[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from Survivor Season 43 Episode 11, “Hiding in Plain Sight.”]
Sami made a game-time decision at his last ‘Survivors’ Tribal Council
Q: What was your plan going in? [Tribal Council]? Did you know what you were going to say?
sami: Yeah. So when I got to Tribal, as a friend, my back was totally fucked against the wall. And so I thought, I have two options. I can play with the one percent chance that I’ll stay in this game and use my vote and, you know, I hope it’s right.
Or I just tell everyone what I’m going to do and hope it works out because if I somehow get out of it then it was a flashy move in tribal council in front of the jury. So I didn’t know what I was going to do until I got to Tribal.
And then I was thinking about shooting in the dark, and I said, ‘Yeah. I’m playing that thing. I’m not going out to be lied to. You know, that’s never fun. So it was kind of a game time decision.
Q: You admitted to lying to other people to jeff probst. Some people probably think it wasn’t the best decision if you stay after this Tribal Council. But what do you have to say about it?
sami: He wasn’t admitting to anyone that he was lying. That wasn’t like a shocking revelation to anyone. You know, at this point in the game, everyone knows that. Everybody knows that’s what I’ve been doing. So I felt like my best angle was to be like this changed man, this new person who comes out and says, listen, I know I did it wrong, but let me make it right. And that was basically my goal with it.
Sami admits to feeling guilty for lying
Q: Why did Mike Gabler become your scapegoat? [for the Karla vote]? He was the scapegoat before. So it’s kind of funny that your first thought was, like Gabler did, and then you realize it wasn’t going to work.
sami: I had to say Gabler because there were two votes. Karla. Karla knew Owen [Knight] I wasn’t with her. And then they only left me or Gabler. And I was like, well, I’m not going to say me. So I put it on Gabler and backtracked.
When I could see it in my head, I can see, like, [Cassidy Clark] going to Gabler and Gabler fighting to explain themselves, and I just didn’t like that. I didn’t like the way that would have made me feel. You know, this is a game of lying and manipulation at its core. But I felt that, at this point, my best move forward was to come clean and admit that I was the one who did the wrong thing.
Q: So it was guilt?
sami: Yes. There was definitely some guilt there. You know, someone I trusted, someone closer to me who I stabbed in the back. There is some guilt.
How Karla and Sami became close
Q: You were in the seven Cody [Assenmacher]jesse [Lopze]Karla, James [Jones]ryan [Medrano] and Cassidy then you. You knew you were at the bottom. You approached Karla to change the vote for Ryan. Later you said that Karla’s opinion meant more to you and you tried to convince her to reject James. How was that bond formed? Because we’re not really seeing that.
sami: Yeah, so a tight bond was formed as soon as it hit the arena. As soon as he got to the beach, like. You could pick up the vibes of people right away. And Karla is like, so her demeanor was so cold. She was so easy to talk to, so easy to relate to, and she’s from San Diego! I love San Diego. And like, that was like a huge selling point for me.
It was like, who are the people who are calm? Like, I can talk to you easily. And so, yes, Karla was so easy to talk to, so easy to get along with. And our relationship really was formed from the seconds we beat as a merged tribe.
And I also forgot to note that Karla was the one who convinced me to vote for Dwight. [Moore]. You know, when we voted out Dwight, Karla told me that and she took me in. And she said if you want to be on the right side, this is the way you should vote.
And so, that was huge for me. That was huge for me. For her to keep me in the numbers, keep me informed. This is a crucial point in the game.
Q: We saw Gabler tell Karla that Cody and Jesse were running the show and they needed to come up with a plan to attack them. Did he ever talk to you about that conversation or just talk about them in general?
sami: No, no, that didn’t happen. Man, were they good. You know, they were really good at managing the threat level and making us believe that nothing was happening.
And, you know, for me personally, I didn’t see Jesse as a real threat until he and Cody surprised me the day Noelle [Lambert] is expelled. That’s when I thought, oh shit. Like, this is. This is not good.
And besides the fact that none of us knew you had the idols, right? None of us knew that. And I do not know. It was definitely not a topic of discussion. Like, viewers are like, what’s going on? They are good. What can I say?
Sami said that he chose the wrong pair to aim for.
Q: You tried to drive a wedge between Cassidy and Karla, blaming her for your vote, saying her name first. Many fans are surprised that Karla believed you. Why do you think that seed was working? Or did they at least tell us it was working?
sami: Because the relationship between Karla and I was very good. You know, it was really good in a gameplay sense, in a personal sense. We still get along very well. And even after I voted for her, she would, you know, tell me, ‘I don’t want to cut ties with you. Like, I don’t want to leave you. Like, just cut you off. Like, I think we’re just going to make something happen.
And, you know, it could have gone one of two ways. I guess I could have been like, listen and tell me what to do, but that’s not me, man. I have to do something. I have to fight a little. So I had to think about throwing Cass under the bus for a bit, and obviously I didn’t go my way.
Q: I think this is still crazy because of the editing because we’re seeing both Cassidy and Karla probably from day one. So it’s like, what was your perspective then on their connection being actually in the game?
sami: That was actually the first day I was like, ‘Oh, they might not work together. As if they weren’t really as close as he thought.
Because in my mind, the couples were Jesse and Cody, and Cass and Karla. And, you know, my logic in this game was that pairings are strong. Couples are strong. Obviously, I didn’t see the correct pair as a strong pair. But, you know, that’s what I did with Elie. [Scott] and jeanine [Zheng]. Elie and Jeanine were a close couple. And I thought they were very strong, so I didn’t want to go through with them…at least not with Elie. I wanted to work with Jeanine.
But you know, I was really surprised by the fact that Cass was going down Karla’s trust list. I was very surprised by that. And on the other hand, he also knew that there was a bit of mistrust. You know, Cass and I had a good relationship that we talked about, okay, maybe Karla is someone we should consider dating at some point. So I knew there were little cracks in there and I was just trying to open them wide. And, you know, we could have, but I totally blew it.
This interview has been summarized for this article.
Other exit interviews: