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I like to picture Jeff Probst and the other "Survivor" producers sitting around a whiteboard with mugs of cocoa dreaming up new advantages. They think of clever twists like, "Make them forfeit their vote first!" And, "Have half of the idol planted in front of their challenge stand!"
I’m sure they never imagined anything like, “Maybe she’ll forget to bring it to Tribal,” and “Maybe a vengeful tribemate will throw half of the idol into the fire.”
I spoke to the victim of both of those mistakes the morning after she was eliminated. While we chatted, Lauren opened up about her disastrous final Tribal Council, her dream final three, and her hatred of redheads…
Gordon Holmes: So, what was the plan before you learned that Ben was going to flip?
Lauren Rimmer: Basically, I really wanted to keep Devon, Ashley, and Ben. But, I knew I couldn’t take Ben to the end. The plan was kind of to maybe pull Dr. Mike and get rid of Ben. But, that didn’t work.
Holmes: What was your dream final three if things had worked out last night?
Rimmer: It would’ve been to take Ashley and Devon.
Holmes: You gave half of your idol to Mike, was that a "You're safe. If I vote you out, you can chuck this into the ocean" kind of play?
Rimmer: Yeah, it was to keep Mike as close to me as I could. There are so many things that Mike felt like he was left out of. And I didn’t want him to feel like he was being left out of the situation. It was really a last-minute thing. I’d just found out that Ben was gunning for me and I had to make sure that Mike was with me and voting the way he needed to vote. And then when he threw it in the fire I was just dumbfounded.
Holmes: And you couldn’t have dug it out with your torch?
Rimmer: Looking at it now I’m thinking; why didn’t I just try to grab the idol back? Would Jeff have accepted it? I was in such shock.
Holmes: I don’t think there are any rules against it. And would a shell even burn up?
Rimmer: It wouldn’t have burned, if anything it would turn black a little bit. I should’ve got it. And I’ve talked to Dr. Mike a little bit since then and neither one of us had even thought about digging it out of the fire. He’s like, “Why didn’t you think about that?” And I said, “Why didn’t you think about it?! Why’d you even throw it in?!” (Laughs)
Holmes: Do you at least still have the leather string as a souvenir?
Rimmer: Yes, I do.
Holmes: You said you left the extra vote back at camp. What was the reasoning behind that?
Rimmer: It was actually in my pocket. I was trying really hard not to use it at that point. Things never work out the way you want them to. Once I went with, “I don’t have it, I’m not using it.” I kind of had to stick with that. I needed to convince them that it wasn’t in my pocket. And if they were all going to switch their votes, I had to run with it.
Holmes: Ben was very confident going into that vote last night. Were you worried he might've had a secret idol?
Rimmer: At the beginning it never crossed my mind. And then when all the commotion started going on and I watched his facial expressions, I knew something was up. There’s no way you could be that happy. About halfway through Tribal I knew I was going home.
Holmes: Devon was one of your dream final three. Devon seems smart, likable, good at the team challenges, were you worried about facing him at final three?
Rimmer: He could have…but he…during the beginning, he never really showed a lot of gameplay. He kind of went with what Ryan wanted. Right until the end…he started voicing his opinion and coming up with different ideas, but prior to that, he didn’t say too much at all. Having him not doing too much, I thought he’d be a good choice. But the longer I went with it, the more I realized he was starting to play. But, once I picked that final three…Ashley was just a follower, but at the end she started to voice her opinion. So, who knows what would have happened.
Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let's start with Ali.
Rimmer: Very nice, but she also was playing her own game. She was gunning for me in the beginning.
Rimmer: He’s very quiet…and he doesn’t have a personality.
Rimmer: This is bad, but she’s very annoying. She wasn’t a people person.
Rimmer: Had some good stories. You can tell he’s a good guy. He wanted it.
Rimmer: God bless him, he needs to get out more.
Rimmer: You could tell she’s strong. A hard worker, gets along with everybody.
Rimmer: Nice girl, very naïve, has a very annoying laugh.
Rimmer: Very sweet…pretty much a follower. She was waiting on people to give her a direction to go.
Rimmer: He was all about camera time. He’s funny, but he’s annoying at the same time.
Rimmer: Nobody likes Joe, but I love Joe. He never shuts up.
Rimmer: She’s going to hate me for saying this, but she worked my nerves. She was constantly trying to analyze something.
Rimmer: He kept us all laughing. You couldn’t trust him, but you needed him.
Rimmer: Cole got on my nerves, but I actually like Cole. He’s a really good guy. What he does outside of “Survivor” is awesome. He worked my nerves, I’m not going to lie. But, he’s a great person.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Devon.
Rimmer: I love Devon to death. He’s a genuinely nice guy. And he’s smart and knows how to play.
Holmes: (Laughs) If there was a theme for this, it would be: People who annoy Lauren.
Holmes: I do that word association exercise with everybody. And the answers to your name have been very positive. You made good alliances, you won challenges, you made strong moves, and you had a solid social game. I think you could've won this thing. And that was not the popular sentiment heading into this season. Was it nice to prove people wrong?
Rimmer: It was. It’s a really good feeling. On social media a lot of the stuff was negative. I felt like I was on the bottom. I was the oldest one and I really had to work hard to stay in this group. They were younger, they were all YouTubing it, and all I see is seagulls. So, it was very challenging to keep it together.
Holmes: Was there anything that happened out there that you wish we would’ve seen?
Rimmer: When we merged, there was an argument that wasn’t shown. Cole, within five minutes of us being there, he was telling us that if we went to Tribal that we wasn’t with Jessica. He told us about her secret advantage, he just spilled all of her beans. At the same time, me and Ben thought we should get Mike. As soon as we talk to Mike, he runs down and tells Cole and Jessica in like two minutes. Then all hell breaks loose. That would’ve been interesting to see.
Holmes: I’ve gotta ask; what was with the redhead hatred early on in the season?
Rimmer: I have a lot of friends who are redheads. When I’m fishing, there are three or four guys who are redheads. And it’s always been a running joke, and I forgot that the world didn’t know about this running joke, that I can’t trust a redhead. These guys, half of them are sneaky and they’re always playing jokes. And Patrick, I was trying to get under his skin because he was doing such a good job of getting under mine.
Holmes: I want to see you and your sister on a "Blood vs. Water" season.
Rimmer: If they bring us back, that’d be hilarious. She’s a trip. I promised her I’d get her to the family visit. She got to experience something she enjoys very much. If they bring us back, it’d be comical because she probably would try to get me out. (Laughs) She’d turn against me and say, “Screw it, let’s go.”
Holmes: Could she even focus on these challenges with Jeff Probst standing right there?
Rimmer: Jeff would probably have to say, “OK, get the hell away from me.”