Rob Cesternino talks with the latest player to be eliminated from Survivor: Kaoh Rong in our weekly exit interview podcast
Survivor Kaoh Rong Exit Interview with Liz Markham, who got voted out on March 2, 2016
Episode Transcription provided by Molly Jackson
Rob: Liz good morning, how are you?
Liz: I’m good Rob, how are you?
R: Very happy to be talking to you again. Not this soon but very happy to finally get a chance to speak with you and talk about everything from last night.
L: It’s crazy how much I’ve listened to your podcast, especially when I was preparing to play. I feel like I’ve sort of spoken to you so many times before but of course I haven’t.
R: Okay, alright well let’s talk about this and let’s find out how much you were paying attention to what I was talking about, okay? So, alright start with Neal because the thing that I was sort of confused about was for the first couple episodes it looked like, okay it’s the four younger people versus Joe and Debbie but last night it seemed like the priority all of a sudden was to get Neal out. Did something change in what he did or did something change in your thinking?
L: Something changed in attitude, I think that over the ensuing days between the, I don’t know, day 1 or day 2 formation of the foursome and day 8 when we had tribal, we really just kind of fell apart gradually. There was no like big thing that happened, I think just over time you find just more differences and you don’t get closer, and with other people you find similarities and you get closer. We just kind of fell apart, I don’t even know whether Neal and Aubry decided not to work with us before we decided not to work with them, but I feel like it was pretty mutual.
R: Was there something that happened though, was there a moment, because in the tribal council it seemed as though Peter and Neal had a lot of friction coming into that tribal council and, you know, they were talking about a certain plan and Peter was very quick to jump out and say “Not your plan, is going to happen” and so it seemed as though that there had been some sort of an altercation between those guys, was there or was that all from tribal council?
L: I think they never actually had an altercation but things were tense. I don’t think either of them particularly liked or trusted the other one. But then there was no, like, specific thing to cause a conflict I guess until tribal happened.
R: Now, did you have any reason in particular to believe that either Neal or Aubry had the idol to do this 2-2-2-vote split?
L: Not a super strong reason. Neal didn’t spend as much time out on walks in the last couple of days as he did at the beginning so we thought he had it and wasn’t needing excuses to go away anymore.
R: Talk to me about at that tribal council, you know, it seemed like Peter was kind of forthcoming about that he was targeting Neal, he called him maybe he’s the snake in the ice cream pants, and it seemed like he was really sort of telegraphing that Neal was his target at the tribal council. Why was he so forthcoming?
L: I was pretty confused when Peter was so vocal with the plan in tribal council. Everybody else was doing this little two-faced dance where everything you say can be interpreted in one of many possible ways depending on what you think is happening. Except Peter, who just opened his mouth and spewed all this. I don’t even know where it came from or what was going on. It just didn’t seem very intelligent to me at the time. Not that I think it changed anything.
R: And at that vote, were you fully expecting that Neal was going to be the person to go home? You said that the person going home, it won’t be that big of a surprise to them.
L: [laughs] I think um, maybe about half an hour before we left for tribal, Peter and I started to pick up on the fact that something was wrong and we had a conversation about it, like why are Joe and Neal not making eye contact with us, like what can we do, how are we going to like shift things around and sort of ended the conversation with well, there probably really isn’t much we can do right now. So after that, seeing him act so confident in tribal was really actually quite confusing to me because I didn’t feel good about things at all at the time. I mean, I definitely did not want it to be me, I didn’t think I was the most likely to go home, but I mean again I didn’t think that anybody was going to be surprised to get voted out.
R: Do you think that it should have been you or should it have been Peter? Because you guys both seemed overconfident on the show based on what we saw last night but it did seem like Peter seemed especially, even more overconfident, especially in those last 10 minutes or so of the episode.
L: If I were in their shoes, I think it was probably the right strategic call to vote me out first, so I thought that they were going to pick Peter to vote out, and I thought that because I was under the impression that they liked him less than they liked me and that they wouldn’t care so much about one more challenge before, presumably, the swap after four votes if, you know, they can lose and then just vote out me if they lose and otherwise they don’t go to tribal.
R: You know, Liz I’m interested to hear your reaction to Debbie and what she was saying about you and how she felt like that you were becoming very arrogant out there. Did you feel like that’s sort of par for the course for Survivor, or did anything she said about you in the episode hurt you last night?
L: It seemed a lot more personal than I’d expected. I actually thought that she liked me, maybe not like crazy liking me but I didn’t think it was personal coming from her, I thought maybe it was personal coming from Joe. But yeah it was a little bit surprising, I think like the prima donna thing was a little bit confusing for me, I can see arrogant as something that probably other people in my life might have something in common with thinking that, or I mean, other people in my life might understand where arrogant would come from but not so much prima donna.
R: Did you enjoy your time with Debbie on the island?
L: I did, I think that she came across really, really strong at first, um so much talk about how amazing she was in the first couple of days, and that was something that was I think hard for a lot of people to move past immediately. I think Joe liked her right off the bat but nobody else really did. But over time when you get to know people better you kind of see underneath that superficial layer and Debbie is really quite smart, she’s aware, she knows what she’s doing. I think that she’s also incredibly optimistic, and like when we’d all be suffering if it was raining at night or something like that, she’d be the one who was like the ray of sunshine who was keeping everybody happy.
R: Okay, so Debbie is an acquired taste?
L: [laughs] I guess so.
R: Talk to me about Aubry a little bit, because Aubry, it seemed like that there was a little bit of a disconnect between at least you and Peter and her and we found out last night that she’s somebody who does not seem to want to talk about game, which seems to be your real strong suit in the game of wanting to talk these things through. So, what was your relationship like with Aubry out there?
L: I thought at first we were gonna be really good friends out there, she is a big fan of Survivor and wanted to talk about like that, when I tried to steer the conversation toward well, okay so what’s going to happen this season, what’s going to happen at the swap, what’s going to happen at the merge, she pretty much just like shut down that conversation, like I don’t want to think about it. And when she did that, I was like okay, well then I really shouldn’t talk about this stuff with her and then when you feel like there’s something you want to talk about that you can’t talk about with somebody, that is isolating.
R: When did her relationship with Neal seem to go to another level similar to the relationship that you had with Peter?
L: There was one night when I guess it was a beautiful sunny, or beautiful full moon night, and Neal and Aubry went down to the raft that we came to the beach on on day one, and slept there, I guess they probably spent a lot of the time talking. I think that they bonded almost as a reaction to the perceived closeness of the pairs of me and Peter and Debbie and Joe.
R: Okay, and it’s not a romantic relationship, we’re not shipping them right?
L: No. [laughs]
R: Okay. [laughs]
L: Yeah they just got along um, I think they felt that they needed to almost, so they wouldn’t be like the odd ones out.
R: You know, it’s interesting in this tribe that these three pairs that are split, that they’re all one man and one woman. Would you say that basically we had like three sort of like work-spouse relationships between those three pairs?
L: [laughs] Yeah, maybe, maybe. I don’t think that there’s anything romantic in any of these pairs but it just kind of worked out that way.
R: Yeah. Can you talk about why you were so frustrated with Joe during the whole water situation last week?
L: Yeah, he would just snap at me a lot for pretty much anytime I tried to say or do anything constructive it would bother him a lot and I don’t really get why that was. And most of the time like whatever he wanted to do I would let that slide, but like when he refused to let me start a fire to boil water when I wanted to drink water, that was the worst moment. He actually yelled at me for attempting to start the fire like I sort of like got one match out, I struck it, and he like came and yelled at me.
R: What did he say, “hey, stop doing that”?
L: Yeah pretty much, like “let the boys handle this, don’t do this, I’ve got it”, but I mean he previously told me he didn’t think we should start the fire until that afternoon and it was like you know probably 7 in the morning or something and I would have loved to have some water before the afternoon.
R: And nobody else pushed back on that?
L: Um, people were happy to let him steer things. He very much wanted things done his own way, like during the shelter construction, you know most of us tried to help but he would just kind of say you know “I’ve got this, I’ve got this” and so we let him do his thing.
R: Liz, I’m sure that you must have replayed all of these events from this game over and over in your head. A lot of us when we’re talking about sort of like the tribe breakdown that we talked about, you know, we have you on the Brains tribe and somebody like Anna who’s on the Beauty tribe and felt like that it was a disadvantage for you to be on the Brains tribe when you easily could have been on another tribe like the Beauty tribe. Have you sort of thought about things like that, where it’s like was being on the Brains tribe a disadvantage for somebody like you?
L: I think that had I made it farther in the game it probably would have ended up being a disadvantage. I think that um, I sort of was thinking about the game before I went out there from the position that like I would be like the token nerdy girl on a tribe of like professional bikini models or something like this, but then being sort of like on the tribe where I wasn’t the nerdy one, I was supposed to be like, I don’t know, the better looking one or something, that was really kind of not the position I expected to play from at all, which I mean I don’t think that really like contributed to anything but maybe I just did a poor job of adjusting.
R: Okay, and last thing I want to know, that Stephen has talked about how you guys ended up meeting and your conversation which ultimately led to you talking to people from Survivor, what was the best advice that you got from Stephen?
R: Or what was the worst advice? [laughs]
L: [laughs] Best and worst advice, I have to think about this. Well, we spent so much time talking about strategy for like, the middle- and end-game. Like-
R: Voting blocs.
L: -how to make jury arguments. [laughs] We didn’t talk about voting blocs. We talked out like possible ways of convincing people to flip and work with you, a lot of things that would be useful like yeah, middle- and end-game. We didn’t actually talk so much about the early game. I think when I was conceiving of what would happen out there before I played, I sort of imagined that if I didn’t make it to the end, like if I got voted out, it would either be because I just happened to be on the wrong side of the numbers in some sort of like swap-type situation, or maybe because at some point people thought I was threatening and they would vote for me. I really didn’t anticipate having people like wanting me out because they genuinely disliked me. So that was just not something that had even crossed my mind as a possibility. [laughs]
R: Yeah. Alright well Liz I know you’ve got to run, but very nice to talk to you. Hope that we have an opportunity to talk more about the game some time in the future, and all the best to you okay?
L: Yeah you too, thanks for talking.
R: Alright take care Liz, bye.