December 29, 2009 10:37 AM by Ryan Haidet
Survivor: Samoa delivered one of the greatest strategists of all time — Russell Hantz.Â Some have labeled him evil, but whether you love or hate the guy, you have to respect the in-your-face strategy he brought to Samoa.Â He found hidden Immunity Idols without any clues, and orchestrated multiple blindsides that kept the diminishing Foa Foa tribe alive.Â Although his gameplay was a hit with fans, he wasn’t as respected by members of the jury, which hurt him in the end after most of the votes went for Natalie White to win the game.
On the red carpet just moments after his loss, Russell talked about his disappointing loss, his early comments about surviving Hurricane Katrina and offered advice to a future players.Â To top it all off, Russell has even launched a new Web site in the wake of his loss — RussellGotScrewed.com.Â Read on to see an exclusive video from the red carpet with Russell.
Check out Ryan Haidetâ€™s interview with Russell on the red carpet:
Question:Â How are you feeling right now?
Russell Hantz:Â I’m doing pretty bad right now, but you know what, I won the fan favorite.Â That’s pretty amazing. …Â The funny thing is, I probably went from even more hated than Jonny Fairplay to maybe even more loved than Rupert.Â How can you do that in one season?Â How is that possible?Â I don’t know.Â Jeff (Probst) said, “It’s like you can be cocky and charming at the same time.”Â I don’t know if that’s it.Â I think it’s my southern charm, I guess you could say.
Question:Â Way back on the first day you made remarks about being a firefighter and surviving Hurricane Katrina, which infuriated Marisa.Â Are you still catching flak for those comments?
Russell:Â I go to the LSU game all the time in Baton Rouge where they were affected in New Orleans.Â I got best friends that happened to.Â They lost everything, and they love it (his story).Â At first I regretted the statement of saying the story about Katrina — at first when I seen it.Â Then after I talked to people that were actually in Katrina they said that they were thanking me for bringing it back.Â Because people forget about things.Â I didn’t say anything negative.Â The story that I told happened to my best friend’s brother.Â That happened to him.Â I asked his permission to tell the story.
Question:Â When people found out you had a couple million dollars, they had to realize that actually never happened to you.Â Did anyone question you about it?
Russell:Â Nobody said anything, and that’s how easy it was to manipulate these people.Â They were easy to manipulate.Â They really sucked.Â All of them.
Question:Â So why did you lose?
Russell:Â I lost ’cause I was with a bunch of weak-minded people.Â And it proves that fact ’cause you see how I controlled them.Â If I told them to “Get here, get over here.”Â Then when they found out that I’m mad at them, they’d start shaking.Â They started getting nervous.Â That’s because I had them so controlled because they’re so weak.Â That’s kind of like a double-edged sword, because when that weak person gets to the jury they’ll never vote for you because they’re weak-minded people already.
Question:Â You didn’t get the credit for playing the game like you did.
Russell:Â I gave my heart and soul.Â I had a strong feeling I wasn’t going to win.
Question:Â When did you start thinking you would lose?
Russell:Â When I walked off the jury because I was like, “You know what, that’s why I’m good at the game ’cause I can read how you talk to me.Â I can read how you talk to somebody else.”Â And when I seen how they was talking to Natalie, how they were talking to me, I was like, “You gotta be kidding me.”Â It was hurting me in the stomach.Â That’s why I created a Web site — RussellGotScrewed.com, ’cause I knew.
Question:Â Advice to a future player?
Russell:Â Jump on the strong guy.Â Play the social game ’cause you’ll win every time.Â You’ll win every time playing the social game.Â But you know what, if you get there you’re lucky.Â I’m not lucky.Â I’m not lucky, because I played the game.Â If you play that social game you got to make sure that your luck is running good because that’s the only thing that’s gonna get you to the top.
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 Mick Trimming, Brett Clouser and Jaison Robinson.
Check out Ryan Haidetâ€™s interview with Natalie on the red carpet: