Exit Interview: Sarita White Talks SURVIVOR REDEMPTION ISLAND

While many will argue that the introduction of “Redemption Island” is SURVIVOR’s biggest twist this season, some… okay we like to think that the far bigger surprise has a little something to do with the fact that for the first time in the history of the series, ousted contestants will have to face off against… us! Yes, you’re reading that correctly, theTVaddict.com is honored to have been asked to take part in the traditional one-on-ones with each week’s eliminated contestant, the sixth of which was Sarita White.

Firstly, since it turned out that half the ousted contestants we’ve talked to (see: Francesca and Russell) didn’t actually watch the show, we have to start off by asking if you’ve been watching?
Sarita White: You stop it right now! They are not watching the show? I think it is one of the best season’s ever. Clearly, they’re just bitter.

Are you happy with how you’ve been portrayed? One imagines it must be nerve wracking waiting for the show to premiere as you think back to what went down on the island and what the editors may-or-may-not include.
It is! I was was really scared and in fact surprised about a couple of things that didn’t make it on air. But overall I’m happy. Despite the fact that my toothache not only made it on the air — but was made paint me as such a high maintenance person — because that was about half an afternoon. But they’re masterful at editing and of course are showing what they’re showing for a reason.

Looking back on your tribe’s losing streak, do you think it was a mistake voting off Russell?
It wasn’t, but you really have to be on the island with Russell to understand what he’s really like. Everyone wanted to keep Russell at one time or another because he’s a dictator and he rules by fear. That said, the lies he would tell, what he did to our morale, it was just too destructive having him around.

It’s interesting you say that because his destructive nature doesn’t really come across on screen so much.
I was surprised by that too. I’m really pragmatic and would have thought at least he has knowledge that would have come in handy. But after a couple of days of being with him, he’s just so toxic, to the point that you honestly don’t even want to play the game anymore. To have someone who is just a mean-spirited person [on the show], so ruthless… he would constantly be lying about things like, “Oh they made this game for me, they’ll figure out a way to keep me on.” He created this culture of fear and in the end he had to go.

Is Matt really as genuinely nice as he seems?
He is. He’s nice to a fault, he really is and that’s why I was so forthcoming with him on Redemption Island. It’s not like I got along with everyone, I was good to the people I wanted to be good to. Him, I really wanted to pull him over to the Zapatera Tribe and knowing how grating Krista and Stephanie could be my strategy was to let me go in there and actually try and create this bond, so that whether I went back or didn’t, at least I would know I tried my best to make my tribe one stronger.

As it played out, you were fairly close to being successful!
I know, but then he had to go and drink the Boston Rob Kool-Aid!

Looking back on your final face-off with Matt, what was more of a challenge, the mental or physical fatigue?
I think it hits different people in different ways, but you know what, it’s the physical fatigue all around. Mentally, even to get on SURVIVOR you have to be cut from a different sort of cloth and be like, “I’m going to get through this no matter what.” But physically, your body just shuts down, tells you to sit down and tap out.

Is it safe to say that really nothing can prepare you for just being there?
I do yoga and pilates, I thought I was the strongest girl all around and even I was like, “Whooooooa.”

Having said that, if given the opportunity would you go back?
You know what it’s something you can never say no to because it’s such an honor. SURVIVOR is the game of our generation and I love games, love strategy and love trying to be the best I can be. Mark Burnett comes a calling, you don’t say no.

Who are you rooting for now that you’re out of the running?
I’m rooting for Ralph, Julie or Grant… just to throw one out there for the other team.

Lastly, the “Redemption Island” twist has really divided the fans. Some like it, others don’t and many think it was designed as an easy way to give either Rob or Russell a second chance to return to the game. Your take?
That’s exactly how I feel. I really do think that’s why they did that. But I think it’s interesting because I believe it does add another level to the game. I for one was so stressed out about it, it was almost worst. At least if you get voted off you can be like, “Okay, now I’m done,” instead of, “Oh no… now I have to be a Gladiator in Roman times and fight mano-a-mano!”

SURVIVOR airs Wednesday at 8PM on CBS (Global TV in Canada)

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