The Oregon cyclist explains how the show's editing changed her personality, and what it feels like to be this season's Jerri
Lindsey Richter, Survivor: Africa
Credit: Lindsey Richter: Monty Brinton
  • TV Show
  • CBS

You could see this tribal council conflict brewing: Big Tom, the somewhat incomprehensible goat farmer, versus Lindsey, the scabby, bitchy mountain biker from Portland, Oregon. Alas, the once-powerful ”young one” got the boot, and she’s here to tell what made her angry, why she’s not a psycho, and what she has in common with last season’s deeply reviled Jerri.

Did you know you were going home?
I was a little surprised. I was a little naïve to think they wouldn’t vote for me. I guess I was thinking they were going to vote for Brandon since they were telling me to vote for him. In reality, they were setting me up. They knew I had votes against me because the other team was signing to them. They said, ”We didn’t understand what they were telling us, but then you confirmed it” [by trying to join forces and voting off Brandon].

So the young ones weren’t so strong after all?
The minute I saw Silas was gone, I knew Frank and Theresa had totally turned against us and were ready to say anything. I don’t blame them. I was a big pain in the ass to them.

Do you regret being such a pain in the ass?
The one thing I can say about myself is that I’m just a real person. What you see is what you get. I wear my heart on my sleeve. In a game like this, it’s probably not the best thing to do.

If the tribes hadn’t been swapped, do you think you would have gone further?
Absolutely. At least I would have made it to any sort of merge, if there was one. We four were so tight, and we were picking off the old people one by one. Both Silas and I would have gone farther. It’s a heartbreaker.

Were you annoyed at Mark Burnett for changing the game like that?
Heck yeah. I was ready to kill him. When I saw him I said, ”I’m the most dramatic one. Ratings are going to go down.” He said they’d planned to do it all along. I was like, ”You’ll be sorry. Nobody’s going to watch when I’m gone.”

So why were you so much more cut up than the other Survivors?
I took so many bumps and bruises out there. My knee was ripped open from being run over by the ox cart. Falling on the net gave me that huge rope burn. My shoulders were all cut up from carrying that roof up the hill, and my face was scratched by the same thing. It’s a lovely little scar I have. It looks like a birthmark.

Do you sort of feel like you were this season’s Jerri?
We’re the same in that we’re both very controversial figures who are talked about. We were edited in order to make a statement, and our worst moments were put on camera. Jerri’s were rolling her eyes and stabbing people in the back. Mine were getting all fired up and acting like a 5-year-old. I thought I was going to be portrayed as the fun, young, athletic one. I didn’t know I was going to be edited as a psycho.

Did you just hate Big Tom after you got voted off?
No, Tom is a good guy. I took offense to him at first. He’s got a little bit of a perverted side to him but it’s totally harmless. He’s a big flirt. A little hard to understand sometimes, yes. But he played the game well, as far as I can see now. He was talking behind people’s backs and putting on a happy face in public. When I saw the first episodes, I had no idea he could get angry. I found it a little offensive when he said ”two whiny girls and a queer.”

What was up with your luxury item, a beach ball, that was never on camera?
I used it as a pillow. We got to choose five luxury items and they picked one. They chose my last choice. Yeah, a beach ball with 5-foot-long thorns everywhere. Come on, people. I didn’t even attempt to use it.

You majored in journalism in college. What question would you ask yourself?
I would ask myself, What the hell were you thinking being so emotional out there? I would probably ask myself why I wasn’t more prepared for the emotional stress I was going to endure. I would answer that I entered into this game thinking I could get by on being a nice person, getting along with others, and being a good athlete. You really need to go back to childhood ways of being manipulative and backstabbling and malicious. I just wasn’t prepared for that. The constant anxiety out there was more than I could have imagined.

So did you hang out in Africa after you got booted?
First I had a chicken breast and pasta. Then some chocolate bars. Then a shower. Yeah, I went on the big safari with everyone and had a blast. I had a million dollar vacation through Africa. If I had won the million dollars, I would have spent it on a safari seeing Africa. This way I got it for free.

Survivor: Africa
  • TV Show
  • CBS