Exclusive: Roark Luskin talks 'Survivor' -- Ryan Ulrich played his heart out, I was surprised and upset
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/26/2017
Roark Luskin was voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers during Wednesday night's episode on CBS.
Roark, a 27-year-old social worker from Palo Alto, CA who currently resides in Santa Monica, CA, was voted out of her "Soko" tribe on Night 14 of the game through a 3-2 vote instead of her personal target, Chrissy Hofbeck, a 46-year-old financial analyst from Glen Gardner, NJ.
Now that Roark is gone, her "Soko" tribe is comprised of (Hustlers) Ryan Ulrich and Ali Elliott as well as (Heroes) JP Hilsabeck and Chrissy Hofbeck. Ryan served as the swing vote and chose to side with Chrissy and JP instead of Roark and his close pal Ali.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Roark talked about her Survivor experience. Below is the first portion of what she had to say.
Reality TV World: You said at Tribal Council that you felt very comfortable, so is it accurate to say you were blindsided by the vote?
Roark Luskin: Oh, absolutely. It was made clear that Ryan was the swing, sort of, between Chrissy and Ali -- and by extension, Ali and me. And Ryan played it perfectly all through that day, you know, he was moping around camp and looking so sad, because his name was what I perceived as the decoy plan.
So that's what Chrissy and JP were supposed to be writing down, and he acted his little heart out. And Ali and I felt very comfortable, and we were both surprised and upset.
Reality TV World: You said in your final words you can't blame the swap for your vote-off, that as a Super Fan, you believe there was something more you could have done. Do you still stand by that? Now that you've had time to think about your experience on the show, have you come up with something you could have done differently?
Roark Luskin: Interestingly, now that I've seen it play out and all of the involved parties have gotten back to the U.S. and debriefed, I actually now believe that there was less that I could do.
I think circumstance and luck played a really substantial role in what happened, specifically that, you know, the audience -- while you guys don't see every conversation -- you do get to see the whole picture, and we certainly do not. And so Ali and I had no idea about Ryan and Chrissy's Day 1-advantage bond.
You know, they did not pull a [Cole Medders]. They kept that very well under wraps. And Ryan felt like Ali and I were too close for his comfort, and he felt sort of that foundational trust he built with Chrissy from a distance by giving her that advantage was stronger than moving forward with myself or Ali.
Reality TV World: Ali and yourself wanted to get rid of a Hero, but do you think Ryan's decision was instead based on a desire to weaken the original Healers tribe? If so, maybe his decision wasn't really a personal one between Chrissy and yourself.
Roark Luskin: Yeah, definitely. I think that -- I can't fault them for saying, "The Healers have all six of their people left here. We happen to have one captive; let's get rid of her." That's a really logical thought process that I could not fault anybody for.
I did my best to make it clear that, even though I liked all the Healers as people, I didn't really know who they were as gamers. We had not gone to Tribal; our trust had not been tested. I made it clear there were some people I hoped to get rid of moving forward.
I said there were some people I wasn't happy with, and I was just really trying to sell them a bill of goods about my position on Healers, both where they were positive and where the Healers were negative in the hopes they would want to keep me around and use the numbers that I wanted and work with me to get rid of some of the Healers, but it did not happen.
Reality TV World: It's unfortunate you got voted out because of Ryan, but looking at the game from his perspective, do you think he made the right move or do you think he made a mistake, especially considering Ali's going to be upset with him as we saw in the preview for next week's episode?
Roark Luskin: I absolutely stand up for Ryan's move. I think he made the right decision to go with Chrissy in this instance. I completely understand why he did it. I do think it was not fun for him. He and I have a lot in common outside of the game, and I like him a lot.
They couldn't show his voting confessional because he was a swing [vote] and that would've given it away in that moment before [Jeff Probst] reads the votes, but what he said in the voting booth was, "I know how much it means to you to be out here. You're amazing and I'm sorry."
So he and I had that Super Fan -- he and I were the two true Super Fans out there, and we had that bond. We woke up really early one morning and sat around the fire and talked about it, and so, I don't think it brought him pleasure to make this decision, but I think he made the right one for himself.
Reality TV World: Was there any talk of hidden Immunity Idols or did anyone go off looking for one? I'm wondering if there was any suspicion an idol might be played heading into Tribal Council.
Roark Luskin: Oh yeah, that's a good question! So when we showed up for the Reward Challenge, Jeff asked [Ashley Nolan] how Tribal had gone, and she said, "It was a really long night. It was a really crazy night. Some things happened that we didn't anticipate, and it got crazy."
And so I'm like, "Alright, [Joe Mena] played that idol, definitely." It had been very obvious from what was said that the idol had been played, and I knew it was the "Soko" idol.
And so, being a fan, I had to assume that it had been re-set on "Soko" beach. When you're with five people and those other people can deduce that an idol is in play, no one is alone, ever. No one had time to go look for that idol. I did not have time, Ryan did not have time, Ali did not have time, and Chrissy did not have time. JP looked for coconuts...
Reality TV World: (Laughs)
Roark Luskin: But the rest of us did not have time. And we were all smart enough to not let anybody go off alone. So unfortunately, I do believe the only thing that could have saved me in that moment was a genuine Immunity Idol.
To read more from Roark's exclusive Survivor interview, check back with Reality TV World soon.