Sydney Wheeler had the cards stacked against her. With Taj Johnson-George making appearance after appearance on Exile Island, acquiring the hidden immunity idol, forging alliances with members of Timbira, bringing Stephen and J.T. into her inner circle, it left Sydney on the outside looking in. No one ever said Survivor was fair, though, and that’s just the way things worked out. Sydney made no strategic mistakes (though, she probably could have done more), and was ousted from Survivor: Tocantins last night, the last castaway to walk the plank before the merge. We had the great pleasure of speaking with Sydney this morning, and we discussed her time on the island, her relationship with Joe Dowdle and the dreaded Curse of the Beans.
Below you will find both the written transcript and full mp3 audio of the interview.
Hey, this is Oscar Dahl from BuddyTV and I’m here with Sydney Wheeler from Survivor. Sydney, how’s it going?
What’s up? I’m good, how are you?
I’m pretty darn good. Watching last night’s episode, was there anything that you were surprised by, how it all went down?
I was surprised obviously that Joe found a fake idol, but I wasn’t surprised he didn’t give it to me because this game is all about yourself, and I wouldn’t have given it to him (laughs). So, he should’ve kept it for himself, and also really just that Taj kind of pulled JT over with the whole idol thing, you know? I really didn’t expect that to be thrown out there, the idol.
I think we’ve seen over the last couple of seasons that the most embarrassing possible moment in Survivor is when you’re playing a fake idol. So were you watching, and pretty relieved that he never ended up giving it to you?
Yes. I was actually very happy for the embarrassment reasons. That would’ve been obviously embarrassing, and I’m glad he didn’t actually, because if it’s your time to go, you kind of feel it, the paranoia was high at that point for me, I knew…it wasn’t a blindside. I knew it was my time. It wasn’t that I was happy to go, but it was almost bittersweet.
Joe admitted last night that he had a little thing for you, was that something that you were aware of and maybe fed into a little bit or did that come as a surprise?
Me and Joe and Spencer made an alliance on Day Two, so for us to kind of all have this alliance, hang out, really get to know each other a little bit more, I think that’s really more of what is Joe is talking about. It’s more of a friendship, for me at least, than anything. He was kind of like my big brother rather than my Survivor boyfriend. I guess it was a surprise in that way, to hear that he had something for me, but we definitely…I never felt uncomfortable around him or anything like that because we definitely had fun. We just understood each other differently than anybody else out there. It was a good friendship, I think.
At the beginning of the season it looked like Jalapao was going to be a force to be reckoned with. What happened? Was it anything more than just losing challenges to another good tribe, or was team morale decreasing?
Oh, the damn beans. We got the beans, we raided Timbira’s camp and after we started eating the beans we started losing. That’s what we all kept saying. I swear, it was the Curse of The Beans.
You don’t really want to bring unfairness into the game, but it seemed like you kind of got hurt – it had nothing to do with you – but because of the whole Exile Alliance, and the immunity idol, you and Joe were the odd people out on your tribe without that knowledge. What are your thoughts about getting hurt and eliminated just because you weren’t involved with Exile at all?
Honestly, the very first time they’re chosen for exile, it’s all by luck. For us, at least, to be chosen from the other tribe, that’s all about luck. Whether it had been me or Taj or JT, I think we would’ve all tried to find the hidden immunity idol, so it really sucks because I could have been that person in Taj’s place, you know? For me to know that I got voted off because Taj ultimately went to Exile that many times and also got the immunity idol, it sucks really bad. But, she played it smart. Watching it now, she’s playing a lot smarter than I thought she was while I was out there. I really thought that she was just trying to hang on by her bare teeth, just trying to get by but she was playing a hard game that I should have picked up on and I’m kind of embarrassed that I didn’t.
Was there anything edited out over the course of the season that you wish CBS had thrown in there?
There was so much that was edited out. I mean, it’s three days combined into 45 minutes. It’s the worst feeling to watch the show because it’s “Oh, that didn’t happen,” or “That happened, but not that way.” It’s the worst feeling and I guess really the only thing is – I wish they had shown the strategic part of me, Joe and Spencer’s alliance because we got that started from Day 2 and even though it didn’t hold up, it still would have made a good story for us, to go against our alliance and get Spencer. But, I guess that’s really the thing I wish they’d have shown, the alliance we made.
Knowing the merge was rapidly approaching, did you and Joe have a game-plan going into the merge?
You know, we all really were so excited for the merge. We didn’t know when it was and every day we would wake up say, “Oh, is it merge today?” We just all wanted a change. There was definitely the strategic part of trying to have numbers and just trying to take over Timbira when we got there. But, unfortunately, we didn’t have the numbers. We lost.
Do you have any big plans for the future?
Big plans? Well, I’m super excited for the finale and to see and party with some of the tribe-mates that I made friends with and to meet some of the other tribe and get to know them. And working, trying to make some money, you know?
All right Sydney, I appreciate you taking the time and we wish you luck in the future.
Thanks for having me.
-Interview Conducted By Oscar Dahl
(Image Courtesy of CBS)