SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

The good news: Julie Rosenberg made it all the way to the end of Survivor: Edge of Extinction.

The bad news: Even with the biggest jury pool ever, she could not manage to garner even 1 of the 13 votes.

But for a woman who was pegged by both the host and members of the press before the game as a likely early elimination, making it all the way to day 39 is indeed an accomplishment. We spoke to Julie right after the finale and live reunion to get her thoughts on her journey, her lack of final Tribal votes, whether the jury held her emotions against her, and, naturally, questionable bladder control.

It Smells Like Success
Credit: Timothy Kuratek/CBS

ENTERTAINMENT WEKELY: This was clearly not the result you wanted, as you got shut out in the final voting, but congratulations on making it all 39 days. I hope you haven’t lost sight that that is a major accomplishment.
JULIE ROSENBERG: Thank you, no, I’m so proud of how I did. To be able to have that whole experience and be there the entire 39 days was unbelievable for me. And I’m pretty realistic about my game, I knew going into that final Tribal that I wasn’t going to get the majority of the votes, and I even thought I probably won’t get any and that’s okay with me. I have no regrets, I loved every minute of the game out there, and it is what it is, and I’m just super happy and supper proud. The reason I went out there was to push myself, to totally be out of my element, out of my comfort zone, and it’s exactly what I did, and I made it. I made it to the end, and I’m happy with it.

Let’s get into some of the things we just saw on the finale. First off, there’s the situation where Chris is tutoring you and Gavin on making fire, although he’s planning to take on Rick himself. Let’s say he had put you against Rick in fire. How do you think you would’ve done?
You know, it’s so interesting, because that whole day I really did practice. You saw me and Gavin side-by-side together, practicing, and we were giving each other tips and suggestions, and I was helping him, and he was helping me, and of course Chris sat there and gave us tips and he said what to do, which was very helpful.

I think Chris is amazing at making fire, and I was pretty sure the entire day, he’s not putting me in that challenge. I had a feeling he would go put himself in the challenge, but if he had put me in, or if I happened to be in it in any other different situation, at the end of that day, I was pretty confident with myself. I’m not saying that I could’ve done it the fastest. I hadn’t seen how Rick was making fire, but I was confident. I think I could’ve done it.

Let’s ask the what if question, which I imagine you probably have asked yourself over the past 10 months. If he had put you in there, and you had beaten Rick Devens at fire, had that big hero moment, put that big notch on your belt, and then taking that notch off of Chris’ belt who needs those notches because he’s only played a few days of the game, do you think, then, you maybe possibly win Survivor?
I don’t know if it would’ve influenced the outcome. I do think that it would’ve helped me in some way, to prove for myself, to earn my spot in the final three. When Chris first gave me the necklace, I’m happy. I’m thrilled, I’m in the final three, but that’s not the way I wanted to do it, and I felt like I wanted to chuck that necklace in the fire right then and there, and be like, “No, I’m not taking it.”

But it is what it is, and even if I had won fire and still sat there with those two guys in the final three, I don’t think I would’ve won. At that point, I knew what my game was, and I’m a very subtle player, and I was very emotional, and I know the jury did not reward those types of players. And looking back, there’s so many things I could’ve done differently. I could’ve been way more aggressive in my game, but I did the best that I could out there. I was just surviving. That’s what this is, it’s Survivor. I survived out there, and maybe if you ever see me again, you’ll see Julie 2.0.

Well, this was a big discussion at that final Tribal, talking about your emotions which came to the forefront a few times, most famously when Julia was voted out. Do you think the jury held that stuff against you?
I do. I do now, I didn’t feel like it at the time. The truth is I really just broke down, and I had been having a rough few days leading up to that Tribal. It wasn’t even about the Eric blindside at the Tribal before, and feeling on the outs or whatever with my original group. I was in pure starvation mode at that point. I think I was the one that had gone the longest without food since the merge. I didn’t opt out for pizza in that immunity challenge, so I was dragging like I have never seen, and once that physical fatigue and starvation set in so badly, then the emotional stuff started and I couldn’t stop crying and thinking about my kids. It was just my lowest of lows in that game, and it was like a perfect storm of all these things that happened that led up to that night.

Although I have to say, I thought I had to do something to shake things up, but I don’t have the numbers. I did tell Rick and David right before Tribal, I wish I could beat Julia, I feel like she’s running things, and I want to get her out. And so mission accomplished. It actually happened, and I felt like I was the catalyst and the trigger for it. In the end though, giving in that way in front of the jury obviously didn’t bring me any votes.

What did you think about where we saw Rick call you out a little bit, saying that he had watched your back, and tried to help you and do all this and you had not done the same for him? What’d you make of that whole speech?
I mean, you know, it’s hard. I truly did want to form a connection with him, and some alliance with him at the merge. I knew he had kids. I felt like I could connect with him, and I knew that our Kama alliance was gonna implode at some point, and that it would break so, like, start thinking about where I was going to position myself. I just didn’t think it was gonna happen as soon as it did.

I really did want to work with Rick. I really did talk to him a lot, with Ron and David about making a move and being the final four, but he became such a huge threat. We all saw how the jury was reacting to him, the minute we’d walk into Tribal, I was like, they did him a disservice, because they were so reactive with their facial expressions and their cheers.

Every time he came in wearing the necklace, or he’d play an idol, and we’re all there thinking, “No one can sit next to this guy.” So I would say to Rick, “Listen, I’m really sorry, but no one can beat you at the end, we’re all seeing that, so don’t hold this against me. I love you as a person, but I’d be stupid to keep you in the game knowing I cannot beat you.” So, in the end, I think he understood. We’re really good friends now, there’s no hard feelings. I mean, who knows.

All right, final question. When are we meeting up in New York for lunch?
Tomorrow. I’m going back tomorrow, but you gotta stop with these comments about me with my bladder control.

You’re to blame for that! They’re your comments. They’re literally your comments.
That is true, but you know, they were joking comments on the show. I didn’t realize it was going to become a running theme. I wasn’t thinking about it, it is an expression, everyone says “Oh my god, I’m so nervous, I’m gonna pee in my pants.” You haven’t said that? Tell me you haven’t said that.

Yes, but you told me how you literally peed your pants, and then you also mentioned peeing in Central Park.
It wasn’t my pants. I was naked at the time.

That’s true.
But you know, look, I’m sorry, but have you had two back-to-back pregnancies a year apart, and gained 50 pounds for each? Do you know what that’s like? It’s not easy. I’m gonna leave it at that.

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SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning $1 million, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "Dig deep!"

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