Falling victim to her tribe mates' harsh personal feelings about her, Courtney Marit was the 11th person to pack her bags and say goodbye on CBS' Survivor: PanamaExile Island (Thursdays at 8 pm/ET). Saying that the vote to oust her was "shocking," the California-based performer realized that her status as a potential threat going into the final two resulted in the decision to send her home. TVGuide.com grilled the former Casaya member about her finale voting strategy, her on-screen portrayal and her honest take on the remaining survivors.
TVGuide.com: What has reaction been like since your elimination episode aired?
Courtney Marit: My family is proud of me. I did the best I could and they've [provided] full support. I got a barrage of calls from my friends. I live in an artists community we're all artists or performers or DJs and I really wanted to win for all of us. I know I shouldn't put it on my shoulders, but I felt like I didn't just lose. I lost for my whole tribe of friends.
TVGuide.com: Although you seemed quite shocked at the vote, in light of recent tribal events, didn't you somehow believe you would be saying goodbye?
Courtney: I should have seen it coming. I just wish I had kept my cool with Danielle and not made a bond with Terry. I was thinking too much about [with whom] and how I'm going to get to the final two, versus, "Hey, I'm in sixth. How am I going to get to five?"
TVGuide.com: Did you have a strategy going into the game or did you develop one as you saw it unfold?
Courtney: My strategy was pretty simple: to project myself through alliances, do my best, try to be there for everyone, and bring some fun and light. In some aspects I [succeeded], and in others, I was a little feisty. Or as Cirie called me, "saucy."
TVGuide.com: During last week's episode, Cirie clearly articulated in an aside to viewers her desire to send you packing. Did you catch wind of her feelings of disapproval?
Courtney: She just feared my going to the final two, but I think it was a mistake. I would have been better going in her pocket than Aras. But they had a closer relationship.
TVGuide.com: We saw a somewhat-heated spat between you and Danielle in regards to your respective views on how the final two should be determined.
Courtney: [The scene that aired] was just the beginning of when our relationship started having a bit of rockiness, but I don't think it was enough for her to betray me in the way that she did. She was my friend out there, like, "Yeah, you're going to come out to Hollywood and we'll party." Well, sorry, baby you can stay in Florida all you want, 'cause my door ain't open for you! There are no grudges or anything [now]. It was a game and she was playing it.
TVGuide.com: The reward challenge in Episode 11 involved a question-and-answer session designed to reveal how tribe members felt about one another. You were pegged as the most annoying castaway. Now it's your turn to get the final say. Who mistakenly believes they are running the game at this point?
Courtney: It seems like Cirie, fo' shizzle. And I can't believe it.
TVGuide.com: Who is the biggest poser?
Courtney: Oh, you mean besides me? [Strikes model pose] I like to pose, it's fun! No, I'm so kidding. Aras is a bit confused. He says he's on this "spiritual path," and I know it's hard to stay true to, but hearing how conniving [he is] and how he talks... is very snakelike.
TVGuide.com: Who is the most annoying castaway still in the game?
Courtney: Bruce and I really rubbed each other the wrong way. Aras getting on his soapbox and preaching his higher-than-thou talk got on my nerves. I had good and bad moments with everyone, although Danielle and I were pretty much on an even keel until that one day. I'm like a dream for a reality show. I deliver the drama, baby!
TVGuide.com: Were you satisfied with your on-screen portrayal?
Courtney: No. There were tons of things in there they didn't show. They showed the negatives as much as they could. I did do annoying things, but I'm human. I wish they had shown more of the times where I was making people laugh and we were having a good time. I felt a little bit like the outsider, and I struggled a bit.
TVGuide.com: As part of the Casaya tribe, you had the opportunity to enjoy a handful of rewards. I've been anxious to hear about the Panamanian village BBQ, where your tribe spent the day with locals.
Courtney: I'm a world traveler and I seek adventure and travel to learn about other cultures and their way of life, so that was probably the best moment out there. It made me so happy, I was grinning ear to ear! I speak fluent Spanish and interpreted for the whole tribe, but I can't believe they didn't show that. It's like, "Look, here's an American girl you guys think is an idiot who's fluent in Spanish and working [on her] Italian." When I left the island, the kids were grabbing and hugging me, and I was supershining in that moment.
TVGuide.com: As the fourth member of this season's jury, are there any specific conversations or interactions positive or negative that you will take with you to the final vote?
Courtney: Well, I'm certainly not voting for anyone who backstabbed me, that's for damn sure! I want to vote for a person I think deserves it, someone who has worked hard and has some integrity. [My vote will go to] someone who will actually use the money in a good way, and not blow it on real estate or an empty vessel such as that. I was going to build a great nonprofit and do wonderful, giving things with the money, but I'm just going to have to make the million [dollars] on my own. And I'm going to.
TVGuide.com: Prior to doing Survivor, you already had quite a few stamps in your passport. How does Panama compare to other exotic locales you've visited?
Courtney: I didn't experience Panama; I experienced Survivor, on an island, although I did get to go to the Panamanian village. I thought that the surroundings were beautiful.
TVGuide.com: What is the biggest thing you learned being on Survivor?
Courtney: I learned the importance of listening to others and learned not to take people's judgments and insults personally. I am sensitive, have an open heart and I take things into my heart. [Such insults] weakened me. Starting with the verbal abuse from Shane in the beginning, it just chipped away at me. I was really, really ready for the game to be over. You make choices and you live with them. What you've got is what you've got celebrate and make the most of it.
TVGuide.com: Are there any future reality-show stints on the horizon for you? Perhaps The Amazing Race would suit your penchant for traveling.
Courtney: I don't think they'd put me on The Amazing Race, but I'd do another reality show. To be honest, I want to make some [money] and spread it throughout the world in a good way and try to inspire people in any way that I can.
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