Exclusive: Laura Alexander dishes on 'Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs. Favorites'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/08/2013
Laura Alexander was voted out of her Gota "Fans" tribe at Survivor: Caramoan -- Fans vs. Favorites' fourth Tribal Council, the third elimination vote for Gota.
In addition to Laura, a 23-year-old administrative officer from Washington, DC, the Gota tribe also lost another tribemate when Shamar Thomas was medically evacuated for an eye injury during Wednesday night's fourth episode of the CBS reality series' 26th edition. To read our exclusive interview with Shamar, click here.
In an exclusive interview, Laura talked to Reality TV World about her Survivor experience and unfortunate early ouster from the game.
Reality TV World: Everyone voted for you at Tribal, so it seemed like the tribe had made its mind up at camp. So were you surprised to be voted off or not? Like had anyone approached you and told you it was going to be you?
Laura Alexander: Yeah, I was surprised actually. I mean, they showed a little bit of the result I thought it was going to be, which was a split between Reynold Toepfer and Edward "Eddie" Fox to flush his idol, or if he played it, it would've been Eddie going home. And obviously he did play it, so I definitely thought it was going to be Eddie going home.
And at that point, I just didn't see my alliance really making that big of a move at that point in the game when, as I said, a potential swap could've been coming up. So, you know, I didn't really think that they would do that at that point in the game.
Reality TV World: Last week's episode had made it look like you were being genuine when you told Reynold you and Julia Landauer were willing to join his group and vote Shamar off, but last night's episode suggested it was just a trick. So just to clarify, which was it?
Laura Alexander: Right, I'm just that good of an actress I guess. (Laughs) I was definitely tricking Reynold. I had heard my name being thrown around a few times that day, so I knew that I was going to get votes from Eddie, Reynold and [Hope Driskill] that night.
And Shamar was a little bit unstable that day. So just to ensure that no votes would be cast my way and that Shamar couldn't potentially flip, I went over to Reynold to make sure that he was not voting for me that night.
So I tossed out the idea that "maybe you shouldn't vote for me tonight." And I knew that the three of them hated Shamar so much that they would definitely be willing to do that. So yeah, that was just sort of gaming on my part, I guess. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: You were shown talking to Julia about how you both didn't seem to trust Shamar at that point. When were you guys planning to vote Shamar out? Were you planning to send Reynold and Eddie off and then finally vote Shamar out?
So it was simply Sherri and I saving Shamar's ass a few times because I thought he worked really well for our particular strategy, especially for me because he distracted the tribe from realizing how physically weak I was in challenges.
So, that's why I really wanted to keep Shamar around. I think there was some discussion at the tribe that day at camp that it would've been Shamar going home after that challenge that night instead of myself, so you know, if he weren't medically evacuated, he could've potentially been going home that night. I can't say for sure, but I think it absolutely would've been an idea.
Reality TV World: We saw Sherri talking about how she considered Shamar to be her version of Boston Rob's Phillip Sheppard and that's obviously something where you think someone's such a big goat, you take them all the way to the end of the game because they're not going to get any votes. But you don't think it was that type of situation in which that's why you'd want to drag him all the way?
Laura Alexander: Sherri and I discussed this several times about exactly how far we should take Shamar. The way I saw Shamar was I saw him less as a Phillip Sheppard and more as a [Jean-Robert Bellande] from Survivor: China where he was so annoying, nobody liked him, he's very lazy, and that may have been his strategy.
Maybe that's just who he was in the game and not who he is in real life. I mean, I sure hope so. But regardless, it was sort of about how far should we take him in the game to where he strategically benefits us and we need to make a decision about what point he no longer benefits us and becomes a liability instead.
Reality TV World: Your alliance had six people in it, but we saw you talking with Julia and now you've been mentioning conversations with Sherri. Were there any sub-alliances you fell into within the majority alliance?
Laura Alexander: Sure, there were definitely sub-alliances. I think Michael and Matt were very close. Julia and Michael were very close at the beginning, but then I also started to become close to Julia and I gained some trust from her. And the entire time, Sherri was absolutely my closest ally. So there were definitely some small breaks within the majority alliance. That possibly contributed to my going home last night.
Reality TV World: I'm paraphrasing here, but last night's episode showed you saying that you felt Shamar was just attempting to use his Iraq military service to justify his behavior but you felt that was just an excuse. Could you just elaborate on that a little bit more? Was that something he had talked about out there?
Laura Alexander: I wouldn't say that he was trying to use it as an excuse. I think that was a bit of a stretch. I think when I first came into the game and I heard about his background, I thought, "Oh my God, this guy has been through so much more than probably any of us," because we were all judging based on first impressions.
And you know, for a few days, I thought, "Okay, we'll let that one slip. We'll let that argument slip. He's been through a lot." But then there came a point where some of these conversations were just blatantly disrespectful and at that point, I didn't think it was okay to -- I guess you're right -- excuse him based on his background.
But again, I do hope that -- maybe in some respects, Shamar knew that we were keeping him around because he was argumentative and because he was annoying.
Regardless of whether that's the truth, he was [such a] distraction that it worked really well for my strategy. So, you know, I hope that that is the case and I hope that he's a different person in real life. And again, when you know somebody for five days, you only know so much -- even as close as you get to people out there, I hope he realizes who he really is.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor? How did you end up on the show and, more of a general question, obviously this was a fans' season, so how personally familiar were you with the show before you went on it? Your final words suggested you didn't have a full appreciation for the game or something like that.
Laura Alexander: Sure, no. I started watching the show when I was 10-years-old. So I've been watching the show for over half my life at this point. I'm a huge fan of Survivor. I love the strategizing, I love the social game. I applied, I guess I was 22 at the time, and I applied for two seasons.
The first time, I traveled abroad so it didn't really work out. The second time I applied, I thought that I might have gotten some interest, so I might have a really good shot at this. So, I really was excited about it and I submitted my video online to the Survivorwebsite.
I got a call and it sort of all went from there, but yeah, it was a long process. It was excited and nerve-wracking. You don't realize until you're actually sitting on the plane that "this is actually happening." But it was an amazing adventure and I'm so appreciative to be a part of it.