nothing else I could do...
RNO: Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about yourself or your time in the game?
Stephenie: The show is completely real!! And much more difficult than it looks on TV. It was one of the best experiences of my life and it has made me realize that I truly am a strong person inside and out and no matter what, never underestimate yourself!! Always do your best and if your best is not enough than at least you know you did your best. But most likely if you give it your all, good things will come.
RNO: Thanks again, Stephenie!