Her immunity headdress couldn't help her, so now she's planning her wedding
Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Survivor: The Australian Outback
Credit: Elisabeth Filarski: Monty Brinton

How could you not root for a spunky, toothsome shoe designer whose best friend on ”Survivor: The Australian Outback” was old enough to be her grandfather? Elisabeth Filarski, from Newton, Mass., may not have begun the game as a favorite — and she certainly didn’t win any challenges along the way — but by day 37 it almost seemed like she was going to pull off an upset. EW.com caught up with the newly engaged castoff to find out why she got the boot just before the show’s three Survivor finale.

When you went to that final tribal council, did you know you were a goner?
By then, I felt like I was on the chopping block. I thought, well, maybe they’ll have some heart and vote Keith off. But as it got closer and closer, I could just tell by their expressions and how they were acting. They were all distanced and had pity in their eyes.

Did you try to talk them out of it?
I talked to Colby and tried to feel him out. But I kind of knew where they were coming from. They wanted to be up against someone they had a clear shot of winning against. It was almost to the point that no one wanted to talk about it. They were kind of avoiding me or making themselves busy. Tina at one point whispered to me, ”I hope you win immunity.”

Yet you were so close!
I know. It haunted me. I think I just got over it this morning.

No one seemed bitter that Colby won challenge after challenge.
Well, I respected his competitive nature. The difference was our hunger and weakness was so cumulative. Colby had little rewards the whole time. He was set in his stomach to win. He had the energy that none of us had. It was definitely frustrating to go in with such a handicap. I mean, his food may have gone right through him, but mentally it makes you feel like you’re okay.

True or false: Keith seemed to be getting on everyone’s nerves by the fourth week.
After that huge blowout with the rice portions, he had said some things to Rodger I didn’t agree with, but he calmed down. I did have to give him credit for that. Three days earlier, he had been driving me up a wall, but I think he felt vulnerable that last day or two. I think he started thinking maybe it might be him.

What did you know about the conversation between Tina and Rodger, when he said, basically, ”Kick me off before Elisabeth”?
I didn’t know about that specific conversation. But from the beginning, Rodger would say to me, ”Libby, if it gets down to choosing between you and me, I want to be the one to go.” I would say, ”I’m going to go and YOU’RE going to take it all the way.” I was very moved by what he did.

How was it being reunited after you got kicked off?
He was waiting right there for me with open arms and some peanut butter. We just sat down and talked and talked. It just wasn’t the same being out there without him there. I ate an entire jar of peanut butter. I’m not kidding. You know how there’s always some left under the lip of the cap? Well, I licked that clean too.

What was the Survivor ranch like?
It’s in the middle of a rainforest. It was warm and open and homey and sunny and not materialistic at all. Mary, the cook, gave you anything you wanted. I was really fragile when I got there and the other people respected that. I just took a two hour shower. Shaved my legs forever. Mary made me an omelet and fruit and peanut butter. I was just kind of quiet those days.

We saw you losing chunks of hair. Has it all grown back?
It took a while. It didn’t stop falling out until mid- January. I’m used to putting it up in crazy knots. I was losing huge clumps of hair so it just got to the point I needed not to ever tie it up for a while.

Your immunity headdress: What was the deal with that?
I made it during my preshow interviews in Los Angeles before I was even on the show. It was this whole process where we stayed in our rooms for seven days and waited for them to call us. You don’t speak to anyone; you eat by yourself. I felt in my interview I wasn’t really being myself because I wasn’t interacting with anyone. So I made the headdress to remind me of all the things that mattered. I’d keep it on all day. I’d pass by myself in the mirror and crack up. I wore it to my final interview and I told them I was going to Australia with the headdress on.

Did you still have it?
Yeah, they gave it back. That would be an example of my poor negotiation skills, when during the negotiation for rice, they asked Colby to give up his flag. I was like, Take the headdress too! I just threw it in. I don’t know why.

Will you be selling it on eBay?
No way. Who knows what kind of person will end up with it. It’s with me right here.

Do you wish you’d played the game differently?
No, not at all. If I could have prevented Mike from falling into that fire that would have made me happy, but other than that, I’m completely happy with my game.

Are you still designing shoes for Puma?
No, I stopped working for them right after I got back.

Have we seen any of your designs on the market?
I did what they call a GV special, which is going to be coming out. I worked on Christy Turlington’s yoga line. Those are more like high fashion shoes. You can dress them up or down. One’s a wooden sandal. I’d like to do my own. I want to work on a line in my head. Or do bags, or maybe footwear. I’d like to give Kate Spade a run for her money.

Last week when I interviewed Rodger, he said he was already planning on going to your wedding. Any other Survivors on the guest list?
You know, I haven’t even had a chance to sit down with Tim and talk about tangibles. Once we set a date, I think things will fall into place. We need to talk about what our limitations are now. Sadly, we just haven’t had time yet. But I do have about 12 wedding magazines in my house. There might be a couple of Survivors there. But I don’t know. Our families are pretty big.

How about posing for Playboy?
No. Not a chance.

Really? Every other Survivor castoff has been at least a maybe.
Even Rodger? Wow, who knew?

Survivor: The Australian Outback
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