Scheming, strategizing and cracking wise carried Rob Cesternino to third place in Survivor: The Amazon. But his game was off on Survivor: All-Stars, where the Chapera tribe ousted him. Here, Cesternino tells TV Guide Online about Boston Rob's betrayal, life in cramped quarters with a certain canoodling couple and his hopes for a future in reality TV.
TVGO: In the Amazon, you were everywhere. We barely saw you on All-Stars. What happened?
Rob Cesternino: I just thought if I kept out of trouble and didn't bother anybody, they wouldn't come after me. That works on a regular Survivor, but when you play the game like I played it in the Amazon, people aren't going to forget about it too easily.
TVGO: Did the Chapera tribe see you as a quiet threat?
Cesternino: Even though I hadn't given them any indication that I was planning to defect on this season, they know what my track record is. That is what frustrates me — that I lost because of stuff that I did in a different game.
TVGO: Was it uncomfortable to live so close to Boston Rob and Amber, who were often flirting, cuddling and doing heaven knows what else?
Cesternino: It was a little weird. It was kind of like when you are sharing a cab with two people and they are making out. We didn't need that PDA going on at night time. This is not the love shack.
TVGO: You weren't really scheming in this game.
Cesternino: I was a little bit. Basically, I was just trying to keep my nose clean. But because nobody trusted me, I could never betray their trust.
TVGO: You trusted Boston Rob. Why?
Cesternino: I guess I trusted him. I didn't really have many alternatives. I said, "OK, if I can't beat them I will join them." So when Boston Rob offered me the opportunity to vote with him and Amber, I jumped at the chance.
TVGO: In the Amazon, Jeff Probst called you "the smartest player never to have won Survivor." So that's something.
Cesternino: It's something alright. Like being the prettiest girl to never get married.
TVGO: Did you mutter the F-word at tribal council?
Cesternino: I did! It's true. I haven't really talked to my parents about that. Hopefully, no lip-readers were watching the show.
TVGO: You are a big reality-TV fan. Are you watching any other reality shows, like Survivor creator Mark Burnett's other show, The Apprentice?
Cesternino: I'm watching all of them. I love The Apprentice. I really do. I don't know if I'm more surprised that Tammy got voted off [last week] or that I did! The good thing about The Apprentice is that Donald Trump doesn't vote you off because he thinks you are going to be too good as an apprentice. So that is where those guys have a little bit of an edge. I'll ask Mark next time I see him if he'll let me make a run at being Donald's next apprentice.
Was it awkward when Richard Hatch went nude?
Cesternino: I didn't have to deal with it too much. Luckily, he was pretty far away and my vision isn't that great, so it was automatically blurred out. It was about 20 feet away — and what he's got is like trying to read the bottom row of the eye chart.
Who are you rooting for to win Survivor: All-Stars?
Cesternino: I think I'm rooting for Big Tom because he's such a great guy. I'm kind of rooting for Sue Hawk, too. [Initially,] I said, "Oh, my god. I can't believe I'm going to be on a tribe with Sue Hawk." But I think I'm one of the people that got along with her the best. There is not a maternal bone in Sue Hawk's body, but I kind of felt like she was my Survivor mom out there. She was like, "Eat this. This is good. Do this." Or "Oh, no, you don't want to do that." I could listen to her stories all day. She was really funny.