May 08, 2009 05:16 PM by Ryan Haidet
A member of the once-dominant Timbira tribe, Debbie Beebe made it all the way to the final six when her torch was snuffed on Survivor: Tocantins — The Brazilian Highlands. During a conference call with reporters, Debbie discusses her tribe’s demise, her relationship with Coach and what she plans for the future. Oh, and following her math mishap during the Survivor auction, Debbie claims she can actually add.
Timbira Torn Apart
Going into the merge with the majority, the Timbira tribe quickly fell apart as the first four members voted onto the jury came from the once successful clan. Jalapao quickly jutted in and worked their magic to cut Brendan, Tyson, Sierra and now Debbie back to back. “I think we’re gonna go down as the stupidest tribe ever on Survivor,” the 46-year-old middle school principal from Auburn, Alabama says. “I mean, we had the numbers, what in the world were we thinking? I think what happened is — Stephen and JT for sure, Taj maybe — as soon as the merge occurred, they started getting Tyson and Brendan to distrust each other. And basically Tyson and Brendan started panicking so we ended up voting Brendan off and we just started picking our own people off. It was completely nuts.”
After her elimination, only two Timbira members are left against a seemingly solid Jalapao three.
But Debbie did try to group with JT and Stephen — even making a strong promise. She told them that if she made it to the final three and won Immunity, that she would give it away to one of them. “Honestly, at that point when I said that to them, I really meant it. Honestly. I knew my head was on the chopping block after Tyson was gone. To me, third place would’ve been a big win for me. I really was sincere at the moment.” But she wasn’t sure if that promise would have held had the moment arrived. “Would I have done it? I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.”
Camaraderie With Coach
Even though she made an alliance with him within the first few days and voted against him at her final Tribal Council, Debbie says that Coach is an honest person. “My overall impression of Coach is he is definitely a character. … I’ll tell you, he’s sticking true to his word in a sense of he’s stayed true to the alliance with me. At one point I even approached him about taking JT and Stephen out, ’cause it was obvious they were running the game and he said, ‘Absolutely not, I gave them my word.’ And I knew if Coach wasn’t going to turn there was no way to move that around. He’s a different guy, he’s a character. He believes he’s playing this game with integrity — 100 percent — and he believes he’s not lying.”
But even though she felt he was trustworthy, Debbie says there was a side of Coach that they didn’t see out in Brazil. “I didn’t see all this stuff. I really didn’t. Yes, we saw he was a character. Yes, he was unique. … All this stuff he was doing behind the scenes, we didn’t see or hear. I had no idea he called Sierra the dragon bowels and Brendan the dragon. … We knew a little of it, but nothing to the degree that we’ve been seeing on TV.”
Tied Up In A Lie
After Sierra accused Debbie of lying, she broke down and got very emotional over the whole situation. “After 30-some days out there, when you’re not sleeping, you’re not eating, you’re not drinking, your brain does crazy things. I really, at points, don’t remember what I said. I couldn’t go back and remember everything. When we got into that, I don’t know if you heard, I actually did say and admit to JT and Stephen and all those sitting there, ‘Yeah, I did just kind of check out options.’ I did say that. I didn’t tell the whole truth, absolutely. But again, this is a game. Outwit, outlast and outplay. You don’t sign an oath that you’re going to be honest on everything.”
Some viewers may recall that way back in the first episode, Brendan and Sierra dug a monstrous hole as they searched for the hidden Immunity Idol. When Debbie approached them and asked what they were doing, they simply said that they were digging a fire pit. And yes, Debbie says she was convinced. “First of all, Brendan had more energy than anybody out there. He was like a little boy who always had to be doing something. Honestly, I bought it hook, line and sinker. I was like, ‘Cool, Brendan’s got enough energy to dig a bi fire pit, let’s have a party!’ I was lookin’ for entertainment I was bored out there. Honestly, I am embarrassed to tell you I did not even think of that (looking for the Idol). … I truly believed it was a fire pit. What an idiot.”
Confusion In Casting
Debbie, an obvious fan of Survivor, says she’s not exactly sure how she ended up on the show. “It’s crazy. I’m not exactly 100 percent sure. I applied for season two, and actually went to Chicago, went through all the interviews. I was obsessed with Survivor at that point.” But she didn’t get selected and several years went by. “Then all of a sudden I got a call asking if I would apply again. There’s different rumors out there. I was the Alabama Middle School Principal of the Year — they found me that way. There’s a rumor that one of the professors at Auburn University was contacted by a casting person that asked if they anybody that would do it and she said me.”
Fries & Math
Even though she may not be entirely certain on what landed her in the game, Debbie says she’s 100 percent positive that she can add — despite her incremental issue during the Survivor auction. “Can I go on record that I do know how to add? But when I saw those fries I didn’t hear another word Jeff said. I didn’t care, I would’ve given him $500 for those fries. I’m a fry freak. When he was like, ‘Only increments of $20,’ I wasn’t listening. All I said was ‘just give me the dang fries. I am starving. I want those fries.’ I do know how to add, guys.” And it sounds like that embarrassment was worth it. “Those fries were a little cold and crispy, but soaked in that mayonnaise and ketchup, they were the most delicious fries I ever had in my life.”
Immunity, Leaders & The Future
Although she had fun with the social aspect of the game, Debbie says her proudest moment was winning at least one Immunity Challenge. “I guess it has to be when I won the necklace, even though it was not the most physical challenge. I was thrilled to be able to wear the Immunity Necklace. I thought that was really cool.”
With only five players left, Debbie seems to be leaning toward a Jalapao member to take the $1 million prize. “I have a lot of respect for what Taj is doing out there. I think Stephen is the mastermind behind a lot of this. None of us were giving him enough credit out there. I thought JT was leading it.”
And now that she’s a member of the reality television family, Debbie says she’s still happy leading the school. “Right now my plans are to stay a middle school principal. That’s where I am right now and I really love it. As in life, if something else comes up, you always take a look at different things, but right now I love what I do. Absolutely.”
Images courtesy of Monty Brinton/CBS.
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