Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers had itself a heck of a tribal council last night; unfortunately, it cost us Lauren Rimmer in the process. Lauren was a salt-of-the-earth fisher from a small town on the East Coast; she’s the sort of casting throwback that we used to see a lot of on the early seasons. We wanted to see her last a long time and she did; unfortunately, she was done in by an immunity idol play by Ben coupled with an idol gaffe of her own — her splitting hers in half and giving one part of it to Mike.
In our weekly exit interview today we spoke with Lauren about this move and many others within the game, including how she found her bearings, her longtime love of the show, and whether she’d be interested in going back for another go.
CarterMatt – You made it pretty far this season! Are you feeling pretty happy about your experience overall?
Lauren Rimmer – Of course. You don’t ever know how far you’re going to make it, so every day that you get past tribal council is a great day. I honestly never thought I would’ve gotten that far. It’s wonderful.
We got a little bit of your story on the show last night with your sister, but how much of the show had you seen going into it?
Watching it was sort of our thing back in the day. I would go out and work the night shift and my sister would record the episodes. There was a theater where she lived, not even a mile down the road. We’d buy a bucket of popcorn, and then go there and refill it for like five bucks. We’d [get that] and watch it. She’s a diehard.
One thing I really liked about watching you out there was that around four or five episodes in, you started to really get your bearings and figure out the game. You had advantages and competed hard in challenges. Did you have a sense of that?
Yeah. When you first come out you’re trying to get a feel of everything. Everyone was like ‘oh, you look so serious’ — I like to laugh and have a good time, but when I got out there I realized that this was going to be tough. I had to try to build a rapport with these people and play a serious game. When I realized ‘this is going to be okay’ and I started to feel more comfortable around people I started to open up a little bit more. That just happens every day that you’re there — you get stronger and stronger as a player. You try to build as many [relationships] as you can.
Do you think your life experience made you more qualified to be out there than almost anyone, given that you’ve worked so hard in your life and done so many different things?
I do. Someone asked me before what I did to prepare, and I really didn’t do anything physically. The only thing that I really did to mentally prepare was to think about the main positive reason that I was doing this.
I’ve sure you’ve been asked a lot about that crazy tribal council already, but a good starting-off question is this: If you had both parts of your immunity idol, would you have played it even not knowing Ben had one?
Obviously nobody knew Ben had his, but if I’d had my other half I would have definitely played it. What tipped me off was that Chrissy started to question me and making a commotion. I thought she was trying to turn everyone against me. At first I thought it was just her and Ryan and Ben, but I didn’t really trust Mike 100%. He was always all over the place.
Did you ever think about saying to Mike ‘hey, do you think I could have that half of the idol back’?
After Mike threw it in the fire I was [screwed]. Before that I pretty much blanked … I was just so shocked with everything that was happening. Everything looks so simple but it’s really not. When you watch it, it’s easy to say ‘oh, you should’ve done this or you should’ve done that.’ I should have done a lot of things. But being there, you’re so mentally drained and you can’t put one foot in front of the other. That’s a part of the game — it breaks you down. You make mistakes.
On the show it looked like the point where things started to break apart was when Ben overheard you, Ashley, and Devon talking. Was that what caused him to get really paranoid and target you?
That was a turning point for him. I had noticed that Ben was starting to be paranoid, but I realize now that Chrissy was actually the one who put that in his head. I think she was doing that to bring him closer and to turn him against us. He was already running around in the middle of the night. I wanted to start moving forward to get him out.
So were you really planning to get rid of the advantage and wipe your hands clean of all that?
If I would have got back to Tribal Council I would have definitely gone to Chrissy and talked with her one-on-one. I would’ve probably tried to talk to her by herself, and then probably talk with her and Ryan to give her the opportunity to use it. I would have given it to her with stipulations … I would’ve tried to work something out with her.
Of the remaining group, who did you want to go to the end with?
I started out wanting Devon and Ashley there — they were a part of the alliance — but once Ben and I became strong players I knew I couldn’t sit side by side with Ben. As the game went on, knowing that nobody really liked Chrissy and Ryan, there was [an option] to work with them later on even though I didn’t want to. It would’ve been to my advantage because nobody really cared for Ashley and Devon.
How difficult is it to figure some of that stuff out while out there? It’s easy to gravitate towards people you like, but you may be better off against people you don’t get along with.
It’s extremely hard in my book. Sometimes I have a big heart, and these [players] are all people. You build friendships with them in all aspects. It’s hard to keep thinking ‘this is still a game’ and put your feelings to the side. You have to focus on one thing — it’s harder to do that the longer you’re there since you’re so beaten down.
That was my biggest challenge — mentally trying to [stay together].
What’s been the reaction to people seeing you on the show? Have you had a lot of people approaching you wanting to talk about it?
It’s really small here and I pretty much knew everybody before I left. Now it’s just blown up. I’ve gotten to see people I haven’t seen in years and I’ve enjoyed every minute. I’ve gone out of town a couple of times — I’ve come out of a dressing room and there are nine people staring at me. I’m just like ‘okay’ (laughs). It’s kind of comical to me because I never expected it, but I’ve enjoyed it and it’s a great experience to be able to share with people.
Would you go back and do this again?
Oh definitely. I would love to go back and try to beat myself, basically. It’d be fun to go back and correct some of the mistakes that I made and try not to do those things. I’d try to do everything a little bit differently — try to do a lot of these the same, but then don’t. I don’t know how else to explain it.
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