On Monday, Jerri talked to Reality TV World about why she cast her jury vote for Parvati Shallow over eventual winner Sandra Diaz-Twine; her feelings on Russell Hantz and why she decided to align with him; her explanation as to why Colby Donaldson performed so poorly; and if she'll follow through on a promise to go on a date with a fellow former castaway.
Reality TV World: After your elimination you said you were "kind of leaning towards voting for Russell just because he's played an amazing game." What changed your mind? Was it when Parvati told you Russell had revealed to her that he wanted you out of the competition because he was sure he'd get your jury vote?
But no, that's not what it was actually. I'm not surprised that he would be so delusional as to expect someone to vote for him. It was more the fact that he insulted every single one of us on the jury in his opening speech by saying, "Everyone talks about how much luck is involved in this game. I don't believe luck had anything to do with my game. I was in control of everything that happened. I didn't need anybody else. I controlled everybody else."
He just went on and on and on with this arrogant attitude that literally shot himself in the foot. My jaw hit the floor. I could not believe he would say that.
Reality TV World: Prior to casting your Tribal Council vote you said it was between Parvati and Sandra and that you were "perplexed" about the decision before voting for Parvati. What eventually led you to cast your vote for her?
Jerri Manthey: Since Day 1 I tried to get rid of Parvati. I was gunning for her the entire game. She was still there, and not only was she still there, she was still dominating physically and mentally and socially. I had to give her mad props. It would be my own personal thing if I didn't vote for her quite honestly. I can get past that in this game.
Reality TV World: Why do you think Russell was so certain that Sandra wouldn't receive any jury votes and had you also felt the same way?
Jerri Manthey: (laughing) I would never assume that somebody would get no votes. Again, that's Russell's arrogance getting in the way of his game and that's why he'll never win.
But if I had gotten to the Final 3, I know I would have won. I know I would have won because somehow I managed -- me, Jerri (laughing) -- to get through this entire game without making a single person mad at me.
Reality TV World: Okay, so you think you would have won had you made it to the Final 3 regardless of who was there with you?
Jerri Manthey: Yeah, absolutely. I talked to the jury after the fact -- after I was voted off -- and they were all very disappointed that I had been voted off.
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Reality TV World: There's been a lot of talk about whether it was fair or not for Russell to get to play the game without anyone having gotten to seen his season first. Do you think he would have had any chance of making it this far or that it would have effected your own decision to try and ally with him if you guys had all seen his Samoa season before Heroes vs. Villains was filmed?
Jerri Manthey: I'm sure if we had seen it he would have been probably one of the first people voted out. I have very little respect for some of the things he did -- like burning people's socks, dumping out their water. Things that could literally affect someone's health and well-being. As far as I was concerned he should have been eliminated from the game for doing those things.
Reality TV World: During her exit interviews, [Jessica "Sugar" Kiper] made some comments that have sparked a lot of speculation and rumors that Parvati somehow knew about Russell or had some contact with him before the game started. As their ally, did you know anything about that?
Reality TV World: What made you decide to switch sides and ally with Russell instead of [Rob "Boston Rob" Mariano] during their showdown and in hindsight do you think it was the right decision given Russell still turned on you at the end?
Jerri Manthey: Well I think it should be noted that at that point I was not on either side. I had found the perfect position of total neutrality and it was that defining moment where my strategic game play came into affect. I knew I was the swing vote.
I basically looked at the pros and cons of both sides. I'm looking over at Rob -- who's a very likable guy and a very strategic player. I've played with him before, he's cutthroat with a smile on his face. I would have been sixth in an alliance with him, as opposed to with Russell -- who no one liked and would be great to sit with in the finals -- and I was fourth in an alliance. It made total, logical sense as to which side to go to.
And that was my personal decision. That was not Russell controlling me. (laughing)
Reality TV World: Did you and Parvati ever discuss the possibility of getting rid of Sandra prior to the Final 4 Tribal Council?
Jerri Manthey: Yeah. Ironically enough, when we went into the merge, Parvati was really pushing to keep [Courtney Yates] and dump Sandra. I kept telling her I saw something really weird about how adamant she was about keeping Courtney and it made me very nervous. I mentioned that to Russell, and of course at that point he took credit for noticing -- as he loved to do. I convinced everyone that we should keep Sandra and get rid of Courtney instead. Of course in the end, there was Sandra. (laughing)
Reality TV World: You and Russell talked quite a bit leading up to the finale about getting rid of Parvati, which we already discussed. But then he had the chance to do it and he instead took her to the Final 3 instead of you. Do you think he ever would have actually followed through on getting rid of Parvati?
Reality TV World: This was your third time competing on Survivor with Colby. Was he really as out of the game as he came across on TV, and what do you think led to his disappointing performance?
Jerri Manthey: I don't know what happened to Colby. It was like he was broken or something. I was used to seeing him dominate in challenges. It was like he lost his strength and his mojo or something. I was actually, legitimately concerned about him. (laughing)
But I was very glad that he was there. I found a great sense of comfort just because we had such a history. We finally were in positions where we met on a neutral ground. We're friends now, which I think is awesome. It's just unfortunate that a lot of the footage of us hanging out and fishing together and talking just didn't make the show.
Reality TV World: Along those same lines, four of the season's Final 6 castaways were "old-school" contestants from beforeSurvivor: All-Stars and one of you eventually won the competition. What are your thoughts about that -- do you think there's anything significant to that or do you think it's just a coincidence?
Jerri Manthey: That's a good question. I don't know. We are definitely used to playing that game without Hidden Immunity Idols and just based solely on strategic moves and making bold choices.
That's what I actually like the best about playing it old-school. That and it just allows you much more freedom in the game to relax occasionally, get to know each other, have fun, laugh, and just kind of have some human moments. The game has just turned into 150% strategy all the time. It's not as much fun to watch, I don't think.
Reality TV World: Colby approached Russell about eliminating Sandra instead of him prior to that Tribal Council and Colby specifically asked if he should talk to you about it before Russell assured him that he had you under control. Did Russell ever talk to you about getting rid of Sandra instead of Colby?
Jerri Manthey: No. Colby did come to me and talk to me at great length about keeping him around. But I explained to him very simply that for me it would just be a bad choice. I said, "Colby you know as well as I do that if you sit in front of that jury full of Heroes, you're going to win." It didn't make any sense strategy-wise, and it made me very sad because -- believe me -- I would have rather had Colby around those last days than Russell any day.
This whole Russell thing with he's got everyone under control, that guy has got the ego... He's a maniac. He's so delusional. I've never met anyone like him in my life.
Reality TV World: Where are things between [Benjamin "Coach" Wade] and yourself right now, have you stayed in touch since the show was filmed last summer? When we talked to him earlier this season he said you guys had agreed to go out on a date once the show was over.
Jerri Manthey: (laughing) Well I did agree to that in the context of the game to try and keep him on my side. But I will say this: I did actually mean it. I would be very interested to see what he's like when he's not in competition. We're definitely going to stay friends, absolutely. I think Coach is a fascinating person.
You know what I'm hoping? I'm hoping that when we do get to sit down together that he'll drop the dragonslayer thing and just be a real person and not a character.
Reality TV World: Well maybe he'll read this interview and when you guys do go on that date he'll be just that.
Jerri Manthey: I'll keep my fingers crossed. Also anybody that's looking to see what I'm up to next, just got to jerrimanthey.com. I keep that thing up to date.