It may have been the Coach and Ozzy show (with a side order of Cochran) for much of Survivor: South Pacific, but in the end, it was the medical student who took home the million dollars and the title of Sole Survivor. Sophie Clarke won challenges when she needed to — including the decisive last one against Ozzy — and handled the bitter jury better than Coach or Albert, leading her to victory and a celebratory chat with yours truly. Sophie called in to discuss how she won (a certain emotional breakdown at Tribal Council certainly didn’t hurt), and don’t think she’s above taking a few parting shows at her fellow finalists along the way.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, at any point did Albert ask for your million dollar check, but offer to give it back if he ever thought you were in financial danger?
SOPHIE: Uh…no comment.
What I want to know is; Where’s the oversized novelty check? For me, that would be almost better than the real thing.
You mean like when you go on The Early Show and they give you that huge thing?
I don’t know! I want a huge one. What am I gonna do? I’m going to have to photo copy this one or something.
Go to Kinkos and blow it up?
I think they probably gave it to Coach by accident.
Which is better: being named Prom Princess in 11th grade or Sole Survivor?
That’s a tough call. I’m gonna go with Prom Princess. Survivor is great and everything, but it’s associated with the pretentious brat thing. When I was a Prom Princess, everyone was calling me wonderful and beautiful and smart. And there was also a crown involved. The only person that ever got a crown from Survivor is Sandra and I think she probably bought it herself.
Sophie, there were a lot of comments made about your character in the finale. Would you describe yourself as warm or fuzzy?
Wait, are you seriously asking me that question? That is so funny because when I was in college I overheard this girl talking about me and her friend said to her, “Who is this girl you’re talking about?” and the girl said, “Her name’s Sophie and she’s not warm or fuzzy or anything!” No, I am neither warm nor fuzzy. I don’t want to be either. Would you ever want to be described as warm or fuzzy?
You don’t think I’m warm and fuzzy, Sophie?
No. C’mon. I’m not friends with many warm or fuzzy people. The only person I’m friends with who’s warm and fuzzy is Dawn, and I think she’s genuinely the only warm and fuzzy person in the world.
It’s actually kind of scary how genuinely warm and fuzzy she is.
I know, right? It’s terrifying!
You had an emotional breakdown at Tribal Council, and while I’m sure you were mortified by that when it happened because you pride yourself on being such a strong woman, do you think that helped you with the jury in that it showed your softer side and that you too could be vulnerable?
Definitely. At first I was like, “Oh my God, I just ruined everything. Nobody wants a crybaby for a winner.” But then I got back to the beach and started thinking about it, and the reason I was being called out was I was being told I had this hard exterior and came off too blunt and arrogant and I came off like a bitch. And by crying and being a little bit more vulnerable, I squashed that. I think I did win part of the jury over right there.
How comfortable were you going into that final Tribal when you first arrived, and then how comfortable were you after the jury questions when they went up to vote?
I knew that I had a shot. The thing that shocked me was Ozzy starting it off by saying, “This game is yours to lose, Coach,” and that shocked me. Because I thought I was going to go in there with a good claim for the million, and all of a sudden I was on defense. And then after all the questions I could tell that Coach was really hammered. I mean everyone was getting hammered, but he was getting hammered the most. All they wanted was honesty, and I was the only one at the final Tribal to give them honesty. All Coach had to say was “I manipulated all of you,” and he would have gotten the million. I was the only one to own up to things. I was just brutally honest with people and didn’t just say what they wanted to hear. Cochran asked me, “What was the best move of the game?” and I immediately said, “Well, it wasn’t yours. Yours sucked!” And, you know, Albert would never say that. Albert would think that was the surest way to lose a jury vote. I could tell the jury didn’t want to be messed around with. They’re not stupid people.
Who didn’t vote for you besides Cochran?
I actually thought I was going to get more votes than I did. I came out of Tribal, thought I won, thought about it a lot over this year, and I was pretty sure that Cochran and Edna had voted for Coach. Why Edna voted for Coach is beyond me. But I think Coach’s third vote was Rick, which is surprising. But I really screwed over Rick. Rick was truly a very bitter juror, because Rick never had an alliance with Coach. Rick and I had a final three alliance. And he was very bitter at me. So I was actually really terrified when I saw the third vote. I was like, “Oh my God, I was completely wrong. I thought I won!” I started to practice my gracious loser face in my head. It was terrifying.
Tribal Councils are always much longer than what we see on TV. Tell me something else big that was said by either you and the finalists or the jury at that final tribal that didn’t make the final cut.
Well, like the whole season, there was also more religion than what was shown. I was asked how I felt about the religion thing and had to give a politically correct answer. I think the religion thing really screwed Coach over because Dawn is a very religious person and Brandon is a very religious person and to them it was really unnecessary and too personal.
When you said, “I’m not a used car salesman,” that was totally directed at Albert, wasn’t it?
Yeah, I took a lot of shots at Albert at that final Tribal. Actually, that’s one of the main things you never saw throughout the season. Every Tribal, I took shots at Albert, which is why he starting hating me. I would try to take playful shots at him because I was really worried. Albert was really buttering up the jury. And I was getting really worried that he might win. So the time he gave Cochran the massage I called him out hard at Tribal.
Speaking of Albert, that was a pretty bold move ordering him to pick up your pieces for you during the house of cards challenge.
Albert is the worst challenge player in the history of Survivor. I feel confident saying that. Even like, Courtney Yates won a challenge, right? I mean, whatever, he won one challenge. We all agreed that none of us would win the million if Ozzy got to the end. The main thing was to beat Ozzy. I didn’t know if Jeff was going to let us do it, but might as well try. And you hear Albert, “Oh, I’m almost there.” He had what, two pieces on his thing?!? And then at the final challenge you saw him just kind of follow me wherever I would go, and he would do that at camp too. I think he got a reality check last night, so that was good.
Let’s say Ozzy had won that final challenge and voted you out.…
Oh, no. I wouldn’t have been voted out. Coach and I were really tight, which they didn’t show, and he wouldn’t have betrayed me. Coach would have voted with me and I would have done a fire-making challenge against Albert, and I probably would have beaten him, Ozzy would have won the game but I still would make the final three.
Well, let’s just say you didn’t beat him and went to the jury. Whom would you have voted for to win?
I think I would have voted for Coach at the time because I hated Ozzy, and I didn’t respect Albert’s gameplay, so I would have voted for Coach.
To read Dalton’s finale recap, click right here. To enjoy our finale Q&A with Jeff Probst, click right here. Also click on the video player below to see an exclusive deleted with Ozzy, as well as our pregame interview with Sophie. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.