‘Survivor: Second Chance’ Monica: ‘Vytas, Stephen, Spencer Are Easy People to Flirt With’

"Survivor: Second Chance" (CBS)

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Name: Monica Padilla
Season: “Survivor: Samoa”
Finish: Seventh Place
Why You Should Remember Her: Monica was offered a spot at Russell Hantz’s side at the merge, but she decided to stick with her eight-person Galu alliance. This ended up being a mistake when the Foa Foa four managed to overcome those steep numbers.

Gordon Holmes: Your season, “Survivor: Samoa,” was just a whirlwind of all things Russell Hantz. It seems like a lot of people got lost in the noise he was making. If you and I arrive on the beach on day one, what do you think I remember about you?
Monica Padilla: Well, I was a part of the Galu tribe, the winning tribe.
Holmes: Eight players to four at the merge, correct?
Padilla: That’s right. But, it also gave us the disadvantage of not having played much strategically. We had to test our alliances. So, I was the little, pretty Puerto Rican girl on the Galu tribe. I tried to get things going, but it’s tough when you’re not going to Tribal.
Holmes: I don’t remember any big lies out of you. Am I remembering correctly?
Padilla: I was the one who attacked Russell Hantz on my last day there. I also devised a plan to save my tribe by tricking the other tribe into voting John (Fincher) out. Then John got scared and went and blew up the whole plan.
Holmes: Aww…Is it rough seeing Parvati (Shallow) here?
Padilla: (Laughs) No, I like John as a person. He’s fun. I’ve had drinks with him before, but in the game he was miserable. I said the same thing to Parvati, “Your boyfriend is the worst person to play with ever…or one of the worst.” And one of my big decisions would have been when I was the only one who called Russell out about having the idol. And, I kind of sat on that hunch. That was one of the biggest mistakes I made.
Holmes: So, what lessons did you learn from that?
Padilla: I learned to really follow my gut and not sit on things that you really think are going on. And not to underestimate people.

Holmes: Pre-game alliances are always an issue on returnee seasons. Are you in one? Has anyone approached you?
Padilla: I’ve tried to stay out of it. I don’t know a lot of people here and I don’t know who I can trust.
Holmes: You played with Laura Morett…Laura’s daughter Ciera is here. Do you know Ciera?
Padilla: I’ve never met Ciera. This is the first time I’ve ever seen her. Laura used to talk about her a lot when we were out there. I’m going to have to see and get a feel for her myself. Just because I was close with Laura doesn’t mean I’ll be close with Ciera.  (Laughs)

Holmes: Even in non-returnee seasons you’ll have people winking, nodding out there. Any of that going on?
Padilla: I get good vibes from Vytas…from Shirin. I want to try to stick with people who are a little more against the grain. People that are different from me. People like Shirin, I want to try to stick to those people. I’ve noticed that Jeremy and Keith seem to be somewhat friendly. But, that might just be Jeremy saving his butt since he was such an attacker of Keith the first time that they played.

Holmes: You’re the only person from “Survivor: Samoa” here, while other seasons have several representatives.
Padilla: I think that those alliances definitely have conflicts that you can play off, so it could be an advantage or a disadvantage. There has to be some weakening of those alliances based on them having so much history together. Also, we all know they have conflicts and disagreements. They all changed each other’s games, and usually it was for the worse. It’s going to be an issue of playing that up.

Holmes: Anyone you’re interested in working with at this point?
Padilla: People like Tash seem awesome. She’s aggressive, no matter what she stuck up to her beliefs. I see a lot of myself in Tash. But, Tasha also is a challenge beast. That isn’t necessarily someone you want to take to the end, but she’s someone I’d want to work with in the beginning.

Holmes: Anybody you’re looking to send out immediately?
Padilla: Definitely wary of Abi and Kass. They’re the known villains. But, I’m pretty sure there’s going to be some other villains in this cast. You get a second chance and someone is going to play extremely aggressively. Someone’s going to rise.
Holmes: And that person will be…Monica Padilla.
Padilla: If I have to I will, but I won’t do it just to do it. Like all this stuff we’re getting from Abi about “Spectacle!” is just…all whimsical crap.
Holmes: Hold the phone there, Monica. Spectacle?
Padilla: She has this thing where, (in an Abi-Maria voice) “If you vote for me you get spectacle!” We’re not here to create a spectacle, we’re here to strategize and get to the end.
Holmes: That wasn’t a bad Abi-Maria.
Padilla: (Laughs) Thank you.

Holmes: “Survivor”  has a habit of having twists and turns. If there are any this season, what do you think they could be?
Padilla: I don’t know. I’ve tossed a couple around. I think there might be four tribes to start. I think there might be an old school vs. new school aspect to it. But then, where would I go? I think they’re going to keep changing the tribes up. I think they’re going to pull out all the stops because it is the third truly all-star season.

Holmes: Speaking of all-star seasons. If I’m “Boston” Rob Mariano and I get the call to come back to “Survivor.” I’m thinking, “Of course I got a call, I’m ‘Boston’ Rob.” But, with this vote, nobody was certain to get in. And then, everybody knows you’re coming out here when usually they’d hear about it a few weeks before the premiere. Did the pre-game crank up the intensity?
Padilla: The vote definitely cranks it up. It adds a whole other element of pressure. Whereas before the only people that knew you were coming out here are your immediate family. And nobody else knows. But, the world knows we’re out here. The fans are the ones who voted us here. And we promised that if you voted us back you’re going to get a great game from us. So now we’d better live up to our promise and do the best we can.
Holmes: You guys are all delightful, but after all of that, somebody is going home first.
Padilla: It’s inevitable. It’s really difficult. None of these people were the first out in their season, but one of them is going to be the first out now.
Holmes: One of them.
Padilla: (Laughs) Exactly! You’ve got to have your game face on.
Holmes: And what does your game face look like?
Padilla: (Grimaces)
Holmes: That’s pretty good.
Padilla: Actually, my game face is more (smiles). I try to hide behind the sweet smile. (Laughs)
Holmes: Not all of us have that tool in our toolbelt, Monica.
Padilla: (Laughs) Sugar on the lips, poison in the heart.

Holmes: Alright, we’re going to play “Align or Malign.” In my hand I have nineteen cards featuring your competitors. You’ll go through them and tell me who you’ll align with and who you’ll malign. Trick is, you only get eight aligns.
Padilla: I love these!
Holmes: People love the laminated cards. I knew it was going to be a billion degrees out here and I didn’t want them getting gross.

Padilla: Stephen…align. Because he’s smart and I’ve known him previously, but we don’t have an alliance. I have not spoken about this game with him at all. And I can beat him at the end.

Padilla: Kelley Wentworth…align. She’s competitive, she’s a sweetheart, I could see putting my head together with her. However, I think I’m smarter than her.

Padilla: Vytas…align. I get a great energy from him, I don’t know why.

Padilla: Keith…align. We know he’s not a strategic player. We know he’s likable. He’s not a “Survivor” player. He’s beatable.

Padilla: Jeff Varner…align. I just get a good vibe from him.

Padilla: Peih-Gee…align. I think she’d be a great person. Absolutely fantastic. She’s smart, but she’s also annoying. But, I think I could handle her annoyance.

Padilla: Shirin…align. Same thing as Peih-Gee. Can be annoying, but she’s also smart. The girl made her first million by 25. I can see us brainstorming together. I think we have a lot of the same interests. She’s quirky. I can defend her. And if we get Peih-Gee right there we have a three-strong alliance.

Padilla: Kimmi…is from the East Coast too. I got a good vibe from Kimmi so I’ll say align. And right there you have five girls which gives us a majority girls’ alliance.

Holmes: Alright, let’s hear those maligns.
Padilla: Terry…malign. I feel like maybe he’s grouping up with Kass and doing an old-school alliance. I just don’t trust him and he’s really great at challenges.

Padilla: Jeremy…malign. He’s a very strong player, he’s very strategic. He’s also married, so it’d be harder to flirt with him as a man of faith. And, since I have Keith and Kelley in my eight, Jeremy could be an outside alliance because I don’t want too many from the same season.
Holmes: Flirting to get ahead? Scandalous.
Padilla: I feel like people like Vytas, Stephen, Spencer are easy people to flirt with. I think Jeremy has a wall. Innocent flirtation, of course.
Holmes: Is there anyone back home who is going to be upset if they see you flirting on CBS?
Padilla: I do have a boyfriend and he would be so proud. We’re pretty competitive, so when it comes to winning, we’ll win at any cost. And he said, “Baby, win that million. Do what you’ve got to do.” I’m not sleeping with anyone.
Holmes: No. This is a family show, Monica.
Padilla: (Laughs) It’s not “The Bachelor.”
Holmes: Thankfully.

Padilla: Tasha…I’m going to say malign. She’d probably be my align number nine if I had one. But, she’s an immunity beast and I don’t want her to win immunity a million times.

Padilla: Woo…malign. He’s another challenge monster. And, I think in front of a jury he could plead his case and probably take people he could beat which would be someone like me. I think he could beat me in front of a jury.

Padilla: Joe is a total cutie pie. He’d be my friend in the outside world, but malign. He’s a challenge beast and everyone is going to target him. So, if I align with him I’ll be putting a target on my own back.

Padilla: Abi-Maria…malign. She’s a loose cannon. She’s cray-cray. I don’t want to get involved with that. (Laughs)

Padilla: Kelly Wiglesworth…I think she has it all in her name. She’s going to wiggle to the end and some people might vote for her because they feel sorry for her or because they have some weird affinity because she’s the founder of “Survivor.” So, malign even though I’d like to meet up with her.

Padilla: Spencer is a hard one. He’s really smart, he’s good at challenges. I think he’d be great to work with, but when it comes to my final eight, I don’t have room for him. Malign.

Padilla: Ciera, she turned on her mom so I’d be worried she’d turn on me. I’m going to have to say malign unless she charms me on the beach.
Holmes: Gee, vote out your mom one time.
Padilla: (Laughs) One time!
Holmes: And people never let you forget it.

Padilla: Savage seems like a total sweetheart. I might end up having to align with him at some point, but as for my eight, he’s a malign.

Padilla: Anyone who calls themselves “Chaos” Kass is not joining my alliance. Malign.
Holmes: You should give yourself a positive nickname. Then people will want to align with you.
Padilla: Like Magnificent Monica.
Holmes: Polite Padilla.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Survivor: Second Chance” will kick off with a special 90-minute premiere on Wednesday, September 23rd at 8 p.m. ET.

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