Survivor soldiers on this season through the wind and the rain and the…eggs. Natalie Cole is the latest castaway to be voted off the island and she spoke with CBS Local’s Matt Weiss about seizing opportunity, building relationships and what really went on with those darn eggs.
MW- Hi Natalie, how are you doing?
NC- I’m great, how are you?
MW- Doing really well! Now the first thing I want to ask you about is the crazy weather you all had to endure on Survivor this season. What was it like actually being there and dealing with the cyclones that kept slamming into the island?
NC- That was the best part of my game, Matt. It was the best part of my game because I watched the rest of the Goliaths have absolute meltdowns and I was the only one that was steady during the cyclones. Everybody was fit to be tied, had meltdowns, and I was standing out giddy because it was an opportunity for me to move up. The cyclones were my absolute favorite.
MW- You were all evacuated from the island though, so it must have been pretty intense. Where did you all go during that time and what was that experience like?
NC- We were evacuated a little bit further off the island and it was okay. I really don’t have much to say about that because that was the boring part to me.
MW- One thing I love about Survivor is that it takes people to a place and a mindset you don’t experience in everyday life. There was a situation with you and your teammates where you won some eggs for food and there was a disagreement about what to do with them that boiled into an issue. Can you walk me through what went on from your point of view?
NC- My point of view was that the situation was kind of blown out of proportion. We had very few supplies to make fire at that point so my argument was to do all of the eggs at once so we wouldn’t have to use the supplies to start a fire in the morning if we cook them the night prior. Furthermore, not one person knew how to start a fire other than myself. By the time we won that I had been doing the fire for at least two days when I was asked to show them how to make a fire.
That was that scene where I’m giving them direction on how to do a fire that got twisted into me being bossy and lazy and telling them what to do. Well, they didn’t know how to star a fire. So for the whole egg situation it didn’t take an act of congress for us all to decide what to do. One or two of us should have made a call and then we’d do it but I wanted everyone to realize our supplies were low.
Some of that also was the fact that as soon as Nick and Lyrsa got to the island Angelina and Mike couldn’t wait to tell them what had occurred before they got there. So they were already colored, in my thinking, about me and my game and I felt like I was in an uphill battle once again.
MW- Now that you’ve had the chance to watch things back on TV and you’ve had some time to think things over, is there anything you wish you’d done differently? Or do you feel like you played the game the way you should have?
NC- What I would do differently is I would connect more with Nick and Lyrsa as they came over because that represented a new opportunity for me. Jeremy had showed me his hand very early on day one, he absolutely did not want to partner with me, didn’t want anything to do with me so I knew I couldn’t win Jeremy. All it took was Natalia to make one comment, that I feel was an overreaction. I made a suggestion about slowing down and having a plan for the shelter rather than all running around like chickens with our heads cut off and I looked back at how I said that – I don’t think I said it mean. I do speak very directly and I think that coupled with my presence sometimes makes me misread.
Anyway it snowballed from there with Jeremy leading the charge. By the time Nick and Lyrsa got there they had already poisoned them I decided I wasn’t going to push any more I was just going to do me. So what I would change, to answer your question, the relationship when Lyrsa and Nick entered the game because I knew I would never get Mike. Angelina was not trust worthy for most of the game, I knew that. I should have put more effort in Nick and Lyrsa when I got that opportunity and I didn’t do it.
MW- Knowing where some of the holes in your game were, if you had the chance to go back on the island would you give it another go?
NC- That remains to be seen. We all have traits and sometimes they may not be the most positive thing. The way I may say something, my style is very direct. I know that I have a presence and that presence can be intimidating. I’ve fought that my entire life. It’s based on my height, it’s based on my look, it’s based on my voice, the style in which I speak – people tend to be intimidated. I try to be mindful of that. I try to sit sometimes when I’m speaking with staff down through the years. I try to say things in a certain way so that they understand what I need but that I’m not barking orders or not taking their thoughts into consideration.
If you don’t have the full context of what’s really happening with me and how I’m communicating with people, I can see how people think today that I’m confrontational or argumentative. The actuality is, that’s not really who I am.
I worry about if I were to do it again if I would come off as the same. Literally, I feel like I was the only Goliath out there. Well, John was a Goliath as well I have to say from a physical perspective. But in terms of playing the game I really feel like I was the Goliath. Considering the elements of the circumstances in which I found myself – they weren’t favorable.
I felt bullied, berated. I was isolated. I was ostracized. Then I became a victim of group think. People followed rather than taking opportunity. Natalia for instance, I went to her and said I didn’t think I insulted her but if I did I apologize and let’s work together because nobody is going to suspect we’re working together because she had been so vocally against me. She wouldn’t have it. I approached her a couple of times and she couldn’t see it and she didn’t trust me.
I think things snowballed for me and it became a group think dynamic. I thought where are the leaders of the Goliath? Can they break away from their thoughts and know that this is a game we’re playing? You have be more than one dimensional. When your whole game becomes get Natalie out – you’re obsessed with me. I had a couple of people obsessed with me.
MW- Sounds like you were doing what you felt you had to do.
NC- I played the game as a 57-year-old with all the odds stacked against me. If they had the mental fortitude that I exhibited out there, the only thing that I really lacked out there was the agility factor, I can’t compete with 20-something-year-olds. Then I also failed to develop those relationships.
MW- Well that’s all the time we have today unfortunately but thank you for the time today Natalie. Been a pleasure speaking with you this morning and have a good one!
NC- Thank you, you too now!
Survivor returns with an all-new episode next Wednesday at 8:00PM ET/PT, only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.