“Survivor: Blood vs. Water” concluded on Sunday (December 15) night with three hours of episode and live reunion show. Thanks to the presence of Redemption Island, Sunday may have been the “Survivor” finale, but it began with a whopping seven castaways still in play.
That means that on Monday morning, between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., I did seven exit interviews, or rather five exit interviews with seven contestants.
As I did last week with “Amazing Race,” I’ll be posting one exit interview per day through to my very funny chat with Tyson on Friday.
The Week of “Survivor” Exit Interviews begins with Laura Morett and Hayden Moss, who finished sixth and seventh for the season and were eliminated after a Redemption Island Duel in which Tina Wesson outlasted them balancing a vase on a teeter-totter.
Both Hayden and Laura had their moments.
Hayden, a former “Big Brother” champion and boyfriend to returning Kat, may not have been successful, but he definitely stirred up some passions at his last few Tribal Councils, working with Ciera and trying to break Monica away from her alliance with Gervase & Tyson. He was also part of the now-notorious rock-drawing Tribal Council.
Laura was the only contestant voted out in part by her loved one, as daughter Ciera helped send her to Redemption Island for the second time in the game.
In their paired exit interview, Hayden and Laura discuss their Final Jury votes for Tyson, Hayden compares “Survivor” and “Big Brother,” while Laura talks about the frustration of spending so much of her game on Redemption Island.
Click through for the full Q&A…
HitFix: OK. Let’s start at the top: Your Jury vote, how hard was the decision and was there any wavering at Final Tribal?
Hayden Moss: No. It wasn’t that hard at all. I think Tyson played an unreal game and he totally deserved to win. Going into Tribal, I knew who I was gonna vote for and I don’t think there was anything Gervase or Monica could have said to sway me, mostly because I saw Tyson’s game first-hand. I saw him jockey position, go from alliance to alliance, make the big moves, make some bold decisions and he totally deserved it.
Laura Morett: I absolutely agree. Without question. He played an amazing game. He had a target on his back from Day One and he continued to just divert that target to somebody else and he 100 percent deserved that one million dollars.
HitFix: When you have somebody who is so clearly on his way to being the winner, at what point do you realize that and at what point should you have realized that you needed to get rid of that person?
Laura: I think, for me, just coming out of Redemption Island, as long as the target wasn’t on me, I was happy with whoever it was pointed on. It got to the point when it was me and Hayden and Katie was still in the game, the vote that I went home, we should have gotten rid of him right then and there. That was our opportunity to do it. And we didn’t. That was, again, just gameplay on Tyson and bad gameplay on me. I should have solidified my relationships and confirmed with Hayden and Caleb that, “I’m with you guys. You can trust me. Don’t vote me out.” And I think at that point is when it really started unraveling and everybody was like, “Crap. Our opportunities for getting rid of him are getting less and less.”
Hayden: Yeah, so for me, it was at Final 8. At Final 8, I realized, “OK. We have to get rid of Tyson, otherwise he’s gonna win.” We had even gotten in position to get rid of him. We just chose not to. So then at Final 7, that’s when I made the move with Ciera — You guys all saw that one — that was, “OK. Now is the time to go to Tyson.” But it was too late. Ciera flipped and obviously from then on, we were always one step behind him, but we all knew, “Hey, if we don’t get rid of him, he’s gonna win.” We all knew, except for Gervase and Monica of course. But it just didn’t work out.
HitFix: Now Hayden, it was a lot of fun watching you in those last couple Tribal Councils just moving around like crazy and trying to make ANYTHING happen. Now from the outside, that was fun. When you’re in the middle of it, are you having fun at all, or is it just crazy stressful?
Hayden: No, when you’re in the middle, first of all: A confrontation, no matter how big or how small, in front of five people or in front of millions of people, is not a comfortable thing. Going into that, obviously there was a lot of arguing back and forth. I knew I was going home and I knew I was gonna fight to stay and I wasn’t gonna just lay down and die. So going into Tribal, I said, “Hey, let’s let it all hang out. Maybe it will work out. And maybe it won’t.”
HitFix: And Laura, what was the frustration from your point of view, of having been largely away from all of this, but only hearing about it when people showed up from Redemption Island?
Laura: Again and again we would lay there — Tina and I, because we were there most of the time together — saying, “They’ve gotta get Tyson out.” And every night we would lay there and when it wasn’t Tyson, it was like, “Oh no! They didn’t do it!” And it was very frustrating, because when people would come in, they would say, “Oh, we should have gotten rid of Tyson!” And we’re like, “I know!” It’s almost like being in this soundproof box and you’re trying to yell to people, “Get Tyson! Get Tyson!” And you can’t. It was so frustrating. On the other side, it was a relief, because here we are sitting at the Final 3 and it was really easy to write his name down. I’ve been on the show before with the Final 3 and it was really hard to decide, “Great. Which one of these three deserves it?” This one, it was really nice to say, “You know what, Tyson? You played a great game. Good on you. Here’s your one million dollars.” I think we just had a great cast and it was frustrating not being able to get him out, but he’s a good guy and he absolutely deserves it.
HitFix: Is that the sort of thing where whatever hard feelings there were faded away in the three months since you voted or were there no hard feelings even as you were writing down the names and all done!
Laura: For me there was none. If anybody had hard feelings, it would be me. He tried to vote me out three times! On Day One, he wrote my name down. Then he sent me home and then he sent me home again. That’s why he played just such a great social game, because I had no hard feelings. I’m a competitor and I’m like, “Good on you. You got me that time. I’m coming back into the game and let’s duel again.” And then he did it again. And that just shows you what a great social game Tyson played.
Hayden: Of course when you’re in the middle of a game, especially a game for a million dollars, and you end up on the wrong end… If I end up losing anything, I’m not happy about it, so I was, of course, a little not “bitter,” but just disappointed, more or less. More disappointed in myself. So the fact that Tyson won, clearly he deserved to win. Tyson and I are good friends. I guess as soon as I got voted out, I was bitter and I was pissed and then maybe on my journey to Redemption I was pissed and I was like, “Gosh, that friggin’ longhaired… scumbag” kinda feelings, but then as soon as you look back, you take a backseat and start to look at it and think, “Man, you know what? He played a really good game.” Outside the game, I love Tyson. He’s an awesome dude, so I felt good about giving him a million dollars.
HitFix: Hayden, there was that one Tribal where Gervase got all “This is not ‘Big Brother'” on you. Did you feel more anti-“Big Brother” bias than that? Did you expect more? Basically, how did that experience come up in this experience?
Hayden: You know what? It’s funny, because it hardly came up at all. I was expecting to come into this game and have a huge target on my back, winning “Big Brother.” “Big Brother” is a social game and I have that social background. So coming into “Survivor,” I expected people to bring it up, I expected it to put a big target on my back, but it kinda went unnoticed. I was super-surprised and kinda got lucky about it. So “Big Brother” came up a few times and I would tell people kinda about my experience a little but, but really nobody ever mentioned anything until that Tribal when Gervase said, “This ain’t ‘Big Brother’ blah blah blah blah. This is ‘Survivor.’ See you later.” First of all, that was dumb on Gervase’s part, because you’re in front of a Jury being loud and obnoxious and kinda pissing everybody off, but yeah. The answer to the question is that “Big Brother” didn’t come up a whole lot and it didn’t affect the game hardly at all.
HitFix: People on “Big Brother” ofter talk about how hard that experience is, but does this “Survivor” experience make you laugh at people making those comparisons?
Hayden: The comparisons are there. First of all, neither game is easy. “Survivor” is way harder physically, but I would say that “Big Brother” is almost harder mentally, because it’s a much longer game. It’s almost three times as long and it does wear on you mentally. One thing about “Survivor,” if something isn’t going your way or whatever, you can take a walk and kinda get away from things. On “Big Brother,” you don’t have that luxury. You’re confined in a house, in a cage, and you can’t escape it. In “Survivor,” you’re out in a beautiful setting and granted you’re hungry and starving and irritable, so the elements are way harder on “Survivor,” but I would say that mentally maybe “Big Brother” is a little bit tougher. It’s apples and oranges. I love oranges, but I love apples, too. Which is better? I don’t really know.
HitFix: Laura, you had the honor… or something… of being the only player voted out by a loved one. Does it surprise you that you were the only one? That people weren’t voting against their loved ones at least a little more?
Laura: Nothing surprises me in this game, honestly. I know that sounds like such a cliche answer, but I think that if you would have lined up all the loved one couples, you would have probably thought, “OK. There’s no way the mom-and-daughters are going to do this. Maybe the married couples or the dating couples because maybe they get in a fight? But no way!” And out of all the couples have it be the mom-and-daughter? I think Ciera said it best in the interview going into it, you think, “Would you vote out your loved one if you had to? Yes, but I really can’t ever see a situation where I would.” And so to have it in front of us, to where this is what she’s gonna have to do? That’s why we were just like, “Oh. This can’t be happening to us right now.” But I’m so proud of her. I think you know and America knows, I don’t like to lose. None of us like to lose. And the competitor in me was like, “Oh, hell no! I do not want to go home or go back to Redemption Island again,” but that was completely overshadowed by how proud I was of Ciera to be owning and taking control of her game, for lack of a better words, at the expense of writing my name down? One part of me as a player is like, “No, no, no. This isn’t gonna happen,” but as a mom, I was her biggest cheerleader out there. I just think that America got a really good chance to see my daughter transcend from this needing-advice-from-mom and how-do-I-manipulate-my-life to “Mom, here’s what I’m doing and it’s gonna affect you. Hope you’re not mad.” I was so proud of her, not mad for a second.
HitFix: And Hayden, did you have it easier because your loved one was a relatively young relationship? Or did that make it harder because of its fragility?
Hayden: OK, so I think that the relationships that had the advantage were the married couples, the reason being that they share a bank account. You have Brad and Monica, they share a bank account, Rupert and his wife. That makes it much easier, because with Kat and I, it’s like, “OK, there’s only one winner,” because we’re not married eventually one of us would have to vote somebody out, so being married makes it a little bit easier. But other than that, relationships are tough, regardless. A young relationship, you’re worried about fracturing it or breaking up or damaging the relationship. A mother-daughter relationship, it’s gonna be there regardless of what happened on the island. So there’s a different dynamic with all of the relationships.
HitFix: Hayden, going back to the “Big Brother” thing, which of these two shows are you most likely to want to go back to play again? Or are you eying “The Amazing Race” for the hat trick?
Hayden: [Chuckles.] I’m not really eying anything at this point except for my bed for a couple day. I don’t know. “Big Brother,” I’m “Big Brother” through-and-through, like “Big Brother” first and foremost, but “Survivor” is amazing, too. Either show, they’re both awesome, man. It’s impossible to say, “Hey, if both were on the table, what would I choose?” I don’t know the answer the that. One thing is that I’ve won “Big Brother.” I feel like I have unfinished business on “Survivor.” “Survivor” is a million. “Big Brother” is half-a-million. Those are some things that I would have to think about. They’re both awesome. I love them both. They’re both great shows, fun and amazing and I’d love to do both of them again. How does that sound.
HitFix: And Laura, you’re getting closer. Do you still have that “Survivor” itch? Would you like to go out there a third time now?
Laura: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. You still have that unfinished business. I think every time you play — It’s not like I’ve played 10 times — you just learn so much about yourself and then you think, “OK. Here’s what I would do differently next time.” And Tyson got it. He nailed it. His third time, he figured it out. So my third time, hopefully I can figure this out.