"Roxy" Roxanne Morris, a 28-year-old seminary student from Brooklyn, NY, was voted out of her Survivor: Philippines' Matsing tribe during Wednesday night's second episode of the CBS reality series' 25th edition.
Roxy was voted out of her tribe at the season's second Tribal Council, which was also the second elimination vote for Matsing, after she failed to gain the trust of Denise Stapley -- who had served as the swing vote when determining whether Roxy or Angie Layton should be voted out of the tribe. Roxy and Angie were considered the two weakest players in the tribe, but Angie had the support of Malcolm Freberg, who had previously declared an alliance with Denise. Russell Swan voted to oust Roxy, his ally, as well seemingly as a way to simply blend in with his tribemates despite his own differing opinion.
In an exclusive interview on Thursday, Roxy talked to Reality TV World about her short-lived Survivor: Philippines experience -- including whether she was really surprised to be voted out of Matsing despite her good argument that Angie and Malcolm were going to be a dangerous pair in the game, what she believed Denise's "unhealthy addiction" and "terrible habits" were, what her sneaky strategy was going into the challenge, and how much of a role she believed her strong religious beliefs played in her early ouster.
Below is the first half of Roxy's interview. Check back with Reality TV World on Friday for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised to be voted off or had you already left camp expecting it was going to be you?
"Roxy" Roxanne Morris: I think I'm just going to stick with the bottom line for me, which is, I wasn't surprised. When you look at a tribe who's lost two challenges in a row, who thinks it's more important to work on camp and not win a challenge, I'm definitely not surprised. I am disappointed. I think I was disappointed that they would vote me out, but I definitely was not surprised. And I think my little smirk at the end of their voting showed that.
Reality TV World: It seemed to come out of nowhere at Tribal Council that you were frustrated that people seemed to be focused on doing so much work around camp. Can you explain that a little more? Did you really believe your tribe was tired for the challenges because they were working too much around camp, or was that just kind of an excuse you came up with because you didn't want to do a lot of camp chores?
"Roxy" Roxanne Morris: Well, I was doing work at Tribal, but I think when I started to realize that it was an unhealthy addiction in my tribe. I mean, we were the tribe who got fire first. So we got that going before anybody else. We built our shelter in the first day or two. I mean, it was one of those unhealthy addictions that honestly was led by Denise. Denise is a workhorse.
That's the way of her kind of shifting people to not look at her. "Let's go get this! Let's go get that!" [That's] manipulating the group through work, work, work! And if you're not in the circle working, you're automatically on the outside of the group. And I wasn't falling for it. I wasn't going to fall under her spell of becoming a workhorse.
So in addition to that, I did see that people were putting their energy into getting up really early in the morning, working, working, working. And it's one thing when you have two tribes and you have nine people on your tribe. But when you have five people left on a tribe, that means if you're going to be workhorses, that's a lot of people spending a lot of energy.
And to put all that energy into this, that and the third, yet you're losing every challenge so far, that's really dangerous. I think I just made a valid point. It was definitely not me bluffing or trying to kind of find an excuse not to pick me. It was what it is. I just told it like it was. Period.
Reality TV World: So you thought your tribe was doing a lot of work they didn't have to be doing to be out there?
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"Roxy" Roxanne Morris: Absolutely. Like I said, it was an unhealthy addiction and it worked -- and that addiction stems from Denise.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode had positioned Denise as the swing vote that would decide whether Angie or yourself would be getting voted off, but obviously it looked like Russell also ended up voting for you even though you had seemed to be aligned with him. Why do you think that was -- do you think Denise told Russell her decision before they left camp and Russell just decided to go along with it so he wouldn't be left out?
"Roxy" Roxanne Morris: I think that Russell made a smart decision and he made a decision that any good Survivor player would've made being in his given situation. I think Russell genuinely had my best interest in mind. In the episode, you see him last minute before Tribal trying to convince Denise.
He goes, "I think she has some really good points." I literally witness him in the episode do that, whereas opposed to in real life, I obviously didn't know he was doing that. And so, I think he really was trying to convince Denise.
But in the midst of trying to convince her, I think -- as a smart lawyer would do, which that's his profession in real life -- he felt out that she wasn't on his side and she wasn't going to vote in our direction. And so therefore, he said, "You know what? If I'm going to be stuck here after Roxanne leaves, I'm going to need to be in a peaceful living situation, so I gotta go with the rest of the group."
And I think he did that out of just being smart. I would not expect him to vote for Angie with me, because he could vote for Angie with me, but he's only one vote. That's still not enough. We needed her. We needed her at the end of the day.
Reality TV World: Why do you think Denise decided to keep Angie and vote you off instead?
"Roxy" Roxanne Morris: I mean, I think it's very obvious. One, she personally just doesn't like me. Unfortunately, I saw her as someone who, as a psychologist, was able to separate her personal emotion from strategy. And I think that it's just clearly obvious that she just doesn't like me.
She never called herself an atheist, but from the things that she said, she doesn't pray to God for anything or ask God for anything -- she doesn't believe there's a God. She believes in her own efforts and her own efforts only. And that's her stance and that's her right.
And so, I'm a Jesus lover. It's obvious. And if you ain't gonna like Jesus, or even be open to having someone express that in an environment, you're not gonna like me. And that's -- I make no apologies for that. So I think she just personally didn't like me. Two, she has an alliance with Malcolm.
If Angie brings Malcolm comfort, then it kind of trickles down to her. She's going to have to keep Angie around. I don't think she actually believed that Angie was stronger than I. I will give her that. I think she's smart enough to the point where she doesn't really believe Angie's strong enough or stronger than I.
But I think when it just comes down to pure numbers and strategy, she made an educated guess and went with her initial alliance with Malcolm and said, "If Malcolm is comforted by just merely having Angie around, I'm going to go with my ally."
Reality TV World: Denise was shown saying that she was respectful of the fact you were praying to God for sunshine and help in winning the challenges, but that "wasn't her gig." So it sounds like you're saying you do think that did play a significant role in her decision to keep Angie over you -- like she just couldn't relate to your strong religious beliefs?
"Roxy" Roxanne Morris: Absolutely. I mean, at the end of the day, you have to take a look at this. You're putting a bunch of strangers who don't know each other together on an island, where they're not having very much food, not getting any access to speaking to their family members whatsoever -- people get lonely.
They're human beings. They need that interaction. And so, if someone in your environment gives you discomfort, the automatic thing you want to happen is for them not to be there. So, I think it is what it is.
Reality TV World: How did your tribe decide that Denise wasn't going to be one of the people that pulled the sled during last night's challenge? Because based upon what we've seen on TV, she seemed like she was probably the strongest woman on your tribe.
"Roxy" Roxanne Morris: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that again, you witnessed Russell doing what he said he wasn't gonna do. "Oh, I'm not going to step in and be the chief," but yet his mouth was going a mile a minute the entire time we were figuring out who needs to do what. And Denise was like, "Yeah, yeah. I can call-out." Everyone thinks they're slick and that's the problem.
They keep pointing fingers and playing hot potato -- "You're weak." "No, you're weak." "No, you're weak." No, we're all weak! You know why we're all weak? Because we're all working ourselves to death, following Denise's terrible habits of being a workhorse -- which she has that little spell over everybody -- and they're all doing that, and they get into challenges, and they're tired.
They can't -- everybody's tired, including the woman that looks like a triathlete. She's tired too because she's feeding her little addiction of being a workhorse to keep herself busy and keep herself not in the line of having to focus on her.
Reality TV World: Angie and yourself both told Russell you didn't want to pull the sled twice. So how did your tribe ultimately decide to have Angie be the one to do it twice? Did she change her mind and volunteer after you also said you didn't want to do it twice? What happened there?
"Roxy" Roxanne Morris: No, I just think that I have a stronger demeanor than her at the end of the day, and I just looked roughly in his eye and I was like, "Yeah, I haven't been drinking water." And I used that exact excuse because I know he fell out from the game last time from dehydration. So I knew once I made that comment, it was like she didn't have a choice.
And I strategically made the decision to have Angie put herself on that platform and put herself on that stage. You want to act like you're stronger than me? I knew it was you and I on the chopping block, so you want to say that you're stronger than me? I'll give you the opportunity to show that you're stronger than me. And last time I checked, after she ran two legs, she was on the floor just like [Zane Knight] was in the first challenge.
Reality TV World: So you're saying the water reason was an excuse and it wasn't legitimate? That it was just something you were trying to manipulate based upon the fact that Russell...
"Roxy" Roxanne Morris: I mean, I felt like the water excuse -- I hadn't been drinking a whole lot of water. So I can tell you the truth about that. I hadn't been drinking a whole lot of water, but I think I strategically definitely used that excuse to make sure that Angie was going to be the one to run the two legs. Because I wanted them to see that she was not that strong.
If they were going to try to use that as a bit of a defense in case we lost the challenge and we did go to Tribal, and they were going to try to say that she's stronger than I, I needed to have evidence that she was not.
I put her in that position and she failed, because she was on the floor like Zane was. And I wanted to say, "Hey, this is the person that you're trying to say is stronger than me?" So they were unable to use that excuse if we had lost that challenge. I was kind of preparing for if we had lost that challenge.
Above is the first half of Roxy's interview. Check back with Reality TV World on Friday for the concluding portion.