By: John Powell – GlobalTV.com
Her first time at Tribal Council was her last. Roark Luskin, the social worker from California, was stuck in an impossible situation on Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers as the odd woman out on the Soko Tribe.
“I think the combination of being the lone Healer plus the unknown bond between Chrissy [Hofbeck] and Ryan [Ulrich] was the death knell for me. The fact that two people from different tribes like Chrissy and Ryan could have trust before meeting is awesome but it put me in a really bad position,” said Roark. “Barring never going to Tribal, I was never going to make the merger. I was in a really, really bad spot. I did the best that I could.”
Roark doesn’t have any bitterness towards Chrissy though and believes that at a different time, in a different place, they could have been friends.
“We are both very highly educated, well-spoken, interesting women and if we encountered each other on the streets of New York, things probably would have been different. Unfortunately, the moment in time that we met, it didn’t work out for us. We landed in the same spot but it was oil and water from the start. I don’t know what about me rubbed her the wrong way. I think her decision though was both strategic and personal. That’s fine. I don’t have hard feelings about that,” said Roark as she described how hard it was to be a super fan on the island.
John Powell: Here you were a super fan who actually got to play the game. Do you feel being a super fan was an advantage or disadvantage?
Roark Luskin: “I keep the fact that I was a super fan a secret. There were many conversations. People would misname seasons. They would forget players. My tongue was bleeding. (Laughs) It was clear that I had applied and was a fan interested in the show. I kept my knowledge base on the down low though. Ryan and I did bond over that over the fire one morning. We woke up early and talked about it before everyone else got up. It was a great bonding moment between the two of us. It is one of the things that makes me the saddest. Ryan and I never got to work together. That would have been a fun thing.”
John Powell: As a fan of the show what surprised you the most about the Survivor experience?
Roark Luskin: “What people don’t realize is how much downtime there is. From the viewer’s perspective, we eat, there is a challenge, we come back, we eat a little bit more, we go for a swim and there is another challenge. Really though, we spend most of our time talking to each other about our lives, discussing Saturday Night Live or Game of Thrones or baseball. That is where I think a lot of partnerships are made and broken though.”
John Powell: Talking about people bonding, what was it like to live and play the game with Joe Mena?
Roark Luskin: “It is funny. I really like Joe. I appreciate somebody who is such a straight-shooter. He says what he means. He follows through on it. You know exactly where you stand with Joe at all times. When you are on the right side of that, you are in a great spot. If you are on the wrong side of it, it can be scary.”
John Powell: As a Survivor fan what do you wish they would have shown more of?
Roark Luskin: “I loved the scene where the Hustlers tried on Simone [Nguyen]’s clothes. I wish they could show more moments like that. I think that type of scene is what makes the experience and the show special. It is not always raw strategy. We really have a lot of affection for each other.”
John Powell: If you had made the merge, who would you have wanted to play the game with?
Roark Luskin: “I adore Desi [Williams]. By self-admission she is not a super fan. Her strategy was to find someone that knows the game better than her and play as their partner. That is what she and I did together. We would collect information and bring it back to each other.”
Watch Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers Wednesdays at 8 et/pt on Global.