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Exclusive: Yasmin Giles talks about her "happy" 'Survivor: Samoa' exit


By Christopher Rocchio, 10/09/2009 

Yasmin Giles claims she was happy to have her Survivor torch snuffed.

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The 33-year-old hairstylist from Detroit, MI who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA became the fifth castaway eliminated from Survivor: Samoa during last night's broadcast of the CBS reality series.

On Friday, Yasmin talked to Reality TV World about why she was happy to be booted; why she formed an alliance with fellow outsider Shannon "Shambo" Waters; how she's buried the hatchet with Ben Browning but still thinks he's a racist; and who's really running the Galu tribe.


Reality TV World: Did you have any idea you were on the chopping block heading into last night's Tribal Council?

Yasmin: Kind of... Kind of.  That's why I wore my heels.  I'm like, "If I'm going to leave, I'm going to leave in style." But kind of.  They throw your name out and I kind of had an idea.  But needless to say, when [host Jeff Probst] put my torch out I smiled because I was happy to go.

Reality TV World: Why were you happy to go?

Yasmin: Because I'm not a woman that's afraid to admit when I've been defeated. The woods just were not for me.  I couldn't.

Reality TV World: You said you "kind of" had an idea you'd be booted, but -- right before the votes were cast -- what were you thinking?

Yasmin: I was hoping to get a sandwich afterwards.

Reality TV World: So at that point you knew it was over? You didn't think you had done enough during Tribal Council to save your skin?

Yasmin:  It was pretty much a wrap, simply because the way people were changing the things that they said to me prior and throwing me under the bus at Tribal Council.

Reality TV World: What do you mean by that?

Yasmin: [Brett Clouser].  I can't stress enough how I spent so much time talking to Brett, because Brett was a nice guy.  He is a nice guy.  I went out with Brett, we chopped down some reeds -- I was on his shoulders for 30 minutes.  Then we chopped down some trees with the machete... chopped down two trees and it was all good.

Then Brett said, "Hey, Yas.  You're so cool! You're worth keeping around." The kiss of death.  Translation: You're going home.

Reality TV World: After you were eliminated, you commented how you felt like you were such a strong competitor, that had you made it to the end, "it would have been really hard not to vote for" you to win.  Could you just elaborate on that? 

Yasmin: What you guys didn't see is I built relationships with everybody.  As bad as TV or the network wanted to make it seem, it wasn't that bad.  I am a strong competitor.  If nothing else -- outside of me having this big mouth -- I did prove that. I stepped it up in every challenge. 

I never left my team hanging.  So to hear, "Oh, she's not a team player.  She's out for herself."  How am I when I'm running up six-feet of wooden planks in my undies? Am I really just doing this for myself or the team?

Reality TV World: During last night's episode you told Shambo that you had deliberately been doing nothing around camp because you didn't want to screw something up and give people an excuse to vote you off.  Was that the truth about why you didn't do much around camp or was that an excuse that you made up in order to try and save yourself?

Yasmin: I didn't have to save my skin with Shambo because she was my ally.  But I was tired too. (laughing) But I will say this, because you guys have not seen much of our tribe, nobody understands that any little thing you did around there you would be attacked for.

We went from, "Oh [John Fincher] should leave, he almost helped us lose the first challenge. Oh Shambo lost the fishing gear? She should go. Then there was this thing about [David Ball] being weird.  He should go.  Then it was [Monica Padilla's] not stepping up, we want her off the tribe.  Yasmin's not helping around the [camp], but, "Hey we've used her up and won some challenges.  They're outnumbered by us. Let's get rid of her."

So they were kind of all over the place.

Reality TV World: Just to back up a bit, all of last night's elimination discussion seemed to be about Monica and yourself.  Why do you think Shambo got off so easy despite losing your fishing gear, letting the chicken loose, and being the tribe's outsider from the beginning? Were you surprised there wasn't more focus on her.

Yasmin: I was, but that just goes to show you this wonderful game of Survivor can be anybody's game.  No matter what I did wrong or right in the eyes of the people watching, it still could go either way.  I was totally shocked. But nevertheless, I'm still extremely excited because she was my ally and if I was not going to stick around I would rather her be there.

Reality TV World: Did you ever think that your tribe would consider you not even trying to do anything as more of a reason to vote you off than if you had tried to do stuff but made some mistakes?

Yasmin: Now that's a good question.  I didn't think about that until I kind of went into the game.  At first I started off like... That's another thing.  When we did our roof, I'm a professional hairstylist -- I was. I showed them how to braid the palm fronds to make the roof.  But those are things you guys didn't see.

So I started off helping a lot until I realized, "Okay, these people are just going to use you and throw you away.  If you make a critical mistake, you're on the chopping block."  Mentally -- I'm going to be totally honest with you -- I was just drained.  I was like, "I'm done."

Reality TV World: Did you guys ever re-capture the chicken?

Yasmin: No, we did not.

Reality TV World: Did you have any idea while you were out there that Erik Cardona might have found the hidden Immunity Idol?

Yasmin: No, I did not. (laughing)  A lot of times when you saw the crew together, did you notice you never saw me or Shambo? We were already outsiders, so regardless of if people want to say I'm lazy or if I had this bug mouth -- the reality of it is I just was not a part of the clique.

Reality TV World: So even though Shambo is being billed as Galu's big outsider, you're saying you were just as much of an outsider.

Yasmin: Well you never saw me with the girls?

Reality TV World: Did you ever make the connection that there might be a hidden Immunity Idol in a similar spot on Galu's beach? 

Yasmin: No, I think I fell short on that end. I'm a little slow right there. (laughing)  I didn't have any clue!  Again, by then I was so delirious.  I was tired, I was hungry.  Sometimes you don't think straight.  I didn't make that connection because I just didn't -- but I guess half the time I just spent napping, as so did John.  I guess I could have been looking for the idol too.

Reality TV World: Did Erik or John ever approach you asking about what your clue had said?

Yasmin: As a matter of fact, in one of the secret scenes when I returned back to Galu, Erik and Dave did ask me.  I will be the first to tell you, I lied. I never trusted Erik.  I didn't really like Dave -- I thought he was a snake. Shambo was my ally, so I gave her my clue.

So if you noticed last night, she ended up giving them her clue and my clue.  Erik said to her, "So what did Yasmin's clue say?" She told him.  But I didn't tell Erik what my clue said.

Reality TV World: As you saw during the second episode, the speech you gave when you arrived at Foa Foa rubbed some people the wrong way since it seemed like you were kicking them when they were down.  What was your motivation for giving that speech?  Was there any strategy involved?

Yasmin: First and foremost, it rubbed me the wrong way.  When they played it back, I was like, "Wow.  She's obnoxious."  I thought to myself, "Am I like a camp director screaming at these kids?"

Me personally, I just wanted to help them. It came off the total opposite. I said to them, "I'm not the enemy here." I felt like with [Galu] outnumbering them and us having a hut equivalent to the size of a queen bed and 10 of us are still here -- damn it, knock us off in a challenge so one of us can go home.

But it totally rubbed them the wrong way, and I apologize. I still spent quality time with each one of them after that.

Reality TV World: Almost immediately after that you got into that argument with Ben when you asked him to apologize for his actions during the challenge.  Did you expect it to become such a heated argument or did you think he would simply apologize?

Yasmin: I thought he would apologize.  You notice that when I say, "I know I'm not going to get anywhere with you," I walked away.  I'm not being applauded for anything that I did trying to do it the right way because people only want to look at what it is they want -- their perception of what they saw. 

But Ben actually put a knot on my head the size of a golf ball.  I just wanted to address that, and I said, "Ben, can I talk to you in private for a minute please?" I didn't see me propping my neck and pointing my fingers like (in a scolding voice), "Can I talk to you for a second please!?"  I never did any of that. 

But still, I'm being ridiculed and called ghetto.  I went from ghetto to trashy to trampy to hooker to grammar school to prima donna to lazy to princess.  Which one am I?

Reality TV World: What was your take on Ben's comments -- did you consider them to be racist?

Yasmin: Oh most definitely. And because of the time we spent together after the show, I know he's racist. Again, some things you just don't say.  First of all, when you do say them get my name right.

Reality TV World: When we talked to Ben last week, he said that you two had since buried the hatchet.  Is that true?

Yasmin: I accepted him for who he is. Not to keep bad-mouthing him, but if you're going to say comments like, "Shut your cotton-picking face"?  We buried the hatchet, but I still know who he is.  He is who he is, and I'll say this -- whether we buried the hatchet or not, Ben is like damaged good.  He's a kid to me because he's seven years younger than me and he came off like an idiot.

Reality TV World:  What was your reaction when you learned Ben had basically been eliminated by Foa Foa for making those comments?

Yasmin: I did say when I was voted off that it was the happiest day in my life. But first I must say [Ben getting eliminated] probably was.  When I was voted off it was the second happiest day of my life. (laughing)

I felt like what Ben had coming was a long time coming anyway.  It really didn't have anything to do with the whole racial thing, it's just the fact that he had already rubbed so many people the wrong way that they were basically tired of Ben.  When I spent time at Foa Foa, I felt like a battered woman living in a house with somebody I was afraid to say something to.  He stayed up all night chopping wood for goodness sake!

Reality TV World: When we talked to Betsy Bolan, she said you were "full of" yourself.  Care to respond to those comments?  Have you ever had anybody say that about you before?

Yasmin: You know what, I haven't.  But let's just say this: I shared some time with Betsy too, and a couple of my personal items she has because she wanted to give them to her daughter.  I'm saying right now if she says I was full of myself, she should not be passing those items along.

Reality TV World: What's your take on Russell Swan as Galu's leader?  Do you think he's doing a good job?

Yasmin: My Russell?

Reality TV World: Yeah, Russell Swan.

Yasmin: Yeah, you did say Galu. Those Russells get me confused.

He is [doing a good job].  But again, he's the tribe leader -- but he's not really leading the tribe.  I think as time goes on, we'll see some other people probably step up who have been running things when Russell actually thought he was.

Reality TV World: Are you specifically referring to anyone? Who's running things at Galu at this point?

Yasmin: Definitely [Laura Morett]. She's pushing the buttons.

Reality TV World: Interesting.  We haven't seen much of Galu, so it's hard to see that.

Yasmin: It's because most of those people are boring.

Reality TV World: Okay, but you think Laura's running the show?

Yasmin: Definitely.

Reality TV World: Last night's episode seemed to show Russell being completely dumbfounded by the idea that people might have already formed alliances, which seemed pretty surprising given you guys had already been out there 11 days by that point.  Was Russell really that naive?

Yasmin: No.  I was surprised too because remember, we were sitting pretty. We had no reason to form alliances.  He didn't know either. We're winning all these challenges, they're doing yoga.  Hey, I'm so lazy but because I'm stepping up in the challenges, we can sit around doing yoga because we're not going to Tribal Council.  Please!

Reality TV World: You've mentioned Shambo and Brett, did you form any alliances while you were out there and if so with whom? What other alliances were you aware of? 

Yasmin: I definitely had Shambo.  If you notice, she didn't vote against me.  I had Russell, because you see he was dead set against voting against me.  Erik was always iffy.

But the alliances I saw forming were definitely Dave running behind the kids, being a kid -- it was Brett, Erik more so, it was Laura, it was Monica, and it was John.  That's a hell of a lot of people.

Reality TV World: Do you think Russell just felt the pressure to vote against you?

Yasmin: No doubt.  I think he did the right thing.  He wanted to save his butt, and you can't scold him for that -- you can only commend him.

Reality TV World: How were you cast for Survivor: Samoa?  Was it your first time applying for the show?

Yasmin:  It was my first time and I was recruited.  This show has actually not been my first time on television and it won't be my last.  I've done reality before and I've also co-starred on several shows, so I am a working actress -- that's another thing people don't know.

Reality TV World: Talk a bit about your acting experience.

Yasmin: I did a show called Split Ends [on Style Network].  I was a hairstylist by trade, I used to own a salon for like five-and-a-half years with 10 employees. So I think I do have some type of social skills.  Then I did Shark, a CBS show with CBS that was short-lived.  I did The Bernie Mac Show.  My credits go all the way back to 2004.

Reality TV World: So we'll see you on TV again?

Yasmin: Oh my god!  I won't say, but I think you can hear it in my voice.  Most definitely you will see me on TV again.

(Photo credit CBS)


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