Author Topic: Gillian Larson  (Read 2851 times)

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Offline Kogs

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Gillian Larson
« on: August 27, 2008, 10:50:37 AM »

Gillian Larson (61)
Hometown: Temecula, California
Occupation: Retired Nurse

Retired after working as a registered nurse for 41 years, Gillian Larson has never satisfied her appetite for adventure and travel despite her wide array of experiences throughout her 61 years. She has traveled through 46 countries and all but a few U.S. states, much of it backpacking. This adventurous "granny" can climb and rappel 4,000 foot mountains and swim with the Great Whites. Not only is she versatile, but she is competitive by nature and feels as though she is an perfect fit for the game of SURVIVOR, having applied 15 times, always believing she would one day be selected.

Married 37 years to her husband, Ron, Gillian has three married daughters and four grandchildren. Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, she was awarded several academic and athletic honors. Gillian met her husband in Germany and moved to the United States. The couple has relocated 18 times and currently resides in Temecula, Calif. since 2001. Her proudest achievement is her awesome family.

When she isn't scuba diving or hiking through the mountains, Gillian enjoys travel, writing, photography, gardening, spending time with her family and her eclectic group of friends who range from 2 to 92.

For her 60th birthday, she got a purple butterfly tattoo on her left hip. A very good swimmer, this SURVIVOR-addict feels that she has what is takes to be the oldest winner yet.

After SURVIVOR, Larson's new goal is to be a motivational speaker, focusing on "believe in yourself and you can achieve anything"

Gillian's birthday is February 24, 1947

Offline Kogs

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Re: Gillian Larson
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2008, 11:34:11 AM »
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 01:39:50 PM by puddin »

Offline puddin

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Re: Gillian Larson
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2008, 05:41:28 PM »

Offline marigold

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Re: Gillian Larson
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2008, 12:55:27 PM »
An interesting article an interview with Gillian:

“I don’t want to be the overwhelming mother”

At 61, Gillian Larson is Survivor Gabon’s oldest contestant. But she had more energy and enthusiasm than anyone else. Gillian was so excited about everything it seemed as if Survivor was a drug and she was tweaking on it.

She was thrilled about everything—from the show’s creative challenges to its music to its “social/psychological game”—and has applied 15 times over eight years. You have to kind of wonder why they never picked her until now, and this is purely speculation, but it may be because that enthusiasm works against her—as it could in the game.

That’s because Gillian is absolutely exhausting to talk to. She’s had interesting life experiences and is admirably passionate about life, but she just exudes so much energy it’s draining to listen to her and hard to stay engaged. I think that may have influenced her low ranking in my initial list, because even re-listening to our interview, I was amused by her in the first few minutes, but by the end I couldn’t wait for those 17 and a half minutes to be over.

To her credit, she recognizes this. When I asked if her enthusiasm might work against her in the game, she said, “I’m going to do a lot of assessment of how people are. What you’re seeing now is really me, but maybe what TV will see for the first I don’t know long will be like, who’s that? My friends will say, she’s being a bit of a dud. … I don’t want to be overwhelming.” That word and theme were ones she returned to many times. “I don’t want to be the overwhelming mother,” she said later. Because of that, Gillian plans “to check it all out before I make any moves at all, before I’m even me.” She also doesn’t want them to know how old she is because they might think she’s “an old broad they should boot off” and “a useless old thing who gets them losing challenges.”

That seems to be her strategy: assess and wait. “I don’t want look like a dud, I don’t want to look overwhelming, I don’t want to look like a leader, I want to look like a nothing at the beginning,” Gillian told me. Discussing game strategy, Gillian cited Nelson Mandel’s theory of leadership: “He believes that the spirit of leadership and the effective leadership is to let the nimblest of the flock run ahead, while all along, they’re actually being led from behind.”

That said, she also plans to “be a mom,” unless the others have mother issues, which you can hear her discuss below. Besides the strengths she says she brings into the game, like her strong swimming abilities, she said, “I’ve learned everything I possibly can” about finding food and living in the wild.

Born and raised in South Africa, she travels a lot, although “on a shoestring,” spending about $10 a day by staying in hostels and backpacking around. Since moving to the United States with her husband, she’s moved 18 times. While she’s a nurse, she just moved to the west coast, and “just haven’t gotten around to get another job,” she said.


Offline marigold

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Re: Gillian Larson
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2008, 06:46:52 PM »
Finally an interview with Gillian:

Exclusive Interview: Gillian Larson of 'Survivor: Gabon'

Gillian was able to return to her roots when she joined the 17th season of Survivor, located in Gabon, Africa.  This native of South Africa is a long time fan of Survivor and has been trying to get cast on the show since the very beginning.  Gillian may have been aware that her age could be her undoing in the game but she came into Survivor with as much energy and personality as anyone else.  Her tribemate Michelle was voted out first but when the Fang tribe lost their third challenge in a row, they decided that Gillian was the one who needed to leave.  Today, she spoke to BuddyTV in an exclusive interview, weighing on Michelle, her tribe, and what she might have done differently.

Hey everybody, this Gina from BuddyTV and today, I’m talking to Gillian from Survivor: Gabon. Well, in your introduction video on CBS’s website, it sounded like you had been watching Survivor for quite some time so were you a fan of the show coming in?

Oh, I’ve been a huge fan of the show ever since I caught the first episode that I saw of Borneo. I have been a huge fan. I love Survivor and anything Survivor. I’ve wanted to get on for 8 years and tried everything I could do to get a part and I did it.

Over the years, do you have a favorite Survivor season or player?

I don’t know if I have a favorite season because I basically end up watching it all the time. My favorite players have been – Cirie, in that she was kind of like an everyday woman that had gotten up and did something different which is what I love in people. I think it’s great when people will get up and do something that’s different. Most of the other players were some of the men players and that’s Terry Dietz and I love Yul and I loved Earl so all of those players have been my favorites.

On the first episode, we got to see that you and Bob made the first picks for the tribes. Was that a blessing or a curse?

I actually knew it was going to happen because I know that the Africans revere their elders. When I saw that Bob had made the cast, I knew absolutely that we were going to be doing the picks. In a way, it was a blessing because then, I wouldn’t be left on the mat which sometimes happens to people. So that was a blessing that that wouldn’t happen. It was a curse, in a way, in the strange way that the whole tribe fell.

Why do you think Michelle didn’t get picked at all, in the beginning?

I don’t why she didn’t, that’s what’s kind of strange. All I can think of is that – you know, I wasn’t watching everybody on the mat, down there on the line, I was watching people as they were coming up. I’m wondering if as each person was picking, they were obviously looking at the line to see who else they were going to pick and I’m wondering if Michelle gave off some negative vibes from the get go or something. I don’t know what it was but I didn’t look at the line because I had made my pick.

Did you have an idea that you were going to be a target, early on, in the game?

I knew I would be a target, based on my age because generally, the older players are not looked upon favorably because they are not able to perform as well as the younger people. Unless you have a few twists that keep you going or a good alliance that keeps you in, it’s an issue because of the age and I knew that was going to be a possibility.

What do you think the Fang tribe needs to do in order to turn things around this season?

Oh God, they need to lose some of their negativity and their complaining attitudes.  Start working together and pull it together.  Work as a team.   There's no teamwork at all.  I kept saying it was like, we were a bunch of mice being scattered in every direction.  They need to pull it together.

Well, I know you didn’t get to spend a lot of time in the game but was this experience everything you had hoped for or do you have any regrets at all?

It was everything I hoped it would be and it was everything I hoped it would not be. I’ve always said, for the 8 years I’ve been applying, “I just hope I don’t get on a really bad tribe.” Unfortunately, I hadn’t read the book The Secret, where the law of attraction is pointed out that whatever it is you’re saying is what is going to happen.


Right. I read 64 books out of preparation and I didn’t read that one. All these years, I’ve been saying, “God, I hope I don’t get on a tribe that is negative and complaining,” and that happened. That was sort of everything. In that way, my tribal experience was everything I hoped it wouldn’t be. I did not like it at all. The actual game itself was awesome and amazing and Survivor is amazing! It is the most awesome, awesome thing. My biggest regret, and they both relate to Crystal – one is picking her and the other is not outing her, because I knew she was an Olympic runner and I wish I had said that.

Well, we liked watching you on the show and I’m sorry you went out so early, Gillian.

Aw, me too, Gina but hey, that was the path of my destiny. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have picked Crystal. That was where my whole downfall started but hey, I thought it was going to work and it didn’t.

Well, I appreciate your time and thank you so much.

Thank you so much, Gina. I appreciate it.


Offline marigold

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Re: Gillian Larson
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2008, 06:51:47 PM »
Another interview with Gillian:

Exclusive: Gillian Larson talks about her 'Survivor: Gabon' experience

Gillian Larson, a 61-year-old retired nurse from Temecula, CA who was raised in South Africa, became the second castaway to be eliminated from Survivor: Gabon during the second half of the series' two-episode premiere last Thursday.

After avoiding elimination during the first episode -- during which her Fang tribemates elected to send home Michelle Chase and her negative attitude instead -- Gillian wasn't as lucky the second time around.

On Monday, Gillian talked to Reality TV World about what she thought about the game's tribal pick 'em process, how she knew about Crystal Cox's secret Olympic past all along, whom she shared her secret with, what she really thought about tribemate Michelle Chase, why she tried to stay so positive during her time in the game, and what her two biggest regrets were.

Reality TV World: I guess for my first question I just want to start at the beginning. What made decide to pick [Crystal Cox] at the [initial tribal] pick 'em?

Gillian: I had learned that Africa reveres their elders so I knew I was going to be one of the pickers when I saw that [Robert Crowley] was [also] in the cast.  So I knew the two of us were going to pick, so I had given it a lot of thought. I knew that Crystal was an Olympic runner because I'm a huge Olympics fan and I just knew that when I went in because of that whole thing, so...

Reality TV World: Oh, so you recognized her?

Gillian: I recognized her, and I absolutely suck on land -- which was quite obvious running down the hill towards the [other] hill -- and when I saw that the hill was going to be featured in our first challenge I just knew I needed a counterpart to my weakness. I can't run, she can run.

So it was really between either her or [Marcus Lehman] -- who I had liked the look of, he has a very nice, open, friendly face -- or Crystal who can run while I cannot. So when I saw the hill I thought "I am so screwed. I am on this land and it's going to be a challenge to run, but I'll do it. I can do it. It won't be great but I'll do it." So I picked Crystal.

Reality TV World: Did you ever let Crystal know that you recognized her?

Gillian: I did not let her know. I decided that I needed to give it some thought and assess as to when would be the best time to let her know. I couldn't decide whether I wanted to talk to her about it and form some sort of an alliance with her because of what I did know. I didn't know if I wanted to talk to the other people about it because I thought that maybe she was hiding her light under a bush because, well... I beat her up the hill in case you didn't notice.

I thought that maybe I should use it to talk to the other five members about it as far as doing a blind-side. But it was wrong. She didn't run well in that challenge but she was very, very physically strong and I always thought it would be so dumb to vote out the strongest people first -- although we voted off [Michelle Chase] but she was very emotionally weak -- so I didn't.

I was giving it two or three days [to think about it]. I did mention it to [Dan Kay] and I was giving it a few days to decide how I would use that and just never really found the right opportunity.

I thought if I used it either way -- too soon it could definitely be my quick death, and I waited maybe too long and that is one of [my] regrets... well two of [my] regrets.

The first one was picking [Crystal] and [the second] was not 'outing her'  -- as I called it -- because I think that was something that could've been very useful but I just couldn't do it to her.

Reality TV World: So you actually say picking her was a regret?

Gillian: I do think it was a regret. There was a very strange vibe between us, First of all she was not great on land so she was not my counterpart [after all]. She did not pick up where I was weak. It just didn't work out I thought she'd sprint up that hill like a gazelle and get that [immunity idol] and she'd be great. So she wasn't that strong on land.

Secondly, she was hugely responsible for what I call "rabble-rousing" and telling everybody that I was useless. I wonder now looking at the footage if it might have been a bit embarrassing for her to have done so poorly and I got up before she did.

We both needed help, and I didn't have [Matty Whitmore] pushing me up the whole way. So I wonder if, maybe -- (laughs) sound like a seventh grader -- she had it out for me. (laughs again)

I'm only kidding. It just didn't work because she was a huge part of turning people totally against me.

Reality TV World: So Dan was the only person you did tell that you recognized her?

Gillian: Yep. I did tell Dan.

Reality TV World: And he kept it to himself as far as you know?

Gillian: As far as I know he did. When I told him it was basically our first day but he and I connected right away, we are a very similar sort of people. He and I connected immediately and he would keep talking about how he couldn't trust people and I said "Hey you can't trust people. This is Survivor! You'd be crazy to trust people." And I said "You can trust me to a certain extent -- you probably can't trust me totally -- but I wanted to tell you something that I know."

And [then] I told him about Crystal. And I said "As a matter of trust don't out it yet. I'll let you know when I want to use it." So it was sort of like a like a pact that I was throwing out there regarding trust with people.

Reality TV World: After that pick 'em Survivor host Jeff Probst and several of the other castaways were pretty open about the fact that they felt your tribe had made some questionable decisions. Did you feel the same way or were you pretty happy with your tribe?

Gillian: (laughs) I saw that tribe forming on the mat and I couldn't believe how badly it was going. I looked at it and I thought "I can't believe it!" We are this huge group of eclectic, different, older variety of people. The other tribe was young -- except for Bob but he looked pretty spry and athletic -- athletic, good-looking, fun sort of people. I thought "God, I am so screwed."

Reality TV World: So you didn't have any input in Crystal's decision to select [Susie Smith] after [you'd selected Crystal]?

Gillian: Not at all. I had no input at all and neither did I want to. I felt that each person should be able to pick their own person without having anybody make suggestions or blabbing about what they think they should do or anything like that. Not at all.

I have no clue how it turned out -- well I saw how it happened, but it was the weirdest, weirdest thing and I thought "I'm dead."

Reality TV World: And then right after that you went into your first challenge. During that first challenge Jeff straight out said that one of the points of that challenge was to find out who would be selfishly competing for themselves and who would be a more selfless team player. Were you surprised by any of the decisions that anyone on your tribe ended up making?

Gillian: To be quite honest I didn't know much of it. I was so focused on the ground and not tripping on the termite mounds and grass clumps and just running -- it didn't look like I was running too fast but I was running as fast as I could -- and then I saw everybody. [Randy Bailey] was just in front of me, he wasn't that far so I could see him.

Otherwise everyone was just kind of like a blur in front of me. And then I saw Matty and Dan coming towards me and I said to the "Hey you're running the wrong way!" (laughs) And they said "No we've come to help you" and I said "No, go for it. I'll get there. I'm sorry that its not gonna be out five up there first because of me but you guys go for it. Don't worry about me!" But they said "No, no, no."

I thought that was pretty cool. I thought that was really cool that they did that and helped many of us. They were helping a lot of us up the hill and I thought that was pretty cool. I said to them at the top of the hill "Hey guys I really appreciate you getting my back --literally -- and I've got you're back for the rest of the [competition].

Reality TV World: So how about Michelle and [Danny "G.C." Brown]? Were you surprised that they didn't come back to help you folks out?

Gillian: No. First of all I didn't know that they had gotten where they had gotten. I actually didn't know that Michelle had been the first girl up there. I had no clue. Everybody was kind of collapsed on the mat at the top. We didn't talk about it, and actually, I don't recall any kind of conversation afterwards about who was where at all. None of us discussed who was first, last, or in between or who helped and who didn't.

Reality TV World: What was your opinion on Michelle? Was she really as much of an outcast as it looked during Thursday's broadcast?

Gillian: I felt really badly for Michelle. [Both] the mother and the nurse in me-- my heart really went out to her in a lot of ways. She just suddenly got so miserable and she was cold.

She was freezing.  She's thin and she had hardly any clothing. She was wearing Dan's jacket most of the time, which was a big help, but I just thought this poor girl was gonna crack. [She was] just so sad and so miserable.

Also because I'm such a positive person -- which became my downfall. It was really funny [we were the first two voted off] because she was very negative and I was very positive but neither [extreme] worked. It really shows you how well "middle-of-the-road" works.

I thought the negative vibe that she was giving out would really impede us already.  [She was] very disjointed [with a] strange vibe.

Reality TV World: So her attitude really was as negative as it came across in the episode?

Gillian: Yeah I thought it was just negative and she was just crappy. I just thought the poor girl -- I just felt so badly for her. I thought "she needs to get out before something bad happens to her."

Reality TV World: So when you were making those types of comments before that first Tribal Council you sincerely felt that? You weren't just trying to save yourself?

Gillian: No, not at all!!! I really felt badly for the girl. I just thought "My God, this poor girl is gonna crack." And also I thought the negative vibes I really thought would be a negative impact on the tribe.

No, I wasn't trying to save myself. I knew -- I didn't [just] have a target on my back, I was actually a target. (laughs) [I knew] it was gonna come sometime.

They pegged me as... I don't know why they thought I was the weakest of the three because I wasn't. I certainly couldn't run like the others but as you saw, I didn't do as badly on the hill as I thought I did.

Reality TV World: At that first Tribal Council you initially seemed to be against the idea of trying to pick a leader while right at the Tribal Council session. Why was that?

Gillian: Because the tribe couldn't be led. There was absolutely no way anyone could even try to be a leader of that group without causing even more dissension or more behind-the-back grumbling and snickering and pulling people apart. Absolutely no way that tribe could be led.

Reality TV World: So do you think G.C. was sincere when he was offering to be a leader or do you think he was just trying to make himself look good and got caught in the act basically?

Gillian: I think he was sincere in the fact that he thought we all thought he could be a leader [but] I certainly didn't.

Reality TV World: He seemed very hesitant to...

Gillian: Well that's because he didn't want the leader target on his back. He was smart enough to know that.  But I do think that he maybe felt somewhat flattered that we all agreed it could be him because he's got a very good heart. He's a nice guy behind all of his everything. And I think he was a little sapped by it and could do something great on Survivor with his new role.

Reality TV World: Were you surprised by how quickly he decided that he didn't want to be leader anymore?

Gillian: (laughs) He wasn't the leader! The silly thing was he still wasn't really leading. He wasn't the leader. What he does is that he's a great worker but he has no qualities of a leader.

He knew it and we all knew it and we all kind of continued with some.. Randy and I had good outdoor-type suggestions -- because we're both kind of used to it -- and it went over like a lead balloon with everybody, even if it went through G.C., which was dead how it worked.

Reality TV World: There was a part where it seemed like your positive attitude really began to wear on some people after a while. Do you think that played any role in your eviction or do you think it was strictly [based on what] they felt [were your] physical issues?

Gillian: No, I think that the positive attitude obviously rubbed some people the wrong way. And although it looked like that was my entire performance [on the show] it was actually somewhat scattered performance.

The rest of the time I was pretty quiet just doing my own thing and working around camp and doing things like that. But that was obviously the part that became an annoyance.

I just thought [I'd] try to pump people up and not let them get more morose and disjointed and disgruntled than they were might work but it obviously was exactly what they didn't want and something of an annoyance so I'm sorry that the cheerleading attitude was defintely a huge part of what people didn't like.

But it wasn't that much. I was surprised to see that's what was focused on in the episode. There was a lot of positive attitude that I did come up with, but it certainly wasn't as frequent as it sounded.


Offline marigold

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Re: Gillian Larson
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2008, 10:00:29 PM »

 :jumpy: Great interview Rob on RFFRadio thanks for sharing it with us