“Boston” Rob Mariano finally climbed the “Survivor” mountain, taking home the grand prize and the title of Sole Survivor. He tells us in his exit interview about his experience this fourth time around on the show.
On his strategy and his game being called “textbook” or “perfect”:
“First of all, coming from Jeff Probst, it’s definitely a huge compliment, considering he’s seen every episode of every single season first hand. I feel like I played the game to the best of my ability. Having said that, there’s been hundreds of people who have played ‘Survivor’ and 21 different people have won the game, so different people have had different strategies and there’s no clear-cut strategy that works for everyone … It was the only way I could play the game, which is an aggressive, right-out-there, strategic strategy and not everybody could have pulled that off. I played to the best of my ability … There’s a lot of ways to win ‘Survivor,’ but the way I did it, for me, was really, really satisfying.”
On why he chose Natalie and Phillip for the end:
“Natalie, I chose very early on. The first day. Just the perception, the perceptive read I had on her and part of it was her situation. She’s 19 years old … if I were 19 years old and coming into this game and didn’t know what I was doing, I’d want somebody to take me under their wing who had played the game. And in exchange I wanted her loyalty. I saw something in her that I saw in Amber. I knew she would be loyal.”
“Phillip was a bit different … he almost adopted a ‘If I can’t beat him, I’ll join him’ strategy and he realized that as long as he kept it up, I would keep him around. Either way, I think both of them thought at the end they would be able to beat me, where in all actuality I don’t think I would’ve been able to beat anybody other than the two I was standing with at the end.”
Would he ever align with Russell?
“I don’t think Russell and I play a similar game. I don’t think we’re on the same level when it comes to strategy, but if the opportunity presented itself where I could work with Russell, where it would be to my advantage, I would use him. Of course I would. But I don’t think I could ever trust RUssell. That’s just my read. I felt bad for Russell this time around. I think he needs some space from the game. He’s played 3 times in a year and half, I’ve played 4 times in 10 years. It’s a bit different … I thought it was pretty classy that he stood up and shook my hand last night.”
On how hard his game was this time around:
“The more I’ve done it over the years, the easier [the physical aspect] has become. You know what to expect. But the difficult part, the hard work I did behind the scenes, was the constant checking on the strategy and making sure that my alliances felt like they were intact and making sure everybody else was checking in with each other. I would give them a tidbit of information that was inconsequential … just so they felt like they were getting something from me and in return, you saw time and time again they would come to me with information that was critical. It was a constant game of going back and forth. Making sure the alliance was good and that nobody was talking to each other.”
And what does he have to say to the critics who thought Rob’s win was like taking candy from babies?
“I’d like to see them do it [laughs] If they want to try to take something away from me, go ahead, but the check is in my account.”
“Survivor” will be back on CBS at the end of September 2011.