Exclusive: Debbie Wanner -- Sarah Lacina repeatedly crossed the 'Survivor' line by swearing on her child
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/27/2017
Debbie Wanner was eliminated from Survivor: Game Changers' merged Maku Maku tribe during Wednesday night's episode of Season 34 on CBS.
The Maku Maku tribe sent Debbie, a 51-year-old from Reading, PA, packing at Tribal Council on Night 26 with 6 out of 11 votes because Sarah Lacina, a 32-year-old from Marion, IA, made a big move and flipped on the tribe's majority alliance in order to escape being on the bottom.
Debbie -- who previously competed on Survivor: Kaoh Rong -- Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty and finished in ninth place -- voted to oust Andrea Boehlke from Survivor: Game Changers with her five allies.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Debbie talked about her Survivor experience. Below is a portion of what she had to say.
Reality TV World: You said in your final words you were blindsided, so I'm assuming you were pretty certain your alliance of six was voting for Andrea. Whom did you think Andrea's side was voting for?
Reality TV World: At the time you left the game, whom did you think had flipped out of your group of six? Because Tai Trang has the history of being a flip-flopper while Sarah played a very loyal game her first time around.
Debbie Wanner: The first person that popped into my head was [Troy "Troyzan" Robertson], who was not an original Nuku, but then [my thought] was quickly replaced by Sarah, because I think in the previous day or two, I had gone to Brad and Sierra and said, "You know, when this breaks up, it's going to be Sarah."
There's many observations you make out there and you see who goes off with whom. You know, Beth and Debbie are best friends, but now Beth is talking to Tai, and now Beth is talking to [Ozzy Lusth] and now Beth is off with so and so. And you just saw that Sarah was constantly off with everybody.
So they can come back and say, "Well, I swear on my son's life that I'm with you guys; I'm just trying to get information." But it's Survivor! There's always that disingenuousness that's at the forefront of every conversation.
So, Sarah was in the back of my head, and like I said, I had previously gone to Brad and said, "You know what? When this [six] breaks up it's going to be Sarah!" And then Brad just said, "Well, we'll take her out." And congratulations to her, she moved first.
Reality TV World: So when you officially first found out Sarah was the one who flipped, it sounds like you weren't surprised at all.
Reality TV World: Considering Sarah wanted to play an aggressive game and make big moves, why not take out Brad or Sierra first, whom everyone was calling the head of the snake?
Debbie Wanner: Yeah, and that I wouldn't know other than many people who have previously been voted off had been after Brad and Sierra, so by targeting me, you catch them off guard. I really don't know their rationale.
Some people are crediting me with being the leader of our six. There really wasn't a leader. It really was many people -- especially Brad, Sierra, Tai, and myself -- having conversations, Troyzan, you know, coming to some kind of decision. But I guess just completely catching us off guard [would be a reason].
Reality TV World: You said in your final words you thought whomever did flip on your alliance would probably be left in a worse position going forward. Based on knowledge you had at the time you left the game of the position Sarah was in, do you think that prediction would apply to her? Was her decision to vote you out a smart one?
Debbie Wanner: Well, I guess it remains to be seen whether she was going to be worse off, but the thing about flipping on a group alliance -- people that you have sworn up and down, on your son's life, which Sarah does repeatedly and it just hasn't been shown so far -- then they completely lose faith in you.
So that's why I would say it was a bad idea at that point in the game. It just seemed like it was too early in the game to break up with six. It was a long way to go, but at the same time, she could've been feeding Andrea, [Zeke Smith], and [Cirie Fields] the exact same story to our side. And that might've been the alliance she truly had her heart in all along.
Reality TV World: Sierra talked to Sarah about being in the Final 3 together with you. Were you aware of Sierra's plan and were you onboard with Sierra approaching Sarah about it? And if so, were you two sincere about taking Sarah to the end with you or were you just trying to make sure she wouldn't stray?
Debbie Wanner: Well the connection between Sierra Dawn and myself was true. I regret that once I knew it was me -- and I knew it was me the first time I saw "Debbie" [written down], I knew -- but I actually went to Sierra and gave her a big hug and said, "Get 'em, cowgirl!"
Sierra Dawn is an amazing human being who has not gotten the credit for the strategic moves she made. She's just a great human being whom I would love to be true friends with, live closer [to], and I'd love to see the girl get handed a million dollars. I was onboard with Sierra, myself and Brad; or Sierra, myself and Tai; or Sierra, myself and Troyzan.
I don't think there was every any real intention on my part of taking Sarah, and that's because Sarah, you know, she passed the line many of us have talked amongst ourselves, and that is she constantly offered up her son's life.
"I am swearing on my child's life. Swearing on my little boy's life. I would slit my son's throat." You know, there's just something icky and disgusting about going that far, and it just turned me off.
Reality TV World: Do you think Sierra was being genuine about wanting to take Sarah to the Final 3?
Debbie Wanner: Well, who offers up their child's life? Who swears on a two-year-old kid's life?! "I'm not going to backstab you; I'm not lying." So, what's my point? Do I think that I was going to go to the end with Sierra Dawn? I would have loved to. With Sarah? I don't think so. Brad? Yes. Tai? Yes. Troyzan? Yes. But for my part, no, not her.