Plus: An exclusive merge photo
Credit: Robert Voets/CBS
SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

What has Survivor: Kaôh Rōng‘s Debbie Wanner done for a living? More like what hasn’t she done? The now 50-year-old contestant has done it all. Just ask her! She’s also been a breakout so far this season due to her exuberant personality, and demonstrated some strategic chops as well by turning the tables on Liz and Peter in the Brains tribe and engineering Liz’s ouster.

We were able to do an exclusive in-game interview with Debbie over email and present the fascinating exchange for your perusal below. And yes, that is also an exclusive photo above of the upcoming tribe merge that will happen on this Wednesday’s episode at 8 p.m. ET on CBS, so enjoy that, won’t you? And now, ladies and gentlemen, Debbie Wanner…

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Making it to the merge is a big point in the game for players. What were your thoughts at the time about making it to this point and now going from a team to a more individual contest?

DEBBIE WANNER: Quite an accomplishment for us all with better beach accommodations. Huge merge; targets will be the strong; super idol is a mind scrambler; ANYONE could go. Who’s aligned with whom????

You keep telling female players that you want a woman to win the game. Are you being genuine when you say this or just using that to get them to trust you?

Genuine; most of the guys were BLOODY WANKERS and the ladies quite lovely.

Peter and Liz clearly underestimated your strategic chops in the game. Because you are an eccentric personality, do you think people tend to overlook you in this way?

No. First two shows clearly emphasized my whimsicality and exuberance, however I was playing to win the second we were on the boat… observing closely….

What do you think about how they keep changing your listed on-screen occupation to correspond to whatever past profession or hobby you are currently discussing on the show?

It’s fun and funny! I’m 50 years old and have had an eclectic, peripatetic half-century on this planet; truly I’ve always been intellectually curious and intrepid; they called me Renaissance Woman only because they are unfamiliar with Vitruvian Woman; and that simply means a striving to live a balanced life.

RELATED VIDEO: Exclusive deleted scene from most recent Survivor episode

We saw you collapse from heat stroke at that reward challenge a few weeks back. How bad and scary was that? And what can you say about the medical attention you received from Dr. Joe?

Horrific experience, Dr. Joe is grace under pressure, that I kept going is a testament to my STUPIDITY; but hey – I was playing for Coffee : )

What has surprised you the most watching the season play back on TV so far?

There is a very popular saying “perception is truth.” It’s often over-stimulated my pre-frontal cortex how intelligent, logical people see a situation with diametrically opposed viewpoints. Just look at how Supreme Court issues are resolved; 5 to 4 splits.

I’ve saved the most important question for last: Why are you not wearing that crazy tiger bathing suit we saw in your gallery photo?

Ahh; the icon of Survivor swimsuits from here to eternity…. You see, here we go with the perception paradox; you say crazy — I say it is crazy for people to kill and eat these majestic creatures who are more noble than 90 percent of humanity from what I see. It is quite simple; it is a fairly sheer leotard, not a true swimsuit and therefore would have been inappropriate for the viewing audience.

However they could have let me wear it out of the water because, like Vladimir Putin, my daughter Jade (a.k.a. Tiger) has always wanted to educate the public about the very real danger of tigers becoming extinct — such a tragedy…. I want people to know; Puppy Mills and pet shops propagate a living hell for the animals involved — and so do you when you buy from them. Millions of great dogs and cats are euthanized every year in a shelter and yet morons breed more and more and more…. and if we don’t make a real, concerted effort NOW; in our lifetimes rhinos, tigers, leopards and more majestic creatures will be lost due to man’s infinite avarice and arrogance.

Debbie Wanner
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

For more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss. And check back for weekly Q&As with host Jeff Probst, exclusive deleted scenes, and our Survivor episode recaps.

Episode Recaps

SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning a million dollars, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "DIG DEEP!"

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