SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

With season 41 of Survivor delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EW is reaching back into the reality show's past. We sent a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to a batch of former players to fill out with their thoughts about their time on the show as well as updates on what they've been up to since. Each weekday, EW will post the answers from a different player.

Know this about Laura Morett: She is not a person you ever want to take on in a duel on Survivor. Too many contestants on Survivor: Blood vs. Water learned this the hard way as they were eliminated at Redemption Island due to Laura's duel dominance.

After being voted out on day 13, Laura won three straight duels (sending Brad Culpepper, Kat Edorsson, and Laura Boneham home) and making it back into the game. Then after being voted out again (by her own daughter, Ciera Eastin, no less), Laura returned to Redemption Island and went right back to owning the competition, taking out Vytas Baskauskas Caleb Bankston, and Katie Collins.

Only at the very last Redemption Island duel to get back in the game (again!) did she finally falter, losing out to Tina Wesson (whom she had helped along in previous competition). The queen of Redemption Island now looks back on her Blood vs. Water journey as well as her time battling with Russell Hantz and Shambo Waters in her first appearance on Survivor: Samoa. More important than all that, she also explains why she is responsible for Tyson Apostol playing the last 13 days of the game with no pants. Read on for the whole sordid story.

Laura Morett on 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water'
| Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.

LAURA MORETT: Since filming my last season of Blood vs. Water in 2013, I ran for the office of state representative in Oregon. It was an amazing experience, and once again I came a few votes short… but I wouldn't change the experience for the world. In 2020, we closed up our construction business in Oregon, and my husband and I have relocated to Arizona full-time and are hoping our kids and grandkids will follow. We are not living the sunny AZ life. You can also see what I'm up to over on Instagram.

What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor? 

My proudest moment was staying alive and winning all those challenges on Redemption Island. Look, those elements can really take a toll on a person, both mentally and physically. At RI, you are isolated from the majority of the players and you have to be mentally tough to stay motivated and confident you have to be able to win those do-or-die challenges. This was also the most fun part of Survivor for me. I love to compete and push myself, and I was proud of the many challenges I won. 

What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experiences? 

My biggest regret is not playing more of an aggressive strategic game. I had the physical part down, but knowing when to lead and when to follow was tough for me. I can admit that my social game was my weak link. I am such a black-or-white person, and it is hard for me to fake a smile and just go along with things that I don't agree with. I wish I would have been more strategic and made more alliances with those who weren't necessarily "in the circle of trust." Kept my options open, basically. Been more flexible.

What's something that will blow fans minds that happened out there in one of your seasons but never made it to TV?

On my first season, Survivor: Samoa, when Shambo sent me over to the Foa Foa tribe, they had a huge bunch of bananas. We didn't have any over at Galu, so in the evening when everyone was collecting firewood, I took all the ripe bananas (there were about five of them), I ran into the jungle, and I ate them. Here is the catch… I felt sooo guilty and ashamed. I was so embarrassed! I felt like I had been invited over to someone's house and I stole things from them. It was the weirdest thing, I didn't want anyone (camera crew) to see me eating the bananas because I was so ashamed I had stole something. Now, looking back, I just laugh and know it was just part of the game.

Another funny story: On Blood vs. Water, when I got voted out the second time, Tyson came to me and told me it was Katie going home. I of course did not believe him and told him I wanted insurance it wasn't me. So I told him to give me his pants. If he sends me to RI, then he has to film the rest of the season in his underwear. We all know what happened, but if you go back and watch, Tyson is pantless. I still have those jeans and wear them to this date. They are my favorites.

How do you feel about the edit you got on the show? 

My first season… well, let's just say I'm pretty sure Russell Hantz was the only person on that season, haha. No, but seriously, the first season we had a couple of players (you can fill in the names, one rhymes with "hustle" and the other rhymes with "Rambo") that seemed to be there just to create division and drama. Because, as previously mentioned, I am not one to just go along with things, it was easy to make the edit look like I was this "mean girl." I was grateful to film another season so viewers could see who I really was, and that I may be obnoxiously competitive, but I am also a kind, caring person.

What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back? 

My first season it was really rough. If you recall on Samoa, we did not get any food, no rice, no beans, NOTHING! The rain was unrelenting, and was honestly one of the roughest seasons, even according to Jeff Probst. So coming back to the States, I dealt with a lot of food issues. I would hoard food and I wouldn't leave home without some food in my purse or car.

I also had trouble trusting people and opening up and wanting to talk. You would think you would want to be around people because you were isolated for so long, but I didn't. I wanted to stay home, not see anyone, and isolate. After reflection, I knew this was because when you are out filming, you are constantly being interviewed and asked about your feelings and are expected to express and share EVERYTHING. You have absolutely no privacy and no private thoughts. There is a camera on you 24/7 and you are living in a glass house. I just wanted my privacy back, and it took me a while to realize that is why I was isolating. 

Laura Morett on 'Survivor: Samoa'
| Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show? 


Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your seasons?

Tyson and Rachel: I absolutely love that family. We live 30 miles from each other now, so looking forward to reuniting our families. Tina, of course. She has come to visit me in Oregon and we stay in touch. Aras, his wife, Kristy, and their boys came to Oregon to visit. Gervase will always be family. Erik Cardona and Hayden Moss and Monica Padilla are also in that family. I adore Russ Swan, I was his guest for his season finale his second season. Honestly, there are only a few that I don't have contact with… I have even texted back and forth with Russell and Shambo.

Do you still watch Survivor, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why? 

Yes! I absolutely loved season 28, Cagayan.

Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?

I really would have loved to play with Colby Donaldson. Colby seems like a straight shooter, someone you could trust, and someone who would have always had a bigger target on him than me.

If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why? 

I don't like all the tribe-swapping. I think it also causes the viewers to question how much of the show is really real. What I mean by that is anytime "production" interferes, it can manipulate the outcome of the game and it takes control out of the hands of the players, which takes away not only some of their strategy, but the integrity of the game.

Finally, would you play again if asked?


To keep track of our daily Survivor Quarantine Questionnaires and get all the latest updates, check out EW's Survivor hub and follow Dalton Ross on Twitter.

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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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