Exclusive: Betsy Bolan talks about her 'Survivor: Samoa' experience
By Christopher Rocchio, 09/25/2009
Despite her best effort, Betsy Bolan knew her fate was sealed before her torch was even snuffed.
The 48-year-old police officer from Campton, NH was eliminated from Survivor: Samoa during last night's broadcast of the CBS reality series.
On Friday, Betsy talked to Reality TV World about how her former Foa Foa tribemates' blind following of Russell Hantz is driving her crazy; why she decided to stand-up to him; if she was aware he had found the Hidden Immunity Idol; and how Ben Browning gave her a brief glimmer of hope but was able to stave of elimination despite his big mouth.
Reality TV World: You really seemed to know you were going home during last night's Tribal Council. Was that the case? Did the other castaways specifically tell you were the one they were voting for before heading to Tribal?
Betsy: Well [Mick Trimming] came up to me and gave me a pretty big clue that I was heading home. I tried to talk him out of it, but I couldn't do it.
Reality TV World: What was the clue? Did he simply tell you he knew a majority of the other castaways were voting for you?
Betsy: Yes. Exactly. He just looked really sad about it. I don't know if he was playing me, but it was a very sad moment! (laughing)
Reality TV World: Did you think you might still have a chance of swaying people to vote for Ben during Tribal Council?
Reality TV World: Okay, I'm assuming your confidence only increased once Ben seemed to continue sticking his foot in his mouth...
Betsy: Yeah. He was just getting worse and worse as the day went on. Then when I tried talking to [Ashley Trainer and Natalie White], they just wouldn't look at me. I couldn't get through to them.
Reality TV World: So right before the votes were cast during Tribal Council, you were still pretty confident it was going to be you?
Reality TV World: Were you offended at all when you watched last night's episode and saw the gun firing motion Ben made when he voted for you?
Betsy: Well... Oh my god, he's such a jerk. (laughing) I do love Ben, I do. But I'm thinking, "Uh, he's such a jerk!'" No, I wasn't offended. He's an idiot! (laughing)
Reality TV World: Did Ben ever offer an explanation for why he was up in the middle of the night making all that noise -- it seemed pretty strange, was he basically just sulking?
Betsy: Yeah, that's how he was just working out his frustration I guess -- just being a rude, spoiled baby. But no, he didn't give any explanation. Again, I do love him, but he's the type that doesn't seem to need to explain to people his actions.
Reality TV World: What was your take on the way Yasmin Giles addressed Foa Foa upon her arrival? Were you surprised about some of the comments she made?
Betsy: About how?
Reality TV World: Just how she was putting Foa Foa down for their poor performance in the first few challenges.
Betsy: I just listened to her and soaked it in. I knew that she was just full of herself. I mean, she just cannot get enough of herself. I knew that, so I didn't take offense like Russell did, like (imitating Russell) "If somebody came into your house and ra-ra-ra-ra-ra!" I just let it roll of my shoulders. I wasn't as crazed as others were.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised about the comments Ben subsequently made about Yasmin? Did anyone ever speak up and tell him they were offended by them or anything like that? Some of it seemed [possibly] racist.
Betsy: That's Ben. That's how Ben talks. If he doesn't like someone, he doesn't go behind people's backs -- he says it right to the person and then some. And he does go over the top. One of these days he will learn. He's just taking a long road to learn this lesson. But he'll learn eventually. I know he will. (laughing)
Reality TV World: Mick and yourself were the only Foa Foa members who didn't vote for Marisa during last week's Tribal Council and then everyone -- including Mick -- voted for you this week. Was Russell really the main driver for those votes or was there more to it and the editing just made it look that way?
Betsy: No, Russell definitely had a big part in it. I told Russell I didn't like him, I didn't trust him. If you go against Russell, you've seen it, obviously with Marisa. I should have known better, but I just could not help myself. I just despise that guy. I couldn't hold it in. I couldn't say, "Oh yeah Russell, okay."
Reality TV World: Okay, so how did Russell know you had voted for Ashley instead of Marisa at last week's Tribal Council?
Betsy: How did he know it was me?
Reality TV World: Yeah, you two had that conversation at the beginning of last night's episode where there was a lot of talk about mistrust and it looked like he knew you [hadn't voted his way and had] voted for Ashley instead of Marisa.
Betsy: Yes, that was so obvious! He had all his little -- I hate the word "puppets" -- but he's the puppet master. I hate that! But he knew the outcome, who voted for who. But I'd be damned if I'd vote a strong woman out of the game, and Marisa was awesome.
Reality TV World: Are you surprised at how blindly everybody seems to be trusting Russell?
Betsy: It's driving me crazy! And it's not editing. He really is a jerk. He really is a snake. Just trying to talk Natalie and Ashley [out of voting for me last night], they're not looking at me as I'm talking to them and not answering me.
Reality TV World: So were you aware of Russell's individual alliances with Marisa, Ashley, Natalie, and Jaison Robinson while you were out there?
Betsy: I wasn't definite, but he was scrambling -- running all the time talking to people. Just exactly what Marisa said [before she was eliminated]. She definitely called him out on it because it was exactly what he was doing. Nobody else called him out on it.
He played the game before we even got to camp. We're not allowed to talk until we get to camp. But as soon as we stepped foot onto where we're going to build our camp -- boom! -- he was there, making alliances with just about everyone.
Reality TV World: Who were you aligned with while you were out there?
Reality TV World: Other than all of Russell's scrambling, what other alliances were you aware of?
Betsy: I knew the girls were sticking together because I was definitely the outcast -- [Elizabeth Kim], Ashley and Natalie. I couldn't weasel my way into that. (laughing)
Reality TV World: Were you standing around the fire and tree when Russell admitted he was looking for a hidden Immunity Idol?
Betsy: You know, I don't remember. Mike said we were off looking for papaya. I don't really remember that.
Reality TV World: Was there any discussion of a hidden Immunity Idol that you remember?
Betsy: There wasn't really a discussion, there was just a little... It didn't really register because, again, it happened so fast and so quick. Don't you needs clues? Is there even a Hidden Immunity Idol, because there's not an Exile [Island]. Good for [Russell].
Reality TV World: Just to be clear, was there any talk about Russell maybe having the Hidden Immunity Idol?
Reality TV World: Last night's episode didn't seem to clarify whether it was against the rules for Foa Foa members to find and use an idol that was hidden for Galu or vice versa. Was that ever explained to you guys?
Reality TV World: Okay, fair enough.
Betsy: That should be interesting. (laughing)
Reality TV World: Since Mick is Foa Foa's leader....
Betsy: I voted for Jaison. "The tall, Yale-looking black guy!" is what I said. (laughing)
Reality TV World: So do you think Mick is actually the leader? How much blame do you place on him for how poorly the tribe is doing?
Betsy: (Exhale)... I don't know how to explain it. How do you control... To organize to build a hut, to organize to get water, sure. He could have stood up a little more about that. But how far can you control people's... you know, stupidity.
I don't know how much he knew about Russell. I told him, "Russell's a jerk." You can only play the game so much and it's up to the rest of the other people too. But he was a very quiet leader. But who's to say that's bad.