Zap2it: Are you glad you went back on “Survivor”? What was different for you this time around?
Monica Culpepper: Absolutely I was glad to go back. What was different was I got to bring Brad with me and that was just awesome … Rupert and Brad seemed to be the only two out there who put their loved one’s needs in front of theirs. They came out there wanting to get some Redemption. I didn’t really get a chance to play the game when I was blindsided by Colton on ‘One World.’ And I got it this time, the whole kit and caboodle.
Did it surprise you that you only got one vote to win the game?
Obviously you’d like to get more than one vote, but let’s not discount that Tyson played a super game. He really did. I’m genuinely happy for him. Am I surprised? not really. You had to be scratching your head at the final Tribal going,’ What is with these people?’ They’ve taken ti way behind “Survivor’ play, attacking this woman personally. I was really surprised by anything. That Tribal was two hours long and it got real person against me. I was prepared for anything.
Do you regret sticking with Tyson at all? Because we thought you had a pretty good chance against Ciera and Tina.
I had absolutely no regret at all. Here’s the deal — had I gone with Hayden and Ciera, that probably would’ve been the dumbest move because I was number four with them. I was guaranteed Final 3 with Tyson and Gervase. Because you’re thinking Ciera’s mother is going to come out, Laura’s won every Redemption Island challenge, that’s what we’re thinking.
If I make a move like that, they aren’t going to say isn’t that amazing, that Monica made such a good move. They’re going to say, ‘Boy, that Hayden is a good player and so manipulative, he even got Monica to flip on Tyson and Gervase.’ So then I’ve made the biggest move in the game, I have the most individual immunities and I’m the most selfless person out there, now I’m the biggest threat and they dump me aside!
Also, I was not going with Tina and Ciera because this — I knew that Tyson was giving the Idol to Gervase, so that was pointless. Tyson was sitting pretty in that position. And it meant something to me to play an honest game. I wanted to sit between two people where if I couldn’t win it, I was just as happy for them too. And those two guys never personally attacked me and hurt my feelings and talked about my family and kids and America against me. Unequivocally I made the right move.
You might be right, they might have given Hayden all the credit for flipping you.
What Gervase said three Tribal Councils ago about, ‘This isn’t ‘Big Brother,’ this is ‘Survivor.” –It resonated in my mind. It is so rugged and so brutal and so harsh, the game of ‘Survivor.’ I really didn’t want to disrespect every previous player that carved the path … to let a ‘Big Brother’ winner win ‘Survivor too, out of respect for my fellow ‘Survivor’ family.
What would have been disheartening is me breaking up Tyson and Gervase becomes the biggest move of the game … that would’ve been the biggest move of the game, breaking up those two, and if I felt had I switched, I wouldn’t have gotten the credit. … They would’ve gotten rid of me next and Hayden would’ve called me his lap dog.
There has to be some sort of merit if you’re a ‘Survivor’ fan, in the social maneuvering that I made the entire game that it came down to me in the last Tribals as to what I wanted to do, which was drag the Gangster City in and hope that the people on the jury were so angry at them that I got all the votes. That’s good game play, to be the person that is maneuvered yourself well enough that it’s really their choice. It didn’t mean as much [to the jury]. If I were on an all-newbie season, with that type of game play, I’d have gotten me the win.
Would you go back on “Survivor” if asked?
I’m done with ‘Survivor.’ I had an amazing time, you’ve seen my story. Nobody wants to see it again and it’s time to give somebody else a shot. What I hope happens is that they bring Brad back. His story was not told. He’s a rock star and the moves he made on that tribe are what got me second place … he played so selflessly and we haven’t seen his game. He played that for me. Every move he made was, ‘What can I do not to jeopardize her?’ … The episodes he was on were intoxicating. I felt like the air went out of camp once he left. I’d love to see him back out there playing without me.
“Survivor” returns to CBS in February 2014.