December 28, 2009 02:00 PM by Ryan Haidet
In what came as a shock to many fans, 26-year-old Natalie White took home the $1 million prize on Survivor: Samoa after beating one of the most evil strategists the game has ever seen — Russell Hantz.Â In an exclusive red carpet interview, Natalie discussed why she deserved to beat Russell, what she plans to do with the money and her reasons for not selling the title of “Sole Survivor” to Russell during the live reunion show.
Check out Ryan Haidet’s interview with Natalie on the red carpet:
Ryan Haidet — RealityTVMagazine:Â You just won $1 million.Â How does that feel?
Natalie White:Â I really don’t even know what to say.Â It’s shocking, and it doesn’t even feel real.Â Oh my goodness, I don’t even know what to say.Â I feel so thankful.
RTVMag:Â What are your plans for the money?
Natalie:Â There’s definitely three things that I’ve been saying.Â Vacation — for sure a vacation.Â I want to take my boyfriend on a really nice vacation.Â I plan on tithing 10 percent and then I want to save the majority of it.
RTVMag:Â How did you become a Survivor contestant?
Natalie:Â I’m a huge fan of Survivor.Â I’ve been a huge fan a long time.Â I had honestly no idea one year ago that I would have even gotten the opportunity. …Â I get this huge great opportunity.Â I’m going to take advantage of it.Â Guess what — I have to quit my job.Â That means I give my company car back, so I don’t have a car.Â Car insurance is gone, gas money is gone and my health insurance is gone, which I would probably say is the most important.Â I’ve got a lot of risk here.Â But big risks equal big rewards.Â I really had prayed extensively about it.Â God kept opening the doors and that’s just kind of how it happened for me.
RTVMag:Â Talk to the fans who say Russell deserved to win the game more than you.
Natalie:Â I would like to say we play a different game than you actually see.Â There’s a lot more things that happen that you all didn’t see.Â I clearly was not a camera hog or a fame seeker.Â I did not play the camera — Russell did.Â That’s great ratings and I laughed hysterically at some of that stuff, I’m not gonna lie.Â I was shocked at most of it.Â I actually had a lot more strategy than I think was shown.Â Clearly I made a great alliance the first day.Â I am very intuitive, I made great relationships — again, I’m a fan.Â I’ve watched a long time.
It is a social game.Â Anybody that underestimates the social aspect — sorry, you cannot play one element.Â You cannot just play strategically and think you’re gonna win.Â You have to play so many more aspects of it.Â I played the social aspect the best.Â I did play strategically, which again you may not have seen everything that went on.Â It’s much more subtle what I did.Â I was myself — I couldn’t play the game completely aggressive as he did.Â I played with what I was equipped with.Â Again, I definitely was strategic.Â When I voted Ashley out, it was so hard to vote her out.Â It was strategic.Â If I did not vote her out, she was getting four votes anyway.Â I’m pretty sure I’m going to vote her out because if I don’t they’re not going to trust me.Â Even though I didn’t want to, it’s a game.Â I’m playing to win the $1 million.Â Period.
I got to know the people that were on Galu that were potential jury.Â I got to know them very well.Â I thought that if I got to know them really well that I would know how to basically tailor my final Tribal Council speech.Â I feel like I did that.Â I did fight for myself at final Tribal, there’s a lot that you didn’t see too.Â It was brutal!Â Whoo.Â It was brutal.
RTVMag:Â Not only did you win the $1 million, but you still have the title of Sole Survivor, because you didn’t sell it to Russell during the reunion show.
Natalie:Â That’s crazy.Â It’s priceless.Â I’m not going to sell it.Â You have to get the majority of the jury votes to win the title.Â That’s the way the game is played.Â I got it.Â The game’s over.Â Period.Â I’m not going to give it up.Â I’m not selling it out.Â I just won $1 million, I don’t care about $10,000.Â Are you serious?Â I’m gonna go back and get a job, too, so I’m really not worried about $10,000.Â I earned the title fair and square.Â I suffered out there and the jury awarded me.Â It’s just like me saying, “Oh, give me the fan-favorite title,” when I didn’t even get the majority of the votes.Â Are you serious?Â No, not doing it.Â I would never.
RTVMag:Â We saw a pretty raw moment with you when you killed the rat, which Jeff Probst made a huge deal about in his blog.Â Tell us about that.
Natalie:Â The whole rat scene was a big deal because I’m not an outdoor person, I’m truly not.Â I was like crazy trying to do this scene — it took me probably 15 or 20 minutes trying to figure out what my method was going to be to kill this rat, ’cause I love animals, I really really do.Â And it was hard, but when you’re starving you’re thinking, “Man, I could die any day.”Â You’re thinking, “OK, I’ve got to take some food back, I want to make a contribution, to0.”Â Not just to eat for myself, but I was happy to share it with everybody else.Â It felt really good that Jeff gave me credit for something.
Red carpet images by Ryan Haidet.Â All other images courtesy of CBS.
Stay tuned for other exclusive interviews from the Survivor: Samoa red carpet with Russell Hantz, Mick Trimming, Brett Clouser and Jaison Robinson.