September 18, 2009 03:14 PM by Ryan Haidet
26-year-old Marisa Calihan met her demise on Survivor: Samoa at the hand of one of the most devious players in the show’s history.Â In an interview with reporters today, Marisa revealed her feelings about tribemates Russell H. and Ben, she talked about how it feels to be ousted first and explained how she was sought out by producers to be on the show.
Staring evil in the face, Marisa said that she was certainly skeptical about Russell H. and his sketchy ways.Â But nobody really knew how bad he was until they saw it on TV.Â “We weren’t aware that he had emptied out our canteens or burned our socks until we saw the commercials and the actual show.Â I mean, this guy is a millionaire.Â He doesn’t need the money.Â He’s treating us this horribly just for kicks, and that just shocks me.”
But she felt his fake story about surviving Hurricane Katrina was absolutely despicable. “I think the biggest thing that shocked me was that he would use one of our nation’s biggest tragedies for his own placing.Â It disgusts me.Â It’s also shocking that that’s rewarded on television.Â Because he’s getting all kinds of air time from it.Â It’s just shocking that that’s something that’s rewarded and that he thinks is funny.Â I think it’s horrible. … I’ve had so many messages today on Facebook and on my Web site from people who are actual survivors of Katrina and are disgusted and personally insulted — and even hurt by what he did.Â And they’re all very proud that I at least stood up to him.”
And she says there really isn’t a good side to Russell H. as far as she can tell.Â “Every single thing that he did that was positive was completely canceled out by the negative side of him,” Marisa discussed.Â “Anything he did to make you believe he was doing something good for you was just to gain your trust so he could stab you in the back.Â He’s definitely one of the most devilish men I’ve ever known.”
But even though she was the first person voted off, Marisa doesn’t believe she would change the way she played.Â “To have done anything differently would be to have compromised who I am.Â I feel like I walked away being one of the only people who stood up to this person who is supposedly the biggest Survivor villain in history.Â Honestly, there’s no good place to be voted off unless it’s the final two.Â I would rather be first with dignity and strength than to be fourth and just play the game.”
Another player she isn’t very fond of is Ben.Â “Ben will show his true colors, he has no choice but to, and everyone will understand why he was so threatened by me.Â I’m the only one who stood up to him.Â He’s an emotional train wreck and he’s a bully.”
Getting Voted Off
“Well when I stepped foot into Tribal Council, before any of the conversation started, I didn’t think I was going home,” Marisa said.Â “But that was a really long Tribal Council, and you don’t see most of it.Â It turned out to be this whole series of Ben and Russell just kind of bullying me and making things up.Â I did defend myself, but it was pretty clear they were going to stop at nothing to have me gone.Â I knew at that point I was going home — there was part of me that knew.”
But she didn’t go down without a fight even though she did seem to dance around one of Jeff Probst’s questions.Â “When I was saying there’s more than one kind of weakness, I was going for physical weakness and mental weakness.Â And having someone who causes a lot of dissent in the tribe — being someone that breaks it down. … There’s a long Tribal Council that happened there and I spoke a lot about unity and Ben spoke a lot about causing conflict and loving it.Â At that point, I had been raked over the coals so much that I was mentally exhausted, and he just kept pounding me and pounding me.Â I stood up to him more than once.Â There was one time in particular when I said, ‘When someone’s barking orders in my ear, it’s really difficult for me not to stand up for myself.’”
And after she saw Probst read the vote that sealed her fate, she said it was tough since it seemed like she had let her family and friends down.Â “Then the next day, I woke up feeling so proud that I was the only one who stood up to Russell,” she explained.Â “I felt a great sense of pride.Â Initially, you know it sucks to be the first one off because I wanted to do more challenges, I wanted to show how strong I was.”
Recruited Via E-Mail
The start to her Survivor experience actually started a long time ago.Â “I was approached by a casting producer in LA about four years ago.Â And then six months ago, I got an e-mail from her again asking if I would be interested in going through the application process and I thought that I had blown a huge opportunity by not doing it the first time.Â She said she hadn’t forgotten me, so I went through the application process this year and the rest is history.Â I’m very grateful.”
On The Horizon
With Survivor out of the way, Marisa is moving on to her life-long goals.Â “I’m back in school full time and I’m actually missing class to do this interview right now.Â I’m just really focused on that goal.Â I’d love to go to Vanderbilt University within the next year or so. …Â I sing and I do songwriting and I’ve been working on my own demo for a while.”
Images courtesy of Monty Brinton/CBS.