By Dalton Ross
December 12, 2019 at 01:17 PM EST
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Elaine Stott was funny, charming, and personable when she showed up to play Survivor: Island of the Idols. Which was her biggest problem. Immediately recognized as a threat to win the game, Elaine became a target pretty much from the moment she stepped onto the beach. She still managed to make it 35 days before having her torch snuffed, which is a major accomplishment on its own. But it is those final four days that she did not make that stick in the 41-year-old factory worker’s craw.

We first caught up with Elaine right before the merge to get her thoughts on the season so far, and the fan favorite hopped on the phone the morning after her televised ouster to check back in about getting so, so close… but not quite close enough.

CBS

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you doing today, Elaine?
ELAINE STOTT: I’m a little hung over this morning. I’m little foggy right now. I’m not gonna lie.

I saw your photo on social media. Look like you had a big viewing party a to watch it all go down.
Yeah, it was super cool. I was like, let’s go out with a bang. But I’m regretting it a little this morning, I know that.

Okay, first question: What does extrapolate mean?
[Laughs] When I first heard it, I was like, “What’s a scatulea?!” But ain’t it, like, to conclude or some crap, like to draw information or something like that?

Yes, it’s to take some information and use it to extend or to draw a further conclusion.
But you know, in the moment when he asked me anything, I was like basically “I don’t know what’s going on,” cause I didn’t want people to be like, “Yo, Elaine’s s smart,” so I played dumb all the time.

You were really beating yourself up after you lost that last challenge. Are you still beating yourself up or have you let it go?
Nah, dude, I still, cause, you know, we’re driving home from the party last night and it might’ve been the alcohol talking. I don’t know. But to my woman, I was like, “Man, I had it in my hands, you know what I’m saying? And then I totally messed up.” That puzzle was mine, you know! And in the moment, you see it clear as day after the fact, but in the moment it just goes by so quick. But I had it in my grasp and it still hurts, just ’cause I want things to be better for me and my people, and I could have done that and I lost it so that still stings. I’m not going to lie.

When you lost that challenge, did you know you were done?
Yeah, I did. I knew it in my heart. I knew it was going down, man. I tried everything I could to get ’em to keep me. And it almost worked with Lauren, but I was just too big as a threat to all of them. I just thought maybe throwing crazy Noura out there would help me out. And it did in a sense a little bit, but in the end it didn’t. I kind of knew that was smy wan song in the end, I knew it was finished. That Tribal lasted a lot longer than what it looked and once Jeff started talking about like personal stuff and this, that and the other and emotions come out, dude, I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut basically. I knew it was over.

And to get so close. Is there anyone you think you could not have beaten had you made it to the end?
No. And you know, that’s the funny thing is like I said all season long, I said: Listen, I will go with any one of these 20 people. I will go to the end and sit with two of these 20 people and I will win it all. I don’t care who it is. Just please, dear baby Jesus, get me there. You know what I’m saying? I just knew it in my heart if I can make it, you know, but I didn’t. So it is what it is.

Who was your biggest competition at the end, do you think? Janet?
Tommy.

Why Tommy?
Tommy’s the kind of guy where everybody likes him and because he’s such a big puppy, I call him Big Tree, He called me a Little Tree. He was such good friends with everybody, and just like just so normal and a laid back kind of dude. So he had so many good relationships with everybody in it. And at that time a lot of the beginning of the jury was all Vokai people. So I was like, man, this is going to not be good, you know? So I really feel like that Tommy would have probably caught maybe half the votes when we went to the end. But you know, who knows. I mean, that’s just wishful thinking that it happened like that, but I was willing to take that risk, you know?

Were you initially worried about how Missy and maybe Aaron might receive you at Ponderosa when you got off that boat?
Well, at first I wasn’t thinking none of that. I just thought: What the hell is on this menu? Like, all this stuff. I hadn’t even heard of half of that stuff. And I was like, “Well, you put what on what?” And then once I hit the dock I was like, “Oh I have to go talk to these people.” So I got nervous cause I knew Aaron was hot. I knew Missy was hot and actually, Ponderosa was a lot hotter than what you guys seen. It got a little heated, but I was expecting it so I wasn’t too worried cause I ain’t afraid of nobody, you know what I mean? So I was ready for whatever’s about to go down. I wasn’t so naive that I thought, “Oh, everybody’s gonna love me.”

Was the heat coming from where you expected? Like with Missy and Aaron, even though they were talking about getting rid of you before you pulled out that advantage?
Oh yeah, I knew it was going to come from them. And Aaron, I wasn’t directly involved in his vote, but I wore his britches to the first Tribal Council after he got voted out. I was proud because I was so skinny, I could get in them, but he didn’t receive that too well. You could tell by the looks at Tribal. He was giving me looks like he could murder me. So with Aaron, I just thought it was that. But with Missy, I knew it was all gameplay stuff that she was going to be pissed. So yeah, she was a little harsh at first, but you know, it is what it is, man. You can’t fix it after the fact.

You mentioned at Tribal Council how you lost your mother a few months before heading out to play. How much did that weigh on you out there and did your experience on the island help you move on from that at all?
My mom died Dec. 12, and I had just come back from [casting finals] in L.A. and so I’m on this high.  I went and seen her, they said she was getting better. She was gonna come home and she was getting so much stronger and they were talking to me about how maybe we should unplug from life support. So just to get to that point, I was like, “Man, this is amazing! Everything’s going great!” And four days later her potassium drops out and she passed away. So you go from one high to the lowest of lows.

They were like, “You know, we want to make sure you’re okay and able to go.” That was something that everybody was worried about, and honestly, I was dying to go. And part of it was because when you cut yourself off from society and from people, it gives you a chance to think and reflect and to work things out. It’s hard to do that when you do the hustle and bustle of life. So I wanted to go.

And when I got out there, everything was magnified. Your emotions are all over the place. You’re nervous, you’re scared. And so there were some long nights, because you just got hours and hours to think. It was rough. Cause then you got to think about your own flaws and the things you did wrong and what you could’ve done right. And so I beat myself up a lot out there, but I think I needed to do that, you know? And I needed to work through those emotions.

I always say that God never gives you what you want. He gives you what you need. And I thought I needed $1 million, but he gave me exactly what I needed, and that was to find a little peace and some forgiveness for myself. And I’d done that, I think. So it has actually helped me. It was very, very therapeutic. I’m blessed for being able to do that. But don’t get me wrong: that was rough. That was some emotional times. They didn’t show it, but I cried a lot just from everything. But I’m super thankful, and I’m really blessed that I even got the opportunity and I was able to work so much s— out in my head

We saw last night that Dan was removed from the game after another incident, this time off-camera, and we saw Jeff Probst tell the players still in the game. How and when did you first learn about that?
That next Tribal, I’m pretty sure is when Jeff told us when they kicked him out, because we skipped a Tribal and we were like, “What in the world? Has somebody got hurt or something?” So I think the next time we went to Tribal was when he told us. But listen, dude, stuff is kind of foggy in my head cause I’m hungover, so don’t like take everything I say, ‘cause I could be totally wrong, but I’m pretty sure it was the next Tribal Council.  That’s how I think that’s how it went down.

What has it been like for you, Elaine, to fulfill this dream, get on Survivor, and then have this whole situation with Dan where everything that took place surrounding that kind of took over and made it hard, I have to imagine, for you and other contestants in a lot of respects to be able celebrate other aspects of this season and this experience?
Yeah, it has really to a certain extent. There’s some serious s— that went down and you don’t want to be celebrating something when there’s people that’s going through something, like Kellee. So it makes it hard. But, at the same time, it’s a good platform to educate. It’s always good to get serious s— out there and for people to be able to talk about everything. So it’s kind of bittersweet.

I asked you right before the merge about something you wish we had seen on TV and you talked about the fun you and Tom had. What about after the merge? Is there anything about your experience there or anything that happened you wish had made it on to air that didn’t?
Probably a lot of the same stuff. There was a lot of serious stuff that happened post-merge. But you know, I was always cutting up the tribe. if you watch my Ponderosa, I literally chased Karishma with a  ead snake. It was the funniest thing ever. She didn’t appreciate it, but it was just funny. We goofed around and we had some laughs. And me and Lauren, I would crack jokes. Just a lot of that, ‘cause that’s the part that I like. I like the funny stuff and the goofing around and cutting up. But I don’t make the rules or I don’t edit stuff, so it’s not like I can go “Hey, put in more of Elaine’s jokes in there. That’d be great!”

The Ponderosa video is hysterical. And we also learned that not only did you lose over 24 pounds in the game, but you mentioned you lost 20 pounds in only a month before you went out there. That’s like 44 pounds in two months. That’s crazy!
I told you, bro! I was like a busted can of biscuits, for real! You know what I mean? And you get some crazy people in this world that’s gonna send you hate no matter what. And when they try to put me on blast from my weight, I’m like, “Bro, you’re not telling me anything I don’t know.” I’m not so like self-conscious that I’m, that I’m like, “Oh, don’t please don’t.” Whatever. It is what it is. I was chunky, you know what I’m saying? [Laughs] So I went out there, dude. It was a great weight loss program for me! You know, like, that was fantastic!

If you could go back and change one thing about your game to give you a different result, what would it be?
Well, I know everybody expects me to say the Missy vote, but that’s not true, man. That was absolutely 1000 percent the right move for me. I don’t say it was the right move for Karishma, but it was 100 percent the right move for me because she was coming at me. And if I would’ve got rid of Tommy, she would have bonded with Lauren and Lauren is so emotional so would have turned her vengeance towards me. So I would have been out that like within the next one or two votes if I’d had done that.

The mistake I made was Karishma. When Karishma played her idol, I was so upset because if she had told me, I would have been down to throw anybody on Vokai.  I would’ve cut their throat in a New York minute had I known that she had that in her pocket. I was cool with Karishma, but as far as gameplay goes, we could just never get on the same page other than the Missy thing. And leave it to her not trusting me or me not trusting her or whatever,

But that was a huge mistake because if I could have got her to tell me about her idol, or at least told Elizabeth, Elizabeth would told me and we could have goten Tommy out right then. And Dean, because he was so trying to build those bonds with Tommy and Dan late — maybe he would have pulled back to old Lairo and hung with us and then we would have had the numbers. So that right there was the biggest mistake.

You were a huge fan favorite. I would imagine at some point you’re going to get that call asking if you want to go back on the island. And when you get that call, what are you going to say?
I would probably go, just cause I had an amazing experience and a personal journey. It was beautiful and fantastic and this, that and the other., And if I go back this time and I’m packing less luggage, maybe my mind would be in it more. Maybe I would be more strategic. I was strategic, y’all just didn’t see it. I played Kentucky dumb for sure, but I’d be able to redeem it as far as taking home a million. So I think I would go, but I think I would have to like talk to the boss, which is my girlfriend. She would have to be okay with me rolling again. Cause it was really rough on her. And she went through it a lot even though she wasn’t with me out there. She suffered just as much as I did. So I would have to discuss it with the old lady first. [Pause] She hates when I call that. [Laughs]

Watch an exclusive deleted scene from the episode above. Also make sure to read our full episode recap as well as Q&A with Jeff Probst about Dan’s exit, statement from Kellee Kim, and news about the finale/reunion.

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