When I talked to Danielle at the Survivor 10th Anniversary Party, she told me that she would be a more entertaining character on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains than she was on Survivor: Panama: Exile Island. After being voted out on Thursday's Survivor, she revealed that she was disappointed by what the editors did not show.
Danielle was understandably emotional in discussing Russell's betrayal, her wrestling match with Amanda and her friendship with Parvati. Her portrayal of Russell is the most severe on record, and perhaps the most compelling.
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Danielle, you completely broke down at Tribal Council last night. What happened?
I let my emotions and my heart get involved in the game. That whole day was so stressful for me. I'd been on the island for thirty-something days. Russell was really getting to me and his trying to turn me and Parvati against each other really, really affected me, clearly. I was hurt that he was trying to make me look like I was being disloyal to her because that is the last thing I wanted her to feel. I wanted to go all the way to the end with her. We had a friendship. I was disappointed in Russell, I let my emotions get to me and I broke down.
You're very strong minded.
I'm so strong minded. Russell was so controlling, and so unlike any man that I could ever be with, or be friends with, because he's so controlling. For me to have kept my mouth shut for that long was impressive because I wanted to strangle him early on in the game.
Were you worried going into Tribal Council?
No. Parvati and I had spent that entire day persuading Russell that everything was good with us, that we're solid. Whatever was going through his mind we were convincing him otherwise. We really did convince him to vote off Rupert. So going into Tribal Council I really did feel safe.
Did you know it was Jerri who flipped?
I knew out of everybody that Jerri would be the one, because Jerri was his little puppy. She basically did whatever he told her to. But I was just taken aback, because I really thought that we could have gotten rid of [Russell] next. That was the plan.
You were going to get rid of Russell next?
Me, Parvati and Sandra had a conversation about how Russell has got to go. They were like, "Alright. We just need to get through this Tribal Council and we'll get him off at the next one." I wish they showed that.
What are your thoughts on Russell now?
He's psychotic, crazy. I find it hard to believe that this is an act for him. I feel like this is close to [how he acts] in the real world [and] how he interacts with people. Just ruthless. No shame. Hats off to him if that's the way he wants to play the game. But that's not how I would want myself represented. Respect is big for me.
What were you thinking when Amanda attacked you for that clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol?
I was shocked. Shaking. At that point I was thinking, "Oh my goodness. This game is getting really ugly really fast, and this is not something that I want to be a part of anymore." I started to feel like, "This is scary. I mean, this is crazy. People are turning psychotic." It's like the demon came out and she had this look in her eye when she took it away from me. It was underneath me, in my possession. How dare she do that? I get that we're playing a game for a million dollars but that was vicious. I was offended and my reaction was to get it back. I convinced her to give it back to me, thank God, and I couldn't believe she did.
What did you think of Colby wanting to watch his movie, and not really supporting his ally Amanda?
Colby and I had an understanding, a connection, at that moment, which was really weird because he wasn't on my team. But I think he felt that what she did was genuinely wrong. The viewers look at it like, "What an idiot! Why would he take Danielle's side?" But in real life, intuitively, it was just his first reaction. I don't think he was even [considering] the game at that point. But it worked in my favor.
Speaking of which, did you suspect that Sandra had the latest Hidden Immunity Idol?
No. I had no idea.
Tell me about the night Parvati handed the Hidden Immunity Idols to both Sandra and Jerri.
We kind of came up with that together. She wasn't sure if she should use both of them, and then we were like, "At this point let's just [use both] and save our alliance." We weren't sure if they were going to go for Jerri or Sandra. Initially they were going to go for Parvati, and then everything changed at the last minute. And then we saw someone say Jerri. But [Parvati] still played it safe by giving the other one to Sandra. We also wanted to solidify [our alliance] and show them that they were going to be safe with us if they stayed with us and didn't [flip.] We were trying to prove to them what they were worth to us.
What did you see on TV that surprised you the most?
I was surprised by Sandra - the little side conversations that she was having. I didn't realize that she was playing that much. It was interesting to me to see her conversations with Candice, Colby and Rupert.
Which did you enjoy more, Heroes vs. Villains or Survivor: Panama: Exile Island?
This season was completely different. This time around it was so intense and everyone was playing the game so hard. I liked this season better because it was so much more challenging. I had already played once, and easier for me to get into the game fever because I already knew how to play.
(Image courtesy of CBS)
-Interview conducted by Henry Jenkins