Boston Rob and the Ometepe tribe's biggest fan checked out of Survivor: Redemption Island last night. We're going to miss Zapatera's strategic spitfire who, not surprisingly, had a lot to say in today's exit interview.
Get in here for more from the player whose aggressiveness earned the admiration of Russell Hantz himself…
Although she was the last of her alliance to go, Stephanie Valencia told us her early departure is "really, really, really heartbreaking—it sucks so bad."
The only thing that sucks more, in Stephanie's view, is her Zapatera tribe. "They're stupid—they suck at strategy! If they were playing to win, they would have never thrown that challenge, because they would've seen the merge coming up not as an opportunity to be on the jury but as an opportunity to have the numbers and wipe the other team out. That's not OK with me."
Stephanie calls her last-minute defender, David, a "smart person who makes dumb decisions." At first, Stephanie said, "David agreed to be in our alliance, but he changed his mind really quickly. He was scared of Russell. We tried knocking some sense into him, waiting for his balls to drop or something. Watching it now, I'm just like, 'Dave, we could've made something work, now you're on this island with people you can't stand. You did this to yourself. You're so lame."
Stephanie has nothing but admiration for Boston Rob, her enemy on paper only. "I see how Rob's playing the game as I'm watching it [on TV], and I'm like, 'Oh my god, genius, genius, genius.' So [at Redemption Island I tried] to tell Matt, 'He's a veteran—you might want to stick with him.'"
So will Matt turn against Rob when he rejoins the others? "He expressed to me that he was really hurt," Stephanie said. "He had no idea that they were going to vote him off. For me being blindsided isn't an option. You should always think you're gonna be voted out. [But] his feelings were really hurt. I tried to do my best to [explain] that Zapatera had a really strong alliance that wasn't based on being a great worker or being strong in challenges, it was based on 'I trust you and I heart you and we'll be together forever.' That's not really smart, so I told Matt, 'You want to get in good with Rob.'"
Matt's complaints about Stephanie surprised his Redemption Island buddy when she saw the show last night. "I thought I was fine with Matt!" she told us. "When I saw him say, 'She's annoying,' I'm like, 'Ef you! I said nothing but good things about you.'"
It's probably safe to say that Stephanie never said anything good about Sarita, whose laziness and "constant complaining" infuriated her. "Obviously we signed up for Survivor. It's rainy—yes, we know. You have the best spot on the bed and you're dry every morning, yet you're still complaining. She didn't do much around camp ever. She would say, 'Oh Ralph, let's go fishing,' and then she would stand on the beach, or hand out all these compliments [to other people working] because she's not doing any work [herself]. She wasn't sincere or genuine."
As for the person aggravating the Ometepe tribe, Special Agent Samurai Sheppard, Stephanie said, "I didn't see much of Phillip's crazy, but I had an inkling of it when he barked at us in the first challenge. But I'm watching now and I don't think he's crazy. I don't. I think he's just intense. And he's playing the game. And he's 52 years old, so I'm sure when he was younger he used to be the bee's knees with all these one-liners and intensity. We're like kindred spirits—we just say whatever we want, whatever comes out of our mouth. I don't think I'd have been able to stand him. I don't know how anyone on the tribe does it. Thank god I didn't have to. I got lucky on that one."