'Survivor' finale Q&A: Ciera and Laura
They were the last loved one pair in Survivor: Blood vs. Water, and they got there by very different means. Ciera Eastin was on the outs early so laid low, but then emerged in the back half of the season as risk-taker willing to vote out her own mom and gamble an immediate exit via a colored rock for the chance to improve her position. Mother Laura Morett, however, stuck around simply by destroying anyone that dared to face her at Redemption Island. Eventually, however, their time ran out. However we figured we would get the mother-daughter combo back together for one more round to chat about the highs and lows of their island adventure. And it turns out one of these ladies also managed to get into Tyson’s pants while she was there. Read on! (NOTE: Also make sure to check out our other exit Q&As with Blood vs. Water winner Tyson Apostol, runner-up Monica Culpepper, former champ Tina Wesson, and Big Brother champ Hayden Moss. and finalist Gervase Peterson.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Ciera, I gave you some flak early on for not making moves, but as the season went on we saw that game face and saw you get serious. Of course my favorite move was when you pulled rocks. How nervous were you when that went down?
CIERA EASTIN: It’s so funny because the moment I made my vote for Monica there was not turning back for me. I drew a line in the sand at that moment and I knew I was either going to go to rocks or somebody was going to switch and vote my way. That was it for me at that moment. And when it came time to draw rocks it happened so quickly. I just stuck my hand in, flipped the rock over, and I remember looking at my rock and thinking, what does that mean? Is this good or is this bad? Because it happened so quick. And then by the time I got back to camp, I was like, what did I just do? What just happened? So it didn’t hit me until it was all over. So the nerves were not even there in the moment.
EW: I was just talking to Hayden, who told me that his big regret of the game is that you all talked about getting rid of Tyson when there were 8 people left instead of your mom, and that would have been the time to do it because you, Ciera, would have made the move then to save your mom.
CIERA: Definitely. When my mom was still in the game there was talk of getting rid of Tyson. One of the biggest hiccups is we thought there was a chance that he had the idol. But I wanted to get rid of Tyson at the 8 when my mom came back in the game.
EW: Laura, when Ciera told you that she was maybe gonna have to cut you loose from the tribe and vote you out, did you try to talk her out of it at all?
LAURA MORETT: Oh, yeah, we ran through every scenario in our heads. That was the most brutally honest and hard conversation to have because she was saying, “This is what’s wrong with your game. And this is what you’re doing wrong.” It was tough. But I was so proud of my daughter, that she was playing this game hard. You know me. I don’t like to lose, so to have my daughter tell me, “Sorry, mom, you’re going out” was tough. But I was extremely proud.
EW: It makes total sense to me why you voted your mom out, Ciera, but did either of you have to explain this to other family members or anyone that just doesn’t understand how a daughter could vote out her mother?
CIERA: Oh my gosh, I have taken so muck flak for it. The next day my dad was like “Ciera, how could you do that?” I always say that only one person can win Survivor. One person. And ultimately I had a fear that I would risk things to keep my mom around, and then when everybody got wise, my mom would win a challenge and they would vote me out. But it wasn’t just, screw my mom, I’m gonna do what I want. There was a lot of strategy that went into my decision.
LAURA: And one thing I want to clear up is that Ciera never told me to throw a challenge. I swear to you. Ciera would never tell me to throw a challenge, but we ran through all the scenarios in our head in terms of if this happens, then that will happen and so forth. So people thought that she told me to throw the change but she absolutely did not tell me to throw the challenge at all.
EW: Laura, you just dominated at Redemption Island, duel after duel. And before then, you were dominating the puzzles for your tribe. At your daughter’s expense, I might add. But what’s your take on your performance? On one hand, voted out twice. Not so good. But on the other, you made your mark in a very different way.
LAURA: Of course I want to win, but I am so fulfilled with this season because it was on my shoulders. I could have gotten back in the game. It was because I didn’t perform in the last challenge that I didn’t get back in. As a competitor, it was so fulfilling to be all on me. All I had to do was stay up there and balance that vase. And I didn’t. So I have nobody to blame for not going back in the game but myself. I’m okay with that. Hate that I came up short, but it’s on me.
EW: How do you think you do if you make it to the final 3? Ciera, I’ll start with you. If you make it to the finals, do you think you have a shot?
CIERA: If I had made it to the finals, I think if I’m sitting up there next to anybody I would have won with who was in the jury. My strength was social, and with every single person in the jury I was able to form connections and probably even deeper than what was shown on TV. I think me in the final 3, I could have beaten anybody next to me.
EW: Laura, I’ll ask you the same question, and with you there is the whole Redemption Island element where you get to bond with everyone else that has also been voted out. So how do you do if you make it back in and to the finals?
LAURA: I agree. I think I would have won as well due to the respect of this woman came back into the game two times. And then you nailed it on the head: When those people got kicked off, I got to spend the night with them, talk with them, and console them, and to really bond. It’s different than when you are in the game because there is not a lot of strategy at Redemption Island and I was the last person in their ear.
EW: Laura, the thing I loved the most that you did was the way you attempted to control who you faced in future duels by helping Tina to beat Vytas, who was a very strong competitor. When did that occur to you? Only after he started trying to copy off of your completed puzzle?
LAURA: Yes, honestly it did. You also have to go back to the duel where it was Kat, me, and John doing that flame. They were yelling hints to Kat and then they were telling John to knock his puzzle down so I couldn’t look at it. So when I’m doing this puzzle, I’m thinking, Okay, I’m learning from you guys. And the other biggest thing was this: Those Baskauskas boys came after Ciera and me first. Aras blindsided me and Vytas wrote Ciera’s name down almost every single time. And so my opportunity to get rid of them was the number one reason I did that. Definitely got rid of Vytas because they started the battle with us and I thought, you know what? You blindsided me, you came after my daughter, you’re going to go home.
EW: Laura, I know Vytas was very upset at you after that. Still some hard feelings there?
LAURA: I think there was when he first watched it back, but I don’t think that there is now. Vytas is a great guy.
EW: Ciera, I honestly never would have said this halfway through the season but with your big post-merge moves I could totally see them bringing you back to play again. Is that something you’d be up for doing?
CIERA: If I was asked back, I would definitely do it again. I think I have the Survivor bug. When you’re out there, you’re like “I just want to go home!” And then you get home and you’re like, “I just want to go back!” I would do it again in a second.
LAURA: You want a really funny story to end?
EW: Of course! I love funny stories.
LAURA: The vote where Tina went home, I go up to Tyson and go, “Swear to me it’s not going to be me.” And he’s like, “Morett, I swear.” And then I go, “Give me your pants. If you send me home to Redemption island, I’m going to go home in your pants.” So if you go back and watch the film during that vote, I’m wearing his jeans. So we get back to camp and I go, “Here’s your collateral back.” The next week, when it was supposed to be the Katie vote, I was like, “Give me the pants.” So he gives me the pants, I’m wearing his pants, and he votes me out. That’s why for the whole rest of the season, he’s only in his underwear and his shorts, because I have his pants at Redemption Island. So he had to film the whole rest of his time in his underwear and in his shorts, because he sent me home in his pants. And Tina and I had them and would fold them up and use them to wipe our feet every time we went into our little Redemption Island shelter.
EW: So you’re like the girlfriend that leaves one item at a guy’s house as insurance so he can’t get rid of her.
To watch an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s finale, as well as our pre-game interviews with the final seven, simply click on the video player below. You can also check out our interview with winner Tyson Apostol, our chat with runner-up Monica Culpepper, our Q&A with former champ Tina Wesson, and our one-on-one with Hayden Moss, and our sit down with finalist Gervase Peterson. To read Dalton’s recap of the finale/reunion, click right here. You can also get Jeff Probst’s take on the finale/reunion right here, or click here for more intel from Probst on the next season of ‘Survivor’.
For more ‘Survivor’ scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.