‘Survivor: Philippines’ interview: Winner Denise Stapley on Penner, Angie, strategy

SurvivorDenise Stapley was declared the winner of “Survivor: Philippines” on Sunday night, and she did so using a strategy that was in many ways rather complicated. She had a great strategy that she utilized in keeping strong alliances and never making herself the #1 target, and she also is the only person ever to literally go to every tribal council and never be sent packing.

The sex therapist from Iowa is proud of this achievement (as she should be), and she explained to us in a brief chat Monday her overall gameplan along with a couple of important moments during the game that could have led to trouble for her.

Cartermatt.com – It wasn’t given a lot of attention on the show, but how big of a move was it for you to try and help get rid of Penner, even if it didn’t work, right after the merge, especially after you went in on the new Kalabaw tribe?

All along, my alliance was with Malcolm. I had gone into Kalabaw, but my alliance was still always with Malcolm. At that point, the crew that was looking to vote for Penner, I needed to continue to build that bond with them and show some trust. It made sense to make that move, and again luckily it panned out well.

Were you ever worried early on in the game that Malcolm was going to keep Angie over you?

You know, that was always a little bit of a worry, but I knew that this was a smart kid. I know that Angie is someone that he could have drug along and kept her, but I know that he was looking at a more well-rounded alliance moving forward. I had a little more of a worry, but I also had reassurance from him that we would keep picking them off as long as we had to keep going to tribal council.

So during that final tribal council speech, was there one thing that you believed helped to carry your game over the top like your social game, doing well in challenges, or being good around camp?

I really think it had to be, and I hope it was a combination of all things. I think what clinched it was definitely being able to say ‘above all else, I have survived every single tribal council. I’m sitting here, and unfortunately all of you guys are sitting there.’ So I think that was what clinched it, but it was also me playing a social game and [despite] whether or not it was under the radar, it worked.

Are you happy with the season as a whole? If you want to see what Lisa Whelchel had to say about her time on “Survivor: Philippines,” you can do so by heading on over to the link here. Also, be sure to see how we ranked Denise as a winner!

Photo: CBS

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