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Teresa talks about Lex and immunity sexism

The Delta flight attendant tells EW.com about her similarities to Tina and why she wants to join up for ”Survivor 5”

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Teresa Cooper, Survivor: Africa
Survivor Africa: Monty Brinton/CBS

She looked like like Tina. She sounded like Tina. She even played like Tina. The difference? Tina’s a million bucks richer than poor flight attendant Teresa, who got voted out just before hitting the final four. Though she was far too much of a southern lady to really dish about Ethan’s gorgeousness or Lex’s jerkiness, she did share some other insights with EW.com.

Why in the world did you tell Lex you voted for him?
Once I told him that I figured I could go into my whole shpiel about how Tom had told me to watch out for him. I figured I was there to win it and I was going to try anything.

Have you spoken to Big Tom since he found out you tried to get him kicked off?
I haven’t talked to Tom. I don’t know how he’s going to react to it. But what I said was true. He had actually tried to get Lex off a bunch of times but he didn’t want to do it himself.

It seems like everyone hated Lex towards the end. How come he made it so far?
I never disliked Lex at all. I just kept voting for him so people thought I didn’t like him. I never said anything negative — other than that he’s too strong and too much of a leader. I know Ethan liked him and Kim liked him. Tom never really showed much of anything. He and Frank didn’t get along, but you didn’t see that. It seems like he came across as evil during those interviews with the producers, but he didn’t act like that when he was with us.

People started comparing you to Tina from the first episode. Were you aware of the similarities?
Well, the producers almost didn’t pick me because of that. They told me they weren’t going to use me for ”Survivor 3” because we were too similar. I knew before I sent my tape in that it might be a problem. We’re both mothers of a boy and girl, both flight attendants, both have Southern accents. They told me they were going to use me for ”Survivor 4,” but then something changed behind the scenes and I got in.

That last immunity challenge seemed to favor the men by far. Was there some challenge sexism going on?
I’ve heard that from quite a few people. I guess all I can say is we all had the opportunity to participate in those challenges. The men were probably a little bit stronger. Of course, they were stronger early on also. I guess they never know where we’re going to be when they plan that stuff out.

You all didn’t seem to get as emaciated as the bunch on ”Survivor 2.” Did you get more food?
I can’t really speak to the ones from ”S2,” but I lost about 15 pounds, which is quite a bit for me. I felt like I looked quite different. Tom barely ate anything, and he used to give some of his food away because he didn’t like that mush. He lost, like, 70 pounds. He dropped a whole person, but he had a lot of weight to lose.

There are rumors that ”Survivor 5” will involve all previous players. Would you do it again?
I would love to! If you hear anything, print it. Put my name in the running.

Are you back to being a flight attendant?
I’m not flying right now. I’m on leave from Delta until the spring, so I’m selling real estate. But I’ll go back after my leave is up.

If you had won the million would you have kissed the friendly skies goodbye?
No, definitely not. I wouldn’t have given up my job. I mean, a million dollars goes awfully quick.

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