Whether or not you’ve embraced her home-spun North Carolina wisdom, you can’t deny that Jane Bright has been one of the most memorable characters in the slightly character-deficient “Survivor: Nicaragua” season.
Whether she was starting fire without flint, flipping on her fellow “old” contestants to help crush the cocky Marty/Jill alliance or sneaking off into the woods to devour a fish she caught, Jane found a way to become one of the season’s most featured contestants.
And when she was voted out of the game — betrayed by cautious Sash and Holly and spineless Chase — she left with ample spirit, repeatedly dousing the campfire, warning Chase he was no longer welcome in North Carolina and ranting up a storm at Tribal Council.
I chatted with Jane yesterday and got her feelings about Chase, secretive fish-eating and whether she was, as many contended, unbeatable in a Jury situation.
HitFix: You were quite worked up during the course of Wednesday’s episode. You’ve had five months to reflect on things. Do you feel any different today about what went down?
Jane Bright: No, I don’t. [Laughter.]
HitFix: What was it like watching it over again?
JB: What was it like? Well, finding out who was stabbing you in the back and you actually got to see… But I still don’t know who it was who actually put my name up in the first place. Prior to that, we were supposed to be voting Dan off if Fabio won Immunity. But I still don’t know who brought my name up after Fabio won that challenge, who wanted to vote me off.
HitFix: Did it actually make you angrier to watch the episode?
JB: It doesn’t make me angry, but it makes me realize that what I actually thought was going on up until that point was just a big hoax.
HitFix: In your book, who’s worse: Holly and Sash, who were content to betray you, or Chase who wanted to protect you, but ended up caving anyway?
JB: Well, if Chase had manned up, he would have told them that we were going with our original decision, because we need Jane to try to beat Fabio in future challenges, which would have ensured them of making it closer to the end. But that’s not the way it went down.
HitFix: You say Chase needed to man up, but as we’ve been watching the show, Chase has needed to man up about a dozen different times. Had you not realized that?
JB: What you don’t understand, though, is that the only time that I knew he didn’t man up was with the Brenda episode. That’s because Brenda had brought up that she was going to get rid of Chase, Jane and Holly’s alliance. And yet none of us were going after her alliance with Sash and Purple Kelly. We still had Dan to get rid of. We still had Benry to get rid of. We still had Alina to get rid of. And here she was bringing up “We’re gonna get rid of Chase, Jane and Holly.” That’s why we turned on her, because she was gonna turn on us. I didn’t know that he hadn’t manned up in all of those other instances, because I wasn’t around him at those times.
HitFix: But having watched the way everything went down on TV, does what he did to you make more sense?
JB: Oh yeah! It makes a whole lot more sense. I should never have put a lot of faith in him. I put faith in him because he’s from the South. Most Southern Men are pretty much true to their words. And even the guys from past shows who have been from the South have been pretty upfront and forthright. But Chase was just a big disappointment.
HitFix: But for weeks now, everybody has been saying the same thing, that you would have been impossible to beat if you’d made it to the Final Three. Do you agree with that?
JB: I don’t know if that’s true or not. I think the majority of the Jury would have been young voters from the young tribe and I think they would have kept a young person going for the million dollars. That’s just my gut feeling. Kids, they’re just not gonna give money to an old person. OK? They’ll give money to a kid. That was my feeling all along.
HitFix: So you don’t agree with the idea that this was maybe the one chance they had of getting rid of an unbeatable force?
JB: No. I don’t agree with it at all.
HitFix: At least they told you to your face that they were voting out. I mean, they could have just reassured you and then blindsided you. Would you have preferred that they’d not leveled with you?
JB: No. I, at least, was able to get a few things that I found when I was out there on the beach, some memorabilia to bring home. If you get blindsided, it would have been left. At least Chase had the balls enough to tell me. I don’t know if he regrets it now or not. We’ll never know.
HitFix: Then at Tribal Council, you had Jeff Probst getting annoyed at you, Dan and Fabio and basically had to suggest a counter-strategy. Why did Jeff have to be the one to give you guys that advice?
JB: I had already approached them before. It was like talking to a brick wall. Dan had always talked, he and Marty had always talked, about an all-male alliance going all the way to the end, three men up there, no woman’s gonna win. Then Dan had Fabio wrapped around his little finger. So if Fabio didn’t budge, Dan wasn’t gonna budge and if Dan didn’t budge, Fabio wasn’t gonna budge. And I knew either one of ’em wasn’t gonna budge, because each one of them had been told by Chase and Sash, “I’m takin’ you to the Finals. We’re gonna be the Final Three and get rid of Holly.” That’s what they had been told and that’s what they believed, so that’s what they said to me the day that Chase took Holly on the cruise. I’m saying to myself, “Well that’s not true.” I knew what was gonna be true. It was supposed to be Holly, Jane, Chase and Sash and then when it got down to the Final Four, somebody was gonna go home and more than likely, it was going to be Holly. But we’ll never know if that ever could have played out.
HitFix: What other scrambling did you try to do on that last day?
JB: I took Chase aside and tried to talk him out of it, but he was like, “Well if I go against them, he’ll turn on me.” And I’m sayin’ to myself, “But we could have Dan and Fabio on our side and vote Sash and Holly out.” I couldn’t get anybody to change their minds on what was gonna happen.
HitFix: So there you were at Tribal Council and with Jeff’s steering, you all seemed to agree that writing Holly’s name was a good idea. But then not even you wrote Holly’s name. Why’d you cast your vote against Sash?
JB: Why did I vote for Sash? To let everybody know the snake he was after what he did down on the beach the night before this happened. And that’s just something I really don’t want to discuss.
HitFix: As you left, you said you were totally proud of the way you played the game. With more time to reflect on it, do you have any regrets?
JB: My only regret is putting faith in Chase. If I’d have known that he would be as wishy-washy with Shannon and some of the other people? I just figured that Shannon was somebody who nobody liked. I didn’t know he’s made an alliance with Chase. But when you’re out there, you can only see what happens in front of you. You don’t know what happens behind your back. You don’t know what happens on the other Tribe, because you’re not over there. You’re only dealing with what you have to deal with. So I took Chase at face value, which was a mistake.
HitFix: Though people have been discussing the fish hoarding incident, where you caught and ate your own fish, no sharing. Is that something you regret or is that something you’re proud of? Or is that just something that happens in “Survivor”?
JB: Oh no. No regrets. I already had five fish for dinner for everybody else. The way I looked at it was that the fishing gear was available if you just got off your lazy ass and would go fish. Nobody else would fish. I had to walk about a mile, mile-and-a-half through the woods to go fish, because the rive behind the camp got washed out. You had to be in the mud up to your waist to even get where some fish were, if there were even any fish out there. It bothered me a lot, even though I never said anything to anybody, how lazy some of them were when we merged. The crabs at Espada were very difficult to catch and prior to that vote, I brought in 40 or 50 crabs that night for dinner, prior to that vote, the day before. We had a good dinner that night with the rice that we had and the crabs that I found. Fishing out there was not like it’s been on other seasons, where you would see Rubert go out there and he’d catch eight or nine fish and they were everywhere. You couldn’t go snorkeling in that river-thing, because it was so muddy and it was a raging river. You had to walk way back into the jungle where the water wasn’t so explosively leaving into the ocean, because fish aren’t going to be there. They’re gonna be in-land. I was just amazed by the lack of effort. Nobody wanted to go fish. And yet the equipment was available. So now, I don’t regret going into the woods. I wish I had eaten more fish in the woods.
HitFix: You’ve mentioned the people who were lazy and the people who let you down and disappointed you. Who that you played with do you most respect? The way they played the game or the way they carried themselves?
JB: I probably liked Brenda the most. When I moved over to La Flor, she was in charge of everything and she seemed to be the leader and the Queen Bee and I thought she was doing a good job. I really don’t think she voted off people wisely, though. She voted off people with personal vendettas and I just went along with it. I think she had a good thing going until she wanted to attack another alliance. My philosophy was: I’m leaving your alliance alone, so why don’t you leave mine alone? So when she started talking about voting us off, I was like, “We need to get rid of her.” I kinda lost respect for her then and there. There again, she thought Sash was gonna save her, just like I thought Chase was gonna save me. We were both screwed.
HitFix: Apparently you just can’t trust men.
JB: It’s men! If she had trusted me, me and her probably could have gone to the end. I would have gone to the end with her. I really liked Brenda and I think she was one of the smartest women out there.