by Gina Scarpa
On last night’s finale of Survivor: Samoa, Natalie White, the 26 year old pharmaceutical sales rep from Arkansas, was named the winner. She played a quiet game, aligned herself with strong players, and had a solid social strategy going on all season long. Though she took some flack from the jury at the final tribal council, they later turned around and admitted that she had played the best game. Today, Natalie spoke to RealityWanted in an exclusive interview about her win, her relationship with Russell, and what she’s going to do now.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: You spoke a lot last night about how being on Survivor was one of the hardest things you’ve ever done and that you grew a lot from the experience. What do you think was the biggest lesson you learned in Samoa?
A. Natalie: Wow, the biggest lesson? There’s so many! It’s such a humbling experience. You really put into perspective how important your family is and your friends. That was a big one… my boyfriend and everything. I missed him so much. For me, really growing as a person and building confidence in myself to go outside my comfort zone. I really did learn want versus need. You make a list to go to the store and you say, I don’t need this to survive. It takes the bare minimum to survive.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: I’ve seen some brutal tribal councils over the years and last night was no exception. Were you prepared for how bitter the jury was going to be and how harsh they were?
A. Natalie: Honestly, I’m a huge fan of the show and I’ve seen some pretty crazy final tribal councils. I thought I had all these great relationships and I had no idea that that many people would be that brutal, even towards me. I was shocked. I ended up fighting for myself and it was probably better that they were that way so I could stand up for myself.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: As you’re sitting there in that final tribal council, did you think you were going to win or were you thinking, “I’m in trouble here”?
A. Natalie: I’m like, “Man, this final tribal council is brutal. There is no way I have a chance.” We did take so much criticism and so much flack. There’s these three Foa Foas sitting here and all Galu on the other side saying we don’t deserve to be there.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: Erik’s speech seemed to come out of nowhere and he really talked you up. Do you think that what he said made a difference to the jury?
A. Natalie: I mean, I have to think that maybe it possibly did. He basically said it. Why is it less admirable the way I played? It’s not. I definitely don’t think it hurt me, let me put it that way. Here’s the thing: you’re getting crucified and killed and you’re physically and mentally and emotionally at your worst. Words do hurt and this game does affect your psyche. At the end of the day, it’s nice to have someone to be kind to you.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: You took some heat for the way you played but it’s not like your strategy has never been done before. Rob and Amber did it during All Stars. Are you satisfied with the way that you played?
A. Natalie: I played to the best of my ability. I can’t play the way Russell did, that’s not me. I would’ve been kicked off first had I tried to play that way. I wanted to be more dominant and have an all female alliance but other than Ashley, a female alliance on my tribe would’ve been tough. I would’ve probably played a little more aggressively but, after assessing everything, I realized that wasn’t the way to play.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: Now that you’ve seen the episodes back and heard what Russell has done and said this season, what’s your take on him? He did call you a dumbass but he also stayed loyal to you all the way to the end.
A. Natalie: At the end of the day, I can separate the game and we’ll be friends. We’ll always be friends. It’s really hard to go through something like that and not be friends. I can separate the two and enjoy this experience. There’s no hard feelings.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: Have you given any thought to what you want to do now?
A. Natalie: Of course! I definitely want to get another job in the pharma industry. The problem is finding a territory. I definitely want to go on vacation and I want to save the money.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: What is your advice for females who want to try out for Survivor, who may not be the biggest physical threat?
A. Natalie: I would definitely tell them to not give up. Just because you’re a female, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. I was small and I wasn’t the best at every single challenge. You don’t have to be the best at everything. If you wanna do it, go for it. Good luck! Believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to try and try more than once. If you don’t make it the first time, try again. Never give up.
Video Exclusive Interview with Winner Natalie White
Check out RealityWanted’s YouTube page for videos from the Survivor: Samoa finale in Los Angeles!
(Image courtesy of CBS)