The queen has finally been dethroned. As a two-time winner, Sandra Diaz-Twine knew she was fighting an uphill battle when she signed up for Survivor: Game Changers. She was a major target before the season even began, yet schemed and sugar-stole her way to day 16 anyway in what ended up being an outing just as impressive as her two victories thanks to the major target on her back.
Sandra was ultimately undone by a tribe swap that put her on the wrong side of the numbers. When she finally had her torch snuffed for the first time ever after playing for a combined 94 days, she received a round of applause for her efforts. How’d she feel about both her game and how it ended? We asked the queen that and a much more when she called into EW Morning Live (Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM, channel 105), and she revealed a whole lot — including what happened when she was reunited with Tony and J.T. and that there was much more to all that goat business that never made it to TV. You can hear her responses below on the EW Morning Live Podcast. Here are a few highlights from our chat.
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On what it felt like to finally get her torch snuffed after 94 days of playing Survivor:
“I kind of felt like it was coming. I had said that ‘I’m never going to let Jeff snuff my torch. I’ll beat somebody with a torch before I let him snuff it.’ But I think he was ready to do it. I think he had wanted to do it. I mentioned it to him. I was like, ‘Jeff, you’ve been dying to snuff my torch for years.’ But when it happened, I was still okay with it. I was smiling. I wasn’t upset. I knew it was going to happen. I was ready for it and I had actually prepared to go home. My husband told me every night before I went out there, ‘They’re going to do to you what you would eventually do to them or what you have already done to other people, so be prepared to be okay with it.’ So I was okay with it. I knew I had played the best 16 days that I possibly could. I couldn’t do anything different and I gave it all and I was okay.”
On thinking Tai was the target:
“Tai kept grabbing at his pocket, and I think Ozzy was afraid of that. Tai kept grabbing at his pocket, and you know when you have something in your pocket and you don’t realize you’re doing it but you grab your pocket and you squeeze your hand? So it seemed like he had an idol in his pocket, or a shell. So I think Ozzy was scared of him and I honestly believed I was not going home. I was like, ‘I need to see this on TV because I’m not getting it.’ They fooled me.”
On if she would have voted for Ozzy instead of Tai if they had found a fourth person, and what we did not see at Tribal Council:
“Andrea actually said, ‘I’ll go with you guys.’ That was our fourth person. Regardless, Tai still voted the way he was going to vote, Andrea played it off really, really well. So yeah, we thought, okay, maybe potentially. But my vote was still for Tai. It was just trying to lure Tai into making a mistake and showing everyone else he couldn’t be trusted. So Andrea said, ‘I’ll vote with you guys. And I’ll vote with you, Tai.’ But it was all a ruse.”
On being reunited with Tony and J.T. at Ponderosa:
“This is where it’s hard because when you’re touring Vietnam with these people and seeing them at breakfast, lunch, and dinner and doing everything together, you really get to know them outside of the game. The game is one thing. You have 39 days to get this million dollars. It’s very stressful. But when that’s all said and done and you know there’s no way that’s going to happen, then you move on. So I was with them all day, every day and I want to say on my behalf that we are all friends and we’re okay. After the fact. I love each and every one of them. I’ve never been closer to an entire cast like I am with these Game Changers. They’re really awesome and I’m glad that each and every one of them was picked for a reason, and they’re great.”
On not telling J.T. after the game that she stole the sugar:
“I personally try not to sit there and talk about the game every single day. I had never been on this Ponderosa trip, and I always thought that I missed out on traveling through Panama and Samoa. So now we’re in Vietnam…we were moving around every three to four days. So we don’t sit there at breakfast every morning and go over all the stuff. I, for one, moved forward.”
On her one regret:
“The only thing I regret that happened is the way Malcolm went home because that’s where it all went wrong for a lot of people and will continue to go wrong for a lot of people. That was all where it really, really, really just went bad.”
On what happened out there that we did not see on TV:
“I would have to say the whole goat situation, the way it went down. First of all, when we go to this new Nuku tribe, J.T. takes us to this area where there’s a trap already set up to catch the goats before we even stepped foot on that island. And the goats are actually on the other aide of this big rock by where the water well is. So anyway, he starts talking about the goats and saying they can get really close up on these goats. I never said, ‘Go get me a goat or else!’ Because I really took a hit for that one.
“And then we catch the goats. Well, they caught the goats. And we actually kept the goats for overnight and they were like “Baaaaaa…” all night long. And so the mom, she wasn’t eating the food we were giving her. She wasn’t drinking the water. She wasn’t letting the baby nurse. And the baby was tied up too right next to her. J.T. made a rope. And then they were getting tangled around each other or the tree. So then the next day is when we decided, ‘Okay, let’s get rid of them.’ Mind you, I’m not a farmer. I’m not the guy who said, ‘Well, guys, we have to eat the baby first because it’s not nourishing and it will die, and the meat is tender.’ You know, like, ‘The meat is more tender on the baby than the mama so the baby has to go first.’ I’m just repeating everything I’m hearing, and then they just catch me off guard, you know?
“But, I would have to say that the next episode when you got to see us eating these big pieces of meat? That is not fish and that is not chicken. And that’s the last I’m going to say about that. And I didn’t have nothing to do with it because I was at a confessional! I come back to camp and there it is and after I saw that episode I was like, ‘Lord I’m going to take the s— for that one too.’”
On how Malcolm played her:
“I always thought Malcolm was my main guy and then after listening to all his interviews he was saying and confessing that he was telling everything to Aubry. And I’ve never been a side-chick, but I want to say that I have now come to realize that I was Malcolm’s side-chick, when Malcolm was always my No. 1 guy. I think that’s another reason Aubry and I clashed, because she was with my guy and I was a side-chick and I didn’t even know it.”
Listen to the entire interview —including whether any of the other players she got out held a grudge against her— above, right after our chats with Joel Hodgson and the MST3K crew as well as TV goddess Katey Sagal. Or subscribe on iTunes to listen on the go. Also make sure to check out our Survivor episode Q&A with Jeff Probst as well as Dalton’s full recap, and for more EW Morning Live podcast news, follow us on Twitter @EWMLPodcast.