The (Rest of the) Tribe Has Spoken
by Angel Cohn
Survivor's Rafe Judkins and Stephenie LaGrossa
To be crowned the winner of Survivor: Guatemala, Danni Boatwright had to beat out Cindy Hall, Lydia Morales, Rafe Judkins and, last but not least, Stephenie LaGrossa. What did the four runners-up think of their own Survivor stints? TVGuide.com caught up with the, um, "not-winners" to discuss their most memorable jungle moments.
Stephenie LaGrossa — Runner-up
TVGuide.com: At the finale, when you saw a vote for you, did you think you might have a chance?
No. I was thinking, I probably have one vote and that was Rafe's.
TVGuide.com: Everyone said this was the toughest Survivor. Since you were in Palau, was this really that much harder?
It was ridiculous. Palau was Club Med compared to Guatemala! There was not a bug in Palau that bit ya; you could hang out in the water; it was nice, like 100 degrees, maybe 102. In Guatemala it was 124 degrees every day, with humidity, bugs crawling all over you, you had to wear a ton of clothes all the time and you couldn't even go in the water to rinse off. It was grueling and the challenges were ridiculous.
TVGuide.com: It started pouring right after you, Lydia and Danni ate that sacrificial chicken offering. Do you think the gods cursed you?
It was really crazy. Immediately after we ate it, it started pouring. And this huge tree fell right near camp. We were in the shelter thinking we really upset the gods.
TVGuide.com: Would you eat the chicken again if you had the chance?
Yeah, yeah. You are starving out there, you want to eat that chicken!
TVGuide.com: Is there anything you would have done differently?
No. I wish I would have had some opportunities to repay Judd for all of the great rewards he took me on. It means a lot to me that he let me see [my boyfriend] Mike. But I don't regret voting him off because I thought he was trying to get me out. It wasn't malicious.
TVGuide.com: Did you get a chance to make peace with Judd's wife?
His whole family is very bitter and upset, and I understand, they seem to be the kind of family that holds grudges. But Judd understands that it is a game. I did apologize to his wife and she understands, and if she doesn't now, she will in the future. It's the game of Survivor — if you are gonna hold a grudge, don't even be a part of it.
TVGuide.com: What's next?
I just partnered with a company to help them design swimwear. I have a lot of speaking engagements, and hopefully I'll be getting married in the near future, too. Mike was so upset that I went on Guatemala because he was like, "When are we going to get married?" because I was so busy after Palau. Now I'm like, "Any day now [for the proposal]," and he's like, "Well, now you are expecting it. I can't surprise you." He's all stressed out.
Rafe Judkins — Third Place
TVGuide.com: Have you had a chance to talk to Danni about why she went back on her promise to take you to the final two?
Yeah, we're fine with each other. We've been close friends since we've gotten back. I've seen her a ton and we talk every week. She's one of my closest friends from Guatemala.
TVGuide.com: So you aren't holding a grudge at all?
No, no. Well, maybe just a little bit. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Were you surprised that you were the only one who voted for Stephenie?
No. As soon as I was out, everyone pretty much knew that Danni was going to take it home, so that wasn't a shock at all. I thought she might get one other vote... but she didn't.
TVGuide.com: Do you think it was because of how Stephenie played, or because she got a second chance?
I think it was both combined. I think she took a lot of flak during the game. I don't think they held anything against me as much because they'd been thinking, "I'm going to vote him off next." But with Steph, everyone wanted to go to the end with her because they thought they could beat her.
TVGuide.com: Would you do this again?
Yeah. I keep hoping that they'll call me tomorrow and say we want you on Exile Island [the upcoming season]. I'd go back as soon as they asked me.
Lydia Morales — Fourth Place
TVGuide.com: Every time you went to a tribal council, it seemed like Jeff said that he was surprised you were still around. Did that get on your nerves?
I never won any challenges and I felt like my head was always on the chopping block, so Jeff was correct, you can't deny that. It was really physically demanding and there were a lot of people who were really athletic. By the grace of god, I hung in there till the final four. I question that myself, sometimes, but it doesn't bother me. I never gave up. I put my blood, sweat and tears into it.
TVGuide.com: Do you think you really angered the gods when you, Steph and Danni ate the chicken that had been part of a sacrificial offering?
You bet I did. Given the opportunity to do it again, I would not have eaten that. Morally, and in my heart, I knew it was wrong. But I had Stephenie sitting next to me licking her lips and salivating. I respect their culture and their beliefs, but when we came back from the challenge, that was the first thing on Steph's mind and Danni was like, "Let's go for it." I figured, why not? Join the tribe and eat the bird, the more the merrier.
Cindy Hall — Fifth Place
TVGuide.com: You won a car, but then Jeff offered to let you get rid of the "car curse" by giving up your prize and giving cars to the other four remaining contestants instead. Any regrets that you didn't take him up on the offer?
People just can't be happy for someone winning a car. I never thought in my entire life that I would have a brand-new car.
TVGuide.com: Rafe also said he'd never had a new car.
Rafe went to Brown University, I don't feel sorry for him. You don't go there unless you've got something.
TVGuide.com: Do you believe in the car curse?
No, it is not a curse. That car challenge comes late in the game and people are just looking for reasons to get rid of other people. Everyone left is at a highly competitive level. If you win any reward, it wouldn't have mattered what it was, it makes you a huge target. It was a jealousy issue, and really only Danni and Rafe had a problem with it. I won it fair and square and beat everybody. It was safer to go home with something. Even if I had given them the cars, they could have voted me out the next day. Because a car is a car, but a million dollars is a lot more. If you are standing in the way, they don't care if they have a car to drive or not, they are still going to get rid of you.
TVGuide.com: You were the one person who seemed to be really enthralled by the surroundings.
It was incomparable to any experience I had ever had in my life. I miss the jungle every single night when I go to sleep. I would [do something like this again] immediately, with no money involved, for twice the amount of time. Eighty days, no money? I'm there.http://www.tvguide.com/News/Insider/?cmsGuid=%7BE926F942-7B01-47F2-9943-C134D60D1FD6%7D