Ami Cusack, the most recent castoff from Survivor: Micronesia (Thursdays at 8 pm/ET, CBS), may have taken this season's setup too literally. The 35-year-old nanny from Denver, Colorado, spent her last days on the island caught between the fans and the favorites. She tried to find her place — and play both sides — but in the end the truth about her duplicity set her free from the game. With her torch snuffed, Ami told TVGuide.com just how hard it was to be the woman in the middle.
TVGuide.com: You were a strong player, but by the end you were very emotional. Were you playing the game all the way through to tribal council?
Ami Cusack: I honestly don't feel like I was playing the game until the last three hours on the beach. After Yau-Man got voted out and Cirie chose to vote with the other alliance, my game just went on pause. [Later on] after I talked with Cirie and Amanda, I started playing wholeheartedly again. Even though I had a pretty serious injury, I felt like I was ready to rock and roll again.
TVGuide.com: You took a beating out there, but we didn't see much of that.
Ami: I blew out my ACL. I completely ripped it in half, so I was playing every challenge after that with no ACL. It was pretty serious.
TVGuide.com: After the tribe mix-up, Malakal had a strong team, but you guys didn't do so well. What happened?
Ami: I think a lot of it was the willpower of [the Airai tribe's] Eliza and Jason. Those two knew that they were the next to go if they lost. If you notice in the last three immunity challenges, it was those two who pretty much won it. They really were fighting for their lives, and that's what put [Airai] over the edge when it came to immunity challenges. They wanted it worse than we did.
TVGuide.com: What about you? We saw you plotting with the fans on your tribe to take down Ozzy. Why did you change your mind?
Ami: Chet wasn't strong enough to stay in the game. I listened to Tracy, but I would rather have gotten rid of Erik or Amanda. I think [the fans] were going after the wrong person. I like Ozzy, and I didn't want to vote him out.
TVGuide.com: After you busted Erik talking to Cirie and Amanda, you came clean to them about the fact that you had been playing both sides. Why not deny what he had told them?
Ami: Denying it and lying would have only dug my grave deeper. I had been talking to them about what I was doing the whole time, so Cirie knew that I was entertaining [the fan's] ideas. I decided to be 100 percent honest and everything was fine. It was Ozzy that brought me down, not Cirie and Amanda. He was changing it up at the end, saying, "We need to get rid of Ami," and Amanda is wrapped around Ozzy's finger.
Ami: [Laughs] And I swear I don't think women are hot! No, he's definitely leading the tribe.
TVGuide.com: Why do you think you were on the fringes of the favorites' alliance?
Ami: I started out on the other side of the alliance. A lot of those people had known each other before, and they had very strong sexual connections. They started the game connected, so I was on the outside. I had to figure out how to sink or swim.
TVGuide.com: From a strategic point of view, were the favorites justified in voting you out?
Ami: Maybe it was for Amanda, but I think Ozzy and Cirie will end up kicking themselves in the butt for voting me out.
TVGuide.com: If you had made it to the merge, what would have been your next move?
Ami: I would have stayed with Ozzy, Amanda, Cirie, Parvati and James. I know at some point those girls are going to separate from the guys. They're going to have to. Otherwise, Ozzy and James are going to dominate. I would've gone to James and Ozzy to see what their plans were, but I'm pretty sure I would've stuck with the girls.
TVGuide.com: What was your overall take on your experience on the island?
Ami: I loved it, and I feel lucky that I got to play with people like Yau-Man, Fairplay, Ozzy and James — they were my favorites. We had such a great experience, and it's such a beautiful place. I would do it 10 more times if they asked me.
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