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Survivor: Ciera reveals she originally said no to Game Changers

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Well, at least she didn’t have to vote her mom out this time. In fact, Ciera Eastin didn’t get a chance to vote anyone out, becoming the first casualty of Survivor: Game Changers. How much did it suck to be the first one to go? Does she regret coming on too strong out of the gate? Whom does she blame for her ouster? And how could she lose the ship wheel puzzle again!

We asked Ciera all that and more when she called into EW Morning Live (Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM, channel 105), and you can now hear the entire thing on the EW Morning Live podcast below or on iTunes. Here are a few highlights of our chat:

On failing at the ship wheel’s puzzle… again:
“I obviously hate all challenges. I get the worst anxiety before I go out to compete in a challenge in general, let alone the very first challenge because it totally sets a precedent moving forward. And a lot of times it’s hard to come back when you lose the first challenge. It just kind of brings the morale down. So there’s way more pressure going into it. And then obviously because I had done the challenge and lost the challenge before, I thought I had to it. But I also thought I had an advantage because I was like, okay, I get the concept of it, since I had done it before. And so it triple-sucks to lose considering I’ve lost it two times.”

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On if she came on too strong, too early:
“I do know before I went out to film I didn’t want to go out strong. I kind of think I expected for it to be more fast-paced because Second Chance, we hit the beach running. Like, it was a crazy chaotic first day. Everybody was everywhere talking to everyone. And I think I went in expecting that was how this season was going to be, and ready to maneuver that. And then it really wasn’t. It was pretty slow moving. The first few days nobody was really talking strategy at all. I probably was the only one, and I do think that probably was a downfall for me. I think coming fresh off a season like that I was still in go mode and I think some of those people were working their way up to go mode.”

On if past impressions played a part in her ouster:
“It definitely did. Before we even went to do the challenge, I could tell people were very weary of me because of my past seasons. I didn’t think it was going to be as big of a deal as it was, but considering the circumstance where nobody was talking strategy. And I was not even playing full Ciera Eastin mode. I was pretty Ciera mellow, but compared to them I was probably a little bit more. You saw a clip where I walked up to the well and they were talking about Tony and Caleb and I said ‘Tony and Caleb.’

“The hard thing for me when I watch that back is when I walked up to the well, they were already talking about Tony. So I was not randomly throwing out names. I walked into a conversation about Tony, and I really think my downfall was maybe saying ‘Or Caleb. If we think Tony has an idol, or Caleb.’ I think there were people in that circle who didn’t like to hear Caleb’s name. Because everybody was talking about Tony. Everybody was. It’s not like I was completely off base. It’s just when I said ‘or we could try to go Caleb,’ because we knew Caleb and Tony were so close. I think that’s really what put my name on the tombstone.”

On the feeling after being voted out first:
“Super, super surreal. To be completely frank, when I got the call to possibly come back and film for Game Changers, I actually said no originally because I had just got done filming and I have two young kids and I was having major, major guilt of leaving my kids so much in the last four years. I have a five-year-old, so I’m gone all the time. And then I ended up saying sure, but my gut was telling me, this is not your time. You need a little more of a break. You need to come home and adapt and get back into life.

“And so to go out there, and then when I was the first one out, it was a total nightmare, and it probably didn’t sink in until the next day. And then I was obviously super emotional about it. And then I was pissed off at myself and was like ‘I should have just listened to what my gut was telling me.’ I’m so grateful to CBS and Survivor and even the opportunity to go out is incredible, but, for me, I was like, ‘Damn, Ciera, you knew you had a feeling that you should have given yourself a little more time.’”

On thinking she would have fared better on the other tribe:
“For sure. The second I got my buff, I looked around and I knew that it was going to be more difficult for me on this tribe than it would have been on the other tribe. I had already had past connections with some people on the other tribe like Brad Culpepper. Jeff Varner was on my tribe but I never really met Jeff Varner, so that was a pretty brand new relationship, but the other tribe — I mean, I’ve hung out with Sierra outside the game and Andrea — I was just like, ‘That is supposed to be my tribe.’ I think I would have fared better.

“I’m super disappointed that I could not get my head in the game early on. I could not grasp how they were playing. I was like, ‘This is nothing like Second Chance.’ And it’s not that they weren’t talking strategy to me. It was pretty all around. Everybody was just calm and hanging out. Nobody even built a shelter. By the time I left, there still wasn’t shelter built. I mean, they didn’t even care.”

You can hear the entire interview — along with our chats with Tony and host Jeff Probst above. Or take it on the go by subscribing to the EW Morning Live podcast. And for more EW Morning Live podcast updates, follow @EWMLPodcast.

Survivor: Game Changers airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.