December 14, 2009 09:15 PM by Ryan Haidet
Monica Padilla was the second person booted from last week’s episode of Survivor: Samoa right after Dave Ball was voted off.Â During a conference call with reporters, Monica discussed her thoughts on Russell, the tough parts of Survivor and revealed who she thinks is the greatest player of all time.Â Could it be Russell Hantz?Â Rupert Boneham?Â Cirie Fields?Â How about none of the above…
Question:Â Did you know you were getting eliminated when you went to Tribal Council?
Monica Padilla:Â I was pretty sure that I was going home.Â Just coming back from the Immunity Challenge I was like, “All right I’m going home.”Â Then I was like, “I’m not going down without a fight.Â I’m going to do everything I can to stay in this game.”Â Then at one point going into Tribal, I did have a glimmer of hope.Â I knew there was a possibility that someone would flip and vote for Russell.Â At that given moment it would’ve been the time to do so. …Â It would’ve been a way to either flush out the Idol, or to flush out Russell.Â They didn’t take that opportunity, and that leads me to believe they were playing to advance themselves one, two maybe three positions into this game, but not to advance themselves to the $1 million.
Question:Â What do you think of Russell’s strategy?
Monica:Â I think Russell played an excellent game.Â He’s the player that people love to hate.Â He’s played a very, very impressive game.Â It’s going to turn on whether people respect the fact of how far he’s gone along in the game or if they consider him a major threat and realize he shouldn’t go to the finals with them.
Question:Â Do you think Russell is the greatest player of all time?
Monica:Â I would say no.Â No.Â No.Â No.Â I personally think that Parvati is the greatest player that’s ever played Survivor.Â But as for Russell, I think he’s played a great game.Â He’s played an aggressive game. …Â He still has a lot of work to do — he still has to get into the final two or three, or whatever it is.Â And he still has to win, which he’s been saying is so easy to do.Â We’ll have to see at that point.Â I think that Russell definitely underestimated the social game, and was a little bit too vindictive and deceitful.
Question:Â Can Russell win enough votes from the jury at this stage in the game?
Monica:Â I think if Russell makes a strong enough argument — absolutely.Â But he’s going to have to really sit there and make a strong argument to the jury.Â And I hope he’s put a lot of thought to it if that’s the case.
Question:Â What was the atmosphere like at Ponderosa with John?Â It still seems like Dave doesn’t care much for John.
Monica:Â I know, which is crazy because Dave and John were totally buddy-buddy out there, which not a lot of people see.Â So a lot of people still did have a lot of animosity toward John, and they also had a lot of animosity toward Shambo.Â It’s hard for me to see that just because I basically give everyone a clean slate at that point.Â The game is over.Â It’s done.Â Why cry over spilled milk?Â But I think John did have a rough time at Ponderosa.
Question:Â What is the toughest part of Survivor?
Monica:Â I would say the hunger is definitely a hard part — the hunger is intense.Â Before we got the blankets, freezing at night was really hard for me.Â I mean, I was freezing cold shivering.Â So that was really hard.Â And I think leaving my family, too.Â I didn’t realize how important it is to be able to stay in touch with people by phone, by text or whatever — just being able to check in with the people that love you.Â I think that was really hard for me.
Question:Â How did you get selected to be a contestant?
Monica:Â I was actually recruited.Â I was out and about in San Diego, and the people from CBS saw me interacting with a lot of people — with my group of friends out here — and thought I would be a good fit for the show.
Question:Â Were you a fan of the show before you were on it?
Monica:Â I was.Â I started watching the show back when it originally started, and I kind of geared away from it for a little bit because I got busy with school.Â Then I came back for Fans Vs. Favorites.
Images courtesy of CBS.
Survivor is now quickly winding down with just two episodes remaining.Â Find out who wins the $1 million during the live finale from Hollywood on Sunday, December 20.Â And as we have brought you for the last few years, stay tuned for all of Ryan Haidetâ€™s exclusive coverage from the finale and the red carpet.