In a memorable Survivor: All Stars twist, 22-year-old Jenna Morasca made the tough decision to leave the game. She felt the need to see her mother, who'd been battling breast cancer and had taken a turn for the worse. Sadly, Morasca's mother passed away just eight days after she returned home. Here, TV Guide Online talks to this Survivor: The Amazon winner about quitting the game, fellow castaway reactions and — just to keep the mood light — Richard Hatch's nudity.
TV Guide Online: Were you pleased with how your last episode turned out?
Jenna Morasca: Yeah. I was really impressed. I think it really, really got across the emotions that we all were feeling that day. The kind of somber sadness and emotions like, "Yeah, we're playing a game, but this is real life." We all know each other. Whether you are not the best of friends or you hate each other, you still care for these people.
TVGO: Amber especially seemed upset by the news.
Morasca: That really touched me. A lot of it I didn't really remember, because it was kind of like a whirlwind. I was really touched to see the emotion in everybody. Some of the guys choked up.
TVGO: Were the producers supportive of your decision?
Morasca: Yeah. The producers and everybody on the staff. They handled me with care. They just did everything they could to make me comfortable. They really stepped out of the business world and into the real world and just said, "I'm sorry." I feel really lucky to be a part of a show that really cares about the people that are on it.
TVGO: How much did Jeff and the producers know before you got to the immunity challenge? They seemed prepared for your departure.
Morasca: I don't know if they watched the footage. They probably heard something, because they were taping us all day when I was talking to the tribe about it. I'm sure word got back somehow.
TVGO: Well, they must have known, since a boat was right there, waiting to take you away!
Morasca: Yeah... but there were boats everywhere.
TVGO: What made you do All-Stars in the first place?
Morasca: I'm a huge Survivor fan. I have watched every season since the first one with my mom. She was the original Survivor fan who even turned me on to the game. She said, "Go out there to the All-Stars and do it again, and don't worry about me." So that's what I did. I don't regret my decision for one second to go and play the All-Stars, and I don't regret for one minute my decision to come back.
TVGO: You said you had a premonition that her condition was getting worse. Can you explain that?
Morasca: I think that we just have a strong connection. Me and my mom were really close. I was an only child and I just felt a vibe from her. I never really believed in stuff like that before, and she always believed in that. Now, I guess I believe because I really did just have a feeling that I shouldn't be there.
TVGO: Alicia and Big Tom both made some unkind comments about your exit. What's your reaction?
Morasca: Big Tom's comments are Big Tom comments. That is the way he wanted to play that game, and it might not be the best way, but that is the way he wanted to do it. As far as Alicia, she just is like that. She just says what she says in a very blunt way that can sometimes sound cruel, but I don't think she meant it to be hurtful. Then again, it is hard for anyone to say what they would do unless they were in that situation, and I would never wish that situation on any of them.
TVGO: That said, your fellow Mogo Mogo tribemates were extremely supportive.
Morasca: They were awesome. I love them, even Richard.
TVGO: Speaking of Rich, how was it sharing a beach with this original Survivor, who's often nude?
Morasca: Great. He does what he wants, says what he wants, walks around with or without whatever he wants on. And that is why I love Richard, because he is never going to change.
Would you go back for another installment if they asked?
Morasca: I'd go back in a second. Only because I really didn't get a chance to play this time and I want to play again. I'd be in it 110 percent and it would be very different. One thing I do know is that my torch has never been snuffed on Survivor. So unless another winner wins this [installment], I'll be the only person whose torch was never snuffed.
You've made a lot of Survivor history. You were the youngest winner, you had the first landslide victory...
Morasca: ... and the whole nudity thing [with Heidi]. Yeah, you know me. I like to make a scene.