‘Survivor: Game Changers’ Winner Sarah: ‘(Brad) Thought I Made a Lot of People Mad’

‘Survivor: Game Changers’ (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: We’ll have interviews with all six of the “Survivor: Game Changers” finalists. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

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Gordon Holmes: This is always the best interview to do all season.
Sarah Lacina: Aww…it is?
Holmes: The winner is always in such a good mood.
Lacina: I thought it was because it was me!
Holmes: It’s 99% because it’s you. 1% because you won.
Lacina: (Laughs)
Holmes: And, you were my second pick to win and I only picked Malcolm because he told me to, so I think this counts as a win for both of us.
Lacina: (Laughs) I’ll give you the win.

Holmes: So, Brad’s making this call between you and Tai. It’s got to be frustrating to play this amazing game and have it be in someone’s else’s hands.
Lacina: Right. First of all, I couldn’t believe when I was watching Tribal and they’re saying, “Sarah, you decide. Are they going to make fire?” I’m not the one with immunity. How am I not on the chopping block. I think that speaks volumes for how good of a game I really played. I think he thought I made a lot of people mad. Or, he thought he could beat anyone, so it didn’t matter. We’d made a deal and he’s an honorable guy. I think he’s like, “No, I told Sarah that me, her and Troyzan would go to the end. Tai stabbed me in the back so now he’s going to pay for it.” But Brad was the one who paid for it.

Holmes: Ozzy and Debbie took things personally. Sierra compared you to a cheating boyfriend. Have you had a chance to mend fences with them?
Lacina: Sierra and I are great. I love her. I think I’m good with everybody. Debbie and I talked yesterday. She said the game was the game and we’re cool. Her daughters congratulated me. Ozzy said, “After watching, I’m really impressed with how you played.” It was really nice to hear all of that.” Luckily I won, because if I heard that after the fact and would have lost I would have been really upset.

Holmes: I want to give you an over-the-phone high five because I’ve been screaming about this forever; you lie in the game and then confess at Tribal. Do you think that tactic earned you any votes or were people set before final Tribal started?
Lacina: I think Hali’s vote was up for grabs. Maybe Andrea’s? Cirie…but what other option do you have at that point. I was proud of how I played. I was proud of the moves I made. These are returning players and to play that dominant of the game, it was my chance to say, “I did it, and I’m really proud of myself. Let’s reward the gameplay.” I used it as a chance to showcase how I played and explain that it wasn’t personal on my part.

Holmes: When you got to final Tribal and Jeff said, “We’re gonna do things differently,” what went through your mind?
Lacina: Nerves. I was thinking I’ll have to answer seven questions because everyone might not ask me something. This created an open forum, it was a free-for-all. But what I loved about it was it allowed discussion and sparked ideas. You may not have had that opportunity before. And, it lets you butt in. When Brad says, “I won five immunities,” which is huge, I was thinking, “OK, you’ve got to shut this down.”

Holmes: You had a reputation of being a straight shooter. Did you find that people trusted you based on what they saw in Cagayan?
Lacina: 100%. Coming in, people were thinking that’s how I was going to play. And most people don’t change much. They are who they are. You see other people play the same way. Cirie and I got together on day one and she would’ve stayed with me. She wasn’t trying to screw me over. That’s Cirie. She sticks with the people she makes deals with on day one. Look at Ozzy, he played the exact same way. Caleb…I wanted to partner with him because I figured he’d be super loyal. So, that really helped me.

Holmes: When you’re watching this at home and you see Tony digging a spy bunker…what is your reaction?
Lacina: (Laughs) I know Tony a lot better than a lot of people. We talk all the time. But that’s Tony. He would do that. You can’t help but laugh. And he’s not doing it to be funny. He’s really doing this. He wasn’t playing it up. He thought it was going to work. After the game he told me what he was doing and how great it was going to be.
Holmes: During pre-game he was all excited. He was like, “Hey Gordon, I’ve got this idea, I’m going to dig this hole…”
Lacina: (Laughs) I know! He was so serious about it.
Holmes: It is a crime that we didn’t get to see the full potential of the spy bunker.
Lacina: I would have loved to play with him. He’s such a great guy. He really does care about people. And I know people wanted to see more of him.

Holmes: You made a ton of big moves. Was there anything we didn’t see that you wish we would have?
Lacina: Early on in the season, we weren’t getting a lot of strategy shown. My foundation started on day one. You didn’t get to see the relationships I built with people until after the merge. But, it would have been more obvious that I was going to win. I really was close with everyone.

Holmes: Were you going to play the legacy advantage no matter what?
Lacina: No. I felt confident going in that they weren’t targeting me. And I think it’s a good thing that I never won an immunity or had an idol. That sense of safety, your game backs down. You’re not on. I realized at that point, I would have gone home had I not played it. When I played it, I said, “I’m probably not going to need this, but…” I literally said that. And, that’s how I felt. I don’t know if I wasn’t playing close enough attention because I knew I was going to be safe. Idols can be a curse. You feel safe and you don’t have to play as hard.

Holmes: Word association time. Let’s start with JT.
Lacina: Amazing.
Holmes: Ozzy?
Lacina: Free spirit.
Holmes: Brad?
Lacina: He has a good heart.
Holmes: Zeke?
Lacina: He is one of the most wonderful people. Kind, caring, giving, thoughtful, just all-around great person. I’m so thankful to have met him.
Holmes: Andrea?
Lacina: Sister.
Holmes: Debbie?
Lacina: Misunderstood.
Holmes: Troyzan?
Lacina: (Laughs) You know what I’m going to say! The green monster! You have to get him to tell the story. He’s my true friend out of this whole thing. We talk almost daily.
Holmes: Cirie?
Lacina: Legend.
Holmes: Tai?
Lacina: Sweet guy.
Holmes: Sierra?
Lacina: Cowgirl.
Holmes: Hali?
Lacina: Free spirit. She’s the same as Ozzy except she’s a girl.
Holmes: Michaela?
Lacina: Fun, energetic, beast.
Holmes: Sandra?
Lacina: Queen!
Holmes: Varner?
Lacina: I didn’t spend a lot of time with him.
Holmes: Aubry?
Lacina: Sister, friend, she’s great.

Holmes: You’ve spent your life upholding the law. You spend 39 days as a criminal and you come out a million dollars richer. I guess my question is; what crime are you going to commit next?
Lacina: (Laughs) None! I’m going to pay my taxes. None! None! Playing that way is not fun. Trust me. Watching it back, it breaks my heart. I hurt people and it’s not fun. But, it was what it required of me to win. I had to play that way. That’s how Tony played and I saw how successful it was for him. Not that you have to backstab a bunch of people, but that you can separate real life from the game.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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