‘Survivor’ Castaway Sandra: “Grabbing That Wrong Buff Is What Killed My Game”


“Survivor: Game Changers” (CBS)

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Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Game Changers”

Gordon Holmes: I need you to help me out, Sandra.
Sandra Diaz-Twine: Oh no, what?
Holmes: I’m not dealing with this well.
Diaz-Twine: Don’t tell me you’re doing worse than me!
Holmes: In order to cope with this, my mind went back to day four. And I’m dreaming about this scenario where Tony doesn’t freak out and you, him, Aubry, and Malcolm manage to dominate the game and get to the end. How would that have worked?
Diaz-Twine: That wouldn’t have worked, Gordon! Here’s the issue with that alliance, when Tony grabbed me and offered me that alliance he had already been working with Aubry. He says, “The only way the winners can get to the end is if we’re all together. And now that Ciera’s gone it’s going to be me, you, Aubry and I still have to talk to Caleb and Malcolm.” So, I go to Caleb and I go to Malcolm and I tell them that Tony is going to invite them into this five-person alliance. When that happens, can you let me know? The day comes and goes and Tony in his interview said he spoke to those guys. He never approached them about an alliance with me, him, and Aubry. So, that was a little suspicious to me. He’s trying to send my vote in a different direction. I wasn’t going to have an alliance with Caleb, he isn’t someone I wanted to play with. And Malcolm was my number one, so he didn’t have a reason to lie to me about Tony coming up to him. In the episode where we vote for Tony, I asked Hali, because I was worried that he got five people together without me. I swear that when push comes to shove, that five-person alliance would never come together.
Holmes: Well, now I have nothing.
Diaz-Twine: (Laughs)

Holmes: What happened at Tribal last night? It seemed like Tai was about to flip, but then he ended up where he started.
Diaz-Twine: I offered Ozzy the same type of alliance I offered Malcolm. “Ozzy, I’ll protect you after the merge. You’re a physical threat. But you have to help me get to the merge. I’ll vote the way you want me to vote. Just keep me in the game. These people are all smiling in your face, but after the merge they’re all going to come after you.” So, I thought we were cool. When we go into Tribal, Tai kept grabbing at his pocket like maybe he had an idol. I felt that it was supposed to be Tai, but Ozzy got spooked because Tai was saying Ozzy’s name out loud. He wasn’t being quiet about it. And if Tai had played his idol, Ozzy would have went home. So, that’s how all of that went down. It was very confusing. I didn’t know 100% that there were coming after me. But, I felt it. My conversation was Ozzy was enough to keep me in the game longer. And I’d talked to Sarah too. It just didn’t pan out for me.

Holmes: In past seasons, it’s been under-the-radar Sandra, anyone-but-me Sandra. We did not see this in “Game Changers.” You came out swinging. Was the plan that if you were too subtle, people would notice and get rid of you? Or was the big play to make yourself more of a shield?
Diaz-Twine: I didn’t have a choice but to take control of everything that was going to happen to me. I knew they were going to come after me. Before the game started, the stares, the looks. No eye contact. Not that they were afraid of me, but there was no way I was going to be able to hide behind anybody. I had to get my foot in the door and work my magic. I had to get in front of it. I had to make relationships with everybody. Some people think I’m mean on TV, but I do take the time to sit and talk to everyone on an individual basis. With the exception of Aubry or even Caleb. I didn’t say too much to them. I really try to have the numbers. I let them know about me personally. I’m really a very nice person. I needed people to have my back, what I called “The Queen’s Army.”

Holmes: If before the season started, you and I sat down and talked about the tribe swaps, and the forty idols, and the legacy advantages, and the Exile advantages, would you think it’d be hard for a player who makes big moves to succeed with the game being switched up so frequently?
Diaz-Twine: There’s potential for anyone to go home. It’s not like it just hurts me as the biggest threat. It can hurt anybody. We’ve already proven on “Heroes vs. Villains” that a big target can go far. Even a winner can go really far. The twists and the turns, that’s really what can get someone. I 1000% feel that me picking the wrong buff is why I went home. If I’d gone to Exile there was so much I could’ve done. If I’d gone to Mana I would have had Troyzan and Hali and Michaela and even Aubry. But grabbing that wrong buff is what killed my game. All the twists and turns and swaps, the fans love that stuff.

Holmes: Word association time. Let’s start with Malcolm.
Diaz-Twine: Brilliant.
Holmes: Aubry?
Diaz-Twine: She’s good. She’s scary.
Holmes: Michaela?
Diaz-Twine: Sweet.
Holmes: JT?
Diaz-Twine: Pompous.
Holmes: Tony?
Diaz-Twine: Crazy.
Holmes: Hali?
Diaz-Twine: Genuine.
Holmes: Andrea?
Diaz-Twine: I didn’t have much interaction with her.
Holmes: Troyzan?
Diaz-Twine: He’s such a great person. Awesome.
Holmes: Ciera?
Diaz-Twine: I got to know her really well in Vietnam. Knowledgeable. Ciera is one-of-a-kind.
Holmes: Ozzy?
Diaz-Twine: Unaware.
Holmes: Sarah?
Diaz-Twine: Tough.
Holmes: Caleb?
Diaz-Twine: Dreamy…meaning he’s always dreaming about something else. He’s not dreamy in my eyes.
Holmes: Zeke?
Diaz-Twine: He’s your friend in your face, but he’s very calculating.
Holmes: Tai?
Diaz-Twine: Gosh…I can’t understand him half the time. I hate to be like, “Huh? What’d you say?” He’s misunderstood. He has trouble communicating.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Varner.
Diaz-Twine: That’s my heart right there. I love him to death. He can do no wrong in my eyes.

Holmes: Before the game we talked about how a loss can affect your legacy. I’m of the belief that getting as far as you did is a win. How do you feel about it?
Diaz-Twine: Although I did get voted off, which I expected. I still feel very successful. I like how it went down. I easily could have been the first person voted out. I am very happy. I don’t feel like my legacy is tarnished. I’m still the only two-time winner. I’m not like some of these winners where it took a second time out to win or a third or a fourth. I think I’m untouchable when it comes to the winners. I feel like my game is solid and people didn’t get to see what I was doing in “Pearl Islands” or “Heroes vs. Villains” because there were bigger characters out there. I’m not a player? Think again. I watch “Survivor” and I evolve with “Survivor.” I learn something from every season. I said I’d be gracious when I was voted out, because I was trying to do what they did to me. They got me and I have no hard feelings about it.
Holmes: And now that you don’t have that perfect record, people will be less intimidated by you when you play a fourth time.
Diaz-Twine: (Laughs) You think I’ll play a fourth time! I don’t know if I want to see an all-winners season. Then there’s a chance for the queen to be dethroned. But at the end of the day, I did it first.
Holmes: Hey, I learned one things from this season and that is “Queens stays Queen.”
Diaz-Twine: (Laughs) I love it! Isn’t that awesome?

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

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