Was it Fourth of July yesterday? Because Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains certainly had plenty of fireworks! And now the unlucky recipient of a James meltdown/tongue-lashing is ready to give her side of the story. Stephenie LaGrossa may have been the second one voted out this season, but she says she’s happy that she can still hold her head high about the way she played and the way she went out. But she’s still not too high on former tribemate James, who berated her at the challenge, back at camp, and at Tribal Council for not following directions during the immunity competition. Stephenie (who now owns Gigi Restaurant and Lounge in Philadelphia and will be marrying Philadelphia Phillies baseball player Kyle Kendrick in November) had some choice words not just for James, but for Rupert as well. Let’s just say she won’t be voting for either as Fan Favorite anytime soon. [Full interview after the jump.]
So, when exactly did the relationship with James start to go south?
Just back at camp, building the shelter and everything. There was a separation between people, even the way we slept in the shelter. It was me, Tom and Colby. There was Amanda, J.T., Rupert, and James. And it was kind of Cirie and Candice just floating. They were all kind of teaming up with each other and then Rupert became his way or no way. It just was really touchy, constantly. Rupert would talk about himself and things he had done and how famous he was, and James would chime in about all the free stuff he had gotten. It was just unbelievable. It was, like, embarrassing for them. And then we get to the challenge and J.T. is supposed to be the leader but then there comes a point where there’s silence because he’s not leading anymore because he’s totally stumped. And we’re like, okay, one voice, but what about when that one voice is stumped and isn’t right? So Candice kind of took over at one point in the challenge. It was never right. Our puzzle was never right. So then we get to the end and James was screaming, “You, just shut the f— up.” You know, I wasn’t the only one talking. We were all talking and trying to move forward.
What happened when you all got back to camp?
So one thing led to another. There was fighting at the beach. Tom had it out with James, Colby had it out with James. They didn’t show that for time purposes or whatever. And then Tribal Council was way more than what you saw. Basically, James was just being really degrading and some lunatic bully. I was talking back to him at first and then I was kind of like, it’s not even worth it because he’s making a fool of himself and they’ve made their minds up. I was trying to go out with as much class as I could, ’cause I was so pissed and so annoyed because he was being so unintelligent. Bringing up losing challenges in Palau? What the hell does that have to do with losing two puzzles, one of which I wasn’t even involved in, for Heroes vs Villains? It got to the point where it was unbelievable. I did what I wanted it to do. It proved who he really is as a person, and it’s not the Hero that everybody thought he was. So, he totally just screwed himself. Yeah, I went out, but I went out with honor.
He sounded a bit like a broken record to me, just repeating the “one voice” thing and the Palau stuff. Was there any sort of other beef he brought up that we didn’t see?
It started with just “everybody shut up.” Okay, we understand that. You said that last week, too! But they were getting nowhere, both times. And then he started bringing up Palau and “Well, obviously it’s got to be you. You lost every challenge.” Okay, but what about the challenges I won in Guatemala, and we won as a tribe in Guatemala, and my individual immunity? Did you forget about that? That’s like me bringing up him having two idols and not using them and still getting voted out. There’s no relation to this game right now. Maybe you’re not the smartest guy or the sharpest crayon in the box but I’m not gonna bring that up.
Colby and Tom rushed to your defense at Tribal Council. Strictly from a strategic standpoint, was that a good move for them?
You know what, maybe not, and we’ll see if it affects them or not. You want to play the game and you want to win, but at the same point, there’s only gonna be one winner, and there’s only so much you can take when your integrity is on the line, and when people are just flat out idiotic. I think they had both just had enough and were like, “You know what, vote me out. You’re ridiculous. The way you talk to people is ridiculous. Stop trying to call her out and you’re personally attacking her.” I think at that point they really didn’t care. That just goes to show that they’re better people and true Heroes, and that matters to them more so than the million dollars.
Did anyone not in your alliance like Cirie or Candice speak up about the way he was talking to you?
No. Cirie and Candice both looked disgusted. They were shaking their heads the whole time. And when he was going off, at one point I just stopped talking and looked over at the girls and was like, “You want to play the game with this guy? Seriously?” Because at that point I knew they were going with them and were not with me. And I was like, then serves you right. Enjoy your experience, because yeah, you want to get to the end but you also kinda want to enjoy the experience a little bit. So you want to play with decent people you can have fun around. There was absolutely no fun being had at that camp at all. At one point I wished I was on the Villains. I was like, I’m sure their shelter is probably a mess, because they don’t care about that sort of thing, but I bet they’re having a good freakin’ time over there.
Why were you targeting Amanda?
Amanda and James were just so tight and we knew that probably had a connection on the other side with Parvati. We really thought Cirie was with them too, and then Cirie pulled me aside and was like, “I swear to you, I’m not with them.” So I was trying to pull her with us but with Tom and Colby it was a little too late. She was like, “All of a sudden they want me with you because they need the numbers?”
Why wasn’t anyone targeting Rupert with that broken toe? He obviously can’t help in the challenges.
I was. Everybody was annoyed by him. Everybody. But he was really tight with J.T, James, and Amanda. At one point Colby, because he was the only guy that knew him, pulled Rupert aside and said, “Rupert, you’re being unbearable. You gotta take it down a notch.” And Rupert was like “Who said that? Stephenie? Well I think she’s bossy and I think she’s a know-it-all.” From the beginning, he didn’t like me and James didn’t like me. It was just weird.
Had you met James and Rupert outside the game and not gotten along before you all went out there?
No! Had never met them. Was a fan of James. Was a fan of Rupert. Never even met them.
What about the shoulder? Did it cause you any more pain or discomfort out there after you dislocated it?
It was very weak. When your muscles get stretched like that, you need a good couple of days or a week of rest in a sling with it next to you not moving. And I didn’t have that option, so it was very weak the whole time. They never knew that, though. Rupert played up his toe way more than I played up my shoulder. And I did that because I knew I was on the outs and didn’t want to give them another excuse to get rid of me. It was very sore.
What the hell did you and Sugar talk about at the Ponderosa sequester house? I’m not sensing a lot of common ground between you two.
She is wacky, but she is a sweetheart. And you know how Ponderosa goes. You’re booted out and you’re pissed, so there’s a lot of partying going on. So that’s what we did. We drank, we sang, we danced, we ate. I don’t mind Sugar. A lot of people were annoyed by her, and I wasn’t. But it was definitely like, who’s coming next, though, because Sugar and I don’t have that much in common. Who’s next?
What’s your relationship with James like now? Have you guys talked about what went down?
We’re not friends on Facebook. I have like 5,000 friends and he’s not one of them. I don’t see us ever hanging out. I think he probably regrets the way he acted because he was a really big time fan favorite and he’s really making himself look bad. And next week it gets worse! And I know I didn’t go far so I have no chance at the freakin’ Fan Favorite vote, which sucks because I was on twice and happened to be really popular but still never got the fan favorite. It’s like, God, can I ever get a vote? [Laughs] As long as James or Rupert don’t get it, because they’ve both gotten it before and this time around they don’t deserve it. So if it’s not me, that’s fine. But it better not be either of them.
To see a deleted scene from last night’s episode, as well as the pep talk Stephenie’s recorded before the game to cheer herself up after she got voted out, click on the video below. And for all the Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss.
Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS