Survivor's Russell: I Am the Best
Russell Hantz, Survivor
After his aggressive social game and knack for finding immunity idols without clues on Survivor: Samoa last year, Russell Hantz cemented his status as one of the biggest villains in Survivor history with his performance on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. Russell was a natural fit for the Villains team, but his aggressive tactics throughout Season 20 led to getting zero votes at the final Tribal Council. Hantz spoke with TVGuide.com about Parvati Shallow, Sandra Diaz-Twine and why the game of Survivor needs to be fixed.
Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains winner revealed
TVGuide.com: Do you think you would have been voted out had you not gotten the last immunity necklace? What was going through your mind during that last challenge?
Russell Hantz: It's amazing how, when it comes down to it, I win it. When it comes down to the strategic play, I make it happen. When it comes down to the physical play, I make it happen. Even America sees it and they award me with the Player of the Season award two seasons in a row. I didn't even get one vote this year, so what can I do?
TVGuide.com: How does it feel to win the Sprint Player of the Season award two seasons in a row?
Russell: It's amazing because it proved my point. ... I don't care how CBS tried to make her look. I played with her, she's terrible and at the end of the day she wins? I would have been OK with Parvati winning over me, but not Sandra. I give credit where credit is due. Even if Parvati had stabbed me in the back, I would have voted for her. But Sandra is not good and when somebody like Sandra wins the game two times, that's why I believe there is a flaw in the system. When somebody like that can win, something has to be fixed.
Survivor winner Sandra: Russell doesn't know how to play the game
TVGuide.com: Why do you think you didn't get any votes from the jury?
Russell: Everybody thought, this group of people has played it before so they'll vote for the best player. But no, it doesn't work like that. These people, each and every one of them, thought they were the best player out there, kind of like I do. When you put those people in their place, that's it, they don't want to vote for you any longer.
TVGuide.com: Why do you think the jury was OK with voting for two people who had already won?
Russell: Trust me, I thought about that, and I wanted to bring Sandra and Parvati to the end because they did win before and I thought maybe, just maybe, that would help me a little bit more. ... I mean Sandra beat Parvati also. Parvati's game is well-rounded; she knows how to play the game. Sandra beat her because they voted against me and Parvati.
Survivor's Parvati: There is no way I could have played without Russell
TVGuide.com: Some of the jury thought you could have been more apologetic in your final Tribal Council speech. How did you decide what to say to the jury and do you regret it now?
Russell: I don't regret anything I did in the game. You see, they can't get it. It's not luck that I went all the way to the end twice. ... When you play as physical as me, you can make it to the end without luck. Now, when you don't, then you need a lot of luck on your side.
TVGuide.com: What did you think of Sandra burning your hat and Parvati calling you her "little pet" at the final Tribal Council?
Russell: Because they're vindictive people in nature. When you're a bad person in nature, you're really a villain. It was kind of shocking to see. You know with Parvati, I am the one that got her further in that game. I am the one that did it all, not her. I did everything and she's calling me her pet? That's just her mind trying to deny that she had been taken control of by me.
TVGuide.com: When you came in second on Samoa, you were determined to get the title of Sole Survivor. Are you finally at peace with not winning the title?
Russell: Trust me, 10 years from now, they're going to be saying that Russell Hantz is the best player to ever play the game and not win. Ever heard of a guy named LeBron James? They say he's the best player in basketball and he's never won a championship. Just because you haven't won doesn't mean you're not the best.