Rob Cesternino talks with the latest player to be eliminated from Survivor: Cambodia in our weekly exit interview podcast
Survivor Kaoh Rong Exit Interview with Jennifer Lanzetti, who got voted out on February 24, 2016
Interview transcript by Molly Jackson
Rob: Jennifer. How are you?
J: This is so cool to talk to you. I had to get that out there first.
R: Yes, I’m going to be the most annoying thing in your ear since that bug.
J: No, you weren’t on my tribe. Not possible.
R: That’s what my wife tells me at least.
R: Alright Jennifer, we have to talk about this tribal council from Wednesday’s night because I saw that you had said-
J: You mean the best one in Survivor history?
R: Right, it was huge, it was a major tribal council, and look, we loved watching it but I saw that you were saying on Twitter what we saw was a much more condensed version of an hour and a half conversation that unfolded, and I’m sure there were lots of parts that we didn’t see. So could you just take us through how that ultimately unfolded where it turns into this whole thing that blows up over what you said?
J: Sure. So the first thing Jeff asked is “hey Jenny, tell me about camp” and we all know Jeff, he will use you unless you give him what he wants. Period. It’s just the way it is. So I was like “yeah, things were a little shaky” and I saw Scot and Jason look at me and I’m like “whoa guys, calm down, nothing’s changed, don’t freak out”. It’s like when did my tribe all of a sudden become big sissies and freak out over the littlest things? And it was literally the slowest train wreck I’ve ever seen, and it just got worse and worse and worse. Someone commented about me being like the greatest gravedigger since I don’t remember her name, and I’m like yeah sometimes, you know I’m a contractor and I forget to leave my work at work. I love digging ditches. And that’s what it felt like. [laughs] Everything I did just made it worse.
R: So do you get the sense that everything happened at tribal council or were the guys sort of on the fence and then this conversation really unfolded and then that sort of sealed the deal?
J: Yeah the guys knew about it, because I was sincere with Alecia and Cydney, I’m like “guys there’s only one way the three of us stay in this game and hey let’s be badasses and be a brawn-girl tribe, what do you say?” Alecia had brought it up because at first it was like ah, Alecia’s going home, let’s just you know, work the rest of the day and just relax. And then she brought it up, and something went off in my head. My gut instinct said hey, girl’s alliance.
J: Do something big. Jeff always says that right, play it like you’ve played it twice.
J: So I did. And I’m never listening to Jeff again. But anyway [laughs], so yeah it came down to they knew, because immediately, you know, of course I find this out right before tribal. Alecia and Cydney had gone to Scot and Jason and told them. I was like “damn you guys, damn!” So I knew they were either on the fence, or they already had their mind made up. And so honestly Rob, what’s my only recourse? To be honest. Here’s what happened. Yes I considered it, it was a very bad idea, put me on fourth, put me at the bottom, but damn you guys can’t vote me out, not if you want to keep, you know, losing challenges.
R: I certainly understand the appeal of having the numbers, but you talked about how like we know that Scot and Jason are the kind of guys that are gonna get picked off at the merge-
R: So was your concern that you just didn’t want to be down in numbers? Because I do feel like that if you were the person who was with them, say you were a three person alliance with those two guys and then they ended up being the targets, I feel like that that would provide some cover for you in a merge.
J: Right because they would take them out first instead of me. So I have this really bad character flaw that I think I’m gonna stick with, and it’s being kind to other people and putting them first. I didn’t even know I was doing it out there, to be honest. Didn’t even know I was doing it. It was all a concern of hey girls, let’s the three of us stick together, uh you know, we kind of like each other enough to make it. The thought of me staying safe, maybe it was the bug in my ear it did some damage, I don’t know, I didn’t think too far ahead. I thought staying with the girls was me staying safe, because I knew, I mean Scot’s a basketball player, Jason loves basketball, they talked back and forth all the time. You know, I ride motorcycles and build buildings, I didn’t have a lot in common with everybody on the tribe. And they loved Cydney, she loves basketball too, so I kind of felt like that they were the strong three and I was the fourth, so I kind of felt like you know what I’m not gonna risk it, I’m gonna go big, or obviously I’m going home.
R: Right. So talk to me about the decision to talk with Alecia about all that. Did you feel like that she ultimately betrayed you at tribal council when she started talking about how you were the one coming to her?
J: Oh yeah. When I heard that I was like “oooh no”. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in Survivor, the person who talks the loudest and the most about something tends to get listened to because we’re all a bunch of freaking Neanderthals, and she just harped on and on and on and on. It showed me talking the whole time, oh damn, you missed the time where she talked way more than I did. I would try to say something, and she’d say something again and I’m like okay well maybe you’re done there sister, I’ll get my two words in.
R: And you feel like she threw you under the bus to everybody?
J: Well of course, she’s in fifth place that’s what people in fifth place do. I didn’t expect anything less, I mean she was fighting to stay alive and damn it, she did it.
R: But do you feel like what she was saying was either disingenuous or a misrepresentation of what you were saying?
J: Oh hell yes! It was her idea!
J: It was totally her idea!
R: It was, so on the beach-
J: Yeah, you know how they showed me on the beach saying it first and then her?
J: Damn edit. To everybody in the room, I’m like “what? No!” [laughs]
R: Alright well I wanna make sure that I understand this, so it was Alecia’s idea to have the women’s alliance but because you were the person that was talking with her about it or at least considering it then you were the person to take the blame more than her?
J: Well yeah, I was the one that solidified it and made it real, like to her it was an idea “hey Jenny, would you consider doing this?” I said “you know what, yeah Alecia, I will because I think that this is the only way the three of us stay in the game” and in puts me back in position of 1, 2 , or 3 instead of 4. Right?
J: So it was her idea, yeah but I took it and I ran with it, but I only ran about 5 feet but that was about 5 feet too long. [laughs]
R: And from your read of the situation, did you feel like Cydney was on board at any point with the women’s alliance?
J: Oh heck yeah, Rob. She is good. Like I learned real quick that I am not a good liar, but I learned real quick who was. Like Alecia and Cydney totally had me fooled, totally had me fooled until I walked back over and kinda sat and looked around and kinda went “oh shit, I feel like the odd person out here”.
R: Alright, I have to know about this move that you did at tribal council where you got up on the chair at tribal council and stood up and said “you have to believe me!” I said it was like Leo on the front of the Titanic. So is that something you thought of ahead of time or is that like you didn’t even realize or remember than you did it until you watched the episode?
J: Oh no, I remember doing it. I don’t know why the hell nobody else has stood up at tribal council before, if you got something to say, stand up and say it. And that’s what I was doing. I was like “alright, you’re not listening to me, let me get a little taller, okay?” [laughs]
R: [laughs] Is that because you had to get on Scot’s level? Is that why you have to be like 7 feet in the air?
J: Right? I’ve had like people comment and compare it to the Jesus crucifixion, and I’m like “come on, guys”!
R: [laughs] Wow! That’s deep. Alright, Jennifer, you were only there 6 days but we have so much, so many memorable moments with you. We have to talk about the bug.
J: Oh, of course.
R: And that was the thing, you know watching this with my wife and getting to see her reaction was really priceless, so everybody was taking about it on Twitter. What was some things about that that didn’t really translate to what we saw on TV about going through that experience?
J: Well you didn’t see how long it was in my ear. That happened on the night of day one. So you know torrential rainstorm, we’re miserable, we’re a bunch of soaked rats sitting on our raft trying to sleep and somehow, some way with the water and rain it got in my ear. So the next day I was like “um, hey”- you know I’m talking to the producers- “there’s something wrong”. This isn’t water in my ear. It feels like water, so I kept bouncing up and down on one leg all day long, and then that night it started bleeding. I was like yup, that’s not water coming out of my ear, that’s blood. And so the whole night, I’m on the beach crying and cringing and trying not to wake up the rest of the tribe, I’m like you know what, I’m tough I can get through this, I won’t involve other people. By the next morning, I had lost my shit. I was so angry at this freaking bug, like I couldn’t stand it anymore. I’m like you know what, get somebody here now, or I get the machete. [laughs]
R: Oh no! [laughs]
J: I’m just kidding. Well, no I’m not. I was pissed.
J: I was so mad. So medic comes, and you know he’s like “I don’t see anything”. Because he’s been digging for two days, of course you’re not going to see anything. And he’s like “well if there’s something in your ear, this solution will get it out”. I’m all “if? If there’s something in my ear? You sound like Alecia”. So I lay down, he pours this liquid in my ear, and I felt it crawling out.
J: I’m like “guys! Quick come here, it’s crawling out of my ear!” So that’s why everybody was there, you know kinda standing around. I totally saw it coming.
R: Does it make you mad when people said that it looks like that thing wasn’t that big?
J: Oh my god, oh okay, hell yes! I tell people, stick a Q-tip in your ear, tell me how far it goes in. Yeah, what, a half an inch? That thing was huge compared to my ear canal. So loud. So loud.
R: Yeah, and you heard it walking around?
J: Oh, I heard it digging. So it would dig, so it’s like nails on a chalkboard, and then it would stop and the blood would flow out of my ear, and then it’d dig some more, and then the blood would flow out of my ear, I’m like alright this is really starting to scare me, am I going to lose my hearing, you know, like does anybody care?
R: [laughs] Wow. Alright, go back to that first vote that you guys went through, because we talked all week last week about the Darnell vs. Alecia decision. What did that come down to for you, because we speculated about why you guys made that move. But, take us through the decision.
J: Yeah so at first, it was just let’s flush out an idol, right just plain and simple, we all lie let’s just see if anyone really has the idol. And during tribal, I mean you could tell because everybody wanted Alecia gone so bad. But Darnell did what I did, he stuck his foot in his mouth- there’s a lot of foot and mouth disease by the way on that island [laughs]. So Darnell stuck his foot in his mouth and we’re like “shit, you got on Scot’s bad side” and Scot’s like “Darnell’s going”. And you know that early in the game you can’t go against your alliance, you know you’d think I’d take my own advice, but anyway, so I thought okay we have to stick with what Scot’s decision is. So we’re sitting at tribal and Jason and I are looking at each other listening to Darnell going you know what, Darnell did help in the challenge, so he lost the goggles, okay, he did help, Alecia didn’t do anything except take puzzle pieces out of a box! That’s all she did!
J: And even that she needed help with. So it came down to Jason and I looking at each other and saying “we’re making the wrong choice. We have to go with Alecia” and Scot says “no, I made up my mind, we’re going with Darnell”, it’s like alright, we’ll stick with the alliance, we don’t want to piss anybody off too soon.
R: With the tribal council from last night, the votes that went against you, did you feel like that people changed their mind at tribal council or was your fate already sealed before you got to tribal council?
J: My fate was already sealed before I got to tribal council.
J: I know it with all my heart. Because you don’t sit there and beg for an hour and a half to stay and not- you know, again I can just feel people, I feel people’s energy and I can just feel what’s happening and the whole time that never felt like a win. It never felt like “oh I’m making progress here” learning lots of cool things, and I’m making progress. No, their emotions were set and their minds were made up. It was a horrible feeling.
R: Jennifer, now one of the things from the preseason that we keyed into early on was that you are friends with our buddy Jonas from Survivor: One World and I’m interested to know, did you get any advice from Jonas before you went out there and if so did you follow it on the island?
J: [laughs] Unfortunately, I did, he said the same thing Jeff did, “play a big game! Make big moves!”
J: Damn it, people have to stop saying that shit.
R: [laughs] Yeah because I feel like that one of his regrets is that they didn’t make a bigger move against Kim early on, so he’s like “hey you gotta make big moves”, but you gotta make the right big moves.
J: Yeah, well you know one person’s a millionaire and then there’s just 17 other people that are badasses that played the game. That’s what it comes down to. Period.
R: Small moves are very underrated in this game.
J: No kidding. [laughs]
R: [laughs] Sometimes small moves are good. Okay well Jennifer, thank you so much for coming on today. I hope you had a good experience between everything that happened besides the bug and the whole tribal council thing but it sounds like you have a good attitude with everything and all the best okay?
J: I do. Okay thanks Rob.
R: Alright take care, bye.