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Exclusive: Sophie Clarke talks about 'Survivor: South Pacific' (Part 2)


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/20/2011 

Sophie Clarke claimed Survivor: South Pacific's $1 million grand prize during the live portion of Sunday night's finale broadcast on CBS from Hollywood, CA.

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Sophie beat Albert Destrade, a 26-year-old "baseball/dating coach" from Plantation, FL, and "Coach" Benjamin Wade, a 39-year-old former Survivor: Tocantins and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains castaway who currently resides in Susanville, CA, in the season's final jury voting results, which Survivor host Jeff Probst revealed live during the broadcast. While the ninth and final jury vote was not revealed on-air, Sophie received six votes and Coach received three.

On Monday, Sophie, a 22-year-old medical student from Willsboro, NY, talked to Reality TV World about her Survivor: South Pacific experience. Below is the second half of our exclusive interview. Click here to read the first portion.

Reality TV World: You called Coach your version of a "young girl" during the jury questioning and Albert and yourself both said you felt you had carried Coach and not the other way around, even though it seemed to appear that Coach was the leader. Can you explain that a little bit more -- were you being honest there or just saying that for the jury?

Sophie Clarke: I was being completely honest, so -- Wel,l Day 1 -- Well, I'll say in the first 10 days in the game, Albert and I were very close and we talked a lot about what we wanted to do. We could have easily went with [Christine Shields Markoski] and [Stacey Powell] and [Mikayla Wingle] and [Rick Nelson] -- because Albert and I had a Final 3 alliance with Rick -- and voted out Coach.

It was our decision at the time that we thought Coach could be a possible Final 3 goat, so we kept him in. And that was our stance all throughout the pre-Upolu merge. And then when it came to the merge, we -- I constantly kept re-evaluating, "Is Coach the right person?" And there were a lot of instances when I could have turned against him because Rick was aligned with me and not with Coach.

We also kept on [Whitney Duncan], and I don't think that Coach had the same opportunities throughout the entire game to turn against Albert and I. You know, Christine and Stacey would not have aligned with him. It's just -- I never felt like the game was out of my control.

Reality TV World: Are you frustrated with the editing that you got? Because the editing really seemed to show you being very below the radar and making it look like you were more supplemental.

Sophie Clarke: Well, I think that my game was very subtle. I think that to win the game, you don't need to make big moves. I think that Albert wanted to make a big move because he thought it was necessary to win the game -- I don't think that's right. I do think that my game was very subtle.

I think I probably had some good confessionals where I described what I was doing that weren't shown, and yeah, obviously if I felt like I was in control and the audience didn't, then maybe there was a disconnect there. But in general, I have very little complaints. Again, it's hard to when you have a [million-dollar] check right in front of you.

Reality TV World: You got very emotional [in front of the jury] during the finale's first Tribal Council after "Ozzy" Oscar Lusth had expressed how he felt about you. Do you think that played any role in your subsequent victory at the final Tribal Council? Because obviously, one of the criticisms seems to be that you had a hard outer shell during the game.

Sophie Clarke: Yeah, no. It's funny because right after that happened, I came back to the beach and all I could think of was, "I just screwed myself over." If I was in the jury, I wouldn't want to see some girl crying. I wouldn't want to give the million to some cry baby.

But then the more I thought about it, I realized that what they were complaining about and their issue with me was that I was too closed off, I was not an open book, I was not sharing enough, I was too blunt.

And so really by being so vulnerable in that moment, I think they saw it not so much as a weakness, but I think they found it endearing. So, I think it definitely worked to my advantage. I mean, it was obviously genuine, but yeah. I think I am a very closed off person and I'm very grateful that I was -- that the jury was able to see that side of me. I think it swayed votes.

Reality TV World: The show made it look like you didn't get along very well with John Cochran, which came as a bit of a surprise to some viewers given you two seemed to have some natural commonality and are both smart people who are pursuing advanced degrees in graduate school. 

Sophie Clarke: But was is our natural commonality?

Reality TV World: Well what I just said, basically.

Sophie Clarke: Well other people were pursuing advanced degrees. Dawn had an advanced degree. [Edna Ma]...

Reality TV World: [Cochran and yourself] are also similar age-wise...

Sophie Clarke: I think Cochran and I are very different people. Cochran is very bad in social situations. He's very self conscious. He's not very confident. He had to be told when he could get the machete, how to use the machete, what coconut to open -- and I'm very self sufficient. I'm very independent.

I think Cochran is someone -- in real life, he's a good friend of mine, but he is someone that you want to throttle when you're living on a desert island with him. So yeah, I found him super annoying and I didn't respect his move, but I was very grateful for it.

Reality TV World: When I talked with Cochran, he said he thought the Final 4 pact he had formed with yourself, Albert and Coach [when he flipped] was sincere and you were the one who at some point had revealed that wasn't actually the case. Was it ever sincere from your perspective?

Sophie Clarke: No, never -- never sincere. I mean, the whole idea of making people feel comfortable -- the whole game, I wanted to make sure that Edna felt comfortable and Rick felt comfortable -- like they felt they were in the final alliance.

If people don't think that they have a pact for the Final 3, then that's when they start worrying and start making moves, which is why I had... They didn't really show this, but part of the reason that people were calling me a backstabber was because I made all of these alliances and broke them.

I had an alliance with Rick that I broke, I had an alliance with Edna that I broke, and I had an alliance with Cochran that I broke. And I was the only one who sucked up to them, and of course, I never planned to bring Cochran to the end. I think Albert did. I'm not sure about Coach.

Reality TV World: Ozzy called you a "spoiled brat" a couple times. What's your perspective on that? Do you have any comment on that? Do you think that maybe goes back to some of the things you were talking about before, about how you seemed to be closed off?

Sophie Clarke: No, I think that part of the thing with Ozzy was gameplay as a way to get me votes out, but yeah, Ozzy and I we're fine now. I think that we're both similar people. We're both very hard-headed and we're both very competitive and we do not hit it off at all.

Reality TV World: You called him "arrogant," I think.

Sophie Clarke: See, yeah! I mean, I was calling him just as many names as he was calling me.

Reality TV World: There was that scene during the first Immunity Challenge in last night's episode where you were yelling at Albert to collect the puzzle pieces you had dropped. (Laughs) What was going through your mind there? Did you just think that Albert had no chance to win the challenge?

Sophie Clarke: Albert very rarely had a chance to win immunity. He was doing really poorly in that. You don't see much of every challenge because they take so much longer, but I was actually doing really well in that challenge and Albert could never get his cards past two stories.

And at that point, I was at a level where I was kind of counting the pieces and if I had the pieces that I dropped on the ground, I think I could have made it to the top. And we discussed that day that none of us would win if Ozzy was in the game, because Ozzy had it hands down, and so, it didn't really matter who won the Immunity Challenge.

Someone needed to beat Ozzy. It was almost like a team effort. So to me, it made a lot of sense that I was doing really well in the challenge and he wasn't. I felt like I could win, and so, I asked him to pick up my pieces but he didn't. I think that shows a lot about Albert. I think he also had a very false confidence about his ability to perform in challenges. Yeah.

Reality TV World: You seemed to have a high opinion of Brandon Hantz, but you admitted that your perspective about him changed as the game progressed. Could you talk about how you viewed him in the beginning and what he did to change your mind to the point where you thought he'd be a threat to sit next to in the end? 

Sophie Clarke: I have a very high opinion of Brandon. I said during the episode last week that I saw Brandon to be a big jury threat. I still think that had Brandon made it to the end, he would win. I would have voted for him. I think what you saw on TV was only five percent of Brandon, because the other 95% percent, he's a real gentleman.

He was one of the hardest workers around camp. He was fishing for us. He's a really sweet guy. He has a wife and two kids. He's only 19-years-old. I really liked Brandon. In the beginning, I was suspicious of him and it turned out he was hiding something, but after that, I had no problems with Brandon.

That's why I'm very grateful that I was never in an alliance with him, because I think that's a big part of what screwed Coach and Albert over -- because Brandon is so volatile. To be in an alliance with him, you're kind of screwing yourself over. So, I was lucky that I was able to have a friendship with him that was not related to strategy at all.

Reality TV World: What are your plans for the money? Did you already start medical school this past fall? I saw that you said you felt winning the money would allow you to have more flexibility in choosing your speciality.

Sophie Clarke: Yeah, no. I just finished my exam. It's my first semester, so yeah. I'm just paying for medical school! Other than that, I haven't really thought much about it.




(Photo credit CBS)


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