By John Powell – GlobalTV.com
It is all pedal to the metal and you can forget about the brakes. That is how Debbie Wanner approaches life and how she plays Survivor.
Debbie exited the game as she entered it, in dramatic fashion after being blindsided by a newly formed alliance at the Maku Maku Tribe. Debbie did suspect though that it would be Sarah Lacina who would eventually betray ‘The Six’.
“Going in, I was confident or cocky, pick your adjective, and it was a day or two prior to that I had gone to Brad and Sierra and said…Look, when this breaks it is going to be Sarah or Troyzan because he wasn’t an original Nuku. At that point, I didn’t think that in even [Survivor] Game Changers, where there were too many of us and it was too early, that someone would put their neck that far out on the line. I did say on camera and on the record that it would be Sarah who would be the one who broke the alliance. She was playing both sides. She was swearing up and down on her son’s life. When I saw my name read for the first time I pretty much knew I was going home,” said Debbie.
Sarah constantly swearing on her son really rubbed Debbie the wrong way.
“As we discovered on Game Changers there are things some people will not do, will not throw out there. For my part, it just turns my stomach,” Debbie said of Sarah’s strategy.
At Ponderosa, Sarah was one of two suspects Debbie surmised had turned their backs on the alliance.
“I think the first person out of my mouth was Troyzan because he wasn’t original Nuku and the second person was Sarah. She made her “big game changing” move very early and in a series of Game Changers, I shouldn’t have been surprised one bit. So, Troyzan initially and then Sarah,” Debbie recalled as she detailed how using her extra vote hurt her game.
John Powell: Do you think playing the advantage lit up people’s radar and made you an even bigger target?
Debbie Wanner: “I do indeed especially since I was credited with taking out Ozzy even though it was pretty much a mutual decision. It is just that Ozzy came to me and said he wanted Brad or Sierra out. In hindsight, we all get to second-guess ourselves. Of course, I wish I hadn’t played that vote and kept it for myself when I truly needed it the next night but I didn’t want someone in my alliance to go home. So, that’s why I played it and I wish I hadn’t.”
John Powell: Did anyone else know you had it or did you keep it a secret?
Debbie Wanner: “Sierra Dawn and Culpepper knew I had an extra vote.”
John Powell: You have always played a take no prisoners style of game that sort of mirrors your life as well. Did you give any thought to reining things in?
Debbie Wanner: “Yeah, that was a conversation (John) Cochran and I had. I adore him. Cochran comes off as harmless. He will be the wingman and he has his own style. I am not Cochran though I really did try to take his advice and extend olive branches where I could but I think the die was cast with Aubry and I way back in Kaoh Rong and there was no repairing that relationship. I did try but at the end of the day I just did the best I could.”
John Powell: Talking about repairing things, when you buried the hatchet with Brad was it sincere or were you still wary of him?
Debbie Wanner: “You know that is interesting because there was never a broken fence to mend or a hatchet to bury with Brad. When you are out there, you are hungry. You are under duress. It was blown out of proportion and some degree on my part but I was never going to throw Brad under the bus. I was never going to betray the alliance I had with him and Sierra. He was going to be my guy. When you watch that clip, I am laughing. Brad says…Oh, is she acting? I really needed people not to know how close we really were.”
John Powell: Why do you think Sarah thought that she was at the bottom of the alliance?
Debbie Wanner: “People say a lot of things on Survivor, even in confessionals, that doesn’t mean that they are true. Do I necessarily believe it? Quite frankly, I don’t know and don’t particularly care at this point. Do I think she knew people were catching onto her playing both sides and had no intention of following that alliance through? Perhaps because she spent an inordinate amount of time with the opposing alliance and people were talking about it.”
John Powell: Having watched your edit, is there anything you wish they had shown more of?
Debbie Wanner: “Well, when I was on the boat and this is me having fun because it is so tense and sometimes depressing out there, I climbed to the top of that boat and I shouted: ”I am the king of the world!” and I jumped off. Then, I am thinking, s—t, man, I am pretty sure the movie ends badly for him (Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson) on the Titanic. Then, sitting down with the chicken and beans, I said, with a deadpan face…I am now going to enjoy my chicken with some fava beans and a nice bottle of Chianti. I just wanted to have fun and people don’t understand how much you need something to laugh about out there.”
John Powell: Who do you think is playing the best game at present and why?
Debbie Wanner: “Aubry has played a good game because she has went to a lot of tribal councils and she has twisted and turned, found her way through these cracks. She has been to a lot of tribal councils and has still come out alive. Cirie, who was the Number One target on Nuku because of her lack physical prowess, has played a very good game. She may not leap tall buildings but she can talk her way out of a corner and she is likable. She is a likable, loveable woman who you want to cheer for.”
John Powell: What is next for Debbie?
Debbie Wanner: (Laughs) “Can I do a show where there’s some food like The Amazing Race? I don’t know what is next. Life is a lot like Survivor. You know, the best laid plans of mice and men, to quote John Steinbeck, these constant upheavals and turmoil, you just never know.”
John Powell: Would you ever play Survivor again?
Debbie Wanner: (Pause) “No. I don’t know. I don’t know. It would have to be awhile from now.”
Next time on Survivor: Game Changers…
Watch Survivor: Game Changers Wednesdays at 8 et/pt on Global.