However that all changed once the Heroes lost the game's second Immunity Challenge and she suddenly became the target of an uncharacteristically belligerent James Clement, leading to Stephenie becoming the second returning castaway voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.
On Friday, Stephenie talked to Reality TV World about how she ended up on the top of James' verbal hit list, what she thinks of him now, which other Heroes engaged in unheroic behavior, and whether she really believes Cirie Fields and Candice Woodcock are the next Heroes on the chopping block.
Reality TV World: What happened between you and James -- did his feelings really all spawn out of what happened at the Episode 2 challenge or had there already been some friction between you two before that?
Stephenie: No. James, I had tried to get to know really well out there. He is just very closed and very kind of anti-social and quiet. And he was really close with [Amanda Kimmel]. Really close with Amanda, I mean they were like inseparable.
So, we get to this challenge and it's [James "JT" Thomas] is going to lead it, nobody else is going to talk. And we were letting JT lead it and couldn't get it. Like he just, you know, puzzles are difficult and he couldn't get it. So people are chiming in like, "Okay, what are we supposed to do now?"
It looked like I was chiming in a lot but it was no more than anybody else. I mean it was kind of like, "Okay." At one point Candice was trying to lead the puzzle -- it was just a big mess. And we were wrong -- like the whole puzzle was wrong, we weren't even close -- and I think that's all I was trying to say.
You know I wasn't trying to say where to put the pieces because I can't do puzzles. But I was just like "This is wrong, this isn't right," and James was like "Shut the F up," "Shut the F up" the whole freaking time.
Then the challenge is over -- and this is where the editing came in a little bit. The challenge is over and he's still screaming, and it's like he's screaming right in my face and I'm like "James, it wasn't just me talking, like it's over."
And he's like "Argh!" and that's when he got "Oh, well if you're going to say it wasn't you then you're obviously guilty" when I said it wasn't just me. I didn't say it wasn't me, I said it wasn't just me. We were all kind of confused, like "What do you want us to do next?" And he just lost his crap!
His true colors came out and I think he embarrassed himself. A lot. In front of America. Just the way he spoke to me. There was a lot that wasn't seen and [Tom Westman] was in his face, [Colby Donaldson] was in his face at the beach that you didn't see.
It just goes to show -- for him to bring up the past and [my] losing on Palau like every challenge, well okay, how does that have anything to do with this puzzle?
Honestly, did I bring up him being voted out with two immunity idols in his pocket? No. And then for me to get voted out and for him to still be saying "Shut your mouth," just goes to show that he's a degrading type of a person and he's not the James that we all once thought.
Reality TV World: Do you think he came after you because he suspected you were coming after Amanda, [who you just said he was very close with?]
Stephenie: That too a little bit. You know, Amanda -- we knew they were super-tight and we knew that they had people on the other [Villains] side. We knew we needed to try and break that up, and Amanda really should have went like Day 1.
It was really kind of between Amanda, Cirie and [Jessica "Sugar" Kiper] and we said "Let's keep Amanda around, she is kind of good in the challenges and we'll get rid of her a little later." And we should have just never gave them that opportunity. It should have been Amanda -- it should have been [Rupert Boneham], with the toe -- and, you know.
Reality TV World: During your Final Words you said your tribe had had a "division since Day 1" and that people weren't "even genuinely try[ing] to [get] to know each other." Can you elaborate on that a little more?
Stephenie: Yeah, Day 1 when you get there, usually you don't know each other and you're like "Where are you from, where do you work, what's the story of your life?"
I mean I don't even think I knew James' last name. I tried to get to know him and like wouldn't let me. And Rupert, all he talked about was his charity of course, which is noble, but also how many appearances he's done and how famous he's become and James too -- how he gets all this stuff for free at this certain restaurant where the girls are half-naked.
I mean it was like the egos were so unbearable to the point where me, Tom and Colby were kind of like "You know, I don't even want anything to do with it and I'm so sick of hearing it." We would like stand outside the shelter. At night, like by the fire. Because we -- it was so unbearable.
It was like unbelievable. Amanda just kind of sat there quiet and, you know, whatever James said she was like giggling. And then JT, he would chime in -- he was kind of close to Rupert it seemed like.
So we knew they were all together, and then even Cirie -- she'd roll her eyes every now and then like "Oh my god, these people!"
And then Candice, she was just so scared because she knew like NO ONE out there, so I think she was afraid to say anything because she thought she'd be [voted off] first or whatever.
There was a division since Day 1, like it was not a fun group of people to be around, and you know, you didn't do anything without Rupert's approval because he's like "Mr. Survivor," or so he acted.
It was really just -- I think I would have had a better time on the Villains tribe.
Reality TV World: So do you think that the fact that, as you just said, Tom, Colby and yourself kind of removed yourselves a little bit kind of ended up contributing to your downfall?
Stephenie: You know I don't, because me and Tom and Colby would be over here and it would be like Candice and Cirie off somewhere and then it would be just like James, Rupert, JT and Amanda just like amusing themselves by talking about themselves almost.
So we were all kind of separated, it wasn't just like we were the only three that were separate, you know what I mean?
Reality TV World: Sure. Did you guys really believe Cirie and Candice would be the next ones to be voted off or was that just part of your attempt to convince them to side with you?
Stephenie: Yeah. Absolutely. I specifically told them, "If you get rid of me that's one thing, but I'm telling you right now you'll be the next to go. Maybe not in that specific order, but you'll definitely be targeted."
Because even (unintelligible) said "You come with us and it's the five of us, you won't see your name. You go with them, you're fine for now but they will write your name down." And when you get to the merge you're gone, because they were already involved with other people, and friends with other people.
We thought they were already involved with [Parvati Shallow] and people from the other side. So we knew even if they kept them until the merge -- yeah, maybe they're keeping their numbers to get to the merge -- but they'll be gone come the merge.
Reality TV World: But you were convinced Cirie wasn't one of those Micronesia people that was involved?
Stephenie: I was. You know, at first I was "She's definitely involved" and then after having seriously long talks with her she was like -- she convinced me that she definitely was not with them.
Reality TV World: After last week's premiere, Entertainment Weekly reported that you didn't actually dislocate your shoulder as last week's premiere showed and even though Parvati did yank on it, that came after it had already been popped back in -- which I'm not sure makes her look any better...
Reality TV World: ...but she didn't seem to be involved in the actual injury. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Stephenie: Yeah, the challenge was a really rough challenge. Cirie and I actually won the first heat of that and they didn't show -- because you know, they only have a certain amount of time to show certain things happen.
And as I was diving for my mat with the bag in my left hand, as I fell, I dislocated my shoulder. Normally I can get my own shoulder back in -- it has dislocated a number of times, I need surgery but haven't had it yet -- [but] I couldn't get it back in [this time].
The medical team came out, put it back in exactly as you saw -- Jeff was involved, the whole thing. It was really shocking, kind of, because I was in a lot of pain. And then the second heat came around where it was my turn and Cirie's turn to go in again.
At that point I was already hurt, so that's how Parvati knew to put my arms sort of behind my back because she knew if she locked my arm behind my back I didn't have enough strength to get it out, because I was already weak from hurting my shoulder.
That's why [Courtney Yates] yelled "Break her shoulder!" Because who yells "Break her shoulder" out of nowhere, except you can't break a shoulder anyway, it's dislocating, so whatever -- but that's kind of how it went. Like Parvati didn't dislocate my shoulder. She didn't hurt me, I was already hurt (laughs)
That's kind of how it went down.
Reality TV World:So is the fact that Cirie had convinced you that she wasn't with the other Micronesia folks why you guys backed off Tom's plan to go after her instead of Sugar at the first Tribal Council?
Stephenie: Yeah, I mean Sugar -- I like Sugar, but Sugar was really getting annoying to a lot of people. So it was really going to be Cirie first, everybody wanted Cirie gone. But then I kind of thought Sugar was in with Rupert and I knew we had no chance, because I knew Rupert hated me.
So my next only move was "Okay Tom and Colby, let's get Cirie." Like, "Cirie likes me, we've been talking, let's get Cirie, because Sugar there's no hope." So I was like "Okay," we get rid of Sugar -- I went with them on it -- we pulled Cirie in.
But then Cirie was questioning whether Tom and Colby really wanted her in the alliance or if they were going to get rid of her too and just needed her for a number at the time, so it was all this misunderstanding.
Hindsight is 20/20, Cirie will be the first to say that, but you know, they should have went with us. It was a better deal.
(Photo credit CBS)
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