We’re going to start this “Survivor: Worlds Apart” finale interview with Carolyn Rivera by giving her a ton of credit. This is a woman who went through a lot last night. Not only did she find out that she lost the game to Mike Holloway despite a pretty great performance at final tribal council, but she also was not chosen as a cast member for “Survivor: Second Chance” next season. Yet, she still came on and was ready and willing to talk about everything related to the show.
Obviously, we got a sense that Carolyn was feeling somewhat deflated about the two setbacks that happened last night, but we tried to get into the “Second Chance” vote with her for a minute before getting into the game itself.
CarterMatt – I don’t want to dwell too much on the Second Chance vote because I imagine that it’s not the easiest [to think about]. What I do wonder is this: While you did have a platform in terms of ten million people watching you every week, were you hurt in some way by not being able to do some of the podcast interviews campaigning like some of the other people?
Oh yeah. I think actually still being on the show still kind of hurt me a little bit. While I had a lot of viewers, I think a lot of people thought I was going to win, and they didn’t want to spend a vote on me. I wasn’t allowed to really talk about it or do any podcasts, but you know what? It wasn’t for me this time. Hopefully everybody knows that I am a gamer, and they will want to give me a second shot at some other time.
I think one of the cool things about this idea is that you can bring so many people back. This time you have people like Terry or Jeff Varner coming back, and they haven’t played in [a really long time].
I think I’ll get a chance to play the game again, but it just wasn’t for me this time.
Let’s talk a little bit about your game this time, because going out of the final tribal council, I thought you did a really great job and that you had this vote and this vote and this vote. I had counted maybe around three or votes, but then you only had one in the end. Do you know what happened? Is there something that we didn’t see?
Honestly, I thought it was going to be super-close. I thought it was going to be 4-3-1 with either me winning or him winning. That’s how I saw it going down. I don’t really know what happened. Listen, Mike played a really good game and he pulled out things when he had to pull them out. I can’t take that away from him. I think I didn’t get as many votes as I should have.
In going all the way back to the first episode, you were at least in a little bit of danger. Did going through that almost right away get you thinking strategically, and do you think that helped you the rest of the way?
Oh yeah. I literally had to start playing from the first challenge loss because I was on the chopping block from day one. I knew I wasn’t going home because I brought my idol with me and I was ready to play it if I needed to. I took a risk and didn’t play it, and thank god because I needed to use it later in the game when it really helped me.
I was in game-mode. I was on White Collar, and we have that strategic mind. That’s what we do! I was doing it all-game long, thinking about Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, always thinking about those options.
Is there a sixth sense that goes off when you realize you have to play an idol? Was there any one reason that you played it, and was Dan opting to use his advantage a big factor in that?
I knew my name was on the chopping block that night. The only thing I didn’t know is how many people were going to vote for me. I did not think that every person except for Mike was going to vote against me, so the only thought was ‘do I take a risk and save it for one last time, or play it safe and don’t take a chance and make sure you win the next immunity.’ I had every intention of playing it because I was not going to go home with the idol in my pocket. When Dan played his extra vote, I think you saw my face. I tried to play it up that I was so scared. That’s what I love that tribal vote. (Laughs.)
Did you maintain a close relationship with Mike throughout the post-merge game? On the show it seemed like everyone ostracized him after the Auction, but were you still talking with him at that time?
Honestly, it really turned at the orphanage reward when me, Sierra, and Mike went on that. We kind of bonded there, and that’s why when we did the Tyler vote out, I made sure not to vote for Mike. I did not vote for Mike the rest of the game.
With the move to get rid of Tyler, did you feel like he would have gotten rid of you next had he stayed?
What everyone doesn’t know is that the day that Tyler went home, he was planning to vote me out if I didn’t win immunity. They all planned to vote for me that night if I didn’t win that challenge. Tyler will say the same thing; I got him before he got me.
I wanted to ask about your relationship with Shirin. At times it seemed like you two were very contentious out there, but then late in the game we were starting to see things like you making a big move, and then her smiling on the jury. Did you feel the relationship change?
Shirin and I, it’s not like we hated each other, but we had different opinions. She played her game and I played mine, they weren’t always the same. Shirin’s an eccentric character, she’s a different type of a person. When you’re out there you have to take the good with the bad. I have idiosyncrasies and so does she. We didn’t always see eye-to-eye … We didn’t align after I voted for Max, and once we got to the merge, I just thought from the beginning that her and Max were coming for me after they said something [early on] about a triple-blindside. I knew that those two were a power couple. I didn’t trust her after that, and I didn’t work with her. That’s the only reason we had an issue, and I told her. We were very straightforward on the island about that.
Towards the end when I was making those moves, I think she thought it was a great gameplay, and she respected everything that I did.
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