Survivor's Brooke Runs Dry
by Angel Cohn
Brooke Struck learned the hard way not to put all her eggs in one basket on last week's Survivor: Guatemala. The tough 26-year-old law-school graduate had a solid alliance with most of her tribe mates, but Jeff Probst pulled a Survivor switcheroo: While Brooke remained on Nakum with three others, four of the tribe's strongest members were involuntarily traded for a quartet of Yaxha players — and Nakum loyalty meant little to Judd, who was more concerned with saving himself and elected to oust Brooke instead of one of his new teammates. TVGuide.com caught up with Brooke to see if she was miffed at the turn of events.
TVGuide.com: I feel like we didn't get to know you that well.
Brooke Struck: I know, nobody did! I didn't get a lot of airtime.
TVGuide.com: Was your strategy to lie low?
Brooke: It was, a tiny, tiny bit, but my Nakum tribe wasn't going to vote me off anytime soon, because I was useful. I really pulled through and helped my team with the challenges. The thing was, I just didn't get any airtime. What you see happening on TV isn't necessarily what's happening on the show. I didn't complain out there, I didn't whine, and you don't get as much airtime if you're not causing a scene.
TVGuide.com: Were you surprised to see the male members of the original Nakum tribe lying on the ground, looking like they were going to die?
Brooke: When we got done with the jungle hike, I had so much adrenaline. Jim and I were the ones who were given the responsibility of reading the map, running the compass and finding the way through the jungle. When we got there, it was so surprising to just see the boys falling over. I just felt fine. Margaret, Cindy and Danni and I kind of agreed we were going to stick around and be the tough ones. We needed the guys, of course, but we felt this might be the women's time to take advantage in this game.
TVGuide.com: It seems like you are very into athletics and sports. Is that what made you want to do Survivor in the first place?
Brooke: After being in school and hitting the books every day for three years, I wanted to face a physical challenge. But you'd be stupid to think Survivor is just physical. There's so much more mental and emotional stuff that goes into it that makes it the ultimate challenge. If you can win it, you're really on top of it all.
TVGuide.com: You were a single girl on a team with some fairly cute boys. Were you attracted to any of them?
Brooke: I'm actually dating someone, but they were cute boys... who were throwing up the whole time. Not that attractive.
TVGuide.com: Still, your first thought must have been that you'd at least have something nice to look at on the island.
Brooke: That's what Danni said — "eye candy." I wasn't going on the show looking for any romance; to me it was about winning the game, and I wasn't going to get distracted by anything.
TVGuide.com: Your original tribe probably wouldn't have voted you out. When the teams got mixed up, did you immediately sense that you were in danger?
Brooke: I had an alliance with Danni, who went to Yaxha, so I was devastated that I couldn't be over there on that side. But still, we were four [original] and four [new], as far as tribe make-up goes, so I figured at the very least we'd have a tie. Margaret knew Judd didn't like her very much, so she wanted me to talk to him first. I went over to Judd, and he and Jamie said they were going to vote for Lydia, and that's the way it's going to go. It wasn't until five minutes before tribal council that Margaret tried to talk to Judd again, and she came up to me and said he didn't know how he was voting — "He may vote for Lydia, he may vote for you."
TVGuide.com: Are you mad at him?
Brooke: I'm not, because I know it was a strategic move on his part. I think it was totally dumb, though — Judd's not the brightest of the bunch, and he can't see that he does any wrong. He blew the challenge for us — he got frustrated and wouldn't switch out with anybody — so he ran the [original Nakum group] to the ground and then called me the weakest. That's a boy who's never camped before in his life and would be completely lost in the jungle without Jim or me. That was what made me mad. I said, "Judd, you are one of the weaker people on the team. All you have [going for you] is you're heavy."
TVGuide.com: If you had any weight challenges, he'd probably be all set.
Brooke: Exactly. And you realize people stereotype, too. You see a big guy and think [based on strength] he's going to be the best at surviving. They see the skinny little girl who went to law school and think she's just smart, and that's all she's good for. That's why Gary, I'm sure, hid the fact he was an NFL player. He knew that stereotypes factor in.
TVGuide.com: Are you going to keep in touch with anyone after the show?
Brooke: We can't talk to anyone until after the finale [airs]. Danni and I were close in the game; we really had a lot in common. I'll probably keep in touch with most people. Probably not Judd. He was playing the game, I'll give him credit for that, but I just don't think he's got the mental game going for him.
TVGuide.com: What did you think when Bobby Jon and Stephenie joined the mix? Good thing or bad?
Brooke: Bad thing. They announced at the finale of [Survivor:] Palau that there were going to be 18 people competing in Guatemala. We got out there [and initially thought], "Oh, 16 people — better odds." When I saw Bobby Jon and Stephenie come out, I was like, "No fair, they've had their chance at a million. They have to go home." But once we got Bobby Jon on our team, I realized he was really an asset because he was a hard worker and didn't seem to be all that strategic, not trying to backstab or anything like that. http://www.tvguide.com/News/Insider/?cmsGuid=%7B1A77CA5D-5738-41C8-8F69-B061F3E772CD%7D