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Survivor Blood V Water – Monica Explains Why She Did Not Flip

monica culpepper

Monica Culpepper was runner up on Survivor Blood V Water and she played a strong game. She had some interesting editing and here we talk in a very interesting interview which reveals a lot about the alliance and strategic thinking in this latest season. She explains why she did not flip to Hayden and Ciera’s alliance.

Well worth a read if you are a Survivor fan if I say so myself. Thanks again to JStar for his contributions to the questions.

Reality Ravings: Final tribal council and Laura M and some of the other jury members were asking you these questions asking you to show the “real Monica” and the ” vulnerable Monica”. Were they trying to make you cry? Did they ask the guys these same questions as it seemed a tad sexist? Were there other questions that were edited out that were aimed at you?

Monica Culpepper: The final tribal council was very very difficult for me and it actually went on for a few hours and you just saw a snapshot of the grilling and flaying and treatment that I received there. It was very unusual to me. Typically a final tribal council is as much about the game of Survivor and about game play and strategic and moves and thought processes. It seem for Brad and for me the entire game was a personal attacks against us and it was frustrating. Did it hurt me? Yes. Have I gotten over it? Yes. It was hard to understand and I felt I did the best that I could do. I couldn’t really win with these people. At one point in the game they said I talked to much so I quit talking and then I am scratching my head in the final tribal when they say “Well we don’t know you”. Yes you do know me guys. You just spent 39 days with me, you do know me, you just don’t know anyone like me. You don’t know anyone that is not willing to trample her way to the finish. You don’t know anybody that has such a position in their life with their husband and their family and community back home that the million dollars does not really mean enough to jeopardise my integrity for it. I wasn’t going to fight back and be ugly and I think Survivor is the most brutal and harsh game that has ever been invented. I think a lot of times peoples true colours come out and I was glad that you noticed my true colours shined. After two and half hours I finally threw my hands up and said you guys are asking me the same questions over and over and over again and I said “I don’t know what you want from me. I feel sorry that you don’t know someone nice”. That’s the bottom line.

RR: During this season of Survivor, during the middle of the season you did not get much screen time maybe because you were not under threat, and when you were shown you were shown to be paranoid, a bit neurotic and in peoples faces and they did not show you strategising much. Were you strategising and what did you think of your edit?

MC: Of course I was strategising with other people that is what you do on Survivor. The word paranoid to me does not even make sense. Look it up in the dictionary it is not even a comparative. Paranoid? No. Cautious? Yes. On the season before when I played I was blindsided by Colton and every one knows Colton, and I was darn sure not going to let that happen again. My cautious game play of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s was working and I bet everyone behind me were wishing they had played the game a little more cautiously. I think what confused people as well, and it was hard to show in the edit as it would have spoiled it for you in the end, was that Tyson, Gervase and I made a final three alliance the very day we merged. The deal was, three votes doing the same thing every single tribal council is tough to beat. It is even tougher to beat if you don’t know who they are. Tyson and Gervase said we are never going to be seen by the light of day the three of us. They were always together paling around but I was never with them, then in the middle of the night when people were sleeping we would meet and strategise and figure out what we wanted to do next. Then during the day I could just be a floater and say to people “You know what I’m really not sure, I’m seventh out here, I’m fifth out here what do you think”. And they would say “We think this”. I was strategising with people and it worked for me. I got to the end.

RR: So you had made the decision to go with Tyson and Gervase. You could have gone with Tina, Aras and their partners but you said that you were going to be fifth but surely you would have been third with them as you would have had the swinging vote to decide which pair to go with. Did you ever contemplate going with Tina and Aras?

MC: No I did not and here’s why. Tyson, Gervase, Tina, Aras and I were together at the very beginning on Gulong. Gervase, Tyson and I had already started talking about King Aras and that King Aras had made a final three alliance with everyone, well everyone except me. Having an alliance with everyone is like having an alliance with no one. So no one knew what to believe. I did not trust Aras enough to go on with him either. I was not going to go down with a sinking ship. The biggest question everybody asks me is you lost the game when you did not go with Hayden and Ciera and get rid of Gervase. That is not true. I will probably go down as the dumbest player in the history of Survivor HAD I gone with Hayden and Ciera. The climate out there was that Monica is in a social position in life, the million dollars is not going to matter to her. They discounted my game play. Hayden was Mr Congeniality out there. Even though that is the biggest move to seperate Tyson and Gervase if I do that Monica is not going to get the credit. They are going to say “isn’t Hayden a brilliant player? He socially got Monica to dump Tyson and Gervase”. Then at that point Hayden and Ciera are thinking dang she is actually the most powerful player in the game as she has made the biggest move, she has won three individual immunities and she is the most selfless player out here giving them the rewards. I would have been out fifth. Here am I giving a final three position up to come fifth at best fourth because I am thinking Laura Morett is coming out of Redemption Island and it is going to be Hayden, Laura and Ciera this was a no brainer. Also they were so angry with Tyson they were verbally and personally attacking me to get Tyson, that I thought well just drag those two to the end and hope they are still angry [with Tyson] and hope they find merit in the social manouvring that I did that the last six days of the game that guaranteed me final three and that it was really my choice who I would be going with. That is strategic as heck if you ask me. I did it honestly. I made two promises and I kept them. I never jeopardised my integrity and I was in pole position at the end. But the jury decided to go for the flashy play and the good game that Tyson played and he did play a great game. But I did with what I had out there at the time I was there. Second place for a 43 year-old scrappy mum from Tampa is a win for me if you ask me.

RR: You gave us one of the best lines of the series when you said “I’m showing the kids there is more then one bad ass in our house”. When I interviewed Brad he said that you were a bit reluctant to go on Survivor again and that he was the one that was really keen and that is why you agreed to return. Is that true?

MC: Yes. Colton hurt me the first time I played out there and I really had no intentions of  playing Survivor ever again. Then it came about it was the loved ones. That’s my husband’s briar patch. He grew up on a stilt house, he’s an eagle scout, he’s a trial attorney he loves it. It meant a lot to him to go play. For that I said “I’ll go play because we are going to be together”. In the end you live and you die and you only have stories to tell and we have some darn good stories to tell to our kids and our grand kids. Make no mistake, me getting second place was not just my game it was Brad’s too. It took both of us the title of second place because of the moves his made on Tadhana with his tribe. Think about it, he got rid of John. John would have been a huge force for me to beat in three individual immunities. He got rid of Candice in Redemption Island. She was the wild card, tough, untrustworthy player that would be difficult to beat. Marissa was strong and Rachel and she would have been in Tyson’s final three. The moves he made helped me in my game for many reasons. The tribe loved him so much I was sort of off the radar at the beginning they were not really after me. It was a last minute move by Caleb as he was jostled by the 21st player in every season of Survivor – Jeff Probst who kept peppering and peppering and peppering Caleb about if he was worried if Brad and this tribe might make a move to vote someone off that does not have a loved one on the other tribe that does not affect their position. At that point he thought “Colton just quit let me get him before he gets me”. So I was off their radar but the tribe really did like him but they were not willing to draw rocks that early in the game to go home. That also had something to do with Vytas’s vote for me as he felt bad that he did not draw rocks for Brad and thought I will extend the olive branch. He was also really impressed with the things that I took out their personally from day 3 to day 39 and thought she is one strong woman. I am so thankful to Vytas for his vote.

RR: Brad mention in his interview that you have had some producers putting their feelers out for a Culpepper reality TV show. Has there been any progress on that? Are you interested in doing more reality TV?

MC: As far as Survivor goes I think I will give someone else a turn. America has seen my story, Australia has seen my story it is time to see someone elses. I would so love Brad to get a shot to play Survivor without me. I think he and Rupert were the only two players that their loved ones game mattered more then theirs and that is paralysing out there. Survivor is like chess and Survivor loved ones is 3D chess and I would love to see his game and his story as he is just really neat. We met with the production company, the whole entire family, while we were out in LA for the finale. We will have to stay tuned and see what comes of it.

RR: I hope to see it on our screens next year. Good luck with it all it was great watching you and your husband you were both season highlights. 

Photo source: Tampa Bay Times


1 Mittens { 12.18.13 at 2:55 pm }

Monica if you read this, you were impressive. You would have had my vote on the final three and probably out of all of the contestants.

Good photo too btw. I’d love to be as tough as you.

2 Trent { 12.18.13 at 4:45 pm }

Loved Monica and think she deserved the win also!

Well Monica or Tina

3 Techhater { 12.18.13 at 6:09 pm }

RR Thanks for 2 great interviews. Tyson’s was good but this one answered my questions. Thanks again.

4 Sioux Denim { 12.18.13 at 7:00 pm }

Great interview RR, I knew I liked Monica for a reason….smart lady…

5 JStar { 12.18.13 at 7:15 pm }

Fantastic interview RR. You weren’t kidding. She gave great insight on things we did not see. It does explain why she wouldn’t flip and she is very “old school” player in the sense integrity means more than a million dollars (which she doesn’t need anyway). I do agree that she copped a lot of sexist questioning in people wanting to make her cry. However, Monica herself would acknowledge that her “mother-like” persona meant people trusted her more and opened up to her – which she used to further her alliance. And that would have made people particularly bitter towards her.

She is also seems like a great person who is grateful for what life has brought her. I didn’t think Vytas could get any better but the vote he gave Monica says a lot. And Monica is right, those with the flashy gameplay tend to be rewarded yet the subtle gameplay tend to be overlooked because people don’t see one defining moment even though it was a series of behind-the-scenes moves over 39 days that got her to the end.

6 Fiona { 12.18.13 at 11:36 pm }

During One World there was a secret scene with Monica talking about she had the stamina to go all 39 days, sadly thanks to Colton she did not. I’m happy that she was brought back for BvW.

During that Final Tribal Council I felt really bad for her. At least she came in 2nd thanks to the sexy Vytas (RR you are not the only one who has a crush on him).

7 Juz { 12.19.13 at 9:44 pm }

Fascinating to learn she, Tyson and Gerv had secret meetings and that she pretended not to be friends with them. I wish they had shown an inkling of this – would have added to the suspense.