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Courtney Yates — Her Life Since Survivor

July 20, 2008 09:00 AM by Ryan Haidet

Courtney Yates signs an autograph for a fan.

Courtney Yates finished second on Survivor: China and turned down a spot on Survivor: Micronesia — Fans Vs. Favorites. So what has this past player been up to since? RealityTVMagazine.com’s Ryan Haidet got the chance to speak with Courtney at the fifth annual Kentuckiana Police and Firefighter Summer Bash Benefit last month.

RealityTVMagazine:

What has been going on in your life since Survivor?

Courtney:

I basically left Survivor and went back to my life exactly the way I left it, which was what I wanted to do. I am waitressing at my same restaurant in New York City and just put my money in a 401K and went with it.

RTVMAG:

Do you still get recognized by fans?

Courtney:

Yeah, I do get recognized, but it’s funny, a lot of people, I think, are scared to come up to me because I wasn’t one of the nicer characters. I’m not Amanda. I love when people come up to me, it really makes me have a good day when people come up and talk. I mean, it was a great experience for me and it’s nice to talk about it.

RTVMAG:

Word is you weren’t a fan of the show before you were put on it?

Courtney:

I was not familiar with Survivor at all. I mean, I got sort of roped into it. It was explained to me and just from my perspective, I just knew I had the exact wrong formula for going far. I’m female and small and I have a great, big mouth and I tend to piss people off with every other sentence. So I was like, ‘Clearly, I’m going to be gone in the first like, three to six days, I’ll get a great vacation and it’ll be a really cool experience.’ Just every day that I got further and further it really surprised me. And then toward the end, I was like, ‘It’s on, let’s go.

For me, I think the biggest thing I went on Survivor for was to purposely put myself into something I’m not good at. I’m used to being good at everything that I do and I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t even do things that I know I wouldn’t be good at so I thought, ‘Here’s something I’m going to be terrible at. I’m going to be humiliated and humbled and get ridiculed and I’m setting myself up to fail and maybe I need that in my life.’ And then, Ah haha, joke is on everyone, I was good at it! Second place, my final goal was to get to the final three. For me that was winning the show. I never wanted to win it, I didn’t think I deserved to win it, I thought that I deserved to be in the finals and that I earned my place in the final three. I thought Todd and Amanda deserved to take it. I thought they were excellent players and I was really proud of them. They were my good friends, they’re still my really good friends. But for me, that was my experience, so I feel like I won it.

RTVMAG:

So do you watch Survivor all the time now?

Courtney:

I don’t, actually. I watched it (Micronesia season) for Amanda and James. I got a kick out of watching it once I was watching it. It was a big experience and I think I need a little more distance from it because Micronesia came on right after China, basically. And it was a little too close, so I was like, ‘Oh, God, Jeff, stop talking!’

RTVMAG:

It does seem like you made life-long friends out of the Survivor experience.

Courtney:

Todd and I are great friends and I didn’t expect to make any friends on that show and I feel like everyone in my cast, even the people I didn’t get along with on the island, it is like a bond that you leave with and if you’re lucky, you’ll value those relationships and keep them. Like, nobody in my life will ever replace Todd and Amanda and the other friends that I made on the show. We share an experience that nobody understands.

Courtney and Todd fool around

RTVMAG:

Is there a weird hobby or fact about you that fans would find interesting or funny?

Courtney:

I think I’m just a series of unusual facts. I have an English lit degree, which is completely useless, which is why I wait tables. I went to college in West Africa for a while, people never see that coming — the whitest girl on the planet actually living in Africa. And I used to work for an airline for three years, for Virgin Atlantic. And I worked in the House of Seven Gables giving tours of the historic house in Salem, Massachusetts. I’m sort of like a series of things you wouldn’t expect. And that’s sort of become my trademark of ‘Judge me if you want to.’ But I’m not concerned of what people think of me. I know who I am and I know that I’m a worthwhile person who has a lot of interesting things I’ve managed to do in my life. And I don’t have to wear it on my sleeve and tell you how special I am or what I’ve done. I know it.

RTVMAG:

What’s next for Courtney?

Courtney:

Next for Courtney is, oh God, who knows? I think I’m moving to Memphis, Tennessee, believe it or not, but that’s a long story. We won’t get into.

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Topics: Survivor |

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