Shannon "Shambo" Waters was known best to Survivor: Samoa fans for her big personality and even bigger hair. While Russell tried to figure out just what she was hiding in her 20-year-old mullet during Thursday's penultimate episode, Shambo was busy coining a new catchphrase — "Shambolicious" — and packing her things in anticipation of her ouster. The 45-year-old former Marine sergeant talked with TVGuide.com about her unwavering loyalty, Russell's "disturbing remarks" and why she was glad to go.
TVGuide.com: What were your thoughts going into tribal council?
Shannon "Shambo" Waters: I was completely mentally prepared [to leave] when I saw Jaison bolt away from Russ when I was sneaking up on those guys and trying to hear what they were saying. That is the only time the entire show that I packed absolutely everything that I wanted to bring with me. ... That is the one and only time that I was prepared to go because I didn't want Foa Foa to turn on each other. I wanted that unit to stay strong, it was important. Their loyalty — after the disloyalty on Galu — it made my heart happy. Brent couldn't have gone home, so who else would they really have sent home? In the real world, it had to be me, and it was OK.
TVGuide.com: Was it hard watching Russell and others betray your trust and break your alliance?
Shambo: It wasn't hard at all. When you take someone at face value, you have to consider who you are taking at face value. I asked [Russell] on three different occasions [what he and Jaison were talking about] and he gave me three different stories. So I was fairly confident that I was going home. As far as the disturbing remarks he made about me... if someone says they're a snake and you know they're a snake, don't be surprised when the snake comes after you. It's all good. I love Russ. There's absolutely nothing he could do or say to hurt me because he has no power in my life. I have an amazing life. And that's television — it's not reality, it's just television.
TVGuide.com: What do you think about his statement that no one would have voted for you to win the million dollars if you made it to the finale?
Shambo: That was a conversation that he and I had, just in case he did take me [to the finale]. I needed to plant that seed. ... [The Galu tribe members] thought I was disloyal, but to me, I was the only one on Galu that was loyal. I didn't write Eric's name down. They took our tribe out, they made that choice. They reaped the benefits of their decision-making by making their numbers what they were so Foa Foa could take the helm in the end.
TVGuide.com: After the merger, you flipped to Foa Foa and put yourself in a position of power. What do you think changed this week that caused you to get voted out?
Shambo: In my heart of hearts and being an avid Survivor watcher through every season, [I know] there is no such thing as a position of power... because this is not a game of honor and honesty. A lot of things are not as seen as television. I think that I was pitched sometimes to be a total Gilligan goofball, silly dimwit. Get real. That is so not who I am.
TVGuide.com: Over the entire season, you clashed with a lot of people on the island. Why do you think that was the case?
Shambo: I think that if there [is] something to be said, I say it directly to people's faces. There was a little bit of game play going on from day one. On the recap on Thanksgiving, it showed scenes from Day 1 of Laura making statements that I was socially inept. ... She didn't even know me yet. She had made that decision on day one, and that was part of her game plan. Laura is a bright, strong woman, and I am definitely the same. I think that sometimes people clash and maybe that's what it was. I wasn't going to back-stab, I wasn't going to lie, I wasn't going to get in any little social cliques. I wanted to be my best me and work my butt off. You can't be friends with everybody. ... People in real life , if they have a personality clash with somebody, an intelligent human being would steer clear. You can't do that on this game.
TVGuide.com: If you could go back now, would you still have aligned with Russell and voted with Foa Foa after the merger? Is there anything else you would have done differently?
Shambo: When I was with Foa Foa, I was there six out of the first 13 days and a bond was built. ... Then, [Galu] continued to win so I think I played it pretty darn good. ... I stand by what I did. I stand by the fact that I was loyal. I stand by the fact that Galu imploded itself by voting one of their own off, which was not the plan of attack. For anybody to point a finger at me and say I'm disloyal, I say, you have got to be kidding me. I was not disloyal.
TVGuide.com: Is it tough coming so close to the finale?
Shambo: With my outgoing personality and my big mouth that has no end, I am absolutely shocked I made it as far as I did. I was the oldest person out there by 10, 15 years at the end of the game. ... I'm very proud of myself.
TVGuide.com: Going off of what Russell asked, what were you really hiding in your hair?
Shambo: Really, I was hiding 36 days of not-so-nice, not-so-conditioned, not-so-shampooed German-Irish hair from hell that was in dire need of some attention.
Who do you think will take home the million dollars?