Exclusive: Dana Lambert talks about 'Survivor: Philippines' (Part 2)
By Reality TV World staff, 10/19/2012
Dana Lambert departed Survivor: Philippines due to illness during Wednesday night's fifth episode of the CBS reality series' 25th edition.
Dana, a 32-year-old cosmetologist from Winston-Salem, NC, got evacuated from the island -- although she had been medically cleared to stay in the game by the show's medical staff -- after she determined she was too sick to continue competing.
In an exclusive interview on Thursday, Dana talked to Reality TV World about her prematurely-shortened Survivor: Philippines experience.
Below is the concluding portion of Dana's interview. Click here to read the first half.Also click here to read our separate interview with ousted castaway Sarah Dawson.
Reality TV World: How big of an impact do you think your departure played in Dawson's subsequent vote-off -- like do you think Dawson, Katie Hanson and yourself would have remained aligned and been able to convince Denise Stapley to join you guys and take out one of the men, or do you think Denise would still have made the decision to go with the men instead?
Dana Lambert: Well when Denise got over to camp, I was already sick, but she kept asking me questions and had been like, "I've been really wanting to talk to you," and she's asking about my tattoos and stuff -- just getting to know me or whatever. And I could already kind of see that look in her eyes, where I felt like, "Yeah, we have Denise. We have her."
And how awesome is it to get "Momma Guns" on your side. She's one badass competitor, and I was pretty thrilled with the fact that I had another tough woman to compete with me. That would have totally balanced out the physical side, I feel like. So, yeah, I felt like the girls -- I know Dawson and Katie. I know that they were in my alliance.
I know, because after [Jeff Kent] talked to them to try to use me as a decoy, they came straight to me and told me about it. So I knew that they were going to be in my alliance, and I was feeling pretty comfortable with having Denise too as a fourth. It just didn't play out right.
Reality TV World: Out of the three men, who was your alliance hoping to vote off first, and why? Was it still Jonathan Penner at that point?
Dana Lambert: No, I was never going to go for Dawson [sic], We were going to go for [Carter Williams]. Well, I told the girls that we were going to go for Carter because I didn't want their body language to give it away to the guys before we made it to Tribal -- if we would've went to Tribal. So then I was going to try to change it immediately to Penner or Kent -- just someone who was not expecting to get the vote, so it couldn't have been switched over.
And still, who knows. It's a numbers game and it was three and three. So maybe I could've gotten one of the guys to vote a different way, I don't know.
Reality TV World: Jonathan was shown telling Jeff Probst at Tribal Council that he was certain your tribe would have won that Immunity Challenge if you had still been in the game. What was your reaction to hearing that, and do you agree with him?
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Dana Lambert: I mean, I don't know. It's hard to predict the future. I don't know if I would've or not, but you know, Kalabaw was -- we were kind of badass out there. We worked well together. Penner was really good at choosing who would do what, and I think that that's the biggest part of Survivor, was picking the right person to do the right job.
And he was really good at that, and we all worked well together as a team. We worked well together off-camera, on-camera. Our tribe, we were pretty functional. We were a pretty functional tribe. I liked them. And of course there's shadiness going on behind people's backs. It's a game.
But for the most part, I felt like we all worked well together. And bringing someone else new into the mix, which was Denise, she killed it still at the challenge. But you know, Katie and Dawson weren't quite as competitive or physical, I think, as I was. And I think it maybe messed the dynamic up a little bit.
Reality TV World: Obviously Dawson voted for Denise at Tribal last night. So she really seemed to be blindsided at the idea that Denise had managed to work her way into your tribe so well, and it really seemed to be coming down to her or Katie. Did that surprise you personally or had you kind of expected that Denise wasn't likely to be the first one voted off after she joined your tribe?
Dana Lambert: I wasn't surprised because definitely for Carter, Jeff and Penner -- and I understood -- it's all about "physical." It's all about how well you perform in the challenges. "Social," that will come later. The social side of the game will come later. So, I wasn't really surprised.
I mean, Denise has proven herself challenge after challenge what kind of fighter and competitor she is. And so I wasn't really surprised that they ended up keeping Denise. They needed another strong [tribemate]. I left and they needed another strong female person to compete, and I wasn't surprised at all that they decided to keep Denise.
Reality TV World: I know you were out of the game by then, but last night's episode seemed to show Jeff Probst repeating that your tribe was in trouble because Katie had struggled in the beginning of the Immunity Challenge a bunch of times. What are your general thoughts on those types of play-by-play comments. Do you think they are legitimate or do you feel it's kind of an unfair attempt to influence the game? Also, how frustrating are they to hear while the challenge is going on?
Dana Lambert: I mean, Katie did do her best, and she's a hard worker around camp. She's a good girl and it is unfair. But if you're picking your lineup for a team, you pick the best competitor. You pick the one that fights the hardest to win, and it wasn't completely unfair. It wasn't completely unjust. If I would've been there, I would've done everything in my power to keep Katie and Dawson.
I would've. Because not just for the female alliance, but in the end, as individuals for the Individual [Immunity] Challenges. I would've, of course, have rathered compete against them than Penner or Kent or Carter. So, I understood both sides of where they were coming from on that.
Reality TV World: Was Dawson really the only person, as far as you know, that recognized who Jeff Kent was? When did you finally personally find out who he was? Was that something Dawson had told you guys once both of you got off the show and what was your reaction?
Dana Lambert: Yeah, I had no clue! (Laughs) I honestly had no clue that Kent was an MVP professional baseball player. I had no clue that he was against pretty much everything that I stand for. I had no clue about those things, and Dawson should've come to me -- as I was in her alliance -- and told us about that, because I would've handled that situation very differently.
I wouldn't have went to Kent personally. At that point, I knew he was trying to hide it and I would've busted him out right there in front of everyone. Like, "So, I hear you're a millionaire baseball player -- a pretty successful one.
Hmm, I guess you don't need the million as bad as some of us need that million." And I think that that would've helped us in our favor. I wish that she would've not just went to him, but went to us, so that we could've figured out a different plan of action than what happened. But it's her choice.
Reality TV World: Do you think Jeff's former profession would've been enough to turn Jonathan or Carter against him? Do you think it really would've affected the dynamics of your tribe or would people have just brushed it off as insignificant?
Dana Lambert: Honestly, Carter was pretty much Jeff's shadow and he probably would've slobbered all over himself. It would've only influenced him more. But Penner on the other hand, I think that that maybe would have changed his mind. I think it would've changed his mind if he knew that.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor: Philippines? How did you end up on the show?
Dana Lambert: I went to the CBS website and I tried once before but I missed the deadline. I got the deadline, sent a video in and did a bio and they called me back! I went to L.A., did my interviews and then they invited me on the show. So, I've always been a huge fan and have daydreamed about this for years.
I'm glad I did it when I was older and not when I was younger. I do have to say that I wouldn't have been the same if I was younger, and I do think that I'm the age that I am now when I did it. But yeah.
Reality TV World: Could you elaborate on that a little more? What do you think the advantages are now to being a bit older when playing the game rather than younger?
Dana Lambert: Just socially and being more confident with who I am and to really be able to tell a true story of my past and be okay with that. Before, there's no way that I would've came out. Today, "Hey everybody, I'm a lesbian! And, by the way, I used to be a drug addict."
There's no way that I could've done that when I was younger. There's no way that I could've had that confidence in myself to put all of my dirty laundry out there for everyone. So, I'm glad that I'm at the age that I am now that I have dealt with all those things, and I'm fine with it.