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Exclusive: Sandra Diaz-Twine talks 'Survivor: Game Changers' experience (Part 2)


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/10/2017 

Sandra Diaz-Twine was eliminated from Survivor: Game Changers after Season 34's third tribal swap during the latest episode on CBS.

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Sandra's new Nuku tribe voted her out of the game on Night 16 following the swap that left her with Jeff Varner, Zeke Smith, Andrea Boehlke, Ozzy Lusth, Sarah Lacina, and Tai Trang. Sandra and Varner voted for Tai, but the other five castaways voted to oust the 41-year-old from Fayetteville, NC, from Survivor: Game Changers.

Sandra, who previously won Survivor: Pearl Islands as well as Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, was the sixth person voted out of the game. Survivor host Jeff Probst joked, however, how he was snuffing her torch for the first time in 94 days.

During a recent exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Sandra talked about her Survivor: Game Changers experience. Below is the concluding portion of what she had to say.

Reality TV World: Varner and Zeke got pretty buddy buddy in last night's episode. Were you aware of their friendship while you were out there, and if so, were you concerned? Were you surprised Varner didn't just turn on you, work with Zeke and his group, and vote you off? 

Sandra Diaz-Twine: No, Varner needed to get tight with Zeke. We all went off in direction directions. I approached Ozzy, he approached Zeke and then we gathered intel. We sat down and talked about it because me and Varner were tight, you know, we weren't going to separate.

And they couldn't tell Varner what's going on because now he's going to fear for his game, you know, like, "Oh my God, if we lose another challenge, what happens next?" He's outnumbered.

It's the same situation [Caleb Reynolds], [Troy "Troyzan" Robertson] and [James J.T. Thomas] were in. But no, we were supposed to do that. We were supposed to go off in different directions and try to get as much information as we could.

Talking to [Andrea Boehlke] and [Sarah Lacina], they were like, "Sandra, don't worry about it. We've had our eyes on Tai for a long time. He finds idols all the time and he doesn't really get the game, and he's very selfish," and this or that. So I bought into it, all of it. They got me!

Reality TV World: You mentioned earlier how you made a deal with Malcolm Freberg to keep him safe after the merge as long as he brought you that far, which answered my next question about why you'd feel the need to get revenge on J.T. for Malcolm's vote-off. So then did it surprise you watching the episodes back that Malcolm was conspiring with J.T. to take you out at times?

Sandra Diaz-Twine: I would text Malcolm, like, "Oh my God, Malcolm, you're over here talking a mess about me, and I said nothing but nice words about you! You were my No. 1 guy, and in interviews, you're saying [Aubry Bracco] was your No. 1."

But Malcolm was like, "Sandra, you weren't going to go anywhere. The minute someone threw your name out, I always agreed, but I knew you weren't going anywhere." So Malcolm was my No. 1 and that's why J.T. had to go home.

So although he says on TV, "Sandra's got to go," that's all for show because he can't really play his cards. I wasn't his main -- according to him -- I wasn't his No. 1, I was more like his sidechick. But to me, he was my No. 1. I didn't know Aubry was his sidekick and I'm guessing that's why me and Aubry never really clicked or connected either.

You know, I just didn't want to play with her. I didn't want her there. She was dangerous. She almost won her season. She was a potential winner, and in my eyes, this girl has everything and more. She could have potentially won her season and been a winner. It just didn't go her way. So Aubry was dangerous. 

So I never touched the Kaoh Rong Four [Tai, Aubry, Caleb, and Debbie Wanner] just like I didn't touch Tai and I didn't touch Caleb even though we were on the same tribe. I never really talked strategy with Caleb either. I just stayed away from those four.

Reality TV World: Debbie's experience on Exile Island was different. (Laughs) If you were in her shoes, would you share with your new tribe what the experience was actually like, or would you lie and say you had a terrible time?

Sandra Diaz-Twine: I would lie! But I would've talked to [John Cochran] and been like, "Hey, what kind of knowledge are you going to give me as to how I can win this game?" So I just would've talked to Cochran and let him give me a different [point of view] -- his thoughts on what he thought I could do to help my game so I could get to the Final 3 vs what my ideas were.

It would've been awesome for me. Anything would've been good for me except picking that wrong buff! I would have loved to go back to the Mana tribe and been with my group of people against [Cirie Fields] and against [Sierra Dawn Thomas] and against [Brad Culpepper].

But it just wasn't in the cards for me. So I don't think I played a bad game! I think I played an awesome game and the only reason I got voted off was because I picked the wrong buff at that swap. That's it. That's the only thing I can credit for putting me out of the game. That's what screwed me up!

Reality TV World: Debbie received an Advantage Option while in exile: A kit to construct a perfect-looking fake idol, an extra vote at Tribal, or a tribe-challenge advantage. Which one would you have picked? Do you think Debbie made the right choice?

Sandra Diaz-Twine: Yeah, she made the right choice. I would've picked the extra vote, and I had actually made an idol earlier on in the Mana tribe. I have to tell you, it was the best fake idol ever made, but I put it in my bra and then I started looking for the real idol and forgot it was there.

When I got back to camp, Caleb said, "Unless you have four nipples, you have an idol in your bra." And I just panicked, and I confessed. They were like, "Well let's see it!" And they're like, "Oh my God, this looks so good."

And then it became more or less a jury vs. a criminal, like, "Why would you feel the need to make this idol? What's the purpose of this idol? What were you going to do with this idol? Who were you going to trick with this idol?" And I was like, "Oh my God, I don't even want this idol again!"

And so then we pack our bags and we get the tribal swap, but before we left -- because Michaela told us, "I think it might be a swap" -- I was like, "I don't even want this idol anymore." And Troyzan was like, "Give it here, I'll take it!" And it's perfect because Troyzan ends up going to a different tribe, where he's just all by himself over there.

So no one's there to say anything about this fake idol, and it looks so real! And then it shows him finding a real idol, which is a plus. Because now he has the fake idol I made with a real idol and a clue to an idol. And that piece of paper by itself is really, really valuable.

Reality TV World: I'd like to talk about your Survivor return a little bit. Was it a situation in which producers had never offered you a third chance to play before or were you offered the chance, turned it down, and for some reason determined Game Changers was the season you wanted to come back?

Sandra Diaz-Twine: No, after Heroes vs. Villains, the only one I was -- my daughter tried out for Blood vs. Water and she was in California for a whole week, but we didn't make the final cut. And then there was Game Changers and [a casting producer] called me but I missed her call.

And my answer to her was, "Whatever it is, my answer is 'yes.'" Point blank. No hesitation whatsoever. Now, would I play again? I'd have to think it over. I'd have to at least think for 24 hours before I jumped on and said, "Yes, I'll do it again." I wouldn't just hurry up and say "yes."

I'm getting older and, you know, this game is not easy! It is not easy, and you have 39 days to make it to the end. So, it's very stressful. But I don't know because right after I got voted off, I thought, "I'll never do this again." But in a month, I'm like, "Man, I can't wait for that next time!" So I don't know if I would say "yes" as quick as I did this time around.

Reality TV World: So it sounds like you never had any concerns about possibly tarnishing your perfect undefeated record. Some fans have been wondering whether that possibility would cause hesitation to play again.

Sandra Diaz-Twine: No, I don't think I tarnished my record at all, because although I did get voted off -- which I totally expected to happen eventually -- I still feel successful in the way I played the game and the fact that I lasted 16 days.

I was the sixth person voted off, but like I keep saying, I could've been first, second, fourth, fifth, and I wasn't! So I don't think I tarnished my record at all.

For someone to come and get my crown, they'd have to win their original season -- not win your second time playing or your third or your fourth time playing, like, you're not even in this category! You have to win your first season and then go back again and win that one too! So I don't think anyone is going to touch me.

Reality TV World: A lot of viewers were pretty horrified at the idea you wanted to kill a goat to eat at the beginning of the game, the momma or its baby. I just want to give you an opportunity to explain your position on that. Was there a part of you that felt bad about it?

Sandra Diaz-Twine: Okay, so we get to this camp, and J.T. starts showing us around, and he takes us to where this trap is already set up for catching the goats, okay? We didn't know there were goats on that island until we see this trap that they've already set up. They just have not caught a goat, right?

So then I'm like, "Oh my gosh, there are goats here!" And he said, "Yes!" They don't come trotting through camp. They actually come around the other side because it's like this big old mountain of rocks. So the goats are practically on the other side of us and you can see them off in the distance.

So that's when he was like, "You know, you can practically walk up onward and grab it!" So then we catch this goat and we keep this goat for over 24 hours. At night, it's like, "Bahhh, bahhh," the whole night making noise. The momma won't drink the water or eat the food we gave her.

She's getting wrapped around the tree because she's tied up. The baby is also tied up and getting wrapped around the momma or getting wrapped around the tree as well. The momma is not letting the baby nurse.

So J.T. was the one -- because I'm not a farmer -- saying, "The baby is the one who has to go first, because once we kill the mom, the baby will die because it won't nurse. And the baby's meat is actually more tender." So I'm just repeating later on what he was saying, you know?

So then, the next day, we let the goats go. And then the last episode where Malcolm goes home, if you look closely, we are eating big pieces of meat with big pieces of bone, and it wasn't fish and it wasn't chicken! I didn't have anything to do with it. I just show up, and then we are eating goat.

But I knew I would take the blame for that one too after the fact, you know? But nobody ever said anything. The fans shared pictures [of the tribe eating], like, "What is this, Sandra?!" And I'm like, "I don't know what it is. You guess."

To read the first half of Sandra's exclusive interview with Reality TV World, click here.


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