After losing its first immunity challenge in last week's Survivor: Micronesia — Fans vs. Favorites (Thursdays at 8 pm/ET, CBS), the Airai tribe (that would be the fans) blindsided Mary Sartain, voting her out as a ploy to undermine Mikey B.'s power. The real-estate-company owner from Walnut Creek, California, talked about the division in her tribe, her short-lived alliance and how she found love thanks to her early departure.
TVGuide.com: It seems like we hardly got to know you. Were you shocked at being voted off so early?
Mary Sartain: Definitely; I was blindsided. I thought I'd get a little more time — I wasn't ready to go yet!
TVGuide.com: Your relationship with Mikey clearly did you in. In retrospect, do you regret having gotten close with him so quickly?
Mary: I really have no regrets; people are going to act the way they're programmed to act. No matter what, I think Joel would have been kind of paranoia-central anyways — he would have singled us out. He had a thing against Mikey B.; he thought he was going to gain too much control over the females on the team.
TVGuide.com: Joel came after you as part of his strategy to take control of Airai. Did you have any idea that he was so ambitious?
Mary: He's a controlling guy; he got very worried at the very beginning that his control was going to be taken away by Mikey B., and that was just too much for him to handle. He was a very forceful player.
TVGuide.com: You know how it goes in this game — very visible alliances are usually easy targets. So was it a strategic mistake to ally with Mikey?
Mary: In the beginning, I really didn't have so much of an alliance with Mikey B. as I did with the seven of us on the tribe. Basically, the three who kind of felt like they were outcasts — Tracy, Chet and Kathy — were saying, "Oh, Mikey B. and Mary are getting kind of close." They spread that around without me knowing, and I think just by default, everyone thought Mikey B. and I had the tightest alliance. But to be honest, an alliance of two people really isn't strong in a tribe of 10 people. Especially in the very beginning, it's not something that should be feared; it should be the weaker players who are going. And I'm a very strong player. If I would have gotten a chance to swim or do something physical in the challenge we lost, I think it would have been a different story.
TVGuide.com: Let's talk about the division in your tribe. Why did Chet, Kathleen and Tracy become segregated?
Mary: They basically did it to themselves; we never had anything against them. Kathy had all these crazy things that were coming out of her mouth. We kind of kept our distance from her; a lot of people were getting annoyed, Jason in particular. She paired herself with Tracy and Chet because they felt that they were the older crew and that we were ganging up against them. But that's not really how it would have gone down if they didn't step out of our tribe and build their own shelter.
TVGuide.com: You said Kathy was talking crazy — like what?
Mary: She was talking about boobs — about breast implants — and talking about Ami being a lesbian and Chet being gay, all these totally off-color things. She was trying too hard to single herself out.
TVGuide.com: Did it seem like strategy on her part?
Mary: I think she just doesn't really have an edit button; I don't think she played a strategic game. If she hadn't won the first immunity idol, it would have gone down very differently.
TVGuide.com: Well, that explains the Kathy situation; what about Chet and Tracy?
Mary: I think there were hard feelings because there wasn't a whole lot of work being done on their part; the rest of the crew was really working hard. Tracy is a developer, and she really didn't pitch in with the first shelter we built. When it collapsed, she was kind of like, "I told you so," and that rubbed some people the wrong way. It would have been nice for them to help out. Chet was pretty wiped out by the third or fourth day. I definitely thought we should have voted out Chet.
TVGuide.com: You weren't there for all that long, but what was your best experience?
Mary: Honestly, if I hadn't been voted off early, I wouldn't have met my new fiancé, Ryan [Opray] from Pearl Islands. I met him through another Survivor contestant. So all is not lost!
TVGuide.com: Who is your all-time favorite Survivor?
Mary: Obviously my fiancé, Ryan O.! I was hoping to be my favorite Survivor, but that didn't really happen.
Check out Survivor: Micronesia — Fans vs. Favorites clips in our Online Video Guide.
For more features, news and inside scoop, check out the latest issue of TV Guide, with our in-depth Oscar Preview. Plus: Post-strike details on your favorite shows. Try four risk-free issues of TV Guide now!
Send your comments on this Q&A to firstname.lastname@example.org.