December 23, 2010 05:10 PM by Ryan Haidet
Matthew “Sash” Lenahan may have played with lots of strategy, but he didn’t get a single vote to win Survivor: Nicaragua after making it to the final three. After switching sides, cutting deals with everybody and avoiding elimination, Sash made it to third place. I spoke with Sash on the red carpet after the live Survivor reunion show in Hollywood where he talked about the origin of his nickname, discussed how surprised he is the jury didn’t cut him any slack and revealed who he would have voted for if the situation were different.
Read on to watch video of the interview from the red carpet.
Check out Ryan Haidet’s red carpet interview with Matthew “Sash” Lenahan:
RealityTVMagazine: Let’s start with the name “Sash.” Where did that come from?
Matthew “Sash” Lenahan: When I was about 2 years old, I had a cousin the same age who could never pronounce “Matthew.” So he would call me “Sashew.” Just like Matthew gets cut down to Matt, Sashew got cut down to Sash. And the rest is history. 31 years later, here I am.
RTVMag: Did you choose to have that nickname on the show?
Sash: It’s interesting, because my family calls me Sash; professionals call me Matthew; friends call me Matt. I have about a dozen different nicknames. During casting process they ask if you have nicknames, anything like that. I said, “Well yeah, my family calls me Sash sometimes.” And they’re like, “That’s it! Let’s roll with it.” That’s cool with me. There’s so many Matthews out there, it’s fun to have a memorable name.
RTVMag: Host Jeff Probst said during the finale that he predicted you would be the first person kicked off your tribe, but you made it all the way to the final vote. What was your reaction to Jeff?
Sash: So we’re in casting, and as I’m getting up to go walk to the door Jeff says, “You know if I put you on this show you’re gonna be the first one voted out.” As I’m walking, I point to him and say, “Jeff I’ll see you on day 39.” I slammed the door behind me, and here I am. So I must have made an impression on them. Jeff Probst and Mark Burnett are great guys, and I’m very grateful for the experience.
RTVMag: Let’s talk about day 39. That final Tribal Council there was not a single vote in your direction. Were you surprised by that?
Sash: I was very surprised. Look, Fabio is a great winner. I am so happy that the guy won. I’m a superfan of the show. I’ve been watching for 10 years, 20 seasons. I thought I knew every trick in the book. I thought I knew every strategy known to man in this game. Fabio played a way I’ve never seen before. I think I played a textbook game of Survivor. He played a different way. He came out on top. I really thought some people on the jury respected the game more than what they showed in their vote. I think a lot of people voted off emotion and personalities, and not necessarily what I thought Survivor is, which is outwit, outplay, outlast. I think I played a solid game. But it’s up to the jury to decide what they want to do. I had a great time out there. I did as much as I could. I made it to day 39. I don’t regret a single move. If they put me back on day 1, I would not change a single thing.
RTVMag: They kind of made it look like you were double talking quite a bit at the end — even at that final Tribal. Is that exactly what was going on, or is that inaccurate?
Sash: My strategy was to make alliances with everyone. This is a game where you have to have a plan B/plan C, because if you don’t chances are you’re gonna go home. I knew in order to solidify myself at the very end, I had to make an alliance with everyone. It got me to the end. It didn’t get me the million, but you can’t win a million dollars in this game, you can’t become sole Survivor, unless you make it to final Tribal Council. So my number one goal was make it to the end, and just hope and pray the jury respects the game enough to give it to the most-strategic person. That’s how I would have given my vote for most strategy. But everyone has different ways they perceive the game. I think I played a good game, but Chase and Fabio also played a great game, too.
RTVMag: From watching the show it looked like you had a very tight bond with Brenda.
Sash: I did.
RTVMag: Was she the person you were closest to?
Sash: Yeah. Brenda was my closest ally, closest friend throughout the whole game. She’s a great competitor. I really hope I get to see her on another show of Survivor. Marty and I became really close, too. My dream final three would be to battle it out at the end with Brenda and Marty. That didn’t happen unfortunately — I voted both of them out. Those were the only two votes that I had a very difficult time casting throughout the whole season.
RTVMag: Final question. Let’s take you out of the final three, and put Holly in. Who do you vote for to win?
Sash: I think Fabio played the best game. Like I said, he played a game I’ve never seen before and I have to respect that.
RTVMag: Sash, congratulations. Thanks for stopping by. Nice to meet you.
Check out Ryan Haidet’s red carpet interview with the winner of Survivor: Nicaragua — Jud “Fabio” Birza:
Check out Ryan Haidet’s red carpet interview with runner-up Chase Rice:
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First red carpet photo taken by Olivia Mash. All other images courtesy of CBS.