Exclusive: 'Survivor: Cagayan -- Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty' castoff Cliff Robinson (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/21/2014
Survivor: Cagayan -- Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty's fourth episode featured the three tribes reshuffling into two new tribes and concluded with the new Solana tribe voting out Cliff Robinson at Tribal Council.
Cliff, a 46-year-old former NBA All-Star from Newark, NJ, was voted out of his Solana tribe at the season's fifth Tribal Council session during Wednesday night's broadcast of the CBS reality series' 28th edition. It was Cliff's first time this season attending a Tribal Council session with his tribe.
Cliff was eliminated from the game after Tony Vlachos and Trish Hegarty flipped on the former Brawn tribe members in their new Solana tribe and teamed up with former Beauty tribe castaways Jefra Bland and LJ McKanas instead. Cliff had assumed Tony and Trish would stick with their original group.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Cliff talked about his Survivor experience. Below is the concluding portion of his interview. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: What can you tell me about the relationship between Trish and Lindsey Ogle, because clearly they don't seem to get along.
Cliff Robinson: Well, from my perspective, they just didn't hit it off, you know? I think Trish came in with the idea she wanted to irritate people and she did it well, because she was able to get under Lindsey's skin. And from that point, they just didn't get along.
Reality TV World: Do you think the fact it took the members of the Brawn tribe 14 days to finally get to Tribal actually ended up being kind of a negative in that you guys never had to draw alliance lines or have your unity tested?
Cliff Robinson: Definitely. That's why I said what I said during Tribal. You never know where your true alliances lie until you come to Tribal, so that was our first time being put in that position, so it was the first time we were able to truly see where our alliances laid. And when you have 14 days before you're put in a position to vote somebody off, there's a lot of back and forth.
Reality TV World: What were your thoughts about Tony while you were out there and how had they changed over the course of the 14 days? Obviously we know how Trish came to be the outsider of your group, but how did Tony come to be the other outsider?
Cliff Robinson: Well Tony made himself an outsider. I was going to play the game with Tony. You got to be willing to make adjustments on the fly, so I was -- from the beginning, I kind of thought Tony might be a little shady because he started off the game lying. So I thought he might be a little shady, but as we were able to, like I said, avoid Tribal for 14 days, a lot of things changed.
So when we merged with some of the Solana tribe, I thought Tony understood that we were going to get them first and then we would come back to what we had going before.
Reality TV World: You were shown pointing out last night your tribe had a 5-2 advantage over LJ and Jefra and you guys didn't even need Trish to even maintain the voting majority. So given you already seemed to think Trish was going to flip on you, did you ever consider targeting her instead of LJ at Tribal?
Cliff Robinson: You know, that came up. That came up, but we wanted to -- well, my thought process was, "Let's get rid of this new support system that Trish thinks she has now."
Reality TV World: Couldn't you just get rid of Trish instead and solve the same problem?
Cliff Robinson: We could've. We could've, but I wanted to get rid of LJ first and see what she was going to do after that.
Reality TV World: So did you kind of view it as an opportunity to see whether Trish would stay loyal to the former Brawn tribe or not?
Cliff Robinson: Yes, I wanted to see if she was going to come trying to get back in with her original tribemates. And LJ was a bigger threat.
Reality TV World: So how had you been thinking the next couple of votes were going to go if you had succeeded in getting rid of LJ? Did you think you'd go after Trish then or Jefra first and then Trish?
Cliff Robinson: Oh yes, Jefra would've been next.
Reality TV World: Did you guys have any idea that LJ might have a hidden Immunity Idol and could possibly play it? Because Wednesday night's episode didn't show you guys having that concern.
Cliff Robinson: We thought about it. We thought about it, but at the same time, we just felt strong about just trying to get rid of -- we wanted to get rid of -- LJ, and that was our focus, just get rid of LJ. He's a strong player, he was strong in challenges, and he was real smooth. I called him "The Horse Whisperer."
So that was the thought process, to try to get rid of a major player so when we go to the next challenge, the other [Aparri] tribe could see that we got rid of one of their players and one of their tribemates and kind of move from there.
Reality TV World: Like we saw, LJ was apparently confident enough that Tony and Trish were going to vote against you, he decided not to play his idol. Why do you think he was so confident given he'd only known the two of them a couple of days? Or do you think maybe he wasn't confident but figured had he played the idol, it would postpone his life in the game by only three days?
Cliff Robinson: I think he was coming from that perspective and I also think Trish did a good job of convincing him that Tony was with him. Trish, you know, she worked the Massachusetts angle fairly, very well. So I think she did a good job on bringing LJ aboard.
Reality TV World: What was your relationship with Lindsey like? Some of your tribemates thought she was a little too obsessed with you. (Laughs)
Cliff Robinson: You know what? I mean, nothing could be further from the truth. Lindsey's a great person. We aligned together, and you know, that was it. We're both -- I'm a married man.
I think Lindsey's married, so you know, as far as that, I mean, I don't see how anybody could go out on Survivor and be thinking of anything other than playing the game. We're out there with no soap, you know what I mean?! (Laughs) Who's thinking about anything [else]? I wasn't!
Reality TV World: Was the tribal shuffle a surprise to you or had you and your tribe already suspected it was coming? If so, had you guys talked about how you were going to handle it?
Cliff Robinson: We didn't talk about [that]. We suspected it; We suspected that it was going to happen. But we were unsure because we -- a lot of people left stuff at camp. So we were unsure whether it was going to happen, but we thought it might be happening because the Brains tribe only had three members left.
Reality TV World: And the challenges would get really hard at that point.
Cliff Robinson: Yeah, exactly. You can't sit out three people.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor? How did you end up on the show?
Cliff Robinson: My wife, she reached out to Lisa Singer, who's in casting. And from there, the ball got rolling. You sit around and make decisions about people while you're watching the game, and my wife said, "Oh, you think you could do better?!" And I said, "Yes." And she kind of got the ball rolling from there.
Reality TV World: So she kind of dared you? (Laughs)
Cliff Robinson: Pretty much!
Reality TV World: Do you think you would've ended up applying at some point yourself if that hadn't happened?
Cliff Robinson: I don't know. I don't know. I would like to think I would've, but I don't know. She's the go-getter when it comes to that kind of stuff.
Above is the concluding portion of Cliff's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Click here to read the first half.