Last night on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Sandra Diaz-Twine became the only person ever to win two seasons. She seemed to steal the crown from Parvati - literally - without dominating the challenges or the strategic decisions. Rather, she constantly gave players like Russell the rope to hang themselves with, feeding on egos and conflicts, and manipulating others into doing her bidding like a trickster from a Shakespearean tale.
Some viewers have complained that Sandra was less entertaining this season than in the Pearl Islands. But lest there be any concern that Sandra has changed, and become less foulmouthed and brassy, let me reassure you: That was just sensible gameplay. Talking to her this morning about Johnny Fairplay and Russell, she was hilarious. That she is, deep down, the same person who screamed at Johnny Fairplay is all the more proof that Sandra played a controlled, deliberate game, and deserved to win.
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Hi Sandra! Congratulations!
Thank you, Henry. I'm sorry that my voice is sore. I've been yelling at Russell all day because he's been talking smack, saying because I won [Survivor] must be flawed. He just doesn't know how to play the game.
Why doesn't he understand that you need to make a good impression on the jury?
I don't know. I said to him, "Just because you saw Micronesia on DVD and played in Samoa doesn't make you an expert on Survivor." You know what I'm saying? I don't know why they brought you out here. You might have been a villain, yes, but it was too premature. I don't even know how he didn't know he had lost when he left Tribal Council in Samoa. I knew from my living room that he'd lost. How do you come back 10 or 12 days later and play the same stupid game? How does he call that being a strategic player? Explain that.
I can't possibly. Did he ever allude to events that happened in Samoa?
No, but he would ask me questions about being a winner, and I said to people, "I think this dude has gone very, very far."
So you could tell.
I just watched the fact that he had nothing else to offer. He was always against doing manual labor. I was like, "Dude. We're on freaking Survivor. Nobody is going to build you a house to sleep in." It's a community. You know what I'm saying?
Rupert said he did the majority of the labor. Did other people contribute?
No, I think when we went over there, Rupert or Colby or JT - There was just too many people. We had to cut up more bamboos. But their area was straight. They had a nice place, so there was really nothing to do after got there the first day. But it's true. He doesn't do manual labor. We've been screaming back and forth because, you know what, Russell, I shouldn't have to feel bad about my crown. One's the king and one's the queen; but I'm like, "How do you figure?" because I have the million dollars and the two titles. Especially coming from Russell, who never won anything but Fan Favorites.
Amazingly, he did win the Fan Favorites!
He said five million people voted for me. I was like, who the hell told you it was five million? It could have been 10,000 votes for Jerri, 10,000 for Parvati, 10,000 for me and 10,001 for him. Where does he get the five million from? That's what I want to know.
That's a good question. Would it be fair to say that Russell is your new Johnny Fairplay?
Yeah. Yeah. But Johnny Fairplay worries about his personal hygine. Russell doesn't.
I saw that Fairplay was in the audience last night. Did you get a chance to talk with him?
Yeah. He said "Gimme a hug!" and I turned my cheek and he kissed me and I smacked him in his face.
Oh ho ho! Nice!
Yup. What about Russell's hat? Did you like that I burned the shit out of it?
I loved it. And you had no idea that Russell burned Jaison's socks at the beginning of Samoa?
I did not know. And how I ironic that I ran into Jaison in California for the ten year party in January, and I was like "Jaison, you've got to watch our season, because in the end I'm gonna get Russell back for burning your socks. And it's crazy, because he did it to you in the first episode and I do it to him in the last."
It was the perfect bookend.
Because it was a funky hat. That hat by itself would make our whole shelter stink. It was worse than his body oder. I would be embarassed to be his wife, to let it be known how nasty he is. When you're in the jungle your personal hygine should be at the top of the list.
What do you think of the Parvati/Russell relationship?
I think he fell in love with her. My thing is that she calls him her pet dragon, but I always said he's your pet goat. You could tell him "Chew grass right there" and that's where he's chewing grass at. You know? He does what she says and he doesn't understand that. And I told him too, you ought to thank Parvati, Danielle and Jerri, because if any of those girls had given you up at any one time, you would have been gone a long time ago. You need to thank those girls for letting you play this game. But he doesn't understand that. That sets him off. [Sandra hisses furiously like a cat.]
Did you ever have a chance of getting any jury votes?
No. That's why I quit pursuing him. Because he was a goat. I was like - bahhhh! [Bleeting like a goat] I'm taking him al-l-l-l the way to the end. And he's like, "Oh, but if they respect the game and love the game like I do, you'll never get a vote. How could anyone possibly vote for you?" And I was like, "I know, Russell. That's why I'm perfect to take to the end." You know? And he did. That's how dumb he is.
Do you think your performance at the final Tribal Council won you the million? Or were the jury's minds already made up?
I would never want to win the last challenge. That morning Jerri was like, "Sandra, it should be me, you and Russell," and Parvati was like, "Sandra, it should be me, you and Russell." So I'm thinking no matter what I'm going to the end. I don't need to win, because you know what? I'm going. The person that decides who goes home never gets that person's vote most of the time. That's what happened. He voted out Jerri and Jerri gave her vote to Parvati.
But did Parvati's performance at the final Tribal Council lose her the jury vote?
No. What happened with Parvati was that she never disassociated herself with Russell. They were seen as a snake with two heads. You can't have one without the other. They're like siamese twins.
Is that fair?
I can't say that it's fair for her. I don't think she'd think it was fair. But for me, hell yeah it was fair. She had the choice of who she wanted to be with and she chose him. She could have given him up and he would have been gone. We could have voted him out.
Last time you beat Big Lill in the Final 2. I'm guessing Lillian wasn't quite the competition Parvati proved to be?
Oh no. These people here were higher calliber, with the exception of Russell. A lot of people who were playing for the third time were so desperate that they were scared, and they did what was best for them. But not me. I wasn't taking anybody's crap and I knew eventually I'm going home. So I'm gonna say what I have to say, do what I have to do.
The fact that you'd won before never seemed to come up, where as the winners in Survivor: All Stars were targeted from the beginning. Why didn't that become an issue?
Well, it did become an issue on Day One, when Randy told me Parvati needed to go home because she had already won.
Why isn't Colby performing as well this season?
That was a strategy, Henry. Jeff said last night that Colby had won the most immunity challenges as a man. Well, I mean, he is a man. But for a male. And then in the All Stars they got rid of him because he was a physical threat. So this time around he made a strategic move. And I'll tell you, it worked. Because when we merged and got over ther they were like, "Okay. J.T. is strong. So is Amanda. So is Candice. And Rupert has a broken toe, so he'll be fourth. But Rupert with his broken toe is still stronger than Colby." So that's the order that they put them in. You know what I'm saying? So Colby staying way until the freaking end? I'm almost sure he did that crap on purpose.
Now that you've won twice there's this big discussion about whether this means you are the greatest player of all time. What's your opinion?
Of course. Why would I wear a crown? Come on! Show me someone else! Show me someone who has won twice and won twice.
And until last night you had never had a vote cast against you, had you?
No, and Colby did that. Well, Rupert and Colby voted against me the time before but because I had my idol those votes don't count. It was like they never happened. Colby voted against me so I punched him. I was like, "Man, you effed up my record. That one stupid vote." I was really mad because I had gone the whole way without a vote. Something should be said about that too. You know what I'm saying?
(Images courtesy of WENN)
Check out more Survivor interviews:
-Interview by Henry Jenkins