Some Survivors make a big impression right out of the gate, and others take a while to come to the forefront. So while Aitu oddball Billy made for memorable TV, his former tribemate, Cecilia Mansilla, was just starting to come out of her shell when the buffs were dropped and the teams were shuffled, and suddenly she found her torch getting snuffed out. TVGuide.com asked Cecilia about her brief Survivor: Cook Islands stay and her strategy that failed.
TVGuide.com: I feel like we didn't really get to know you that well.
Cecilia Mansilla: I know. That's a bummer. It was too quick.
TVGuide.com: Did you see your ouster coming?
Cecilia: I knew, and to be honest, I just kind of gave up.
TVGuide.com: You didn't try a last-ditch-effort strategy?
Cecilia: No. Ozzy and I were a two-for-one. I approached Sundra and she was good with that, and both Cao Boi and Flicka said, "Don't even talk strategy to me. We've got to do what is best for the tribe to keep us strong." So I spent a lot of time bonding and chatting and getting to know her. I didn't spend so much time getting to know Cao Boi, which I should have. She only flipped because Cao Boi flipped.
TVGuide.com: But were you upset that they flipped?
Cecilia: No. You could tell from my face at tribal that I was fine. I had already had an amazing experience, and yes, I could have done with a lot more of it, but I was good. I was starting to get sick and I was thinking I'd get out of there before I had to spend another night on the ground with rats on my head.
TVGuide.com: The Cook Islands looked like a stunning location, so at least that must have been nice.
Cecilia: Oh, yeah, it was beautiful. Usually on Survivor, people are complaining that they are starving, but I don't know what happened to them because we got food and we were eating every day. We got two chickens and we even had to decide if we should let a chicken go because we already ate a lot. There was a point where we sent chickens back into the wild. On my original tribe, almost everybody worked really hard for us to stay strong and stay happy and have fun.
TVGuide.com: Do you have any regrets about throwing last week's challenge in order to vote Billy out?
Cecilia: I've been going back and forth on it. I have regrets because to be in Billy shoes and see this happening and to see his team lose because of him [is sad], but his attitude was detrimental to the health of the tribe. In that sense, I feel bad that we did it, but we really had to do it. A lot of people talk about maybe [not wanting] to get rid of numbers, but it was very unlikely he would have been on my tribe [when we switched]. And we already felt that as soon as we merged because he had already tried to split up the five of us into men against women that he would really go out of his way to get rid of us and vote us off.
TVGuide.com: Clearly he would have sided with Candace.
Cecilia: Yeah, he loved himself some Candice. It just came out of nowhere, and it was so funny. Even poor Jeff [Probst] had to cover his mouth so you couldn't see him laughing. It was so strange.... Who does that? The thing is that he had told me beforehand, and I was like, "That's weird, but whatever, dude." I wasn't about to bring it up at tribal council and embarrass him. He took care of that himself.
TVGuide.com: What was your strategy going in?
Cecilia: I was really trying to lay low and go with the flow and not be in the lead or piss anybody off. I wanted to work as hard as I could to balance out any weaknesses that I may have. I just wanted to be somebody you could get along with and like. That's why I had such a good experience. I went out early, but it was positive. It was nothing personal, they needed numbers and I wasn't one of the numbers. I was hoping to use my feminine charms on one of the guys, but I got the short end of the stick and all of the beefcake was on the other tribes. I had my "little brother" Ozzy and a couple of guys who were married, and I was like, "Oh, god."
TVGuide.com: Well, there was Yul.
Cecilia: Yeah, but we didn't have much time together. The first day [after the switch] it rained and all eight of us were in the hut together so there wasn't really a one-off opportunity. We spent six hours getting to know each other.
TVGuide.com: Did you make any long-term friends?
Cecilia: Yeah, there are people who are going to be lifelong friends. I was looking around the room wondering how I got to be part of this group of amazing people.
TVGuide.com: So finally, I'm sure you are sick of this question, but what did you think of the way the tribes were split up?
Cecilia: It was such a nonissue. Some people were concerned that it was going to play up the stereotypes and be a big joke, but the people were very diverse in their own personal lives and in their relationships, so I feel that it was going to be good and show that people are people regardless of race.
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