She may not have walked away with the million-dollar prize on CBS' Survivor: Panama—Exile Island, but 24-year-old Massachusetts native Danielle DiLorenzo can say that she outwitted, outplayed and outlasted a full 14 of her island peers to make it to the final two. After the après-finale frenzy calmed down, Danielle called TVGuide.com to reflect on her Panama stay, explain her decision to take Aras to the finals, and share her feelings about her on-camera portrayal.
TVGuide.com: Congratulations on your second-place finish! What have you been up to since the finale aired?
Danielle DiLorenzo: I've been at home in Boston, doing a few interviews. I might go out to California next week and back to Florida the following week.
TVGuide.com: Thinking back to the finale where you had to answer to your tribal peers, which jury question surprised you most?
Danielle: I wouldn't say any of their questions surprised me, but one of Terry's [comments] surprised me. He said something about not having deceived anybody in this game. I don't agree with that, seeing as he lied to a lot of people.
TVGuide.com: If you were on the jury, what question would you have asked?
Danielle: I probably would have asked what [they] would do with the money and why [they] deserved it.
TVGuide.com: But once you earned your spot, was it difficult realizing that your actions from the previous 39 days would be considered when the jury determined the sole survivor?
Danielle: I was worried about Courtney, and Shane, because he always had negative things to say to me, but other than that I wasn't worried [during the final vote]. You're full of anxiety that night so you just try to go into it with an open mind and do the best you can. When you have people staring you down, it's very hard to keep calm and not be nervous.
TVGuide.com: Any regrets taking Aras to the final two?
Danielle: No, I don't have any regrets. I still came in second place and think that's a huge accomplishment. Both [Terry and Aras] are extremely competitive and were extremely powerful in the game. I think Aras is more deserving to win than Terry, because he played a better game all around — socially, mentally and physically. There are three parts to the game and he succeeded in all three, whereas I don't think Terry played the social aspect of the game.
TVGuide.com: Prior to the last tribal-council vote, you wore the immunity necklace after taking home first place in the water-endurance challenge against two of the game's strongest males. I guess you could say you really, um, blew them out of the water?
Danielle: Oh, my god, it was amazing to beat out Terry and Aras! As soon as I walked into that challenge I knew I had it, because I did gymnastics for eight years and balancing is very easy for me. It was awesome to have that opportunity to pick who I wanted to take to the final two.
TVGuide.com: Even though you didn't take home the million-dollar prize, you had the satisfaction of knowing you were the last woman standing.
Danielle: Absolutely! I stayed sane, I didn't lose it, and I wasn't lashing out at anybody. I was a physical threat, and I think I played the game pretty well.
TVGuide.com: Are you satisfied with your on-camera portrayal?
Danielle: I know, and the people who love and care about me know, the characteristics that I bring to the table. I'm a strong-minded, aggressive, successful, independent 24-year-old woman who made it to the final two, and if I didn't burn so many bridges I would have won the million dollars.
TVGuide.com: You traveled overseas extensively as a teen to compete in athletic competitions. How did your stay in Panama compare?
Danielle: Panama was nice, but I didn't really get to see too much of it other than that little island. I was also kind of bummed out about how much it rained. It affected the visibility in the water when we were trying to catch fish. It was muggy at times, too.
TVGuide.com: What's next for you?
Danielle: I'm just going to feel things out and get my bearings and market myself as much as possible to see what opportunities open up for me. I would love to get into acting.
TVGuide.com: What kind of entertainment are you interested in?
Danielle: Television — a TV series.
TVGuide.com: Any chance you'll do Survivor: All Stars if an offer was extended?
Danielle: Absolutely! I would do it in a heartbeat!
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