As Tony said, it was truly "two for the price of one" on Wednesday night's episode of "Survivor: Cagayan." We saw not one, but two people leave the game: One via the normal Tribal Council exit and the other voluntarily opting out. I spoke to both ousted contestants today, the day after their final episode aired (in case you missed it, here is the full Episode 6 recap).
Lindsey Ogle was one of the first castaways to be recognized this season. After all, it is quite hard to miss her, with her tattoos and flowing dreadlocks. She was a member of the Brawn Tribe, but as the episodes went on, we oddly enough saw less and less of Lindsey. We now perhaps know why: Lindsey would become the latest Survivor quitter, the newest member of the unofficial Survivor Hall of Shame of players that didn't have what it takes to make it through. She had been in a tight alliance with Cliff, but once he was blindsided, her abrasive relationship with Trish blew up into a full-on feud. Lindsey had enough and pulled herself from the game, afraid that she may act out physically toward Trish, who was surely, relentlessly pushing her buttons.
Alexis on the other hand, went out fighting as hard as she knew how. A bona fide "beauty," she was portrayed early on as a ditzy follower to LJ, but even still she seemed like she was in a decent position in the game. That all changed when the tribe switch-up sent her to a new tribe with the likes of Morgan and Jeremiah, two fellow beauties that she didn't have much of a bond with. Although she tried desperately to convince Spencer, Kass and Tasha to keep her in the game over Jeremiah, the Brains ultimately decided that Alexis was the bigger threat, concerned that she would instantly align with Jefra and LJ should they enter into a merge.
Today I spoke to Lindsey and Alexis - who both were on the same call - about Lindsey's decision to quit, Alexis's emotional exit, and both of their times in the game.
Tom Santilli, Survivor Examiner: Hello Alexis, hello Lindsey!
Lindsey Ogle: Hello!
Alexis Maxwell: Hi!
Tom Santilli: I'll start off with Lindsey. So you had mentioned a number of reasons why you decided to quit the game and you were shown as never really getting along with or liking Trish. But can you explain the timing, of deciding to quit when you did?
Lindsey: I think it was just a heightened situation. I mean, I'm getting a lot of responses from people. No one can really say anything to me that I haven't already thought of myself. There's so much information that is compacted into each one of the episodes, you really can't spend a whole lot of time on every single little detail. Let's just say it wasn't just a 20-second argument with her calling me names and then me calling her names and then whatever. I mean that's the most childish thing I've ever heard. It was more of that constant badgering. I think it's something that a lot of others go through, maybe more than some people would like to admit, but there's always somebody that's going to say something awful, or negative, or hateful to you, and it's what you do with it. It was just to the point where I just said, you know what? I don't need this. This is going to get physical. And I'm sorry but you're going to be on the short end of the stick. So when you have that power, to end up walking away as the bigger person even though all of that ridiculous high school drama we had shared, it gave me my power back. It takes a lot of courage to walk away from a fight. It takes more to walk away from a fight you know you're going to win. It takes the most courage to walk away from a fight you know you can win, and there is a chance to win a million dollars. Overall it sucks, but there's a seven year-old kid back home watching these episodes and I have to think of her. I've got to think, am I setting a good example? At that point in the game, I just thought am I going to send the right message?
Tom Santilli: Knowing that this episode was coming and knowing that you'd have to speak to the press, were you dreading it? Through the history of quitters on Survivor - Jeff Probst even - has normally reacted quite harshly. How has the reaction been thus far?
Lindsey: Well, there was a certain awareness that came over me when I made the decision that I made. I knew there was going to be some nay-sayers. Of course there's going to be somebody, there's always somebody who is looking to get attention from somebody who is on a reality TV show. People say hateful things just to bring attention to themselves. But usually those are the same people eating potato chips and watching from their couch, ready to go to their waterbeds and take a nice sleep with their teddy bear. So I really don't have anything to say about the negativity. But I will say that I've received a ton of support from moms, especially single moms, which is crazy to me. When you are that one who has to lead by example, sometimes the best decisions are the hardest ones. So do I have any regrets? Absolutely not. Of the millions of viewers who watch this awesome show, there was only one in particular that I was thinking of, and she's seven. She's my daughter. She thinks that I hung the moon. Who am I to snap on a skinny old lady and punch her in the face and rip her throat out? Like that's ridiculous. I can't be doing things like that. Maybe in my younger years (laughs), when I didn't have a daughter. Maybe my response could have been...well I know my response would have been a lot different. Sometimes you have to make decisions that are best for someone else and not for yourself.
Tom Santilli: I also saw on your CBS.com interview held the night you quit, that you said, quote: "I don't think that I'm a person who should be on Survivor." What did you mean by that exactly? What does it take to be on Survivor and what was it that you didn't possess?
Lindsey: I'm sorry I'm not familiar with that interview. I'd have to take a look at it first and see what context it's in. [NOTE: The interview appears here on CBS.com and the quote comes at about 4:37]. I think I'm a perfect person for entertainment for sure. I'm fiesty and I have a very unique look about me. I don't recall that interview, I'd like to take a look at it and give you a better response. All I can say is that maybe for that time, the format is different. I think it shows through that I was one of the most competitive women out there. I definitely would have to say, for the collective 12 minutes that I was on this season, I'd have to say that I was pretty entertaining. I definitely caught a lot of people's attention, whether they liked me or not, they were talking about me.
Tom Santilli: OK! So let's go over to Alexis now. So Alexis, in your CBS.com interview, you mentioned that you thought you made a number of "rookie mistakes." What were they in your opinion?
Alexis: Oh, there's so many! (Laughs) I did so many things wrong. But one of the major things is that I was very upfront with my connection with Jefra with LJ. Actually not really with LJ, I tried to downplay that a lot. I thought that it was helping me, so that they could see me as two people, two numbers. But in their heads, if I can bring Jefra in that easily why can't Jefra bring me in that easily? I didn't think of the worst-case scenario and I should have. I should have had more of a pessimistic approach. Just thinking the best option would happen for myself is such as rookie mistake. As a fan, I really should have known better.
Tom Santilli: Were they correct though, in targeting you before Jeremiah? Would you have gone back with LJ and Jefra or would you have been tight with the Brains?
Alexis: I definitely would not have flipped. That would be so dumb, because you would already lose five jury votes, and people just wouldn't get over it. So you lose if you flip. I don't think Jeremiah understood that. I wouldn't have flipped, but I do think that I would have been in a better position post-merge, because I don't think the other five people would necessarily target me right away. So I would have been in a good spot, but I would definitely not have flipped.
Tom Santilli: We saw Morgan flash a big smile when you were voted out last night. What was your dynamic with Morgan that made you unable to have a tighter, closer relationship with her in the game?
Alexis: That smile was so funny! (Laughs) For some reason girls like Morgan just find genuine happiness in my downfall (laughs). Like the bane of my existence. We didn't really talk that much on the island and we didn't really have negative tension, so it was kind of wierd. That's why I connected so much with Jefra, because she was very happy in her life without extrinsic factors. Like Jefra would never revel in somebody else's misfortunes. That's why I connected with Jefra and probably why I didn't connect with Morgan that much.
Tom Santilli: Of everyone that you interacted with out there, who do you feel that you underestimated the most?
Alexis: I think Spencer for sure. When I was out there, I had the perception of him as being sort of Kass and Tasha's third-wheel. And really not making too many decisions on his own. Even if that had been true, that was a pretty good spot to be in. I just really didn't think that he was out for me as much as he was. I thought he would have connected with me more than we were. We had a lot in common and were at sort of the same point in our lives, so I just thought that we had more of a connection than we obviously did.
Tom Santilli: It was sad to watch how devastated you were after being voted out. Now knowing that the merge was about to happen, does it make your exit any harder to swallow?
Alexis: I knew that the merge was the next day, just because I could tell how the numbers were playing out. That whole Tribal Council I was just thinking about how proud I was that I made the merge and that I'd be in a great spot post-merge. So I really thought that I was safe and that I was sitting comfortably. So it was a true blindside and it hurt that much worse when my name was written down one million times. So it was truly heart-breaking for me. It felt worse than getting dumped by someone.
Tom Santilli: I'm sure that's not something you've had to experience that often! I know that Lindsey is on the call and it may be awkward, but I wanted to ask what you thought once you heard that Lindsey had quit the game.
Alexis: Well you can't know anybody else's circumstances, so I knew nothing about the Brawn tribe dynamic. So I would have never quit, but also like she said, she's a Brawn, she's a fire-cracker. If she thought that things were going to get physical or things like that, then that's her reasoning. I could never get physical, because I would lose (laughs). So that's just adding to the reasons I wouldn't quit. But my heart was so invested in it and I'm only 22 years-old now and I'm not in a spot where, like, the game doesn't matter to me. The game really does matter to me. And being a super-fan, I'm so emotionally attached to the game and invested in it, that I don't think there's anything that could have happened that would have made me leave the game.
Tom Santilli: You're a student. What are you going to school for has your time on Survivor changed or altered your career path at all?
Alexis: I'm studying organizational change in psychology, so really the organizational change is like management consulting. So I'm interested in anything consulting-wise, business management-wise. Everyone thinks I'm dumb because of the show, and I do say a lot of dumb things (laughs). But I do have a whole other side of me that I don't necessarily need to show in my casual, social life. I'm very focused and I'm definitely still on track to do everything that I would have done pre-Survivor. So I haven't lost my focus or my determination. I'm still doing well in school even though I have some distractions, but I'm very focused still.
For even more, be sure to watch Alexis's day after interview to the upper or left of this column.
Also, you can see the final video interview with Lindsey the night she quit the game here.
Also, make sure you check out one of my favorite Survivor sites, Survivor Fever.