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HOME > Survivor > Survivor: Micronesia

Mary Sartain talks about her surprise 'Survivor: Microneisa' ouster


By Christopher Rocchio, 02/18/2008 

Mary Sartain's expression said a lot when she was revealed to be the second castaway eliminated from Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites during last Thursday night's broadcast.

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"They showed some very clever expressions on my face.  I really didn't expect me to have maybe more than one vote," the 29-year-old small business owner from Emeryville, CA told reporters during a Friday conference call, adding she was "definitely not" expecting it.

"[I was surprised by] all the sabotage going on behind the scenes.  I didn't know that people were -- well I kind of had an idea that people were talking, but I didn't know it was about me."

Sartain said she felt the other six members of her initial Airai alliance -- Joel Anderson; Natalie Bolton; Michael "Mikey B." Bortone; Erik Reichenbach; Alexis Jones; and Jason Siska -- should have followed the plan of "taking care of some of the weak players early," a reference to Tracy Hughes-Wolf, Kathleen Sleckman, and Chet Welch.

"I was expecting it to be Tracy.  It should have been Chet, but my alliance said that we wanted to vote Tracy off.  The strategy there was we wanted to eliminate the three people who alienated themselves -- Tracy, Chet and Kathy," explained Sartain. 

"Kathy had the [Individual Immunity Idol] so we couldn't vote for Kathy.  That would have been an easy first out.  Chet had kind of sabotaged us in the challenge when he said he was a really great swimmer and we realized he couldn't swim at all.  And Tracy was just kind of the one that was tagging along with those other two.  She didn't really do a lot of work... Basically I saw her as kind of a little bit more of a physical threat out of those three."

Sartain said Hughes-Wolf, Sleckman and Welch began to "sort of alienate" themselves at the very beginning of the competition.

"I think Kathy was feeling a little uncomfortable and she didn't really know how to deal with that," said Sartain.  "So she took Chet and Tracy on, and basically they kind of alienated themselves.  They built their shelter with only capacity for three, and it was kind of from the very beginning they were like that... Really, if we would have gone into that second challenge as a unified team, I think we would have gotten a lot farther."

However Airai went in with very little unification and lost the Immunity Challenge, causing what Sartain described as "a little paranoia" that began to set in around the tribe.

"Apparently it seemed like Mikey was gaining a little bit too much control," she said.  "Mikey B. did really well in the challenge leading up to our Tribal Council, and that was pretty much the reason why [Joel] wanted to try and take him out at the knees first and take me out.  I believe that Joel was thinking that [Mikey B.] was going to be able to take the girls and vote against Joel."

While Sartain admitted she had an alliance with Bortone, she said it wasn't as strong as Anderson made it out to be.

"[Mikey B. and I] basically pulled each other aside from the beginning and said, 'Hey I'll never write down your name and vice versa.'  We had that type of alliance from the very beginning," she explained.  "When you see the show, there wasn't a whole lot of me and Mikey B. escaping into the woods or going here or there.  It was more [the other Fans] saw us as a possible hook-up... that sort of thing.  So I think we were perceived that way a little bit more than we actually were."

In addition, Sartain said she initially had a similar pact with Bolton, Jones and Siska -- an alliance that was part of her initial strategy heading into the competition.

"Really my strategy was to just take an inventory of people's personalities and align myself with two really strong players that -- not necessarily physically -- but knew the game really well, and hopefully go in with an alliance of five people, five strong people with different things to offer in the game and basically win over the numbers.  Basically strength in the numbers," she said.

However Anderson quickly messed up the cogs in that wheel and became "jealous" of her relationship with Bortone, according to Sartain.

"Basically he was thinking Mikey was gaining too much control and would take over the ladies' vote and eventually vote him out," she explained.  "So I think he was a little paranoid.  I think he overanalyzed things and kind of jumped the gun.  Mikey B. and I wanted nothing more than the Fans to go as far as possible by keeping the best and most-deserving people in the game... Some of my tribemates were just kind of sitting on the sideline watching things happen."

Sartain also feels Bortone didn't do anything to make matters better for himself by coming up with an elaborate scheme she said was the result of "over-strategizing" that left some castaways unsure of who to vote for.

"It definitely backfired," said Sartain of Bortone's plan.  "The last thing that he wanted was for me to go [out of the game] second.  I already know that.  Of course everybody's in it for themselves, but I think that he probably felt like he was blind-sided as well."

Bortone's complicated plan also opened the door for Hughes-Wolf, Sleckman and Welch to align themselves with Anderson, who seemed to be the mastermind of Sartain's elimination during Thursday night's broadcast.

"I'm going to say it wasn't all Joel's plan necessarily, but he was a big part," she said.  "Basically my understanding of what's going on here is that Chet, Tracy and Kathy -- it was going to be one of them.  They knew the seven of us were going to vote against them.  So they went up to Joel and said, 'Hey, you've got our votes. You've got a three-in-one vote.  We'll basically do anything, who's it going to be?  We don't want it to be any one of us. So let's change the tide.'  I think they went to Joel because they figured that Joel was a leader, he's the biggest, has the most presence.  I think little did they know that will hurt them in the end and take out a strong player that's good in challenges."

Despite being the one who was booted as a result of Hughes-Wolf, Sleckman and Welch's last-minute effort, Sartain said she doesn't necessarily fault Anderson for going along with it.

"I wanted to stay in the game as long as possible.  I would have definitely had a lot to think about, but for sure [I would have done the same thing as Anderson]," she explained.  "It was kind of a last-minute decision, but not really having time to strategize or do anything like that, I probably would have ended up saving myself, to be quite honest.  Second person off, you really don't get the total experience."

While Bortone may have been able to stay in the game, Sartain said Anderson may have also cut himself off at the knees depending on how the rest of the tribe reacts to her ouster.

"I think he's really going to have to watch himself, because at this point my tribemates are going to see that Joel is a little crazy and to be very wary [of him], or they are going to continue the massacre and keep on voting off good people," she said.

Sartain also said the fact that Anderson didn't actually vote for her at the Tribal Council that ended with her ouster wasn't that out-of-the-ordinary for him as a player.

"Joel was just not consistent.  There wasn't really a method to his madness," she explained.  "I don't really know what his strategy was.  Maybe he wanted to fool Mikey B..  But it doesn't really matter at that point, so I don't know what his strategy was... I think he just really didn't have a method to that madness.  I'm pretty sure that he did that just to throw-off Mikey B., but Mikey B. was already thrown off.  You saw his expression at Tribal Council.  He was pretty shocked."

Sartain said Micronesia isn't the first time she applied for the show -- which considering she's part of the Fans tribe, she's obviously watched before.

"I watch the show really carefully... I really appreciate the purity of the show," she said.  "I applied for Fiji and I made it to the finals for Fiji.  Long-time wanted to do this show.  This is one of the No. 1 things I wanted to accomplish in my lifetime."

Once in Palau, Sartain said it was "amazing" and "pretty exciting" to learn she'd be competing against the Favorites, but...

"Knowing that they had the experience was definitely a little intimidating," she admitted.  "But once we started playing the game it real comfortable and I was really happy that they chose us super-fans to play against Favorites.  They obviously thought that we had some competitive edge and could keep up with the Favorites."

However one thing that hurt the Fans right off the bat was some inclement weather that Sartain said even caused some of their damp clothing to grow mold.

"It rained for about three or four days straight.  We were always cold, wet," she said.  "Given that we didn't have the proper shelter, we had to sleep in a cave.  We basically got picked at by rats.  We infiltrated at rat's home in our cave, and they didn't leave us alone."

Despite the challenges facing the Fans, Sartain reiterated the statement she made following her ouster that "one of the Fans will definitely win this Survivor."

"All of us are super-fans.  We know how to play this game -- we know the ins and outs -- we're tough, competitive players," she explained.  "I think a Favorite's just not going to see it coming from the Fans. They're cocky, they really think they have an advantage, which they do, but they don't know who the Fans are.  A Fan can just totally blind-side one of the Favorites."

Specifically, Sartain said she thinks Siska has a good shot among the nine remaining Fans.

"I hope Jason gets his opportunity," she said.  "I really liked him as a player, and he's a huge fan.  If I had to pick one of the Fans, it'd be Jason."

While she may have been booted before really getting the chance to experience the Survivor lifestyle fully, Sartain did manage to quickly get a fiance out of the deal.

"I'm engaged to Ryan-O [Ryan Opray] from Pearl Islands," she said during the conference call.  "If I didn't get the boot early on, then it could have never happened that we met.  I met him through another contestant on the show who had also been booted off early.  He introduced us and now we're engaged."

Opray -- who finished ninth during Pearl Islands -- and Sartain both hail from California and were introduced a few days after her December return from Micronesia.  They "hit it off" right away, according to Sartain.

"Survivors are pretty unified, we've just got so much in common seeing as how we're both on the show," she explained.  "So we're really happy.  He proposed to me a couple weeks ago in Runyan, and we're planning on getting married in September."

In addition to tying the knot, Sartain and Opray also have several other things they're currently working on together.

"We've got a lot of projects on the horizon," she said.  "We're starting to develop both a TV show and also we're involved in getting a restaurant started in L.A., so we're pretty busy."

(Photo credit CBS)


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