Exclusive: Roark Luskin talks 'Survivor' -- Jessica Johnston had a killer instinct, I think she'd cut Cole Medders
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/01/2017
Roark Luskin was voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers during the latest episode on CBS.
Roark, a 27-year-old social worker from Palo Alto, CA who currently resides in Santa Monica, CA, was voted out of her "Soko" tribe on Night 14 of the game through a 3-2 vote instead of her personal target, Chrissy Hofbeck, a 46-year-old financial analyst from Glen Gardner, NJ.
Now that Roark is gone, her "Soko" tribe is comprised of (Hustlers) Ryan Ulrich and Ali Elliott as well as (Heroes) JP Hilsabeck and Chrissy Hofbeck. Ryan served as the swing vote and chose to side with Chrissy and JP instead of Roark and his close pal Ali.
During a recent exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Roark talked about her Survivor experience. Below is the concluding portion of what she had to say.
Reality TV World: From your perspective, did you every try to approach Chrissy to talk? If not, did you kind of understand where Chrissy was coming from when she said at Tribal Council that communication was a two-way street?
Roark Luskin: Oh for sure. I think that, because I knew from Day 1 that she wanted to get me out, I knew any strategic conversation with her was going to be fake. Unless our cards were on the table, there was going to be no genuine strategy talk to occur.
And so I tried to be really friendly towards her. One of the other things she said to me out there was, "You remind me so much of me." And I don't know if that was meant to be flattery or if she really thinks that. You know, you heard her in a confessional say that she thought I was probably the most threatening person behind her.
And so maybe she does really believe that. And out there, you feel that you are a threat, and you recognize those threatening qualities in another, so you have to eliminate the Doppelganger. That's how it works.
Reality TV World: You talked to Ali about remaining loyal to each other come the merge and bringing the girls into your alliance, along with Ryan, Mike Zahalsky and Cole Medders. Was that genuinely your plan or were you just trying to remain on Ali's good graces so she wouldn't vote you out?
Roark Luskin: Oh no, totally, I would've loved to do that! I didn't know -- I was very uncomfortable going six Healers strong into the swap. I would've loved to whittle our numbers.
I did not intend on just doing some sort of six-strong thing and having all six Healers be the Final 6. That was not my gameplan. I really wanted to pivot and sort of pull in Ali and Ryan, and maybe [Devon Pinto] and [Lauren Rimmer].
I didn't know anything about [Ashley Nolan] at that point, but I really wanted to be working with JP because he was really easy to work with. And so, yeah, I had a mixed-tribe plan in mind, but sadly [it didn't work out].
Reality TV World: What about Desi Williams and Jessica Johnston. You and Ali mentioned bringing other girls in, so would they have been part of the plan?
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Roark Luskin: Yeah. Desi and I were ride or dies. She and I were incredibly close on Healers beach, and we had a great relationship with Jessica too, like, the three girls. Dr. Mike would often come to me and say, "I really trust you. I want to work with you. I want to work with you despite how much you girls scare me."
And I would always just say to him, "Oh, we're just friends! We just get along. We just relate. It's not strategic, don't worry." But I definitely would've gone back to Jessica and Desi, you know, in a minute.
Reality TV World: Were you intimidated though by Jessica's relationship with Cole? Did that concern you when thinking about the game long-term?
Roark Luskin: I was definitely -- I wasn't intimidated by it because I think that Jessica has more of a killer instinct than Cole, and I think that Jessica would have been willing to get rid of Cole.
But I was definitely [cognizant], like, their relationship was no secret. And so Desi and I were watching it very closely, and Desi and I were ready to pull the trigger on either of them if that needed to be done.
Reality TV World: Joe Mena is an interesting player this season, and you obviously started the game on the Healers tribe with him. Now that you've also gotten to watch back some of the season's episodes, what's your opinion of him as a person and player?
Roark Luskin: Oh, I adore Joe. He's the straightest of straight shooters. Everything he says is true for him. There's no artifice; he just means what he says. He likes things the way he likes things; you see that with the food. In that way, he'd be very "my way or the highway."
But you know where you stand with him, and he creates chaos by being that honest, and that, in a game where you're supposed to lie, it actually puts things really on tilt when you're sort of that openly honest. And if you're working with him, that could really benefit you.
Because once the swap hit, I genuinely believed that [Joe's idol] was a Healer idol. I was 100 percent sure that he would've played that for Desi if he had felt that was the right call. But if you're working against him, his behavior can be very scary and intimidating in terms of his gameplay. So I was on the right side of Joe's history, which I liked.
Reality TV World: Was this your first time applying for Survivor? How did you end up on the show this season?
Roark Luskin: Yeah, it was my first time applying! I literally just sent in a video and they liked what they saw, and the ball just kind of rolled down the mountain. It's funny because Ryan, Ali, myself and Devon, I think -- oh, and Joe too! -- in October, this was actually the week of our casting finals, so we were kind of reminiscing that this is where it all started.