Going into our exclusive Ciera Eastin exit interview following Survivor: Game Changers, one of the major questions that we had was precisely how much of her elimination was due to reputation? Did she make big mistakes in the game, or was there anything she was going to be able to do given the makeup of the game?
Rest assured, we touched on this subject and many others, including some of her fellow tribe members, the impact of being voted out first, and also her take on Tony’s game.
CarterMatt – The first thing I want to know is how you’re faring after all of this? Is it easier or harder to come out of the game when you’re sent home first? Do you think about it more?
Ciera Eastin – It definitely was really hard to be the first boot. I’ve had the time to get through it and get over it, but seeing it all play back brings back more emotions.
Like I’ve said in other interviews, it is what it is. I’m really lucky to be considered to be on Survivor. They’ve been so good to me that it’s hard to really complain.
Have you heard from some of the other first boots over the years, giving you a little bit of love? This is something that your [former Blood vs. Water cast member] Vytas just went through a little over a year ago.
Vytas and I are pretty close, and he definitely reached out. I’ve had so many people throughout the different seasons I’ve played reach out to me, even people from different seasons letting me know that they’re proud of me and that I did fine, and not to be too hard on myself.
How much of your elimination was based on things within the game, or were you hurt by pre-game reputation and all of the Jeff Probst hype?
Honestly, it’s hard to say because I was there for three days! The hardest part of Survivor for me is the first week, because you’re building those awkward relationships and you’re trying to fit in somewhere. Then, the challenges are a lot more intense, the first few of them. They can make or break the morale of the team.
It’s hard to really pinpoint what happened. I came in, and I think a lot of people thought about my past seasons and what sort of player I am and how I play. I think obviously Malcolm had it out for me going in, and he had people in his corner. Aubry and Hali and Caleb were totally with Malcolm, so whatever Malcolm said was going to happen.
On the show they made it seem like you were danger for throwing out Tony and Caleb’s names. Was that something that was happening often, and they were just looking for a convenient reason to get rid of you?
For sure, 100%. If it was up to me, Tony would not be the first person going home. That’s not how I would play the game, but I do play it ‘anyone but me.’ I walked in to a conversation at the well and they were talking about Tony. So, I just went with it.
It didn’t surprise when Tony was the next one out, because everyone was talking about getting rid of Tony. It’s not like I out of nowhere was throwing names around. When everyone asked ‘what if Tony has a hidden immunity idol,’ I shouldn’t have said ‘then we take out his right-hand man Caleb.’ I think maybe that’s what they were talking about with ‘throwing names out,’ because everyone was talking about getting rid of Tony.
You and Tony are both synonymous with taking huge risks in the game. Do you see your eliminations as a sign that there were players being a little more conservative?
Oh for sure. We made a transition from old-school play to new-school play, and the last few seasons have been somewhat in between. Second Chance was so much more fast-paced then first few days than this season was. I went in expecting that, and that’s not what I got.
Is there any way that the spy bunker could’ve ever worked?
(Laughs) I wouldn’t put anything past Tony. He could make anything work if you gave him enough time. Watching it back, it’s hilarious just watching him go for it.
How unstable an element was Tony? Was he just going around being all-over-the-place pretty much all the time? Is there any escape from it?
There’s no escape. Literally none. He was all ‘go, go, go, go.’ The second we hit the beach, you saw him say ‘I’m going to go look for the idol.’ Every single second of every single day was like that. Even in the middle of the night he would be off somewhere.
You mentioned the words earlier ‘anyone but me,’ and that is clearly the Sandra mantra. In being out there with someone else that plays relatively similar to you, how difficult was that to try and mitigate?
I went in kind of trying to get rid of people who played a role similar to me. Malcolm was doing that same thing, because he said in the preseason that I play a game similar to him. You want to be the only one in that role. Otherwise, you’re more disposable, so that makes it difficult to navigate.
Through your experience, what do you think Sandra is doing that’s so effective? She came in as a two-time winner and that’s obviously a huge target.
Sandra’s incredible. She’s an incredible person and a great player. She’s so great at getting to know you in the social game, and very, very smart when it comes to what to say and what not to say.
While it may seem like she’s bursting out with these comments that she’s the queen, she has this charming ability to make it seem like she’s telling a joke.
Let’s say you made it through the first Tribal Council. Who were the people you wanted to work with?
I definitely would work long-term with Troyzan. I really bonded with him and really enjoyed him. Jeff Varner, I would have worked with long-term. I would’ve kept around Tony and maybe Sandra. I wouldn’t go to the end with Sandra, but I would’ve kept them around long enough so they could be a shield. People wouldn’t be worried about my strategic game because you had two winners in the game.
Is there a fourth time for Ciera in the books? It’s the inevitable question.
I think I need a break. I filmed three times in four years, and I think I need my headspace right now. I definitely want to come back, and I want to close the chapter with a win. I think I’m capable of it, but I think I need to step back and get my head right and give myself a breather.
Finally, what has this Survivor game meant to you? As you just said you’ve played it a lot the past few years, so it must have had a huge impact on your life.
It has completely changed my life in so many different ways. Personally I’ve grown up with it, so it’s informed my confidence and the way I see people and my gratefulness. People forget about the actual survival element of the show. Being in those difficult elements in my seasons made me realize how much I’m capable of. I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to even be out there.
Other Survivor: Game Changers content to check out
In addition to this Ciera Eastin exit interview, be sure to also read our interview with Tony! Also, be sure to read our full Survivor: Game Changers premiere review.
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