March 06, 2009 03:22 PM by Ryan Haidet
She was labeled as a psycho within the first moments of the game, but Sandy Burgin, a talkative and energetic 53-year-old, was able to stick around for 12 days on Survivor: Tocantins — The Brazilian Highlands becoming the fourth person voted off. During a conference call she spilled the beans on cuddling with Spencer, the tribal raid, the first-impression vote and her outgoing personality. And she reveals if she actually knows what a pace is or not.
First-Impression Vote Hurt Her Feelings
When the two tribes arrived in Brazil, Jeff Probst told them they needed to vote one person off immediately. Sandy was the person Jalapao selected. “It was awful, it hurt my feelings and it pissed me off,” the sassy Louisville, Kentucky, native said. “I actually thought I was leaving the game, and that’s what crushed me so bad. I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’ve gone through all of this and I’m not going to get to do anything.’”
But little did she know that it was simply a twist. She was actually voted off from walking four hours to camp. Instead she got a helicopter ride and when she arrived at Jalapao first, she was given a clue to the whereabouts of a hidden Immunity Idol. “Oh my God in heaven, I searched a lot before the tribe actually got there. Since I had gotten there via helicopter, I looked for a long time on the wrong beach ’cause it said, ‘Your biggest beach.’ Well hell, I hadn’t ventured around the island enough to find a bigger beach than the one that was there right next to me. I looked for quite a long time.”
What’s A Pace?
But she had a tough time finding the Idol because it seemed she couldn’t determine what a pace is. “Of course I know what a pace is,” Sandy said. “I knew what a pace was at that time, they just didn’t let you guys know. They wanted all of y’all to think that I was silly. I was being silly when I looked up and said, ‘Pace Gods, now tell me what a pace is.’ Because I was doing a little bit of acting there, but they never come back to let you guys know that this is one smart chick. She’s from Kentucky, she knows what a pace is.”
After failing to find the Idol, her tribe lost the first Immunity Challenge and Sandy thought she was doomed — at least for a while until Carolina opened her mouth. “Oh I knew it was Carolina,” Sandy said. “I didn’t even take my stuff — anything that I possessed to Tribal Council because I knew it was her. It was signed, sealed and delivered. She kind of sealed her own fate in everything — wanting to clean all the time around camp. It’s like, ‘How in God’s name do you clean outside? Do you push dirt from one side to the other?’ I was so thrilled, you don’t even know, because the mark on my back right on the get-go, I knew I’d probably be doomed at the first Tribal Council and it just ended up turning around and it was great.”
Snugglin’ With Spencer
Because she wasn’t voted off in that first Tribal Council, Sandy was given more opportunities to snuggle up with Spencer who is the youngest contestant in Survivor history.”He was the only one that would snuggle bunny with me,” Sandy said. “Since I turn like a rotisserie chicken — when I sleep I just turn all night long just like I’m cooking. So there wasn’t too many of them who wanted to sleep up next to me. But, Spencer, he did.”
But Spencer, according to Sandy, is a much more dynamic personality than just a cuddle bunny. “Number 1, he’s a Survivor literally eat-up fanatic. He’s watched it since he’s been 10 years old. I can fathom him seeing each episode at least four or five times. He can tell you the name of every contestant, where they live and probably what kind of toilet paper they use. But his youth came out when he said, ‘I miss my iPod’ and all that stuff — that whiny, crying stuff. You’d see the youth when it came to that. More of us, we might miss a family member or something, but he was missing more of the material stuff.”
Her Pick To Win
Although she really enjoyed Spencer’s company, she’s rooting for another person to win the game. “Stephen is from the city — totally out of his element. I hope he wins the game. He did great at teaming up with JT because opposites attract. And Stephen and JT have got to be like 360 — I mean they’re total opposites. I love the fact that he got up in there with JT and said, ‘I want to learn about fishing — I want to learn everything.’ And it was really cool, he caught his first fish ever, so Stephen is a great guy. I think he and JT will go real far. They’re the team to beat, there you go, that’s what I believe. That alliance there is so thick, it’s unbelievable. I describe them as Siamese twins — you do not see one without the other.”
Sandy Vs. Sydney
But one person at Jalapao became her apparent enemy who stood in the way of her survival — Sydney. “Sydney and I really didn’t have a relationship at all really. She was with the guys most of the time, hanging around them, or on them or whatever. … The beauty and the body. I don’t know why they didn’t go with strength over the beauty and the body. That’s not going to get you wins at challenges, you got to have strength like I had. I have no clue. I hate it, but that’s the way the tribe voted. Mentally I think that I was more wiser. I really felt I was more wiser. Like the raid at the other camp. If they’d of sent me on the raid, I would’ve took all of the ammunition. There’s no way I would’ve left them anything to shoot back at me. I would’ve took every piece of food that they had versus the ones that went and said, ‘Oh we left them a little bit in case there’s a merge or whatever.’ No, you need to play the game today and that’s all your guaranteed is today. I would’ve took all their food.”
Sandy had called the food, “Fartin’ beans,” and just in case you were wondering, she did say that after eating them she got a tad gassy.
As for Sydney, she says the flirting is going on much deeper than the TV shows. “She’s flirting with all of them, it’s not just Joe. She’s playing JT and Stephen. She is right in the middle of all of them guys and everything that they do. If I had a body like hers, I would use it to the max, too. In fact I might be worse. That body and that face is not gonna keep her in that game. It might take her a little ways, but it aint gonna take her far.”
Even though she had her differences with Sydney, she says that life at Jalapao was great. “At Jalapao was the happiest campers you would ever want to see. We really were. We were happy and content like 99 percent of the time. The only time you would ever see any strain on our face whatsoever was when we were faced with going to Tribal Council. Other than that we were laughing and cutting up and swimmin’ and fishin’ and doing things just all the time. It was a great tribe.”
Back To Real Life
Sandy said her stint on Survivor was the first time she had ever been out of the country. But when it was all over with, she was ready to return to the United States. “There’s no place like home,” Sandy said. “I’m like Dorothy. You can just call me Dorothy, there’s no place like home. As much as I loved going to Brazil and the experience and what I did being on Survivor, it was definitely brutal. The elements were unreal.”
Since the show started, Sandy said she is getting recognized by all sorts of people. “Since I’ve at least got to be on the show for like four weeks, everybody’s recognizing me here in Louisville. They’re real receptive. Cashiers will come from behind the counter to hug me and since I’m a pretty affectionate person, I hug ‘em right back. The funniest statement that’s been said to me thus far, a lady walked up to me the other day and said, ‘Oh my God, do you know who you are?’ That’s the funniest statement. I love it,” she laughed.
And it was the thoughts of home that she said helped carry her through the game. “Missing my girls and my grandsons. I missed them terribly so finally I just put them out of my head and focused on children of St. Jude’s Hospital thinking that they couldn’t just go up to the desk and say, ‘OK, I quit. I don’t want to have cancer anymore.’ And that’s what kept me in the game, kept me focused.”
An Accurate Portrayal
Her outspoken personality was very heavily showcased throughout the season so far, and Sandy said everything was pretty accurate. “For the most part, yeah probably. I’m a nervous-type person. I’m kind of hyper and crazy in a good sense — not mentally. I seize the moment in anything I do. I love adventure. If they think that’s being crazy, that’s cool. So I must be a pretty crazy gal.” But after watching it, she said that maybe she should have chilled out just a bit. “I probably would’ve toned it down five or six notches instead of two or three. I am who I am and I kind of kept my same persona. I have a lot of fun in doing everything that I do. I’m overexuberant at times so I think that if I had been a little bit more calmer, it would’ve been better, but I was myself and that’s the way it was. I think that I would’ve definitely be a lot calmer, maybe.”
Images courtesy of Monty Brinton/CBS.
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