Exclusive: Stacey Powell talks about 'Survivor: South Pacific'
By Reality TV World staff, 10/13/2011
Stacey Powell knew she was battling fellow Survivor: South Pacific castaway Edna Ma to stay in the game prior to being voted out because she realized they were the clear outsiders of their Upolu tribe's strong alliance which featured five core members.
However unlike Edna, Stacey didn't have the benefit of having established a strong relationship with Benjamin "Coach" Wade, the returning Survivor castaway who had emerged as the alliance's leader and opted to protect Edna despite her weak-link status -- resulting in Stacey being voted out of her Upolu tribe during the season's fourth Tribal Council session.
Due to this season's game-changing Redemption Island twist, she still got a chance to earn the right to eventually return to the game by competing in duel challenges against other voted-off castaways. However, Stacey's first duel didn't go much better than her second Tribal Council visit -- resulting in her permanent ouster from the game during Wednesday night's broadcast of Survivor: South Pacific's fifth episode.
On Thursday, Stacey talked to Reality TV World about her Survivor: South Pacific experience -- including what her emotions were immediately following her tribe's betrayal, why she was convinced the vote came down to her and Edna before Tribal, whether she had planned to spill the inner-workings of the Upolu tribe long before her duel, and what her general thoughts were about some of the most talked about castaways yet.
Reality TV World: It seemed like you were pretty bitter about being voted off, would you say that's an accurate assessment or just the editing? What was going on there?
Stacey Powell: I think it would probably be -- you know what? I wasn't bitter! Come on, I wasn't bitter. I was mad because I was ready to go. I felt I deserved to still be there, so I wasn't really mad, but it was just like, "Okay. I gotta go, I gotta go," so I'm going to kick a little fire when I gotta go. I'm going to kick some dirt behind me before I get up out of here. So, I can't say I was mad. I was a little upset.
Reality TV World: So you went from "not bitter" to "mad" to "not mad" to "upset." (Laughs)
Stacey Powell: Yes I did. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Why were you so "upset?" Was it because you were voted out right after you were the last member of your tribe still standing in that weight-baring immunity challenge, or was there a lot more to it? Because...
Stacey Powell: Oh definitely, you said it. I stand here and lift 140 pounds on my back and you want to vote me out? I don't -- No. Come on now. Come on now. That was the really, really kicker part right there for me. That's what really, really upset me -- that part, most definitely. But other than that, you lift 140 pounds. It's just like, "I go and do this for you and then this is the thanks that I get?"
Reality TV World: You seemed to come up with your plan to "spill" everything about your tribe to the other tribe at the duel from pretty much the moment you were voted off at Tribal Council, was that actually the case or was it more of a spur-of-the-moment type of situation?
Stacey Powell: I didn't know I was going to do that. When I got voted off and went to Redemption Island and when I got over there with [Christine Shields Markoski] that night, I knew. I had already said -- you heard me say -- "I'm calling them out. I am going to spill it out. I'm just going to tell it all and let the Red tribe know what's really going on."
Reality TV World: Last night's episode made it look like you didn't give much thought to the timing of your balls during the duel and they showed [Albert Destrade] calling you "stupid" and suggested that was why you lost the duel. What are your thoughts about that? Do you think that was your downfall? Did you just got caught up in the moment?
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Stacey Powell: I don't, I mean, the balls doing the time -- you saw it, but I'm standing there and I'm concentrating. I'm putting the balls in there and at the time, I'm thinking that I'm being focused. I think that I'm being -- I'm hearing [Survivorhost Jeff Probst], "Okay, you know" -- He's talking during that whole process.
But you have to try -- You have to keep concentration, and did my balls go in too fast? Okay, maybe they did. But you know what? I wasn't trying to lose. I was not trying to lose at all, because I wanted to stay in the game. I wanted to be in the game and maybe for the reason -- I don't know what happened.
So, it's hard for me to just say, "Oh I just threw them in there and wasn't watching what I was doing." It wasn't even like that, but it's easier said than done. Until you do something, I'm staying in there and trying to get focused -- watching with my eyes my left hand and then my right hand -- having my hand/eye coordination while I'm going through.
Reality TV World: After your tribe lost the weight-baring Immunity Challenge on last week's episode, you immediately believed either Edna or yourself was going to be voted off. How did you come to that conclusion? Why didn't you think someone like [Mikayla Wingle] -- who also wasn't part of Coach's five-person alliance -- or even [Brandon Hantz] -- who obviously was in the alliance but seemed to be a loose cannon who was causing a lot of drama -- could also be a possibility? Why were you so focused on Edna?
Stacey Powell: I was focused on her myself because Edna was the weak one. It was just there. She didn't do anything and she also thought that it was her. She even thought that it was her.
And myself, I either knew it was going to be myself or her. So even for me, I actually thought it was going to be her as well. Because during the time, they were like, "Edna, Edna, Edna, Edna." Then, all of a sudden, "Stacey, Stacey, Stacey?" Come on now.
Reality TV World: What did you think about Brandon? Was he really as creepy and awkward as the show's editing has made him seem, and was his relationship with Mikayla as strange as the show has suggested?
Stacey Powell: Me, personally, no. I did not see him. I did not take him as being how they were portraying him to be. He was a good guy until he blew up. When he blow up, he blow up. But what went on between them two, it wasn't even like that. It wasn't like that.
Reality TV World: What was it like?
Stacey Powell: It was just like -- I thought they were friends. They would go fishing, they'll go pick up leaves, they'll do everything together. But I didn't see it the way you're seeing it. It wasn't like that. I thought they were friends. I really did. I thought they were friends, but you can get fooled really easy. So, I thought the same thing you thought and I was like, "What?!"
Reality TV World: Mikayla was shown saying she was having a hard time getting past the fact that Brandon "is a Hantz." How big of a factor was the fact that Russell Hantz is Brandon's uncle while you were out there, and what are your thoughts about the fact that he told everyone -- do you think, given his tattoos, he would even have been able to keep it a secret if he'd tried?
Stacey Powell: He could have kept it a secret if he wanted to. He could have kept that sh-t in the whole time, and I don't think nobody really would have gotten it. But with him telling everybody, for me personally, it was just like, "Oh, well. Okay. Well why do you want to tell everybody?"
Because if I was him, I wouldn't have told them. Because they're always going to think that you act just like your uncle. Your uncle is very outburstable and then at times, he showed how he acted. He'd go back, "I'm sorry," and then he'd do it again. "I'm sorry."
"I aint gonna show the devil no more. I aint going to show the devil again. Okay. I'm sorry." And then do it again. "Okay I'm sorry." Come on now.
Reality TV World: What are your general thoughts about Mikayla?
Stacey Powell: I don't have any thoughts about Mikayla. She was just there. She worked hard, I mean, she pulled her weight just like I pulled my weight. I didn't have anything to give Mikayla, I mean, you saw that when Coach said that he was told that we wanted to get Mikayla off.
I didn't have anything against Mikayla, because you know what? I wanted us -- It could have been -- I wanted to be running the show. It could have been the women. We could have been three-women strong. I had nothing against Mikayla. I had nothing against [Sophie Clarke]. I had nothing against Christine.
It could have been us four women running the men over, us against all of them. If the women knew how to, not manipulate but just get how they was doing it, and then just ride it the way it was riding out.
Reality TV World: At the duel, you said "Benjamin," Albert and Sophie were running things on your tribe, but Ben and Albert were the two main decision-makers. Viewers have obviously seen a lot of Coach so far, but not so much of Albert and very little of Sophie. What made you decide that Albert and Sophie were the other two big players in your tribe, rather than Brandon and [Rick Nelson] who are the other two members of that alliance?
Stacey Powell: Because they're always in a group talking. They were always talking. The three of them -- Benjamin, Sophie and Albert -- always in a group talking, always in a group talking. You better keep your eyes open, because they are always in a group talking and trust me, I always had my eyes open. I always was watching. I always was watching.
Reality TV World: We've seen next to nothing of Rick so far and it's been so bad that most viewers probably don't even realize he's part of this season's cast. What can you tell us about him and are you surprised the producers have shown so little of him so far?
Stacey Powell: I am. I am surprised that he's been shown so little of so far because, you know what, to me, he was just the working man around the camp. He's just working and agreed to disagree. "Tell me what ya'll want me to do." "Okay" -- not even being seen -- not even being seen at all.
Reality TV World: Well, I guess he's being edited accurately then. (Laughs)
Stacey Powell: He was edited accurately!
Reality TV World: Coach seemed very likely to be the first person voted out of your tribe on Day 1 when the game started and Christine called him a "temporary player" but that didn't happen, obviously. Why do you think your tribe decided to keep him around, and do you have an explanation about how he even managed to become your tribe's leader?
Stacey Powell: Mhm, no. Even though Christine was the one that said "temporary player," you only heard her say it, but everyone was standing back there saying it as well. She spoke it, so it made her the target. But you guys say the same thing. As soon as Coach, or as soon as Benjamin gets here on the team, then, he's telling all of these stories to Brandon, Sophie, Albert.
He's telling them stories of when he had been on [the show] previously before and how his life was, and they're all into it. I know you heard me say, "He's over there telling all these Chuck E. Cheese, Freddy Krueger stories." I mean, you tell stories to kids, don't you? They're feeding into these stories and they bought it.
Reality TV World: Like his kayak and cannibal stories, for example?
Stacey Powell: Yes, oh yes. So I'm like, "Come on, dudes. Come on now." And they're feeding into like, "Oh no, Coach is awesome. Coach is this and he's that."
I was like, "Please, get off this dude. Please. Please get off of this dude."
Reality TV World: Yeah, actually I've interviewed him twicepreviously (Laughs)
Stacey Powell: It's that type of thing where it's like, "You know what? I don't care for the dude, but if that's how you can get it, he got them."
He got the younger group to do what he wanted them to do. You know, I'm 44, so I'm not saying the age or the number had anything to do with it, but they bought into the stories that he was telling.
Reality TV World: Before you were voted off, you said Edna had barely talked to you the entire game. What were your general thoughts about Edna -- were you the only one she didn't seem to talk to? Because in last week's episode, they showed a segment where she was basically aggravating everyone with all her talking.
Stacey Powell: She was. It was just like all of a sudden she wanted to come to me and everybody else she talks to just walks away. I don't know if I want to talk to you because I'm trying to stay where I'm at.
I'm trying to eat and she wants to talk. This woman talks forty going north. I mean, never shut up. And then you want me to do this for you? You want me to wash your pants? You want me to do this? No! No, shut up. No. Nah.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode showed you saying you were anxious for your tribe to "learn the truth" about Coach. What is the truth about Coach, exactly what is it that you wanted them to find out?
Stacey Powell: How he's so loyal and why did Albert -- he gave him [hidden Immunity Idol clue] and told him where it was at. You're so loyal but you're only loyal to your five, but then you're only loyal to your three. What happened to the other two?
Reality TV World: How did you get cast on Survivor? How did you end up on the show?
Stacey Powell: I just happened to go down and go to a casting call, and then I was chosen. I was chosen and I'm glad I was chosen. I was shocked at first though. I really was. I didn't think that I -- you know how you do something and then you're like, "They aint going to call me, no way." You know? But my number got pulled.
Reality TV World: Do you think you would have done any better in the game had you ended up on the other tribe instead or if you had still been on the same tribe but gotten [Ozzy Lusth ]instead of Coach?
Stacey Powell: Most definitely. I think we if we would have gotten Ozzy instead of Coach, it would have made a difference. I do believe that, yes indeed. I thought about that many a times.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when you found out you were going to have a couple of former players like Coach and Ozzy coming back? Were you glad to have someone that had played the game before around, even if only because you thought that would make them the first one voted off and you wouldn't have to worry about being booted off first?
Stacey Powell: When I first thought of it, whoever comes back on the show, whoever they are, they've been here before. We haven't. Let us get the opportunity and chance to learn this and win this.
So, this person is going to think they're gonna come on here and gonna come and go straight to bulldog? What? You gotta go. In my mind, I was like, "Whoever that is has got to go." They've been here before. We haven't.
Reality TV World: You obviously seemed to get along really well with Christine. Why do you think that was the case and are you surprised she's managed to win her first three duels on Redemption Island?
Stacey Powell: No. How we came, I was surprised that we could start talking just how everybody else starts talking. So, that how I thought we all was -- had something, and it didn't turn out to be that really -- that way.
But hey, when she won, I was happy. What they didn't show is that we have a thumbs-up and I was like, "Are you okay?" She was asking me if I was okay and hey, come on. You got this. Get it. I want her to win -- really win.
Reality TV World: I'm assuming you were thrilled that Coach seemed to get upset when you didn't call him Coach but Benjamin instead at the duel?
Stacey Powell: I was loving that hunny. I'm lovin' it! I was not going to call him Coach. What is he going to do to me? He can't do nothing to me. So, you don't have to. But when you do, I'm going to call you by your first name.