Survivor: Africa reject Teresa "T-Bird" Cooper lost out on that cool million when loony Lex finally ousted her last week. (Who didn't see that coming?) On the bright side, the 42-year-old flight attendant from Jackson, Ga., must've earned a slew of frequent flyer miles jetting to Kenya and back! "You know what, it wasn't the $1 million," she tells TV Guide Online. "I wanted the title of Survivor. To be number one out of the 16 people would've been quite an honor."
The way T-Bird tells it, it sounds possible we'll see Lex's threatening tantrums seal his own fate during Thursday night's finale. "He's really a very sensitive guy," she hints, "and I think that one vote I put [against] him early on just threw him off. It came out in his 'throat-cutting' comments. Unfortunately, because of the way he overreacted, he lost a lot of fans [amongst the tribe].
"You don't want to show that side of yourself to the other players," she adds meaningfully. "You kinda gotta let it roll off your back. He told me he regretted the way he reacted." Hmm... Survivor fans may like to file that tidbit away for the next time Tribal Council comes around...
Meanwhile, T-Bird's not crying over spilt cow's blood she has high hopes for the future. "I'm in my forties and I've had two children, so I'm not sure how in demand I will be for Playboy," she laughs. "But in last week's show, I liked that [executive producer] Mark Burnett donated medical supplies for pediatric AIDS in Kenya. My brother died of AIDS 12 years ago, so I'd like to have a platform to help with those charities."
The tenacious T-Bird who's spent a 20-year career serving Delta passengers in-flight also wants to encourage American air travelers to be brave post-Sept. 11. "My husband and I are both airline people," she says. "But we don't dwell on [the tragedy]. To be afraid is exactly what the enemy wants us to do, so we try to stay away from that emotion." Spoken like a Southern Survivor indeed.