"I am the queen of Survivor!"
This is what Heroes vs. Villains winner Sandra Diaz-Twine told us last night after dethroning the Villains self-proclaimed queen and runner-up Parvati Shallow and her no-vote king, Russell Hantz.
What about the tiara Sandra wore during the live finale? Read on for the answer, and more of our postfinale chats with the Survivor finalists and their jury.
Her husband gave it to her, she said, upon returning on a break from duty in Afghanistan this week. The soldier's leave was originally scheduled for earlier this year, but, Sandra told us, they managed to postpone it until after her Survivor stint.
Although the underdog was a favorite of the Heroes on the jury—all of whom voted for her after kicking themselves for not allying with her against Russell—the overthrown dictator is not willing to forgive and forget. Or accept defeat graciously.
"Sandra sucks," he told us angrily after the finale. When we asked whether he agreed with Jeff Probst and other Survivors' comments that he plays only to get to the end, not to win, the fan-favorite winner continued to insist that "the game is flawed" and that viewers should have a vote. "Jeff is probably the only person I couldn't beat in the game," he adds.
Russell continued to sell his awesomeness to anyone who would listen throughout the afterparty. And while he told us Danielle DiLorenzo was the only player for whom he changed his vote during Tribal Council, the two were all smiles after the finale, chatting cozily in the corner at the end of the night.
Not hooking up were Ben "Coach" Wade and Jerri Manthey, but don't give up hope for a romance. Both separately told us they'd be interested in testing the waters. "Now that the game's over him and I are going to sit down and break some bread and get to know each other outside this crazy game," she said. But, she added, "I'm not gonna lie, I still have a crush on Colby [Donaldson], the elusive cowboy in my life."
Coach, in the meantime, is busy promoting the Dragonz, the band he and his surprising BFF Courtney Yates formed while serving on the jury. Record companies, listen up: these kids are talented musicians! True story.
Her experience this season also factors into runner-up Parvati's plans for the future. She is opening a yoga/wellness studio in Santa Monica: "I want to focus on building people up, in all the ways Survivor tears us down. I want to do the opposite." Her positive attitude is reflected in her opinion of the "dumbest Survivor" award, handed out to J.T. Thomas last night. "I thought that was mean. If these moves had paid off they would've been [considered] the most brilliant moves ever. If my double idol giveaway [had backfired], I would've been an idiot. You never know which way it's going to go, I think it's just mean spirited."
Two-time champion Sandra will continue working full-time ("Why not?"), while her husband, who "loves" being a soldier, continues to serve two more years until his retirement.
No word on Russell's plans, aside from pimping himself on TV. Here's hoping he won't have to spend all his fan-favorite winnings on attorneys' fees.