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Survivor: One World — Exit Interview With Leif Manson

April 20, 2012 10:00 AM by Ryan Haidet

It took 24 seasons for a little person to be placed on Survivor, and Leif Manson had the honor of claiming that title.  During his time on Survivor: One World, Leif was shown doing all sorts of goofy things from sleeping in a crate to tumbling head over heels in the sliding challenge.  But one thing we didn’t see him do is play a strategic game.  At all.  During a conference call with reporters, Leif acknowledged he didn’t play a very strategic game because little people aren’t often taken seriously by others.  And despite seeming to be a very unaware player the entire season, Leif also defended himself by saying he knew what was happening around him.  Read on for the full interview!

Question: You played a pretty passive game.  Looking back, how do you think you should have played things differently?

Leif Manson: I know I said I was just gonna be myself and try to stay under the radar as much as possible.  But, looking back, I mean, whenever I would really try and talk any kind of strategic talk with people, I don’t know what it is.  I don’t know if it’s just myself or little people in general, but we’re not really taken real seriously.  It was just really hard trying to talk any kind of strategy to a lot of people.

Question: Before the show started, there was a lot of hype surrounding the fact that you’re the first little person to compete.  Did that give you a lot of pressure?  What would you like people to understand about what it’s like to live your life?

Leif Manson: I know going into the whole game, being a little person, it was definitely some really big shoes to fill.  I had to prove to every one of those people that I deserved to be there just as much as they did.  I know I had to really prove myself in the challenges and also just trying to provide food, shelter, water and to somehow have a strategic game as well.  My main point was just to prove that us little people, we can do anything that anyone else can do.  There’s really been so much outpour from the little people community; really so many encouraging words that I’ve received.  So many amazing e-mails and letters from all of them on how much of an inspiration I’ve been on their lives.  Just proving that we can do anything that anyone else can do.

Question: What was your ideal final three?

Leif Manson: Definitely Sabrina and I and most likely Christina.  We’re probably the three most-deserving people to be there in the final three.  Christina, she was definitely such a really sweet, kind person.  As well with Sabrina.  Her and I would go kind of just take a break from the game, go in a little bit of a prayer and just relate on our lives, my baby and truly, kind of remember what life is all about.

Question: Who was the most difficult player to live with?

Leif Manson: Definitely Tarzan takes the cake on that one (laughs).  The guy is so smart.  So smart.  But he’s definitely lacking the social ability.  He would definitely make me laugh with so many things that he did.  He was always hurting himself left and right and just doing crazy, eccentric things.  At one point, he put Monica’s shirt on and he also put her bra on his head (laughs).  He was definitely a really different breed.

Question: Are you proud of the way you played the game?

Leif Manson: I am definitely super proud with how I played the game.  I at least gave it my 100 percent.  That’s what I told myself.  I’m gonna at least give it my 100 percent.  I’m gonna be myself.  I’m gonna see how far this gets me.  Just knowing that I gave it my 100 percent, I’ll know that I did my best.  There’s always the part in you that says, “Oh you could have done better.”

Question: What would you have done differently?

Leif Manson: I definitely would try the whole strategic, but it’s really hard when you’re a little person.  People don’t really fully take you seriously at times.  It definitely takes a whole lot more effort to get a point across.  Also, at the same time, I should have just voted for Tarzan.  That was probably the ultimate mess up that I did.

Question: Why did Tarzan vote against you?

Leif Manson: I kind of didn’t really expect that from Tarzan.  Him and I from day one had a really good relationship.  He was always making me laugh.  We were always telling amazing stories with each other.  When it all comes down to it, you really got to take your heart of it and just start thinking with your brain.  That was the hardest thing for me.

Question: What was with the paint on your face at the last Immunity challenge?

Leif Manson: I definitely had the sense that I would possibly be going home.  I know Tarzan and I, we both painted some warrior paint to try and (laughs) win Immunity.  Because us guys, our days were looking very numbered.

Question: Several other contestants already voted out of the game have said you were the most unaware person this season.  Would you agree with that or did you know what was going on around you?

Leif Manson: I knew.  I knew everything.  I’m a phlebotomist.  Being a phlebotomist and also just being very aware of my surroundings has really helped me in my life.  I was very aware of who had alliances.  Who was talking amongst each other.  It was really obvious.  I knew all along what everybody was doing (laughs).

Question: At Tribal Council, did you know you were getting voted off?

Leif Manson: It was really hard to say because I knew right after I lost the Immunity challenge all the eyes fell on Tarzan and I.  I knew that I’m really gonna have to fight hard and try and convince and pull something out.  It was just so hard trying to convince those girls of otherwise.

Question: Why did Tarzan vote against you?

Leif Manson: I kind of didn’t really expect that from Tarzan.  Him and I from day one had a really good relationship.  He was always making me laugh.  We were always telling amazing stories with each other.  When it all comes down to it, you really got to take your heart of it and just start thinking with your brain.  That was the hardest thing for me.

Question: What did you see as Troy’s logic for not bidding $500 immediately during the auction for the Immunity challenge advantage?  Why did he leave it open for Christina to possibly take it from him?

Leif Manson: I think his logic was first seeing what the first opening bid was gonna be.  That’s strategy.  You have to first see what the other person is gonna be bidding and then you’re gonna have to try and bid them out.  You don’t want to just blow everything and then possibly have another opportunity that will possibly still come along a little bit later on.  I think that was his logic.

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Topics: CBS Reality TV Shows, Survivor |

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