Survivor: Kaoh Rong -- Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty castaway Elisabeth "Liz" Markham was voted off her Chan Loh tribe during Wednesday night's broadcast on CBS.
Liz, a 27-year-old quantitative strategist from Brooklyn, NY, became the third castaway voted out of Season 32 on Night 8 at the game's third Tribal Council session. The Brains tribe had to vote out one of their own members after losing the prior Immunity Challenge.
The other members of Chan Loh are Peter Baggenstos, a 34-year-old ER doctor from Minneapolis, MN; Aubry Bracco, a 29-year-old social media marketer from Cambridge, MA; Joseph "Joe" Del Campo, a 72-year-old former FBI agent from Vero Beach, FL; Neal Gottlieb, a 37-year-old ice cream entrepreneur from Sausalito, CA; and Debbie Wanner, a 49-year-old chemist from Reading, PA.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Liz talked about her Survivor experience and criticism she was very arrogant while playing the game. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: Is it safe to say you were totally blindsided?
Liz Markham: Um, I think Peter and I picked up on the fact that something was wrong about 20 minutes or a half-hour before we left for Tribal. We even talked about it. I still felt that -- we weren't sure whether our plan was going to work, but I thought that if it didn't, then it would've been Peter who was going home and not me.
Reality TV World: Just to clarify, what did you walk into Tribal Council expecting to happen? And what were you thinking once it became time to cast your vote? Because I know there were some comments thrown around at Tribal that might've made you think you or Peter was being targeted.
Liz Markham: Yeah, I think there was a part of me that thought the plan would work as I wanted it to, where Joe and Debbie would vote for Neal, Peter and I would vote for Aubry. I thought there was about, like, maybe a 50% chance it would happen.
And then the other [part] of me was something that I didn't know. I thought maybe it would be that Joe was working with Neal and Aubry, and not Debbie, or something like that. There were so many possibilities, but I just in general felt that if people were turning on me and Peter, it would be on him.
Reality TV World: What happened at camp 20-30 minutes before Tribal to give you the impression your plan might not follow through? Were tribemates avoiding you?
Liz Markham: It was Joe and Neal avoiding eye contact really, which seemed like something was wrong.
Reality TV World: Were you pretty certain someone had an idol or was it just paranoia that originally made you want to split the vote between Neal and Aubry? Because viewers didn't see anybody finding an idol nor did we really see anyone go off looking for one?
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Liz Markham: Everybody was looking for idols all the time! (Laughs) People were just out taking walks or whatever it was they came up with for excuses. There was a lot of paranoia. They split the vote against me and Peter thinking we might have an idol. We wanted to split the votes against Neal and Aubry, thinking they might have the idol. It was, yeah, everybody was afraid.
Reality TV World: You and Peter thought you were in control of the tribe, that you were sort of the middle men between two pairs who wanted to work with you. Did you really think you had Joe and Debbie on your side as well as Aubry and Neal? Peter seemed incredibly confident about it.
Liz Markham: Yeah, I think where we got the confidence was -- well, this hasn't really been that much portrayed -- but Joe and Neal butted heads so much, and we were really under the impression that they couldn't stand each other.
And Neal and Aubry were so tight and then Joe and Debbie were so tight, we felt we could just choose which of the opposing sides to work with. I guess the miscalculation was we thought that Joe hated Neal more than he hated me.
Reality TV World: So it sounds like Joe put on a good face for you. (Laughs)
Liz Markham: (Laughs) Well, I didn't think he loved me by any stretch of the imagination. But I also thought Debbie liked me, (laughs) which was wrong. We just thought Joe felt even worse about Neal.
Reality TV World: On the topic of Debbie, would you say you underestimated your tribemates? You called Debbie, for example, a "court jester" and didn't take her seriously. But all the while, Debbie was concocting the plan behind your back to get you out. So did that surprise you?
Liz Markham: Well, I think court jesters have to be very, very entertaining. They have to be witty, but they also have to be adept at reading the room, knowing whom they can mock and bringing in the comedy at the right moments.
Like, she has that attitude of humor and making a show, making a spectacle, but I think she's possibly the sharpest one of the remaining Brains. She's got a lot of smarts in her -- a lot of savvy. I think we finally saw that in Episode 3 and we didn't really see it in the first two episodes.
Reality TV World: Most of your tribemates seemed to think you came across as arrogant and a know-it-all. Debbie called you a "PreMadonna Princess." Having watched the show, do you agree you might've acted that way or does all that surprise you?
Liz Markham: I don't really know where the "Pre-Madonna" thing came from. I feel like that's pretty different from the way most people I know see me. Arrogance, I can understand a little bit better. I think I tried really hard to seem confident and not as fearful. And that was probably a pretty big mistake.
Reality TV World: Peter's edit was pretty cringe-worthy last night...
Liz Markham: Yeah! (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Like he made comments about molding his tribemates like clay and needing to give them paternal direction because they couldn't make decisions on their own. Would you say the show made him look worse than he really was while you were out there, or was the footage accurate? Because you got to know him pretty well.
Liz Markham: I was pretty shocked about how he was behaving at Tribal actually, especially because we talked like 20 minutes before, "Uh oh, things aren't going our way. What do we do now!? I guess there's nothing we can do, really." And then he goes in there with all this, like, bluster and huff! And I had no idea where it came from. (Laughs) I was like, "Shut up!"
Reality TV World: Was it almost a little embarrassing watching last night's episode back in that you were associated with Peter's behavior? You got sort of clumped in with his attitude towards everyone.
Liz Markham: Watching it was actually a lot better than I expected. I expected, like, [Andrew "Drew" Christy] from San Juan del Sur or like a [Garrett Adelstein] in Cagayan portrayal for myself. I expected to look a lot worse than I did! (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Well that's a good thing then! (Laughs) You and Peter talked a lot about a swap or merge coming up. When did you think that was going to happen? And you mentioned wanting to work with more loyal players, so did you have a gameplan for that?
Liz Markham: We thought the swap would happen after the first four votes, which is how it historically happened in three-tribe, 18-player seasons. So, yeah, we thought it would be one more vote and then the swap. And it's pretty random who's on your swap tribe, so you can't really know anything.
And I think it often becomes about the numbers of people from each starting tribe and then also just personality clicks. But I think that's something where you can't possibly plan for all the possible situations... If you can stick with your initial tribemates, you're going to be in a much better spot.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for more from Liz Markham's exclusive Survivor: Kaoh Rong interview.