“Survivor: Edge of Extinction” Castaway Lauren – “If Chris Didn’t Know I Had (an Idol), I Would Have Played It the Exact Same Way”

“Survivor: Edge of Extinction” (CBS)

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Edge of Extinction”

Gordon Holmes: Hey…uh…this is Ryan Reynolds…
Lauren O’Connell: (Laughs) Hello! How’s it going!
Holmes: You should be ashamed of yourself. That is the worst analogy I have ever heard.
O’Connell: What?! I thought it was good.
Holmes: I don’t know if you have a boyfriend…
O’Connell: I don’t!
Holmes: But future boyfriends might watch that and be very concerned.
O’Connell: (Laughs) I’m sorry, if you walked into a bar and saw Blake Lively you’re not going to go over and talk to her?
Holmes: I am a happily married man, Lauren.
O’Connell: (Laughs)
Holmes: I’d walk up to her and wave my wedding ring right in her face to make sure she doesn’t get any ideas.
O’Connell: Alright, that’s fair. I personally, if I see Ryan Reynolds in a bar, I’m going to say “Hi” because I am not happily married.

Holmes: We're at the point where CBS is annoyed at me for not talking about "Survivor." OK, you had some health issues earlier in the season. Stomach issues, you even passed out during a challenge. How were you able to turn the corner on that?
O’Connell: It was really weird on Lesu, I just could not keep any of the rice down. And you’re not eating much as it is. Even a little bit of rice…I’d just throw it up. I just couldn’t eat anymore. And then I was able to eat, I’d eat small portions. And then with the merge feast…I was lucky to go on a lot of rewards post-merge…having that food in my stomach I was able to have inconsistent meals. The beginning of the game was much harder on me health-wise than post merge.
Holmes: You should use that “vomiting up rice” talk when you go to pick up Ryan Reynolds.
O’Connell: (Laughs) OK, I’ll write that down on my one-liner list.
Holmes: By the time this conversation is over, you will have all the tools you need to become the next Mrs. Ryan Reynolds.
O’Connell: Honestly, I love Blake Lively too! It’s a conflicting storyline for me.

Holmes: You played an idol for Chris last night, and I'm not sure I understood fully why you did that. Can you walk me through it?
O’Connell: Of course, before Chris even got there, we knew Victoria was a threat. I didn’t want to sit next to her in the end. So, when Chris came back I thought; if anyone pre-merge comes back into the game, then I would like to sit with them in the end. I thought any combination of Chris, Gavin, or Julie are who I want to be sitting with me at final three. So, Victoria or Rick has to go. Rick wins immunity, so it has to be Victoria. I want to vote for her at that Tribal, but I assumed, since I’d heard that Victoria had told Gavin that she wants to vote for Chris, Gavin had told me that, I knew she had had a conversation with Rick about voting for Chris. I thought there was no way that Rick wants to sit with Chris because Chris will beat him at fire. So, I thought there are going to be two votes on Chris from Victoria and Rick. We knew Chris was voting for Victoria. And me, Gavin, and Julie were going to vote for Rick just to put the majority of the votes on him because we didn’t know if his idol was real. So, when he plays his idol and it’s real, I want Victoria to go home and I want to be the one who sent her home. So, I play my idol for Chris thinking that he’s going to get two votes and Victoria is only going to get one.

Holmes: Kelley told all of Extinction about your idol. Did you give her grief over that?
O’Connell: (Laughs) I knew the jury knew I had an idol because of the way they were reacting. And obviously when Chris comes back in, I figured he would know. It never crossed my mind to be angry at Kelley and maybe it should have! (Laughs)
Holmes: There’s still time. You can be mad at her.
O’Connell: (Laughs) No…Kelley has played the game twice before and she’s used to being voted out and going to Ponderosa and being able to just give all of this information and have it not effect the game. But, they’re all still in the game. She was just blindsided with an idol in her pocket. And I knew she wasn’t doing it maliciously. So, when we talked she apologized profusely. And I said, “Why are you apologizing?” Her telling Chris about my idol didn’t affect my decision. If Chris didn’t know I had it, I would have played it the exact same way. But, I don’t know if Chris plays the exact same way.

Holmes: Devens managed to find thirty idols when he was out there. And it's fun to give you guys grief, saying, "Why aren't they following him?!" But, it's gotta be tougher than that, right?
O’Connell: What can you do other than beat him in immunity challenges or tackle him before he grabs an idol? There’s not much you can do. Maybe I should have followed him 24/7, but at some point you have to eat. The rice would be ready, he’d be searching, and we have to tend the fire because we need a fire to live. He really wasn’t a part of that. There are a lot of reasons that people don’t want to follow him. You can only be around that kind of…situation so much. And we had other things going on. We were playing the game.
Holmes: What do you mean by “that kind of situation”?
O’Connell: When Rick comes back into the game, the Lesu Three were the first people to cheer for him. We were so happy to have him back in the game. Then he makes it very clear that we are dead to him. He is a free agent. Which is why Kelley and I are offering his name up. I was able to integrate myself into alliances, but Rick wasn’t. He jumped on the Kama train right as it was crashing into a mountain. (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs)
O’Connell: I don’t think that helped him at all. He was on the bottom a lot. And I think it can take a toll on you emotionally. And you can treat people differently when you’re on the bottom so much. And the way you treat people is important in “Survivor.” You can only take so much of a negative attitude when you are out there. But we took shifts and followed him, but at some point you have to play the game. And if I follow Devens, what are y’all talking about? Am I the contingency vote?
Holmes: That’s actually a very interesting point.

Holmes: Paranoia has to be constant out there.
O’Connell: Oh gosh. Yes.
Holmes: That’s something Gavin and Julie had to put up with for 39 days and Chris didn’t. I noticed that three of the final four out voted for Gavin. So, did you take that into account?
O’Connell: I think everyone gave a compelling argument, but I didn’t experience the Edge. In my mind those people weren’t playing the game. I also didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t know what they were doing. I didn’t know they were strategizing. So, I saw Gavin play the game. I saw him as my alliance member. I felt like he said it best when he said, “You don’t have to deal with the social hierarchy. You don’t have to deal with the paranoia. Going to sleep wondering, ‘Who do I need to talk to tomorrow? How do I make this alliance better?’” It’s a different game on the Edge. So, I felt like Gavin’s argument warranted my vote.

Holmes: Alright, let's do some word association. We'll start with…Chris.
O’Connell: Winner.
Holmes: Keith?
O’Connell: Swimming.
Holmes: Wendy?
O’Connell: Chickens.
Holmes: Reem?
O’Connell: Clothes.
Holmes: Joe?
O’Connell: Hair.
Holmes: Eric?
O’Connell: Sweet.
Holmes: Julia?
O’Connell: Smart.
Holmes: David?
O’Connell: Cunning.
Holmes: Kelley?
O’Connell: Best friend.
Holmes: Wardog?
O’Connell: Thinker.
Holmes: Ron?
O’Connell: Character.
Holmes: Aurora?
O’Connell: Underestimated.
Holmes: Victoria?
O’Connell: Self-preservation.
Holmes: Rick?
O’Connell: Clutch.
Holmes: Gavin?
O’Connell: Kind.
Holmes: And, let’s finish with Julie.
O’Connell: Authentic.

Holmes: Did it seem like too much of advantage to return from the Edge of Extinction with the wacky idol, the jury information, and the days off from paranoia?
O’Connell: From my perspective, you would say yes because it affected me negatively. But, that’s the game. “Survivor” can do whatever it wants. They can make it into whatever game they want to. You have to know that you have to adapt. And I just didn’t adapt well enough to what I didn’t know…if that makes sense. I didn’t know what Chris had. And he had more information than me. That’s what “Survivor” is, a game of who has the most information. I just didn’t have the right information. So…I don’t know if I can give an unbiased answer. (Laughs) He played the cards he was dealt, and he played them very well.

Holmes: We’re running out of time, do you need any more Ryan Reynolds pointers?
O’Connell: If you know him and you have his number, you should text him and say I have this really great girl who loves you and wants to meet you…but don’t make me sound desperate.
Holmes: I don’t know if he’s a huge “Survivor” fan or not…
O’Connell: (Laughs)
Holmes: I assume most people are.
O’Connell: I do too.
Holmes: Cause if he isn’t, then he’s not good enough for you.

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

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