Apologies for the slow posting of this week’s “Survivor: Philippines” exit interview with Roberta Saint-Amour. She’s New York-based and as of Monday morning, she still didn’t have power after Hurricane Sandy, so I’m grateful she was able to make the time.
And you can be forgiven if you don’t have a clue who “Roberta Saint-Amour” is. Just as Dawson turned out to be “Sarah Dawson,” Roberta Saint-Amour is the not-so-secret identity for the “Survivor” contestant we’ve come to know as RC in recent weeks.
RC became the first member of the undefeated Tandang tribe to be sent home when, on last Wednesday’s episode, Jeff Kent decided it was more important to try to vote Jonathan Penner out of the game than to sick with the alliance that took him to the Merge.
Yeah. We still don’t get it either.
It was fitting that Jeff Kent’s voting decision doomed RC, since he was driven by anti-returning player rage, while RC had been left with only a returning player, Mike Skupin, as an ally after Pete conspired to dupe Abi into turning Tandang against her in the early days.
Yeah. We still don’t get that either.
In her exit interview, RC discusses her relationship with Abi, Pete’s pro-chaos strategy and why she wasn’t worried about aligning with a returning player.
Click through for the full interview…
HitFix: Hey RC. Do you have power back?
Roberta “RC” Saint-Amour: Ugh. In my parents’ house, yes. But unfortunately not in my apartment yet.
HitFix: Gracious. That’s not ideal.
RC: Yup. We’re not built for hurricanes here in New York City. I’m just glad that everyone’s healthy and happy and that’s the most you can ask for.
HitFix: I trust you’ve been able to watch Wednesday’s episode?
RC: I watched it officially, but not on time.
HitFix: There were some weird votes in that Tribal Council. Have you been able to make sense of what Skupin and Denise were doing?
RC: No! Well, to an extent, I think that Denise was voting with Malcolm, so I think I can certainly make sense of that one and so I think that was the right play for her, especially because Malcolm, at one point, said that I was “dangerous,” so I understand where the Denise vote came from. Now the Michael vote really threw me for a loop. I understand that this is a very individual game and there’s only one person who can be the sole Survivor and the rest of us are pretty much losers, but if I was in Michael’s position, I would have never done that to my alliance-member. So that vote was a little tough to watch, certainly, but it’s not one that I can fault him for.
HitFix: And I assume that you were pretty sure and remain pretty sure that Jeff Kent went the wrong way with his allegiances there?
RC: Oh yes! I really don’t know what Jeff Kent was thinking. I think he was just so blinded by Penner that he made the wrong decision, clearly. I know he regrets it, because he’s apologized to me. Instead of being top dog in a major alliance, he decided to be bottom dog in a major alliance? It doesn’t really make sense that this MVP player did something that stupid.
HitFix: You went exactly the opposite direction. He came out and he was determined that no returning player was going to win and all of that. Whereas you aligned strongly with a returning player immediately. Why did you go the way you went?
RC: Yeah, well I think that for me, I’ve seen Skupin play the game and I’ve seen Penner play the game and so I know who they are as players. I don’t know who Pete and Abi and Artis and Lisa are as players. They could surprise me at any turn. I felt very confident, especially teaming up with Penner or Michael, because really they’re men of integrity and they’re leaders and they’re such amazing men that I felt very, very comfortable making an alliance or giving them my word based on who they are are people. I can’t say that I would have made the same decision if it was a different returnee, but certainly these men I was not scared of. I was actually thrilled that they were on the island looking to be leaders and hoping to really help direct our camp and helping us survive.
HitFix: And how much of your feeling of confidence in knowing those two is based on, at least to some degree, misjudging Abi initially?
RC: It’s funny. It’s hard because it was only six-person tribe and so I really didn’t have many options. Lisa, to me, was this wonderful, gracious woman, but she was hiding something. Clearly. Now I know what she was hiding and it really wasn’t anything I’d deem she probably should have hid, but she was very threatening to me in that aspect of things. And rightfully so. She’s a woman who can sorta fly under the radar. She’s so lovely that people want her around, but she’s not a physical threat and she’s not a strategic threat and so I really didn’t want to team up with her from the beginning. So I really didn’t have that many options of who I could align myself with. Me and Abi did make a strong connection off the bat and she was as gung-ho about being in an alliance with me as I was with her. Unfortunately, her hatred for me — and rightfully so — hatred for who I am as an individual, which the complete opposite of who she is as an individual, came out and sorta got the best of gameplay.
HitFix: We didn’t see any of the “rightfully so.” We just saw her going off the handle at random things. Why were you guys in such opposition?
RC: Well, the problem was that I think Abi wanted to be the athlete of the group and she wasn’t. She was asked to sit out. And then she wasn’t the strategic one and she wasn’t the pretty one. She wasn’t able to be any of that stuff. Lisa would say daily that I was the pretty girl in our tribe and I think that really hurt me or hurt her, because she was sitting there listening to it constantly, what the boys would say or what the other tribes would say. So I think jealousy got the best of her and I understand where she’s coming from. She had every right to hate me, because I’m everything she’s not.
HitFix: Was that just a quicksand situation where once you’d gone down a wrong alliance path there was nothing you could do to get out of it and fix things?
RC: 100 percent it was quicksand. Me and Michael kept hoping that when push came to shove, if we ever did lose, that people would want to keep the stronger people around, with me and Michael being the strongest, that they would want to keep us around. We were winning everything for everyone. Abi wasn’t winning anything and she couldn’t be counted on to win anything. For us, we really just kept hoping at that point that people would come to their senses and instead of targeting us, work with us. We tried constantly to be strategizing and getting people over to our side and it was never tested and bonds were really never tested.
HitFix: Is that one of those things where we, sitting at home, might night realize that there’s a significant downside to never going to Tribal Council?
RC: 100 percent. If I could do it again, maybe I would have thrown a challenge instead of working so hard at them, because I think it put a huge target on my back, because I kept out-performing and out-shining some people on my tribe and I think people really took as me as a physical threat or certainly someone who could do puzzles really well and I didn’t really realize what a target I was putting on my back at that point. And then people are walking around and they’re forgetting that it’s a game where you sorta have to keep your emotions in check and play nice, because we never saw the downside of someone losing. There was never any fear that we were ever going to lose and we didn’t.
HitFix: Did you have a clue or hint or suspicion that Pete was behind the Immunity Idol clue/blowup?
RC: I did and I didn’t. When the blow-up happened, all communication ceased on our tribe. Literally no one would talk to me and Michael on a daily basis unless they were yelling at us. So we knew that there was more to the story, but we just couldn’t get anybody to even talk to us or be rational about the situation. I still don’t understand what she was thinking, because here she had the Idol, she betrayed me and she’s shouting that I betrayed her? And she knows that she showed the clue to someone else behind my back, so she knew that there was a possibility that there was another person that knew about the clue that it could be? So it’s stuff like that where you just sit and you scratch your head, I’m sure like you guys did at home, like “What the hell just happened?”
HitFix: Have you heard from her since? What do you think her reaction was to seeing that she blew it by blaming you?
RC: Just like her reaction on the show where she doesn’t want to talk about anything or hear out rational ideas or thoughts. I obviously have not heard from her or gotten an apology or anything for her blaming me for anything, so maybe at the reunion show? She’s clearly taken no ownership for anything that she’s done.
HitFix: And what do you make of Pete’s strategy?
RC: I think it’s the silliest thing in the world. And I know that he regrets it, because he certainly apologized to me enough times now that I know he knows he made a stupid decision. But that just goes to show you that he’s not a good player of “Survivor.” You were in a major alliance. If you want to switch it up, do it behind our backs. Don’t do it so publicly that me and Michael know exactly where our place is in the tribe now. And, on top of that, you did it so early in the game. We weren’t losing. There’s no reason to have fights. There’s no reason to “create chaos,” in his own words. We were winning! Do after the Merge or blindside us. By not hiding his intentions or anything else like that, it was really his own downfall.
HitFix: How toxic did the environment really get for you and Michael at the camp?
RC: It was exceedingly toxic and it was also exceedingly hurtful in a lot of sense. I’ve wanted to play this game for so long and to all of a sudden end up where no one’s talking to you on a six person tribe and you know that you’re responsible for winning, constantly? It was so toxic that literally no one would talk to us or people would be afraid to be seen talking to us, because then they were perceived to maybe be slipping or siding with us. So everyone was so scared with fear over what Abi was going to say. Really, she was yelling at everyone. I wasn’t the only one that had her wrath and everyone was deathly afraid of her, because she had this Idol. So it was just a very toxic, nasty environment, and still, looking back, I cannot believe that we all let this woman who has yet to graduate from community college at 34 run the show.
HitFix: As a last question: You guys were obviously out there winning everything for the first three weeks, which meant you didn’t get a lot of screentime other than Abi’s weekly blow-up at you. Were there things that you wish we’d gotten to see from those few weeks that you guys were a tribe?
RC: I don’t think you guys really saw the toxicity, like I said, with what was going on. It kinda looked like we were still a unit because we were so strong in challenges and we had athletes. Pete’s an athlete. Artis is an athlete. Michael’s an athlete. I’m an athlete. When it came to actual challenge time, we put aside our differences in camp life and really came together, which I was so proud of us for doing, but don’t get the sense that literally every time we won, we’d be happy, we’d come back to camp and we’d fight. That really shows you where our heads were at that we couldn’t even be happy or get along when we got back to camp. So I think that’s the part that you’re really missing is the dynamics and the relationships that also built. I had a great relationship with Lisa. I love her outside of this game, but it doesn’t even look like I even talked to her.