Christine Shields Markoski Christine Shields Markoski

After 14 straight days of near-solitude on Redemption Island, you'd expect Survivor's Christine Shields Markoski to be relieved she was sent home. But the 39-year-old teacher says she was unfazed by an experience that would drive most people to the brink. "It was just very natural for me to be on Redemption Island. It was fine!" Christine identified herself as a tough cookie from Day 1. In the season premiere, as the other tribe members welcomed veterans Ozzy and Coach with open arms, Christine publicly called them "temporary players." We chatted with the nature-loving New Yorker about her experience, whether she regrets her attitude toward the vets, and what she would have done differently if given the chance.

You spent three times as long alone on the island as you did with your tribe. How rough was it out there?
Christine Shields Markoski
: I'm a camper by nature. I'm an outdoorsy kind of girl despite my high heels and nice clothes. Growing up, we went on a lot of camping trips as a family, and I always worked hand-in-hand with my father doing the camping kind of stuff. The living part was easy for me. Sleeping outside and the animals and the noises and things — that was fine. Being alone with your thoughts was definitely the most difficult aspect of it.

What did you miss the most, besides your family?
Christine:
Chicken wings. And beer! I'm a foodie. I enjoy cooking and feeding people and eating so I definitely missed the food.

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Do you regret calling the veterans "temporary"?
Christine:
No. I don't regret making that comment at all. Because that's how I felt. I'm a person that puts everything on the table.

Who would you have aligned with?
Christine:
Stacy of course. She's just rock solid.

When you found out Ozzy had volunteered himself to be voted off, just so that he could beat you on Redemption Island and return after the merge — what was your reaction?
Christine:
It was a shock. He had his whole act. I guess I believed it because I had no reason not to. Everyone else was forthcoming with me. And why would you want to get voted off? I felt that he got blindsided and he was angry. Because who would ever think that they voluntarily got voted off?! I also didn't really care that much. I was tired.

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So do you think Ozzy will win the whole thing, or will it be someone else?
Christine:
I think Benjamin (Coach) will go the furthest.

But is he the one you would want to see win it?
Christine:
Yes and no. No, because I don't like him. And yes, because it will validate what I said in the beginning, that he should have been temporary. He needed to go! But he was put on a team with people that are followers. What I do regret is not forming an alliance right away, as Coach did. Had he been temporary, then it would have been one of us and not him. That's why I want him to go the farthest, because it will validate what I said.

Were you a fan of the show before you got cast?
Christine:
I was! We are a Survivor-watching family. Everyone got their popcorn and we plopped ourselves in front of the TV. And that's what sparked my decision to do it. Because my kids would turn to me and say, "Mommy you could do that!"

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When you arrived, was it what you thought it would be?
Christine:
It was a lot harder than I anticipated. Sitting in my living room, you think, "Well, that's not that bad." But it was a lot more difficult in every aspect. [Like] the social part of it, having to sustain yourself. Everything was a lot more than I anticipated. But it was great.

Now that you're home, have you been getting recognized a lot?
Christine:
You know what's funny? When I have my makeup on and my hair done, no one looks at me! But when I haven't showered and I run to the supermarket, everyone is like "Oh my God Christine! You're Christine!"

Are you back in school teaching?
Christine:
I'm back at work, teaching English as a Second Language. My students watched me and they always say, "Miss Shields I saw you on TV last night!"

It's a good thing you didn't do anything too crazy or controversial.
Christine:
Besides flipping the bird. Yeah, I'm glad it was Survivor and not, you know...The Bachelorette.