Exclusive: Rodney Lavoie Jr. dishes on 'Survivor: Worlds Apart'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/26/2015
Survivor: Worlds Apart castaway Rodney Lavoie Jr. lost out on the $1 million grand prize and finished in fourth place during the two-hour finale broadcast on CBS.
Rodney, a 24-year-old general contractor from Boston, MA, was eliminated from the season after he faced off against and lost to Carolyn Rivera, a 52-year-old corporate executive from Tampa, FL, in a fire-starting challenge at the Tribal Council session that ultimately determined Season 30's Final 3 castaways.
Although Carolyn beat Rodney to the end, she finished as the runner-up behind winner Mike Holloway. Will Sims II finished behind Carolyn in third place.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Rodney talked about his Survivor experience and the tough break of just missing out on becoming a member of the Final 3. Below is what he had to say.
Reality TV World: Why did you vote for Will? Did you really feel Will deserved to win or were you just voting for your best friend?
Rodney Lavoie Jr: Well, at the end of the day right, at that final Tribal, I honestly -- Carolyn was crying. She really wanted to be in the Final 3 so bad, and I could've went to the other side and said to Carolyn, "Let's get Will out." I could've betrayed him.
But I played this game the way I play my real life. It was real and it was loyalty. I knew that this dude voted with me from the beginning. From the merge, we put all the No Collars on the jury, as you could see -- and [Shirin Oskooi] because she was with them.
We put them all on the jury because the Blues and the axes of evil got together because of the big move that Will made with me to come over. At the given time in the game, I was out of my damn mind.
I lost my mind, so all I seen was Will was loyal to me. He's the reason why I made it far, and the reason why I made it far was because I had this journey with him since the merge. I said, "You know what? I want to see my best bud win the million dollars over, you know, Mike."
It wasn't bitter. It was the fact of the matter that generally outside of the game, I love Will, and in the game, he was my ride or die, you know, the one who replaced [Joaquin Souberbielle] bromance type of sh-t. So that's what I do.
I was like, "You know what? I know a lot of people aren't going to give you the votes, but I'm going to show you that Mike probably will get all the votes but I'm showing you how much I love you right now on national television."
Reality TV World: Okay so it sounds like you didn't have hard feelings toward Mike still at that point although you called him a "redneck scumbag" after you got eliminated from the show.
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Rodney Lavoie Jr: Yeah, that's editing and all sh-t like that. What they didn't show in the edit is, you know, you hear in the edit him calling me "a goat."
But I'll explain that I wasn't a goat because as you watch it and you see my game and you had [Hali Ford], [Jenn Brown] and Shirin all in their exit interviews say, "Rodney, was the most underestimated player. We couldn't believe the social game that was going on."
Mike eventually said that too at the end. And out there, I made everyone laugh. You could ask [Sierra Dawn Thomas] about all the comedy. I went from Vin Diesel looking like Paul Rudd because of my body weight. I was giving out these punch lines and had people laughing.
And sometimes inSurvivor, if you just give comical relief and you know how to throw punches at the right time and do it right now, that's what Survivor's about. So I give kudos to Mike. His back was against the wall and he raised his hand and said, "I'm going to be the champ, the 'Sole Survivor,'" and I give nothing but props for him. So 100% I'm not bitter or a sore loser. He did his thing; He earned his check.
Reality TV World: You were able to talk to the jury before the final Tribal Council when you could question the Final 3. Did you have a good idea going into the final Tribal that Mike was going to win based upon what everyone had been saying or did the jury questioning change that?
Rodney Lavoie Jr: I didn't really get to talk about anything to anybody. I was actually puking out of my mouth and sh-tting out of my ass the whole damn time. I actually got into a fight with a lot of the crew on the last episode.
When we were about to go onto the next episode, I stayed away from all the cast members because my farts smelled like Nicaragua death. I was so sick. I didn't care about the final Tribal. I couldn't get into the game at the final Tribal, and all I wanted to do was get back in my bed.
Because after the game, I had pancreas failure, I had liver failure, I had crazy parasites and I was in and out of the hospital. So, when people would say, "Oh, your whining about the Rewards!" I was like, "Yeah, I didn't get fed and I paid for it after the game. I was tortured." (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Did it surprise you that you wouldn't have won the game if you had made it to the end? And watching the show unfold on TV, were you actually in control as much as you thought you were?
Rodney Lavoie Jr: The fact of the matter is, right, looking back, everyone is raising their hand to the edit that they seen, and they painted -- as you've seen -- Mike as an absolute hero this entire show. Why did they paint him a hero? Because they knew he won.
So the show is going to be based around Mike, right? If it was Sierra winning, they would've highlighted all of Sierra's events and the moves that she made. If it would've been [Dan Foley], they would've done the same.
So coming into it, if I don't get to speak at that final Tribal, if I don't get to do my Mike impersonations and all the funny stuff I had about Jenn and Hali -- because the problem that gets me crazy is Jenn at the final Tribal, when everybody erupted, she flipped and raised her hand and said she was going to vote for me.
So with that coming after the show, you can't ask somebody after watching. I may have called them a "redneck," I may have called him them a "piece of sh-t." I mean, I said some messed up things in the edit for them to be bitter towards me and not raise their hand. So, you can't do that outside of the game -- poll votes to see if you would've won now.
It's in the game in that given moment. You don't know where your mind is at and I could've swindled votes. And last night proved that it would've been 4-3. So who knows what would've happened.
I just have to live with the fact that I didn't get voted out. I got out-fired and it's like, for the rest of my life, "What if I went toe to toe with Mike?" And if I did and I lost, I would've handshaked him and dapped him like a man or gave him a hug. I would've said, "Enjoy that million dollars, brother. Love you. I've got nothing but respect for you."
Reality TV World: When I talked to Mike, he said no one talked to him at one point for like two or three whole days. He didn't want to use the word "victimized" but he did say that during the finale. Was there ever a time you felt bad for him? Because obviously he called you out for betraying him after the Survivor auction and you called him crazy and convinced everyone he had lost his mind, but he was telling the truth.
Rodney Lavoie Jr: Oh yeah. It was strategy but it was also realistic in the game. Those love letters in the game meant the world to us. Sierra is so close to her family. She loves her father. He's her best friend. She spends a lot of time with her family.
Me, I do the same. Dan loves his wife with all his heart. And Mike knew what I was up to. He knew that I was making other moves and I was making big power moves but stringing everyone along making them think I was "Blue strong." I was ready to take him out because he had done that huge blindside on Joaquin.
The problem is, he was smart. He knew. But why would you do that? He did it at the wrong time. If he waited five hours later and did it when the game was back on, we all thought it was time to pause. This was not the time to blow up as we're all about to read our love letters.
Everybody's emotional, everybody just wants to take a break. And sometimes inSurvivor, you've got to put it on pause and adjust yourself to the group -- not to yourself and how you want to get out that somebody's flipping or somebody's doing this.
If you ruffle anybody's feathers, that leads to bad gameplay, you know? So it got him kind of in trouble, but he was smart and knew what was up my sleeve. So, kudos to him for that.
Reality TV World: How much of a role do you think Mike's apology to Dan played in the jury voting for him to win? It seemed like a lot of people went into that angry at Mike, but his sincerity might've switched things up.
Rodney Lavoie Jr: Well, like I said and to be pretty honest with you...
Reality TV World: You don't recall? (Laughs)
Rodney Lavoie Jr: I don't remember a lot about that final Tribal. I was really sick. If you looked at me, I looked like a strung-out crack head. So I was very, very hurt. I kind of remember saying things. I was kind of like rambling on for about an hour.
They didn't actually show it because they just showed a clip, but I was out of my mind. So to be perfectly honest with you, I can't comment on a lot of stuff that happened that last day. I was very, very sick.
Reality TV World: Going back to the vote then, when you got Sierra out, how did she become the big target over Carolyn? At the previous Tribal, Carolyn was your No. 1 target but she was able to save herself with a hidden Immunity Idol.
Rodney Lavoie Jr: Alright, well that was kind of one of my regrets, because I love Sierra and I wish I couldn't have made that move. The problem is, right when we got back to the beach, it just so happened -- as you see in the edit -- she left with Mike.
Once I seen that, I got absolutely paranoid and I was like, "You know what? I got Will, who's in my back pocket." So now I turn to Carolyn and I was like, "Carolyn, we've had an alliance from Day 1. Once I met you at the merge..." She screwed me over twice at my birthday with Rewards, but I go, "That's over and done with."
I go, "Carolyn, look me in the eyes. I am real. I'm telling you right now I am putting Sierra's name down, okay? I swear on my sister's soul. So if I lie right now, I'm going down as the biggest scumbag of all time, so if you want to take a guaranteed spot in the Final 4, I got Will voting for Sierra. You put Sierra's name down and you're guaranteed Final 4."
And then when they read it, it wasn't like it was a 2-2 tie or anything like that. It was Carolyn voting that way, Mike voting that way, Will voting that way, and then Sierra went.
Reality TV World: You spent a lot of time with Dan especially having been in his core alliance for a while. Were his comments misinterpreted and/or out of context at least some or most of the time? Or do you think it was just tough for him to own his behavior once he got heat for saying things?
Rodney Lavoie Jr: Well unlike, I guess, me, Dan and Will -- I got hit with a couple things in my edit. But at the end of the day, this is what you signed up for. So be prepared for it, embrace it and know the fact that -- he thought he was going to be the hero. He thought his edit was going to be "Dan Foley the hero."
So I think he got absolutely shocked when he wasn't the hero, but he was a villain. I think it really bothered him, because at heart, Dan Foley is a great guy and he's a very loyal guy. He's the type that would take his shirt off his back for you, but he can sometimes think, you know, he can say the one word that gets him into trouble. It's "however." That gets him into trouble because you can't [do that].
Like when he apologized to Sierra in the game, he apologized but then said "but." You can't say, "This is how I feel, and yeah you're right, however..." Because it's not going to get through.
That's what happened at the finale. That's why it took up so much time. He gave a killer and epic speech to Shirin and had the crowd clapping, and then he said, "however," and then just kept on going and going. They showed the hidden scene and it just got crazy, you know?
Check Reality TV World's Survivor page for more interviews with Season 30's Final 5 castaways.