On Tuesday night Stephannie Favor was the fifth Survivor to be torched out of Cook Islands after her tribe turned on her because she said she missed a home cooked mashed-potato meal.
As small as the misdemenour was, the tribe was still harbouring memories of her taking responsibility for losing the challenge the week before and uninamously used it as an opportunity to say that she was ready to leave.
I caught up with her for us to find it if she was and see why she ridiculously insisted on being honest.
Here's what she had to outwit, outlast, outmunch (hee - sorry I know):Tashi:
So how do you feel about mashed potatoes now that you’ve been mashed by them?Stephannie:
You know what I still love mashed potatoes and gravy, always will, I’m a Southern girl - it was just unfortunate that one little phrase cost me my Oscar.Tashi:
After you expressed your weakness last week - why weren’t you more fierce about making it clear to everyone that you wanted to be there?Stephannie:
It really wasn’t that I was committed to go home. It was more or less me being angry and frustrated because being one of the oldest people in that tribe I felt I should have been able to do it.
I foolishly enough expressed my anger because of that and blamed myself and said I was at fault for that. I’ve watched Survivor many times - I know you should never - even if you are at fault. With that being the case it put a target on my back.
I actually had a meeting with my tribe around the camp fire that evening saying: “I want you guys to give me a second chance, I spoke erroneously, I didn’t want yo’all to think I’m ready to go blah blah blah,” so I did do that. Then with the mashed potatoes thing the next week I think Nate saw it as an opportunity to get rid of me. Why, I don’t know because I thought we had a certain bond.Tashi:
Yes, why did he suddenly turn on you in such a big way?Stephannie:
I don’t know if it was retribution because I voted out Sekou early in the game or if he thought I was a threat - I don’t know. I just felt like we had a really good time together - he’d call me mama and we’d laugh and have a good time together, he’s funny, he’d always make me laugh. We had a great time on our island and then when we joined Raro’s tribe, that was supposed to continue over - that’s what I thought anyway.
I guess with new people and new relationships being formed that took priority over what we’d established on our own island. It was aweful and I couldn’t express how I felt when I saw exactly what had happened.Tashi:
You were a very open book when you said you messed up in that challenge and then you trusted people openly too so succeeding in the game meant you had to be someone you’re not. Surely using any way to stay is part of what Survivors about - even if you have to be who you’re not?Stephannie:
It’s funny you ask because a lot of people ask me: “Where you too nice to play the game?” and I don’t think I was too nice at all. You are supposed to outwit, outplay, outlast - however, I wanted to play the game as high above the board as possible.
I wanted to be me, of course you can’t wear all of your emotions on your sleeve - you have to have some strategy so my strategy was to stay very low key, not rub anyone the wrong, to get friends and then when the time came to break out and go for Stephannie.
Of course I wasn’t able to implement my strategy because of me opening my mouth and shooting myself in the foot. I did not want to leave the game but I wasn’t going to beg to stay. I know all of the world is watching and I’m just not that kind of person.Tashi:
Do you think it’s possible to win Survivor and stay yourself?Stephannie:
That’s an individual question for each player to make. I believe you have to twist and turn and maybe do some things you may not agree with to play this game. It would be naïve of me to say that you can be completely who you are and win this game, however, you can choose how low and slimey you want to be. Tashi:
Do you think viewers really make judgements on people or do you think they know that everyone’s there to win?Stephannie:
I think that a lot of people who watch the show and are true die-hard fans judge the players. I know, before I got on, when I was watching the show every season, I know that I did. I’d see how a person talks, how they communicated, interacted and I’d either stereotype that person or critically judge that person. I know that if that’s how I felt watching the game, I kinda twisted it and knew people were gonna do that me as I played the game.Tashi:
Who was your fave out of everyone else?Stephannie:
Probably Sundra because she’s really tough, she hangs in there and she’s a cameleon - she never lets on who she really is.Tashi:
It’s interesting that you like her for not being herself when you wanted to be yourself.Stephannie:
Like I said it’s on the individual - it’s how they decide they want to play the game. It’s their individual strategy. I know that she basically didn’t want anyone to anything about herself - she has this persona she wants to play in the game and she did that. Some people like to be true to who they are and that’s how I was.Tashi:
Who’s your best Survivor of all time?
Stepphannie: That’s really tough … I’d have to say - I love Cirie Fields, she’s just awesome. I loved Rupert, Sandra, Fairplay - he was like the dirtiest of the low but he’s a cool guy.Tashi:
With him you didn’t expect anything higher brow. Stephennie:
Right - you got pretty much what you expected. It’s very difficult to choose one favourite, I just love the show - I have two or three favourites from every season.
(This next part is in a spoiler tag because it's about something that's already happened to Stephannie but that we haven't seen yet. It's coming up in about two episodes time so if you don't want to be spoiled about it at all please don't go on. My own take on it is that it's not a major spoiler and that you'll still enjoy when you see it.)