Exclusive: Laura Morett discusses her 'Survivor: Samoa' elimination
By Christopher Rocchio, 11/20/2009
Laura Morett claims she was surprised during last night's Tribal Council -- not because she was booted but because it took John Fincher until the re-vote to write her name down.
The 39-year-old office manager from Salem, OR became the eleventh castaway eliminated from Survivor: Samoa during last night's broadcast of the CBS reality competition after getting blindsided by a tie breaking re-vote at the season's ninth Tribal Council.
On Friday, Laura talked to Reality TV World about how she knew John was gunning for her all along; the root of her problem with Shannon "Shambo" Waters; why she feels Shambo's beef with her was unwarranted; and who she thinks is one of the most "misunderstood" castaways remaining in the game.
Reality TV World: You seemed really shocked on last night's show that someone flipped during the re-vote -- were you really that confident that all four of your Galu allies were going to be willing to risk their own necks to save you via a rock-pulling tiebreaker in which you would have been the only one guaranteed to be safe?
Laura: No I wasn't shocked. If you actually go back to the video that's on CBS.com, where it says "Laura's Final Words," you'll see my actual reaction -- the cameras on me -- you'll see that my jaw didn't drop open like what you see.
I knew from the first part -- when we voted the first time -- and they called my name twice, I knew Shambo was voting for me so I expected to see my name once. But when my name came up again, I knew that they didn't fall for the John decoy. I knew that [the former Foa Foa members] were sticking with Laura.
I was actually surprised that John voted with us the first round. I thought for sure that he would write Laura the first time. So I was shocked that it even went to the tie. I knew John was coming for me. What people don't know is that [Brett Clouser] and I had a really tight alliance. I knew everything that was going on with the boys because Brett told me everything. So I knew in Russell Swan days that John was coming for me or [Monica Padilla].
So this was a perfect opportunity for John -- he could get rid of Laura and his hands were pretty much clean of the blood. It wasn't his idea.
Reality TV World: Just to be clear, you knew immediately it was John who had flipped.
Laura: Yeah, absolutely. We were tight. [Host Jeff Probst] asked us that during [Tribal Council], "Well Shambo doesn't feel you're tight." We have [David Ball], Brett and Monica -- and those people proved that they were going to draw stones for me. I think that's pretty tight myself. I think that's loyalty right there. So [Shambo] can say, "No it's not," but I didn't see anybody saying [to Shambo], "You know what? I'll draw stones for you girl to keep you in this game."
Reality TV World: You already mentioned how Foa Foa didn't go for Monica's plan, but had you been aware of John's previous objection to Monica's plan to save you by convincing the Foa Foa folks to vote for him?
Laura: Yeah, because Brett was telling me that.
The time that I got sent over to Foa Foa when Shambo was the new leader and I came back and it was that fishing challenge with the puzzles, when I first stepped on the mat Brett leaned over to me and says, "Lulu" -- Lulu is my Hawaiian name -- he says, "Lulu, they want to throw this challenge and vote you off." I'm like, "What!?" He goes, "They want to throw this challenge and vote you off" -- meaning [Erik Cardona], John and Shambo. He goes, "But Dave and I aren't going to do it."
Just then, Jeff says to Shambo, "Shambo, who's sitting out?" Well she sits out Monica because she knows that she won't throw the challenge. She sits out John, and then she says, "Laura" -- and I'm thinking, "Crap. I don't even have the chance to fight." Brett tells me, "Don't worry, we're not going to do it." Well the challenge is taking forever to get this puzzle done, and I'm getting nervous. I'm thinking, "Oh my gosh, are they throwing it?" Of course we ended up winning, and Brett's like, "Lu, I swear to you" -- and I totally believed him, we had an alliance beyond what anybody knows -- so I knew he didn't try to throw it.
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But I knew at that point that if John was serious enough to throw a challenge to get rid of me, he wants me gone.
Reality TV World: John was shown bashing your decisions, but his own decision to just flip and sacrifice you instead of trying to sacrifice you as part of a deal that might bring Shambo back to Galu side's also seemed pretty poor.
Reality TV World: Given you seemed to be the overriding reason why Shambo had left Galu, are you surprised that he didn't try and cut some kind of deal that would have brought her back or did something like that happen and just get edited out?
Laura: When John makes that comment it's almost like the jokes on him because of the fact that we were going to use him as the decoy. We were just telling him that so that he didn't know that we were going to use him as the decoy. We wanted him to think, "Hey John, who should we vote out?" so that he thinks that he's in charge. But the reality is -- John, sorry -- but you're going to be the little worm that's the bait. We're going to use you.
But then we found out that [Russell Hantz] tells him, "Oh, by the way, they're thinking about writing your name down," that's when Dave goes to him -- it doesn't show Dave but it shows Dave and Brett and him talking and saying, "Here's what we're going to do." So the funny thing is, he's talking about how simple our strategy is, when in reality it's like in reality John, the joke's on you. That wasn't our strategy, we just wanted you to think that you were in charge of what's going on but we were going to use you as a decoy.
It's not rocket science. (laughing) We knew there was no change in Shambo's mind. The woman did not like me.
Reality TV World: That was evident and it leads well into my next question. We saw you have several arguments with Shambo during the season and you directly referenced her as one of the causes for your elimination. Where do you think her dislike for you originated?
Laura: It's funny that you even said... We didn't... You see one argument, and it wasn't even really an argument. I was looking for my canteen that we had given her because she went to Foa Foa and mine was full. Okay, so we said, "Here. Take my canteen." I think that's kind of nice. She comes back and cannot find my canteen. It's not too far-fetched to think she lost it seeing how she lost our chicken and she lost our snorkel gear, right?
So I'm not even talking to her. I'm looking for my canteen and I'm counting them to find out and she says, "Laura I don't like being called a liar." I looked at her and I said, "Shambo, I'm not calling you a liar." I wasn't even addressing her. She constantly was coming after me, and I think what really made it worse was... You can see it, I go to her -- I kneel at her feet and I'm sitting at her feet because who wants somebody not to like you? I said, "Shambo, look it. I am not calling you a liar." She says, "Whatever Laura, you did this and this and this." She starts naming these things, and I say, "Shambo, I have no idea what you're talking about."
What makes it worse is she says, "You did such and such." Dave was standing right there and Dave says, "Shambo that was me. I did that. Laura didn't do it." She said, "And you did this." And Monica goes, "Shambo that was me. I did that. Laura has no idea what you're even talking about." Then Shambo says, "I don't even know what this little 90210 clique." She felt like they were defending me, and the reality was they weren't defending me. They were telling her, "Shambo, Laura didn't do that. You're irritated with the wrong person."
Reality TV World: So did you try to bury the hatchet with her?
Laura: Absolutely. The frustrating part is -- I'm being portrayed as this mean girl -- don't you think that if CBS had footage of me being mean to her and calling her names they would show it? They absolutely would. I called her a Gilligan. (laughing) I called her a Gilligan in a confessional because she lost our snorkel gear and our chicken. It was like a tongue in cheek, oh my gosh, this woman is Gilligan. That's the worst thing I called her is a Gilligan. How dare me.
It's hard watching it. It's hard being portrayed as this mean girl. It shows in the very first scene when we're all swimming on Day 1 when we all go out in the water and she's sitting on the beach and we're like, "Hey Shambo, come on! Come in here swimming!" And she's like, "No. Those young people out there swimming."
First of all Shambo, I'm your age, Dave's your age, and [Russell Swan] is your age. Quit being this victim and come out here and go swimming. We would say, "Shambo come sleep in the shelter with us. We're cold and we need the body heat." [She'd reply] "I'm going to sleep in my tree. I'm going to sleep in my tree." She would constantly choose to do things to isolate herself and be this nobody wants to be around me.
Reality TV World: Besides Shambo, you also commented after your ouster that winning the first two Individual Immunity challenges put a target on your back for being too strong. How big a role do you think those two immunity wins played in your ouster -- do you think you wouldn't have been voted off so soon if you hadn't won them?
Laura: You know, again, I think it's a culmination of more than one thing. Shambo we knew was flipping to Foa Foa so we knew we didn't have her vote. Perhaps if... It's hard to say. Would I have done it differently? Would I have went in like that again and played hard? I absolutely would have. I play big or I go home. I would have always regretted my whole life if I would have played those [challenges] and I kind of held back because I didn't want to show my strength. I would have always thought, "Morett, why'd you do that? Why didn't you give it your all?"
I think I'm the only female to ever win back-to-back Individual Immunity idols. I can say I played hard. I did the best that I could and it's not always about the strongest competitor that wins.
[Editor's note: Laura is not the first female contestant to win back-to-back Individual Immunity challenges. Survivor: Borneo runner-up Kelly Wigglesworth accomplished the feat on Survivor's very first season. More recently, Amanda Kimmel did it during both of her back-to-back runner-up finishes on Survivor: China and Survivor: Micronesia.]
Reality TV World: During last week's Tribal Council, you seemed really blown away that Russell had managed to ruin your plan to vote him off and were shown whispering that Russell had "just stirred up a whole lot of hell."
Reality TV World: What did you mean by that comment -- was that a threat of some kind...
Laura: No. It was more like -- seeing how I don't really swear -- it was almost like me saying, "Oh...". When he did it I was like, "Oh my gosh." It was more a matter of this is going to get crazy now. That's what it meant.
Reality TV World: Monica and John had seemed to have been worried that Russell might have found a second idol and tried and convince you to target Natalie instead of Russell at that Tribal Council but you and Dave seemed to overrule them, why were you two so dismissive of their concerns?
Laura: Actually, Dave was the one who said that we don't have to worry about that.
Reality TV World: So it was just Dave who was driving that?
Laura: Yeah. Monica and I both said, "Let's split the votes." Believe me, Monica and I were always on the same page and we both said, "Let's split the vote." But what happened was when Dave said, "No, no, no, no, no -- we don't need to worry about that. I don't think we need to worry about that," Monica and I already knew that the guys were worried about us being a dominant force.
So when Dave said, "No, no. We don't need to worry about it," it was kind of pick our battle -- do we stick our foot in and say, "No, we need to do this" or do we kind of just say, "Okay, we'll listen to you boys. What do you think we should do?" We didn't want to be like, "Guys, come on! Let's split the votes! Let's think about this."
It shows me for like a second, but it doesn't let me finish what Monica and I were saying. Like I said it was a battle that Monica and I had to pick -- try to convince these guys and take the chance that once again these girls are not listening to us and they're doing what they want to do, or do we say, "Okay boys, tell us what we should do?"
Reality TV World: So you have already mentioned your alliance with Brett. Do you think Brett was more with you, Monica and Kelly Sharbaugh, or do you think he was more with John, Dave and Erik?
Laura: I know he was with me.
Reality TV World: What's your take on Dave -- he's come across as a pretty non-strategic and borderline maniacal player so far. Do you think that's accurate?
Laura: He's so misunderstood. Do you watch Seinfeld?
Reality TV World: Yeah.
Laura: He's Kramer, [Kramer] is Dave Ball. He's extremely smart, he's so misunderstood in this game. He's a great player, he's athletic, he's doing good. I think that a lot of time socially he gets uncomfortable. He's a very sensitive guy, and so I think his emotions and his feelings kind of screw him up a little bit. But he's so smart. He would overanalyze things, so a lot of times I'd have to take him for a walk to talk him off the ledge -- be like, "Dave, it's okay. Don't get your feelings hurt."
He'd get upset with Shambo all the time, and I'd be like, "Dave, it's just a game. It's okay." He's a great guy. He's loyal. That man was going to draw a stone for me. I can't say anything but kind words for somebody that was going to do that.