‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: Courtney Yates


We all have our reasons for watching “Survivor.” Some watch it for the strategic game of human chess. Others watch it for the devious, behind-the-back maneuvers. While others tune in for the opportunity to watch physically fit young people run around in skimpy swimwear.

Me? I watch it for the snarky testimonial comments.

That’s why I was decimated when villainess Courtney Yates and her razor-sharp wit were sent packing by Russell Hantz and his alliance of lovely ladies. I spoke with Courtney the morning after her dismissal to get her thoughts on her unique game play style, JT’s crazy gamble, and why Russell isn’t as bad as he’s made out to be.

Gordon Holmes: As part of the Villains tribe, your super villain power was your enhanced nonchalant attitude. It almost seemed like you weren’t playing the game.
Courtney Yates:
I think the game that I play is to take a really low-key approach. Like I’m not interested, or I’m not a threat. And then I do my best to build a really strong alliance of people who are going to insulate me from ever really being in trouble. Because once your name gets out there you’re painted with the loser brush and everyone is like, “We’ll just get her next.” I just try to keep my name out of there. And I try to come across as fun and part of the atmosphere. The best way to do that is to be like, “Well, whatever.” I try not to make waves or enemies. It’s not the same as Russell finding idols that fall out of trees and into his pocket.

Gordon: Parvati said she wanted to keep you around because you’d be more loyal to her. If Parvati had kept you around would you have stuck with her?
Parvati and I were always fine, we were always friends. So when it came down to me or Sandra I said to Parvati, “It’s much better to keep me. It won’t be good for Danielle or Russell to keep me, but it’ll be good for you.” I am a loyal player, and I gave my word. If I say I’m with you, I’m with you. They’re idiots to take Sandra over me, she’s much more scheming, she’s much more active.
Gordon: That was actually going to be my next question, do you have any idea why they chose Sandra over you?
Courtney: I have no idea. I think they thought people like me. They probably figured Sandra was more abrasive. I thought for sure they were going to keep me.

Gordon: I know you’re close with some of the Tocantins cast, did this cause any of the Villains to think you may have ties with JT?
Yeah, they did say that. It’s funny because that kept coming up. I told them I don’t know JT. I’ve only ever talked to JT twice. JT’s in Alabama. We don’t talk on the phone.
Gordon: Sure you don’t.
Courtney: Yeah, I know right? We talk about the cattle.
Gordon: (Laughs)
Courtney: Danielle, who’s never met any of us, was convinced (and Russell too) that JT and I were together, which we weren’t. The whole thing is so bogus, cause if JT and I were together he would have given me the idol. But no, he gave it to stupid Russell.

Gordon: Now that you’ve seen “Survivor: Samoa” and lived “Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains” give me your take on the full scope of the game play that we’ve seen from Mr. Russell Hantz. I mean the man burns socks, and hides machetes, and punches kittens, and kicks orphans…did you have any idea how low he was willing to stoop while you were out there?
He’s just playing a character and he’s being rewarded for it. If I got every single thing I wanted for doing bad stuff, I’d do bad stuff too. What it came down to was was I going to team up with awesome Boston Rob or weirdo Cajun dude? I chose awesome Boston Rob. Russell tried to talk to me once, and he said “Do you trust, Boston Rob?” And all I thought was, “Aw man, who is this weird troll who crawled out of the woods to harass me.” But other than that I was watching the show and I was proud to be a villain. Good job, Russell, that was great.

Gordon: We touched on this earlier, about JT handing the idol to Russell. Now, we haven’t seen how this is going to turn out, but I’m worried your phone buddy is going to come off looking like a moron.
Hey, back up the train. I don’t think he’ll come off as a moron. He was playing the game, he thought he was making a big move.
Gordon: OK, so you think it isn’t fair to say JT made a stupid move because the “Heroes Vs. Villains” cast hadn’t seen “Survivor: Samoa?”
Courtney: JT did what he thought was a good move. He was playing the game. He’s not the kind of guy who’s going to sit and wait to be picked off. He thought he was earning another vote. He didn’t know that it was evil Russell, and he’s the worst.
Gordon: Do you think JT could have been tipped off that the opposing tribe is wearing red buffs that say “Villains” on them?
Courtney: You know what? Coach is a villain, what did he ever do wrong? I’m a villain and I never burned anyone’s socks!
Gordon: In all fairness, you said you never did anything wrong. But in the last episode you impersonated Coach in a moment of pain. That’s horrible.
Courtney: (Laughs) I impersonated Coach in a moment of dramatic interpretation. And making fun of someone is hardly the same as burning someone’s possessions, so you can back up the train even more.
Gordon: Oh man, we’re back at the station.
Courtney: We’re back at the station, sir. You have a lot of work to do.

Gordon: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Russell.
Gordon: Randy?
Courtney: Old.
Gordon: Tyson?
Courtney: Hilarious!
Gordon: Boston Rob?
Courtney: Brazen.
Gordon: Danielle?
Courtney: Hometown girl. Like everyone I grew up with.
Gordon: Jerri?
Courtney: Spiritual.
Gordon: Coach?
Courtney: Also hilarious.

Gordon: During your farewell testimonial you mentioned that you were very excited that you’d get to clean yourself up and be the person in the jury that all of the women who were still in the game would be jealous of. Now, I noticed Coach had taken a similar technique, but his involved some super sweet samurai robes. Now my question for you is, did you pack anything that can begin to compete with Coach’s attire? Like a tribal council kimono?
I did not pack for the jury. I didn’t think that far ahead. I’m not as wise as Coach. But we’ve planned something very special for our first entrance together.

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