Post booted press interviews

Possibly the only fun about being booted was the hours on the phone with the Press from all over the world. I literally spent six hours one day doing phone interviews with many U.S websites, magazines and online magazines. Another day 3 hrs talking to 12 radio stations across the USA one of which newsfeeds to over 1,700 stations.

Then interviews with Canada, Australia, Israel, Phillipines, New Zealand and Singapore. Now how much fun was that! I have found some of the interviews by “googling” and here they are. I have loved sharing my experience so here is more!

Reality Buzz TV – Survivor Gabon: Gillian the day after

Gillian Larson, a retired nurse from California, was the second person voted off of Survivor Gabon during the season premiere on CBS. Gillian has been a huge fan of the show since the beginning and has tried out for Survivor fifteen times.

Although she is 61 years old, Gillian is extremely active and enjoys scuba diving, hiking and swimming and felt she would be a great fit for Survivor.

She says playing Surivor is much different than watching the game at home on the sofa. Things seemed much easier ‘watching.’ She feels she will be yelling at herself for many moves she made in the game and expects her family to do the same. She truly feels that most people will not recognize her when they see her on the show itself as she didn’t feel things worked out as she wanted them too. She had a game set and other things interfered. She did not enjoy being part of the Fang tribe and felt that there was no connection within the tribe at all. There was too much talking going on and a very strong lack of interest in what was going on around them regarding the game.
She says that the cheering and enthusiasm was part of her and part of her game. She usually does well with most people but found that no one on her tribe was connecting with her ‘cheerleading.’ She said she studied the Survivor game through the years and felt she could play it well. She appreciates the honor of being chosen to actually have had the chance to play her game out even though it didn’t go as planned.

“We Just Basically Sucked As A Team” – RealityNewsOnline’s Exclusive Interview with Survivor: Gabon’s Gillian
by David Bloomberg — 09/29/2008

You might be surprised to see cheerleader Gillian say the quote found in the title, above. But just because she’s a positive person doesn’t mean she couldn’t see the obvious! Gillian shares her thoughts on her tribe and her time in the game right here. Look for some great sound bites, including her discussion of giving Crystal the shirt off her back and GC’s “leadership.”

With two people being voted out in the premiere, I interviewed Michelle first, and then Gillian. We saw in the game that they were polar opposites, with Michelle being extremely negative and Gillian extremely positive. But the same was true with interviewing them – I had to drag things out of Michelle, while Gillian had plenty to share! She had a number of great sound bites, so take a look for them as you read through.

Reality News Online Interview

RNO: Hello, Gillian, and thanks for taking the time to talk to RealityNewsOnline! What was your strategy coming into the game?

Gillian: My basic strategy was to get into the game and assess all the people that I would end up with on the tribe and see how I would fit in with them or how I would play once I was in. The second part of the strategy was that I knew I was probably going to be the oldest player – which it turned out I was. I would have to decide how to play that. I didn’t want to come on too quietly because it would be viewed as “she’s probably the oldest and weakest.” I wanted to make sure they realized I was not quite too useless as they might think I would be. I went about enjoying doing tasks around the camp. I intended to pull my weight and show I wasn’t as old as I looked.

RNO: Did your strategy change once you got there?

Gillian: It didn’t change really except that when I was in the tribe I ended up with, I kind of assessed that I definitely couldn’t be too quiet and fly under the radar because they would think I’m definitely just an old woman who would be useless. Being in Africa was both a positive and a negative. I’m not very good running, and that was pretty obvious running across the savannah and up the hill. I’m really good in the water and I knew that wasn’t going to be a possible in Africa. So I was going to show my strength otherwise. So I chopped wood to look for grubs and chopped termite mounds and tried to make fire and used my glasses for endless hours in the sun.
The second part of that was that, seeing some of the other very negative attitudes in camp, I decided I would be the positive one, which is part of my nature anyway. So I tried to be the one who would pump everybody up. Looking at the show, I shouldn’t have been quite as positive. I was pretty quiet a lot of the time but the pumping up was shown a lot.

Personally, I thought we all just sucked. It was awful. We just basically sucked as a team, but I wasn’t about to take up that attitude. I just tried to keep the pump-up side. But I’m not sure that worked very well, because people weren’t happy. If the negative of me got me booted and the negative is that I look for the positive, that’s just too bad, but that’s how it was.

RNO: After the first two challenges, what did you do to help convince your tribemates that Michelle needed to be voted off rather than you?

Gillian: I just felt that she was so, so miserable. She was cold, she was uncomfortable, she seemed to hate being there, she was extremely negative. She was the antithesis of my personality being the positive, which is kind of funny because the first two booted were very negative and very positive, so neither worked. I just thought she was having such an awful, awful time, so when people asked me, I said I’m voting for her. I said going in that I would never ever vote off some of the stronger members, but I just thought that her whole negative “I hate to be here” demeanor needed to not be among us. I just felt really bad for her, she looked like she was having such a struggle, so I felt it would be the best thing for her if she wasn’t with us, and that’s what I voiced to the other people when they asked me what I was planning on doing.

RNO: We saw you trying to swing Susie’s vote before the second Tribal Council. Who else did you talk to in an effort to switch the way the vote was going?

Gillian: Susie and I talked for quite a long time and she had felt that things were not going the way she hoped she would. She and I talked about the negative and the reasons we would change the vote. We then also talked with Randy. I talked with Randy several times and I talked with Dan and she talked to Matty. We had hoped it would be a connection in order to change where we saw things were going. But Randy wasn’t interested in making any commitment at that point and Matty wasn’t sure. But Dan, Susie and I were – or so it seemed. If we could have just got the five of us together, it might have made things different.

RNO: By the time Tribal Council arrived, did you know you were leaving?

Gillian: I knew early in the day. Every single sign from everybody was pointing in my direction. No eye contact, avoidance, it was so clear that they were ready to get me out of there. I knew it going in to the whole day. I of course had hoped that things could change. But towards the end of the afternoon, I told Susie things aren’t going to change, so don’t put a target on your own back. The same with Dan. That was very, very clear to me form the beginning of the day on.

RNO: Randy seemed to be annoyed by you, but then he indicated he was sorry to have to vote you out. What did you think of him and what kind of relationship did the two of you have?

Gillian: Randy and I actually had a fairly good with relationship. I connected with Dan first of all because he was much more like me. Then otherwise Randy and I had a pretty good relationship and spent quite a bit of time talking together and talking about how things were going and in general about how things were in the camp, which we both thought pretty much sucked. I think that came out in the vote. He’s smart and he needed to play what the other people were playing. I knew exactly what he was doing. C’est la vie, this is TV. It was a game and I could see that. It was nice that he validated that in his vote. We had a good relationship while we were out there. Basically Dan and Randy and I did. I thought there was a reasonably decent relationship with the other players.

People say I’m such a kind happy person that I would give people the shirt off my back and it actually happened. I presume you noticed I was in a tank top that made me look like I needed breast reconstruction – that was because I had given Crystal my shirt because her dress broke. I gave her my shirt and I gave GC my belt because his pants were falling all the way off. I was trying to be helpful. I pulled the legs off locusts for Crystal to eat. I felt I had reasonable relationships and the cheerleader part of me just came across occasionally. I just had a really good time out there and I really was enjoying it.

RNO: What do you think of GC, especially in his role as leader then non-leader, and the way his youth might have affected his actions?

Gillian: I think that was probably the dumbest thing. GC’s not a leader. I like him and think he has a really good heart. He and I seemed to get along just fine. He and I spent four hours in the sun one day – I was using a bow drill trying to get fire. I was using my glasses and he would come and take over now and then. We had a pretty good relationship, but as far as being a leader, duh. That tribe could not be led, nobody wanted to lead. Already people were scattered and having trouble functioning as a team.

Nobody was going to step up to lead – it was like flipping a coin and it landed on his head. It had been so noisy and there was nothing we could do about the water situation or about being hungry, much. But there was something we could do about being exhausted – if people would just shut up! Nobody was sleeping, so I thought I’d get up and wait for everybody because everybody was part of it and I said hey while we’re all here together, can we all agree not to be so noisy at night. That went over like a lead balloon. That was really dumb, abdicating leadership over a washing machine. He was never a leader, it was so silly.

RNO: What do you think you could have done differently to change the outcome of the vote?

Gillian: The absolute difference was not to have picked Crystal as my pick. That was the big regret of my game. That formed the path my game was going to take. I did know she was an Olympic runner and I suck on land, so I thought I would pick this Olympic runner to be my counterpart on land and I could be her counterpart on water if there was any. So I picked her, so there was extreme purpose behind my pick. But I actually beat her up the hill and we both had as much help as the other. I’m not sure she liked that. I didn’t realize that until I saw it the other night.

RNO: Time is running short, so do you have anything else you’d like to tell us about your time on Survivor?

Gillian: I absolutely loved it and just loved being out there and loved being in nature and doing things I learned how to do, and being part of this amazing Survivor adventure. I loved being there. I just was so sad that I was part of the tribe I ended up with. But I loved sharing it with everybody in my entire circle of life. It’s been such an awesome experience sharing it with everybody.

RNO: Thanks again, Gillian!
Survivor fans podcast

SFP Interview: Castoff from Episode 2 Survivor Gabon

Today we interviewed Gillian Larson. She left the game in episode 2 of Survivor Gabon. She had applied 15 times before being selected this season and was sure that being back in Africa was a sign she was here to win it all. Unfortunately, the Fang tribe she helped create had different plans for her.

Listen to this interview to hear her evaluation of all her tribemates, learn more about the multitude of ways she contributed at camp, what secret knowledge led her to pick Crystal plus answers to questions you submitted and lots more! If you are not a subscriber to the Survivor Fans Podcast, you can click the Listen Now button on the webpage and the interview will download and play on your computer.

Exclusive Interview: Gillian Larson of ‘Survivor: Gabon’
Monday, September 29, 2008

Gillian was able to return to her roots when she joined the 17th season of Survivor, located in Gabon, Africa. This native of South Africa is a long time fan of Survivor and has been trying to get cast on the show since the very beginning. Gillian may have been aware that her age could be her undoing in the game but she came into Survivor with as much energy and personality as anyone else. Her tribemate Michelle was voted out first but when the Fang tribe lost their third challenge in a row, they decided that Gillian was the one who needed to leave. Today, she spoke to BuddyTV in an exclusive interview, weighing on Michelle, her tribe, and what she might have done differently.

Below, you will find the complete transcript and mp3 of the interview.

Hey everybody, this Gina from BuddyTV and today, I’m talking to Gillian from Survivor: Gabon. Well, in your introduction video on CBS’s website, it sounded like you had been watching Survivor for quite some time so were you a fan of the show coming in?

Oh, I’ve been a huge fan of the show ever since I caught the first episode that I saw of Borneo. I have been a huge fan. I love Survivor and anything Survivor. I’ve wanted to get on for 8 years and tried everything I could do to get a part and I did it.

Over the years, do you have a favorite Survivor season or player?

I don’t know if I have a favorite season because I basically end up watching it all the time. My favorite players have been – Cirie, in that she was kind of like an everyday woman that had gotten up and did something different which is what I love in people. I think it’s great when people will get up and do something that’s different. Most of the other players were some of the men players and that’s Terry Dietz and I love Yul and I loved Earl so all of those players have been my favorites.

On the first episode, we got to see that you and Bob made the first picks for the tribes. Was that a blessing or a curse?

I actually knew it was going to happen because I know that the Africans revere their elders. When I saw that Bob had made the cast, I knew absolutely that we were going to be doing the picks. In a way, it was a blessing because then, I wouldn’t be left on the mat which sometimes happens to people. So that was a blessing that that wouldn’t happen. It was a curse, in a way, in the strange way that the whole tribe fell.

Why do you think Michelle didn’t get picked at all, in the beginning?

I don’t why she didn’t, that’s what’s kind of strange. All I can think of is that – you know, I wasn’t watching everybody on the mat, down there on the line, I was watching people as they were coming up. I’m wondering if as each person was picking, they were obviously looking at the line to see who else they were going to pick and I’m wondering if Michelle gave off some negative vibes from the get go or something. I don’t know what it was but I didn’t look at the line because I had made my pick.

Did you have an idea that you were going to be a target, early on, in the game?

I knew I would be a target, based on my age because generally, the older players are not looked upon favorably because they are not able to perform as well as the younger people. Unless you have a few twists that keep you going or a good alliance that keeps you in, it’s an issue because of the age and I knew that was going to be a possibility.

What do you think the Fang tribe needs to do in order to turn things around this season?

Oh God, they need to lose some of their negativity and their complaining attitudes. Start working together and pull it together. Work as a team. There’s no teamwork at all. I kept saying it was like, we were a bunch of mice being scattered in every direction. They need to pull it together.

Well, I know you didn’t get to spend a lot of time in the game but was this experience everything you had hoped for or do you have any regrets at all?

It was everything I hoped it would be and it was everything I hoped it would not be. I’ve always said, for the 8 years I’ve been applying, “I just hope I don’t get on a really bad tribe.” Unfortunately, I hadn’t read the book The Secret, where the law of attraction is pointed out that whatever it is you’re saying is what is going to happen.


Right. I read 64 books out of preparation and I didn’t read that one. All these years, I’ve been saying, “God, I hope I don’t get on a tribe that is negative and complaining,” and that happened. That was sort of everything. In that way, my tribal experience was everything I hoped it wouldn’t be. I did not like it at all. The actual game itself was awesome and amazing and Survivor is amazing! It is the most awesome, awesome thing. My biggest regret, and they both relate to Crystal – one is picking her and the other is not outing her, because I knew she was an Olympic runner and I wish I had said that.

Well, we liked watching you on the show and I’m sorry you went out so early, Gillian.

Aw, me too, Gina but hey, that was the path of my destiny. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have picked Crystal. That was where my whole downfall started but hey, I thought it was going to work and it didn’t.

Well, I appreciate your time and thank you so much.

Thank you so much, Gina. I appreciate it.

– Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer

Q&A With Survivor Castoff Gillian Larson
Kat Angus
Published: Thursday, October 02, 2008
As the oldest contestant on Survivor: Gabon, Gillian Larson went into the game with a target on her back. Because of her age, 61-year-old Larson was immediately seen as the weakest member of the Fang tribe, a perception that was hard to change when they kept losing challenges – even when it wasn’t her fault. At the first Tribal Council, Larson narrowly avoided elimination when her team decided they’d rather be rid of Michelle’s negative attitude, but when Fang lost the next immunity challenge to Kota as well, the grandmother from California could only sit and watch as her team voted her off.
Larson took some time to tell us about how she prepared for Survivor, what went wrong with her tribe and which move she regrets the most.

Q: You auditioned for Survivor 15 times and went through two casting calls before being cast. What was different this time? Did they realize they just weren’t getting rid of you?
A: Oh, I kept hoping. I hope they kept me in their file every time because every one of my applications was different, trying to show a different side of me.

Q: Which side did you show this time?
A: I was travelling in South Africa so I took little video clips of me and I was getting into a cage to swim with great white sharks, I was rappelling off a 4,000-foot mountain and I said, “For God’s sake! Pick me! I’m this adventuresome granny who would love to do it!””

Q: So then you got on the show and… what happened?
A: Oh, God, I’m still asking myself that a few months later! What happened? I don’t know. I was so ready for Survivor. I’ve been trying for eight years, 15 applications, on and on and on, two casting calls. Everything around my life was Survivor, basically. I prepared, read 56 books on survival and the psychology of group dynamics and all of that sort of stuff. I think what sort of happened was that the tribe didn’t work. We didn’t work as a tribe and I didn’t work for the tribe. It just didn’t go. It just didn’t work out. I think – and, you know, Monday morning quarterback – I think it would have been very different had I been on Kota. But you know what? It was the most awesome, amazing experience that I’ve – well, not that I’ve ever had because I’ve had lots of fun experiences, but I just absolutely loved it and feel privileged to have been a part of it. The tribe didn’t work! The tribe just didn’t work.
Q: Were people worried that, being the oldest member of Fang, you’d hinder the tribe’s ability to win challenges?
A: Well, you know, they seemed to show that the other night and I just sat there with my mouth open because I was not the weakest. I was the strongest physically in the elements. I was not weak; I was not tired; I was not hungry. I was thirsty. I was not worn out; I was not hating it. I was loving all of that and managing fine! I was not the last one up the hill. I beat [Olympic gold track runner] Crystal! I think maybe that was a bit of an embarrassment for her because she sort of didn’t care for me after that – to sound like a seventh-grader, she had it out for me. I beat Susie by a little and I was not far behind Randy. And in the ball challenge, I’m not sure why they thought it was me; I had nothing to do with them not winning it. I was keeping out of their way as had been decided in strategy: to stay to the side. I don’t know. I think, basically, I didn’t fit in. I didn’t blend. They didn’t like my happy, positive self. I mean, I thought, ‘God, we just suck!’ But I wasn’t going to admit to that. I just tried to pretend everything was great and I knew it wasn’t. I just thought it was going downhill fast.
Q: What was your strategy going into the show?
A: I was going to go in and spend a few days checking people out and talking to them and being friendly and gleaning information about them so that I could find out if they hated their mothers because then they would probably hate me. You know, that sort of thing. And then I’d decide who was going to be a probable alliance – I think alliances don’t really work – but who would possibly be at least an alliance for the day. Work hard, do everything that I know in outdoor skills, and Randy and I knew a lot and nobody else knew anything. I wanted to try to find food – I learned how to fish with my pants and find termites. I looked for grubs in logs. I was going to be the provider while I was flying low and, believe it or not, I sort of was flying low except for some of the über-cheerful moments that were shown.

Q: Was there anything you wish you could have done differently?
A: The thing I regret the most and certainly would have changed the game for me would have been not picking Crystal. That was my big mistake. I picked her because I knew she was an Olympic runner because I’m a huge Olympic fan and I recognized her. I suck on land; I do not run very well. I am a fish in water but I suck on land and I thought I needed a counterpart for the running. I thought that if the team was behind and I were slower, she would pick it up and if there were water challenges, I’m like a fish, so I’d pick it up there. But from there on, the strangest group got collected. I have no idea how that happened.
Q: Who do you think is the biggest liability for Fang now? Would you say Crystal as well?
A: Kenny was the weakest and he was actually the one I was working to get voted out instead of me. It looked like I didn’t do much but I talked a lot to Susie and to Dan, Randy and Matty. They wanted to get Crystal or Dan or one of the strong people and I said, “We can’t! They are at least physically strong. We have to get rid of one of the weaker ones.” Kenny was actually physically weak because he’s tiny and he was also mentally weak because he was exhausted and tired and run-down most of the time. I said we had to get rid of Kenny because he’s the weakest of the group. We just couldn’t swing Randy’s vote; he wasn’t willing to commit to anything.
Q: They obviously cut out a lot of the stuff that happens. How do you feel about the way you were edited?
A: Everybody who watched it who knows me said, “What the hell? We didn’t see you. That wasn’t the you we know.” But they’re filming for 24 hours a day and nobody’s telling anybody what to do. They’re just taking what we do and turn it into how it must play out. Yes, I would have loved to have been shown as a stronger woman as I believe I am. I would have loved to have been edited as a stronger woman simply to demonstrate that there are stronger, older women out there and that we’re not just going to be a liability and be booted. But hey, I’ve got a new expression and it’s, “C’est la vie TV!” That’s how it is. I would never, ever exchange this opportunity. It was the most amazing experience and I will be forever grateful. If anybody just takes some inspiration out of my attempts to get on and my attempt to be there and stay there and be OK, if someone can be inspired by that then my message for Survivor is well-received.
Survivor: Gabon airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on Global and CBS.

Fancast: Inside TV

Survivor Exit Interview: Gillian Larson
By Tom Rose,

Gillian Larson is a retired nurse, a grandmother four times over and an embodiment of the American Dream. The 61-year old Temecula, California resident has applied for nearly every season of Survivor since the beginning and after 15 tries, Survivor: Gabon – Earth’s Last Eden finally said yes.
Early speculation had Gillian as the first to go, based on age alone. But the feisty South African native beat the odds when 24-year old Michelle Chase was voted off and gave Gillian a hope to play deeply into the game.
Alas, it was not her destiny. With the whining Michelle out of the picture, Fang tribe zeroed in on Gillian and her dream ended after only 6 days on the African savanna. But, as we found out talking with her from the comfort of her lovely home, life is all about choices. Gillian chose to fight for her spot on the show, something she says she always knew would happen and her persistence has been an inspiration to literally thousands of people who have since contacted her and wished her well in life’s next big adventure, whatever that may be.
FC: Gillian, The big story about you going in was that you had been trying to get on the show for years. Tell us about that.
GL: I submitted 15 applications over 8 years and was called in twice. So here we are in the 17th season and I finally made it.
FC: So being voted off so quickly made the disappointment even greater I guess.
GL: Being voted out was a bummer, but from the moment I knew we were doing the show in Africa I knew I was screwed because the challenges would all be land based. I’m great on the water, but on land I knew there were much stronger players than me.
FC: But you expected to be on a little longer than 6 days right?
GL: That’s how it played out, but I went for it. My whole challenge was to get on the show and then to show lots of people that you can achieve your goal if you stay with it. Dream big and try hard and you can make it. I’ve been hearing from thousands of people who have been telling me what I went through was an inspiration for them, so I’m happy about that.
FC: Why do you think they finally picked you?
GL: I don’t know but I suspect that it was because it was Africa. Africans have great respect for their older people and I think they were looking for a fun, adventuresome, older woman. Everybody I know thinks I am an adventurous, grandmotherly type.
FC: There’s been a lot of speculation about your picking Crystal first, instead of an Alpha Male type. Can you explain your thinking?
GL: As I said before, I suck on land, so Crystal was my first choice because I’m a big fan of the Olympics and I recognized her as an Olympic runner. When I saw the big hill we were going to have to climb I thought, “well she’s a runner and I’m not” so that was the reason.
FC: Oh, that’s fascinating. You knew she was an Olympic runner before the game started. What thoughts did you have about some of the others?
GL: Somehow I absolutely knew that Bob and I would be choosing the tribes so I was assessing every player. Marcus was my alternate choice. I’m a nurse, so I can really pick things out and I figured Marcus is big and strong, and Ace and Dan too, so they would be good choices, but with Crystal I knew her track record, literally, and I thought she would be someone who could help me out. I’m not a runner, but she’s a runner, so that’s why I chose her first.
FC: That really makes sense now.
GL: I’m also a huge believer in destiny. I believe that life will play out on a choice and that choice leads you down the path of destiny.
FC: Tell us about your background. You grew up in South Africa, was that in one of the cities?
GL: I grew up in a town near the city of Johannesburg so I knew some of what to expect, even though I’d never lived in the jungle. But I knew the savanna and I was so thrilled when the word came out the game would be in Africa, but I also knew I was so screwed. I knew the oceans were too rough and the rivers have bacteria and things that make people sick so I said “Well, you’re gonna be running alot” and as I said, I suck on land.
FC: Still, how many people can say they spent 6 days on Survivor?
GL: That’s right! I like looking at it that way. I’ve been told there’s only been 6 players over 60 so far, so I feel I accomplished something, no matter what.
FC: How did you feel when you realized it was you that would be voted off, because from what we saw on camera, it was kind of obvious that whole last day.
GL: I was sad all day long. I honestly believe Crystal wanted me out so she went for that.
FC: You took it very well.
GL: The only thing I could think of at the time was “bummer” and I said that. But mentally I was clinging to Jeff’s leg, crying “Please, please let me stay!”
FC: That certainly would’ve made good television. We did see you working on Susie a little bit that day though. Did you have some alliance ideas?
GL: I didn’t consider it an alliance, but Dan and I connected, and Randy and I were also similar. He’s spent a lot of time outdoors like me and we couldn’t believe who we ended up with on that tribe. I went to Susie in a nebulous way, but she finally said you know “it’s not working.” So I went around to tell them, “don’t put a target on your back” for me.
FC: How has your family reacted?
GL: My family is bummed but they’ve been supportive, as is everybody I know, but if the same thing had happened, and I wasn’t in such a strange tribe, things might have been different. But my entire family was with me over the weekend. They all left last night, and my husband is off to work now so I’m all alone, talking to you nice people.
FC: One last question Gillian. Do you have a favorite, somebody you want to win?
GL: Well, it’s too early to tell, but I like Marcus, he has such a lovely face.
FC: Thank you for talking with us Gillian. You ARE an inspiration.
GL: You’re welcome, and thank you!
Interview with Gillian Larson of Survivor Gabon
Posted on 09/29/2008 in Cast Interviews, Survivor Gabon

Interview with Gillian Larson of Survivor Gabon

Q. Did you have time to create alliances?

A. Gillian Larson, Survivor Gabon: I didn’t feel I did, I wanted time to assess people and figure out how I might work best with others but didn’t really get that time.

Q. Do you think age had anything to do with your elimination?

A. Gillian Larson Survivor Gabon: I think age had a huge part of it. I have a huge mop of grey hair and I was slow running up the large hill, but I did beat Crystal and Suzie. I still don’t think I looked like a weak woman out there, but I am sure age had something to do with it.

Q. Did you ever think about dying your hair?

A. Gillian Larson, Survivor Gabon: I had applied to a few prior Survivors and died my hair, then I thought I might get picked if I looked my age and let me real grey come through.

Q. Michelle described other members of your tribe as retarded and ugly. These were her words not mine, what do you think about her comments?

A. Gillian Larson, Survivor Gabon: I think it was very sad. I think we all sucked and I count myself in on that, but I am sad that that’s part of her persona. I am sorry she had to choose those words to describe us.

Q. What might you have done differently?

A. Gillian Larson, Survivor Gabon: I would not have picked Crystal, I would have picked Marcus.

Q. What did you think of Jeff Probst talking tough with you guys and making you pick a leader

A. Gillian Larson, Survivor Gabon: First of all, no one wants to be a leader on Survivor since it puts a huge target on their back and no one wanted to be told what to do.

Q. What was your strategy going into the game?

A. Gillian Larson, Survivor Gabon: I wanted to spend a few days assessing everyone to see how I may fit in and work with them and then win them over from there. I also didn’t want to appear too quiet or appear as a weak old lady.

Q. Did you feel no one listened to you even though you’re from South Africa?

A. Gillian Larson Survivor, Gabon: No one wanted to hear anything.

Q. It’s very early in the game, but who do you think will go all the way?

A. Gillian Larson, Survivor Gabon: I would love to see one of the younger stronger people win it. I think Marcus has a great vibe and who knows how that will play out.

Q. Mark, How many times did you say you had applied to be on Survivor?

A. Gillian Larson, Survivor Gabon: I applied for 8 years, sent in 15 applications and went to two open calls.

Q. Mark, How far did you make it in prior auditions?

A. Gillian Larson, Survivor Gabon: I had landed some second phone interviews in the past.

Q. Mark, Our site caters to people looking to land a role on shows like Survivor. Many get discouraged when they apply to one show for their first time and do not hear back. You applied over an eight year time span, what tips would you give to people looking to be on Survivor or any reality show?

A. Gillian Larson, Survivor Gabon: I can relate applying to Survivor with the way I live my life, if you want something bad enough don’t ever give up. I dreamt I would be on Survivor, prepared for it, and I did it. Don’t ever let other people tell you that you can’t do something or listen to negativity, just do it.

Q. Mark, You said you prepared for being on Survivor, how so?

A. Gillian Larson, Survivor Gabon: My day book for 8 years had the schedule for when to apply to each season and I would constantly think of new creative ways to create a tape and audition. I had even heard there were Survivor scouts out looking for new cast members, so I made a bright orange shirt with the words “Survivor scouts pick me”.

Q. Mark, Did the shirt work?

A. Gillian Larson, Survivor Gabon: No scouts found me, but I had a great time wearing it.

Reality TV world.
Exclusive: Gillian Larson talks about her ‘Survivor: Gabon’ experience

By Reality TV World staff, 09/29/2008

Gillian Larson, a 61-year-old retired nurse from Temecula, CA who was raised in South Africa, became the second castaway to be eliminated from Survivor: Gabon during the second half of the series’ two-episode premiere last Thursday.

After avoiding elimination during the first episode — during which her Fang tribemates elected to send home Michelle Chase and her negative attitude instead — Gillian wasn’t as lucky the second time around.

On Monday, Gillian talked to Reality TV World about what she thought about the game’s tribal pick ’em process, how she knew about Crystal Cox’s secret Olympic past all along, whom she shared her secret with, what she really thought about tribemate Michelle Chase, why she tried to stay so positive during her time in the game, and what her two biggest regrets were.

Reality TV World: I guess for my first question I just want to start at the beginning. What made decide to pick [Crystal Cox] at the [initial tribal] pick ’em?

Gillian: I had learned that Africa reveres their elders so I knew I was going to be one of the pickers when I saw that [Robert Crowley] was [also] in the cast. So I knew the two of us were going to pick, so I had given it a lot of thought. I knew that Crystal was an Olympic runner because I’m a huge Olympics fan and I just knew that when I went in because of that whole thing, so…

Reality TV World: Oh, so you recognized her?

Gillian: I recognized her, and I absolutely suck on land — which was quite obvious running down the hill towards the [other] hill — and when I saw that the hill was going to be featured in our first challenge I just knew I needed a counterpart to my weakness. I can’t run, she can run.

So it was really between either her or [Marcus Lehman] — who I had liked the look of, he has a very nice, open, friendly face — or Crystal who can run while I cannot. So when I saw the hill I thought “I am so screwed. I am on this land and it’s going to be a challenge to run, but I’ll do it. I can do it. It won’t be great but I’ll do it.” So I picked Crystal.

Reality TV World: Did you ever let Crystal know that you recognized her?

Gillian: I did not let her know. I decided that I needed to give it some thought and assess as to when would be the best time to let her know. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to talk to her about it and form some sort of an alliance with her because of what I did know. I didn’t know if I wanted to talk to the other people about it because I thought that maybe she was hiding her light under a bush because, well… I beat her up the hill in case you didn’t notice.

I thought that maybe I should use it to talk to the other five members about it as far as doing a blind-side. But it was wrong. She didn’t run well in that challenge but she was very, very physically strong and I always thought it would be so dumb to vote out the strongest people first — although we voted off [Michelle Chase] but she was very emotionally weak — so I didn’t.

I was giving it two or three days [to think about it]. I did mention it to [Dan Kay] and I was giving it a few days to decide how I would use that and just never really found the right opportunity.

I thought if I used it either way — too soon it could definitely be my quick death, and I waited maybe too long and that is one of [my] regrets… well two of [my] regrets.

The first one was picking [Crystal] and [the second] was not ‘outing her’ — as I called it — because I think that was something that could’ve been very useful but I just couldn’t do it to her.

Reality TV World: So you actually say picking her was a regret?

Gillian: I do think it was a regret. There was a very strange vibe between us, First of all she was not great on land so she was not my counterpart [after all]. She did not pick up where I was weak. It just didn’t work out I thought she’d sprint up that hill like a gazelle and get that [immunity idol] and she’d be great. So she wasn’t that strong on land.

Secondly, she was hugely responsible for what I call “rabble-rousing” and telling everybody that I was useless. I wonder now looking at the footage if it might have been a bit embarrassing for her to have done so poorly and I got up before she did.

We both needed help, and I didn’t have [Matty Whitmore] pushing me up the whole way. So I wonder if, maybe — (laughs) [I] sound like a seventh grader — she had it out for me. (laughs again)

I’m only kidding. It just didn’t work because she was a huge part of turning people totally against me.

Reality TV World: So Dan was the only person you did tell that you recognized her?

Gillian: Yep. I did tell Dan.

Reality TV World: And he kept it to himself as far as you know?

Gillian: As far as I know he did. When I told him it was basically our first day but he and I connected right away, we are a very similar sort of people. He and I connected immediately and he would keep talking about how he couldn’t trust people and I said “Hey you can’t trust people. This is Survivor! You’d be crazy to trust people.” And I said “You can trust me to a certain extent — you probably can’t trust me totally — but I wanted to tell you something that I know.”

And [then] I told him about Crystal. And I said “As a matter of trust don’t out it yet. I’ll let you know when I want to use it.” So it was sort of like a like a pact that I was throwing out there regarding trust with people.

Reality TV World: After that pick ’em Survivor host Jeff Probst and several of the other castaways were pretty open about the fact that they felt your tribe had made some questionable decisions. Did you feel the same way or were you pretty happy with your tribe?

Gillian: (laughs) I saw that tribe forming on the mat and I couldn’t believe how badly it was going. I looked at it and I thought “I can’t believe it!” We are this huge group of eclectic, different, older variety of people. The other tribe was young — except for Bob but he looked pretty spry and athletic — athletic, good-looking, fun sort of people. I thought “God, I am so screwed.”

Reality TV World: So you didn’t have any input in Crystal’s decision to select [Susie Smith] after [you’d selected Crystal]?

Gillian: Not at all. I had no input at all and neither did I want to. I felt that each person should be able to pick their own person without having anybody make suggestions or blabbing about what they think they should do or anything like that. Not at all.

I have no clue how it turned out — well I saw how it happened, but it was the weirdest, weirdest thing and I thought “I’m dead.”

Reality TV World: And then right after that you went into your first challenge. During that first challenge Jeff straight out said that one of the points of that challenge was to find out who would be selfishly competing for themselves and who would be a more selfless team player. Were you surprised by any of the decisions that anyone on your tribe ended up making?

Gillian: To be quite honest I didn’t know much of it. I was so focused on the ground and not tripping on the termite mounds and grass clumps and just running — it didn’t look like I was running too fast but I was running as fast as I could — and then I saw everybody. [Randy Bailey] was just in front of me, he wasn’t that far so I could see him.

Otherwise everyone was just kind of like a blur in front of me. And then I saw Matty and Dan coming towards me and I said to the “Hey you’re running the wrong way!” (laughs) And they said “No we’ve come to help you” and I said “No, go for it. I’ll get there. I’m sorry that its not gonna be out five up there first because of me but you guys go for it. Don’t worry about me!” But they said “No, no, no.”

I thought that was pretty cool. I thought that was really cool that they did that and helped many of us. They were helping a lot of us up the hill and I thought that was pretty cool. I said to them at the top of the hill “Hey guys I really appreciate you getting my back –literally — and I’ve got you’re back for the rest of the [competition].

Reality TV World: So how about Michelle and [Danny “G.C.” Brown]? Were you surprised that they didn’t come back to help you folks out?

Gillian: No. First of all I didn’t know that they had gotten where they had gotten. I actually didn’t know that Michelle had been the first girl up there. I had no clue. Everybody was kind of collapsed on the mat at the top. We didn’t talk about it, and actually, I don’t recall any kind of conversation afterwards about who was where at all. None of us discussed who was first, last, or in between or who helped and who didn’t.

Reality TV World: What was your opinion on Michelle? Was she really as much of an outcast as it looked during Thursday’s broadcast?

Gillian: I felt really badly for Michelle. [Both] the mother and the nurse in me– my heart really went out to her in a lot of ways. She just suddenly got so miserable and she was cold.

She was freezing. She’s thin and she had hardly any clothing. She was wearing Dan’s jacket most of the time, which was a big help, but I just thought this poor girl was gonna crack. [She was] just so sad and so miserable.

Also because I’m such a positive person — which became my downfall. It was really funny [we were the first two voted off] because she was very negative and I was very positive but neither [extreme] worked. It really shows you how well “middle-of-the-road” works.

I thought the negative vibe that she was giving out would really impede us already. [She was] very disjointed [with a] strange vibe.

Reality TV World: So her attitude really was as negative as it came across in the episode?

Gillian: Yeah I thought it was just negative and she was just crappy. I just thought the poor girl — I just felt so badly for her. I thought “she needs to get out before something bad happens to her.”

Reality TV World: So when you were making those types of comments before that first Tribal Council you sincerely felt that? You weren’t just trying to save yourself?

Gillian: No, not at all!!! I really felt badly for the girl. I just thought “My God, this poor girl is gonna crack.” And also I thought the negative vibes I really thought would be a negative impact on the tribe.

No, I wasn’t trying to save myself. I knew — I didn’t [just] have a target on my back, I was actually a target. (laughs) [I knew] it was gonna come sometime.

They pegged me as… I don’t know why they thought I was the weakest of the three because I wasn’t. I certainly couldn’t run like the others but as you saw, I didn’t do as badly on the hill as I thought I did.

Reality TV World: At that first Tribal Council you initially seemed to be against the idea of trying to pick a leader while right at the Tribal Council session. Why was that?

Gillian: Because the tribe couldn’t be led. There was absolutely no way anyone could even try to be a leader of that group without causing even more dissension or more behind-the-back grumbling and snickering and pulling people apart. Absolutely no way that tribe could be led.

Reality TV World: So do you think G.C. was sincere when he was offering to be a leader or do you think he was just trying to make himself look good and got caught in the act basically?

Gillian: I think he was sincere in the fact that he thought we all thought he could be a leader [but] I certainly didn’t.

Reality TV World: He seemed very hesitant to…

Gillian: Well that’s because he didn’t want the leader target on his back. He was smart enough to know that. But I do think that he maybe felt somewhat flattered that we all agreed it could be him because he’s got a very good heart. He’s a nice guy behind all of his everything. And I think he was a little sapped by it and could do something great on Survivor with his new role.

Reality TV World: Were you surprised by how quickly he decided that he didn’t want to be leader anymore?

Gillian: (laughs) He wasn’t the leader! The silly thing was he still wasn’t really leading. He wasn’t the leader. What he does is that he’s a great worker but he has no qualities of a leader.

He knew it and we all knew it and we all kind of continued with some.. Randy and I had good outdoor-type suggestions — because we’re both kind of used to it — and it went over like a lead balloon with everybody, even if it went through G.C., which was dead how it worked.

Reality TV World: There was a part where it seemed like your positive attitude really began to wear on some people after a while. Do you think that played any role in your eviction or do you think it was strictly [based on what] they felt [were your] physical issues?

Gillian: No, I think that the positive attitude obviously rubbed some people the wrong way. And although it looked like that was my entire performance [on the show] it was actually somewhat scattered performance.

The rest of the time I was pretty quiet just doing my own thing and working around camp and doing things like that. But that was obviously the part that became an annoyance.

I just thought [I’d] try to pump people up and not let them get more morose and disjointed and disgruntled than they were might work but it obviously was exactly what they didn’t want and something of an annoyance so I’m sorry that the cheerleading attitude was defintely a huge part of what people didn’t like.

But it wasn’t that much. I was surprised to see that’s what was focused on in the episode. There was a lot of positive attitude that I did come up with, but it certainly wasn’t as frequent as it sounded.

Survivor Gabon Cast-off Gillian Larson Survives ‘Strange Tribe’
By Troy Rogers
The first hour of last week’s premiere of Survivor Gabon saw L.A. girl Michelle Chase become the first survivor to be voted out of Africa. When the second hour came to a close, 61 year old retired nurse Gillian Larson became the second castaway to have her flame extinguished, leaving the Fang tribe down two tribe members at the outset of the game. How will Fang rebound? The bigger question after Gillian’s expulsion is whether Fang has what it takes to rebound. At this stage of the game, it’s doubtful unless they get their buffs® together.
On Friday we talked to first castaway Michelle and next we spoke to Gillian on Monday to find out why her strategy didn’t work, what she thought of her tribe mates, and whether she thinks there’s still hope for any of them.
THE DEADBOLT: What did you think about G.C. quitting the leadership role?
GILLIAN LARSON: [laughs] I hate to say it, but he really hadn’t been a leader. Oh yeah, you’ll be the leader. And I think also to himself he’s thinking, ‘Alright, it’s going to work.’ But I do think a part of him kind of felt that it was nice and important that he was given something that was going to be a role that he could do. But with a leader it didn’t really work that way. There was no real leading. He tried to tell people, ‘Okay, we can go and do this and we can go and do that.’ But also it was in a strange way. It was sort like in his maintenance area where his job is to say, ‘Would you go and do this and would you go and do that?’ And that isn’t actually leadership. But yeah, quitting is a leader.
THE DEADBOLT: What was your strategy heading into the game?
GILLIAN: My strategy was basically to spend a few days assessing how the people were or are, or how I would fit in with them and work with them until I knew their personalities and their abilities and everything then move from there. And also not to appear too quaint, because I didn’t want them thinking I was a weak old lady. So I would therefore do and be a provider and a doer, which I was. So obviously my times that I came out, not quite, were the ones that people kind of focused on and became sort of a negative for me. And I didn’t want to appear quaint either otherwise they’d think, ‘That old woman’s no good, let’s get rid of her right now.’ So yeah, that was the strategy. But unfortunately I didn’t have much time to play it through. Even just standing on that originals mat [I knew] that this was going to be a very strange tribe and a very strange way of forming alliances and connections.
THE DEADBOLT: Well, you were right.
GILLIAN: [laughs] I was. I kind of looked at myself and thought, ‘Woman, you are so screwed.’
THE DEADBOLT: Even though you’re from South Africa, did you feel like you were marginalized and nobody listened to the stuff you knew about the continent?
GILLIAN: You know, nobody really wanted to hear anything. [laughs] I mean, they did listen to the elephant dung story because, obviously, as you saw, eyes rolling and all of that kind of stuff. But they were interested in why I wanted to burn it and I told them it was to take care of the bugs because it’s nature’s insect repellent. So they were very interested when they heard that. But basically the whole tribe had absolutely no interest in anything particularly. I sort of tried to interject little comments about we heard monkeys and they were there and we heard elephants and they were there. But nobody even tried to stop and listen, they weren’t very interested. I can’t even put my finger on it to verbalize it. Nobody really cared. They just kept doing whatever they were doing. So it didn’t really play a part in it at all.
THE DEADBOLT: Out of the few survivors you did get to know, who do you think has a good chance of winning it?
GILLIAN: I would love to see one of the young, stronger people possibly win it because they are usually deserving. And of course, I still have my same assessment of Marcus. I just think he’s got a great vibe. I mean, he’s got such a nice aura, and who knows how that’s going to play out? But they usually don’t, you know, the ones who play the best. It may be one of the other people who are kind of flying low under the radar, which it’s also shown there are winners like that as well. I don’t know, there’s so many twists and turns coming up we’re all going to have to watch it, because I have no idea. I don’t know how it’s going to play out.
THE DEADBOLT: Going back to your original strategy, how was that going to work once you got into the backstabbing and lying part of the game?
GILLIAN: I wouldn’t have had too much trouble with that. Although maybe I would’ve because I’m obviously a [certain] kind person, which is why I didn’t out Crystal as being an Olympic runner. I just couldn’t do it to her. When I realized that, I was dead, which would’ve been a perfect time then because I just couldn’t find the right time to do it without thinking it would kill me completely. And everybody was like, ‘Why didn’t you do it?’ I just don’t know. First of all, for the first six days I just couldn’t find the right time. I was waiting for the right time and then at the last minute I opened my mouth to start saying it and I said, ‘Being the athlete you are,’ I just couldn’t bring up the rest of it.
And regardless of game, everybody can – I’m sad there’s going to be some twists and conniving, and I don’t see it as backstabbing because it’s a necessity. Just think, I was backstabbed. It was excessive. People are going to boot somebody when they want to boot them for whatever reason. So yeah, I’m sort of in a way a little bit on the kind side and that doesn’t work. And I said before, people say I’m so kind I’d give the shirt off my back. Well, that played out. I don’t know if anybody noticed but I spent most of the day running around in a tank top – actually not at all flattering – because I gave my shirt to Crystal because her dress broke. So I gave away my shirt for the rest of the time I was there and I gave G.C. my belt because his pants wouldn’t stay up, despite the fact it was a fashion statement. But they really weren’t staying up, they were slipping down, so I gave him my belt and I gave somebody my socks and whatever. So I guess maybe in a way I’m too giving to people.
— Troy Rogers

The pocketful of sunshine
Too gung-ho for ‘Survivor’?
By Amber Dowling


South African native Gillian spreads ‘Survivor’ positivity So eight years, 15 applications … and you finally got on Survivor. Was it everything you thought it would be?
Gillian Larson: The game, the whole being a part of it, the environment, production and people that were a part of it were exactly as I’d hoped it would be. Landing on the tribe that I landed on was everything I hoped it would not be.
TVG: Of course after the game you read The Secret.
GL: Right! And that absolutely demonstrated, as I had read 64 books on survival, survival techniques, the game, everything, that the law of attraction just shows you it absolutely is true. For eight years I’d been trying to get on, I would say to people, ‘Gosh, when I get on Survivor I sure hope I’m not on a tribe filled with negative, whining, complaining people.” And what happened? I was so different from everybody; they were so negative and I tried to be positive.
TVG: And you could really see that — how did you manage to not let the negativity affect you?
GL: I just didn’t show it, it really affected me. I was hating being a part of it, we sucked! It was embarrassing to be so bad. I hated the negative environment and I just pretended it was great,. Then I looked like an absolute idiot in editing being a cheerleader. I wasn’t this chipper person all the time. I stayed quiet a lot of the time and just did all the jobs I wanted to do and had spent years learning. I spent hours trying to make fire with a bow drill and my glasses, and I had wonderful times with a machete, that probably helped my negative feelings.
TVG: So you did try to use your glasses to make fire. I was wondering about that, because it seemed so obvious.
GL: For hours! Hours and hours in the sun, when it was out. It was the dry season so there wasn’t bright sun all the time, but the moment it came out, there I was with my glasses. The one day it got so hot sitting out in the sun, holding my glasses over a bundle of kindling, that I made a stick to hold my glasses and stuck it in the elephant skull that held it over the kindling so I could get into the shade. Then I’d go out and check the lens. I guess I’m the idiot that tries to make fire on Survivor and it didn’t work.
TVG: What other survival techniques did you bring to your tribe?
GL: I dragged a whole bunch of elephant bones into the camp and made furniture, I was whacking the vines looking for water, I was whacking up the trees looking for grubs and termite hills looking for termites. I was hanging over looking for fish cause you can catch them with your pants if you need to and don’t have fishing line. I was building the fires once we had the flint, I was bringing in elephant dung as you saw, because it burns well and it’s nature’s mosquito repellant. I used resins to make a torch so we could go down to the water at night before we had fire or any kind of a light.
TVG: When you knew you were on the chopping block, what kind of case did you make for yourself? We saw you speaking to Susie about targeting Ken, but did you try to convince anyone else?
GL: I talked to several people that whole day. It became obvious I was being targeted from the first day with the hill challenge, because that was a brutal hill. I can swim and do things in the water, but I’m not good on land and I can’t hide that. That’s why I picked Crystal, because she’s a runner. That’s when they decided I was the weaker player and I don’t know why — I actually beat Crystal and Susie up the hill. I guess it was a combination of being older, them thinking I was weakest member (I think Crystal had a lot to do with that), and maybe I was just too positive and that rubbed them the wrong way.
TVG: Was there ever any real concern that Dan had the individual immunity?
GL: I actually didn’t talk with anybody that day about him and the idol. He and I actually had a really good connection, we really clicked. When he came back I asked him if he had it, and you can read him like an open book. I knew he didn’t.
TVG: I came across your daughter’s blog and read that you put together a slideshow of your journey to get on the show. What kind of stuff did you compile?
GL: All kinds of stuff from over the years. I had read in TV Guide that a lot of the people that get to play Survivor are scouted. I thought, well who’s going to scout this old broad? I don’t have the boobs and the bust to attract somebody. So I made a bright orange shirt and I wrote on the front and the back in black writing, “Survivor scouts talk to me,” I handed out this card, I put signs on my car. Everywhere I went for six years I would stand in front of a landmark and take a picture, like on the Great Wall of China, the Statue of Liberty, all those places. I also put in silly things like what I did to get noticed, or a lot of my family pictures came up. Like in one I’m reading Mark Burnett’s book with my two-day-old grandson on my chest. Everybody thought it was really touching, I thought it was really funny.
TVG: If you could walk away with only one story from your time in Africa, what would it be?
GL: My main story coming out of this whole thing isn’t about the game, it’s about life. If you want something badly enough and you really want to do it, all you need to do is believe in yourself, go for it and do it! Don’t step back and wait for things to happen to you. I’ve had hundreds of messages and emails from people saying I’ve inspired them metaphorically to get off the couch and do something. And my message from Survivor is don’t say you don’t want to get on a tribe that’s got everything you don’t want!

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