There has been a lot of talk about how many of the returning players brought back for Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites (premiering Feb. 13 on CBS) were not actually very good players their first time around. One contestant who did have some serious game in her first outing, however, is Brenda Lowe. Brenda worked herself into a position of power in Survivor: Nicaragua, but then made two fatal errors: She got too comfortable in her perch, and then did not scramble hard enough to stay once it became evident that the votes may have shifted against her. Now, Brenda gets a chance to make up for those mistakes. I chatted with Nicaragua’s Black Widow last May just days before filming on Survivor: Caramoan began and she spoke about her past mistakes, the other returning player she was concerned about, and the only thing that gave her pause about coming back.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, Brenda, why are you going to win this time?
BRENDA LOWE: Because I am leaving behind a lot of really great things in my life in Miami and I feel like I’ve learned so much from the first time from being able to watch and feeling how much it hurts to get voted off, that I don’t think that I would ever make those same mistakes again. And those mistakes were pretty crucial. I was doing pretty good. Had I not messed up, I probably would have gotten really far so I wanted that second chance to make those corrections and then probably make it to the end.
EW: Well, let’s talk about those mistakes. What’s your biggest regret about the last time you played?
BRENDA: Two things: One is counting on only one alliance, which I think was a rookie mistake. You should have more than one. And then, two, getting a little too comfortable and thinking that the game was just that easy. Because everything was going great and I thought if I just put it on cruise control I’ll make it all the way to the end, but it’s a lot harder than that.
EW: How much do you worry about the black widow perception that people may have of you?
BRENDA: A lot. And I think that I’m going to have to try my hardest to make them think that was just editing or that was just a different person, people change, I can be trusted, I can be on your side, you can believe everything I say, I won’t stab you in the back. I’m going to be working hard on that, on having them look at me a different way.
EW: You look around at the other players you see returning and there is no one else from your season. Does that worry you? Or is that a good thing?
BRENDA: I think it’s all right. I’m ready for whatever. The first time I played, people wanted me out on the first day, so I’m kind of used to do that. I don’t know anything else besides that, so I know what it’s like to go in there with a disadvantage. But you never know. I could still make it out of that. Just because I don’t feel comfortable doesn’t necessarily make that a bad thing.
EW: What do you think about the other returning players? Anyone you are particularly worried about?
BRENDA: I’m worried about Brandon because he has that connection with Russell and who knows what kind of coaching he’s been getting. I think he has this thing against girls. I have a feeling I can work with Corinne and maybe even Phillip, believe it or not. But that’s just from me not ever speaking with these people and knowing nothing about them. I’m just going to have to feel out every person and see what my instincts tell me from the conversations we’re going to have out there.
EW: Did you have any hesitation about coming back to play? You know how demanding it is — physically, emotionally, mentally. Did you pause at all when they first asked about you coming back?
BRENDA: The only hesitation I had was losing my hair. I hated that part. I mean, scars and stuff — I get scars doing other things — but I think I didn’t expect to lose so much hair and I’m not looking forward to having that happen again. But other than that there is no hesitation because I love the game. I was a fan of the show and being able to be on it once was amazing. Getting that call to see if I was available to come on again for a second chance, I was like, “Of course I am!” Of course it’s miserable, but you can’t say no. I just want to make my family proud and do my best.
EW: You talk about making your family proud. What are you most proud of when it comes to your performance last time that you are looking to build on for this season?
BRENDA: Just getting through that first vote when those first days there everyone was telling me “everyone wants you out.” I knew nobody there and had to work my way out of that. That was my proudest moment because I was so close to going home really, really, really soon. And then after we had the advantage with the numbers my alliance just kind of took control for a while, and I was pretty proud of that. I hung in there and had faith in myself and the decisions I made. I didn’t give up.
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