Of everyone coming back for Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Courtney is the one I’m excited to see a second time.
Courtney always reminds me of a particular 1968 presidential candidate. Fed up with big party politicians Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey, a group of sarcastic political junkies with too much time on their hands promoted a candidate they thought could do a better job. A pig named Pigasus.
Much like Pigasus, Courtney’s plea to the Survivor: China jury was that she was a madcap alternative to the bigger players in the game. “If you don’t like The Snake or The Rat, vote for me. I’m a screw-up, but at least I don’t act like I did anything important here.”
While other All Stars have moved to LA, taken up acting, and seemingly been ruined by the world, Courtney still has the same waitress job now that she did before China. What’s better, she doesn’t seem to take herself any more seriously. She’s just gotten even funnier.
Not surprisingly, she was one of the funnest people to talk with. Even when she gives drab answers it’s with such eye rolling irony that you realize it was the question that was drab. She’s just answering it.
I’m told you’re a villain. So who is your favorite all time movie villain?
I don’t watch movies.
You don’t watch movies?
I hate them. It causes a lot of problems when I’m around people who love them.
Are you a villain?
I don’t think I’m a villain. I think I’m a very lovely person. I’ve been misrepresented. I think if you’re a woman with something to say on Survivor you’re maligned.
I’d never thought of you as a villain, so I was confused when I read that.
I am not a villain! I’m not a villain! It’s ridiculous.
Do villains have more fun?
Yeah. We’ve got jokes on the villains side and that’s it. We’ve got nothing else. But we do have jokers.Hey, you want to know who wins? My handler just had a heart attack! Did you see that?
She did. That’s fantastic. Let’s leave it a surprise. So did living in a den of villains and thieves give you trust issues?
Ummm…. No. [Long pause] Next!
Did you care how you finished in the game?
I feel like just being asked to go is an honor. You know? It is what it is.
I’d like to thank the Academy, blah, blah, blah?
Yeah, pretty much! [Laughs]
Where did you learn how to banter?
My dad is British. They’re known for their wit. My three brothers and I all got taught during our most awkward phase to get ridiculed by my British family. It’s trial by fire. You either have to learn to fire back or you kill yourself. My family is a breeding ground for funny people. I’m not half as funny as my brothers are.
Do you practice your banter as a waitress too?
Yeah, I don’t know why I don’t get in more trouble. I feel like I get away with a lot.
Are you still a waitress, by the way?
I am still a waitress. I work at Coffee Shop in Union Square.
Do people come in all the time who know you?
That could get out of control! People in New York don’t have time to know me. They have no idea who I am. It doesn’t matter. That probably works out for the best. Yeah. Or if they do recognize me it probably means I need to wash my hair. It’s not a good thing getting recognized from Survivor.
Really, though. We must talk about the show. So what were your goals going into this season?
[She’s stumped] I wanted to get rid of the threats. See what happens. And I was
excited to meet the people I hadn’t met yet.
Did you play the same game?
I can’t say. You’re going to have to watch. See what unfolds.
-Interview conducted by Henry Jenkins