We're still reeling from last night's first blindside in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. The tribe has spoken, but the latest castoff still has a lot to say. Get all the deets—including why fan favorite Rupert isn't beloved by his tribemates—in our exclusive interview...
Monty Brinton/ CBS
Q&A With Cirie Fields
Do you believe you lost control of the game?
Maybe I'm not as smart as people think I am, but I didn't realize at the time that I had a really good grasp on this game and things were going the way I wanted them to. I'm so paranoid while playing that I can't see the forest for the trees. You don't realize you're in control: I'm just trying to hang on. I'm just trying to do what's best for me to make it further—or what I think is best for me to make it further.
Why didn't you try to get Candice voted out?
Although I was in alliance with James, Amanda, Rupert and J.T., that's not where I wanted to be. Hello! I've been in that alliance before. I knew Colby and Tom wanted me gone from day one, and I heard J.T. wanted me gone from day one. So I felt if Candice went, I'd be surrounded by a bunch of alpha males that don't value me in this game. And the second we lose another challenge, there's no longer a buffer—a person they don't trust, like Candice. And they kept saying: "We gotta stay strong to win challenges." I'm not deemed one of the stronger players. So I felt I had to fight to keep my buffer, and to get rid of one of the people who wanted me gone so desperately.
Talk to us about James. Was he as crazy he seems?
I think James was upset. James is an alpha male. James is a physical player. James—like he says—is not a social player; he's not "good with the social thing." I think it's more an articulation thing. I think he spoke a certain way. I think there's a better way to come across with what he felt, and because he couldn't articulate that, it made him look like a brute. Especially when people have this idea of him as a Southern gentleman, and all his Southern charm—they're not ready to see the upset side of James. You don't see other portions of what goes on during these 39 days—it's surprising to the world. But we live with these people. We're around each other 24 hours a day. You get to see them upset or depressed or sad or threatened. I don't think James is as bad as he came across.
Monty Brinton/ CBS
Stephenie told us last week that the way James and Rupert acted at camp really upset her. Did you have the same reaction?
That's because she's a big fan of them—like the world is. She didn't spend 24 hours a day with them. My mother always told me, "You don't know a person until you live with them." We were all fans—I'm fans of everybody, I've watched the show from day one. But when you live with them, you [realize] wow, Rupert ain't so friendly! I thought James was a gentleman—that's what he looked like on TV. People see the happy, furry pirate Rupert. But in the game, you can't hide—there's nowhere to hide out there. If you wake up grumpy—a lot—and you want to be in control—a lot—it's no longer TV. Now this is our reality: Oh wow, Rupert's not so furry and happy.
Did anyone else's behavior disappoint you?
I thought Amanda was a more strategic player than she turned out to be. [In Micronesia] we had Parvati as a buffer; there was always a third party. We never played the game together, just she and I. I was a little surprised at her choices and at her inability to make decisions and play the game for herself.
Did you talk to Amanda and Parvati before the game about forming another "Black Widow" alliance after the merge?
Absolutely not. I heard about this threatening Micronesia alliance. If there was a Micronesia alliance, they left me out again. But I'm used to that.
How do you feel about the way Jeff Probst grilled Rupert and criticized your social strategy during Tribal Council?
If I wasn't so in love with Jeff, I might have beat him up that night! But Jeff is the face of Survivor, and he does his job well. My job at that time is trying not to react or hopefully try not to dissuade any of my alliance's votes. I've always felt like muttering, "Jeff, why are you trying to talk them out of what I want them to do?" but I can't because everybody's listening—everybody's watching. I don't want to persuade them one way or another. I want to try to be neutral.
How often do people change their vote at Tribal Council based on what somebody says?
I don't know how often it happens, but I think it's always a huge possibility. We didn't have Erik solidly on lock about giving up his immunity necklace [in Micronesia's famous Black Widow blindside that demoted James to the second-dumbest player in Survivor history]. But I knew, I said to them, "We can still get him at Tribal. When you're talking, continue to reiterate that he needs to redeem himself." I know for a fact that won him over. That sealed the deal. I know it's possible for people to change their vote at Tribal and that's why I try to be nonreactive.
Should Cirie have spoken up in Council? Have your say in the comments!
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