Betsy Bolan, who struggled with substance abuse before becoming a police officer at the age of 47, was a very relatable contestant. Though she never seemed to find her strategic footing, she brought a nurturing spirit and a well earned wisdom to the show that added warmth to an otherwise gritty cast. But last night Ben accused Betsy of being a bad cop and blew her away with an imaginary pistol. The others joined him in voting her off as a liability even though she never appeared to struggle in the challenges.
When I talked with Betsy earlier today she told me whether her wild youth impacted her decision to become a police officer, whether she was especially disappointed in the women for siding with Ben, how successful Mick and Liz were in hiding their professional success and how hard she found it to keep her frustrating island experience from her family.
I was really touched by your story. You’ve been open about the fact that you went through a wild youth before becoming a cop at age 47. Was it your goal to prevent others from making the same choices you did? And has it made you a better cop?
It sounds shallow, but no, it wasn’t a goal of mine to prevent people from making bad choices. I am sure I don’t have that much power. Maybe [I could be] an inspiration to some. That would be wonderful because I will never forget (or want to) how down and out I felt in those crazy days. And to be so blessed now… It took me just as many tries to get sober as it did to get on Survivor. I just didn’t give up. It helps in working with the community since I do have experience and I have more empathy.
I know you’re a fan. Of anyone who’s ever played the game, who would have been your two ideal allies?
I would think I could trust Mick and Jaison.
Did the fact that you got voted off in the second episode make it most frustrating to keep your experience secret from excited loved ones?
Absolutely! My brothers and sisters will not tell me things, they know better. I would try to tell my husband little things but he wouldn’t let me.
In preshow interviews Mick and Liz promised to lie about their backgrounds to sound less professionally successful. Jaison also seemed hesitant to talk about his Ivy League degrees. Were they able to keep their secrets on the island?
Liz and Jaison did mention their professions. Mick was a little vague. He did say he was in the medical field but not a doctor.
Ben has made some hateful comments about women and minorities. Did you feel especially let down by the women and minorities in the tribe for voting to keep him over you?
It was extremely frustrating! I thought women were so much smarter. I know the women I hang around with are!
Ben or Russell. Who is the worst offender?
Russell. Ben actually has a heart and soul where Russell doesn’t seem to.
-Henry Jenkins, Guest Columnist
(Image courtesy of CBS)