One week after (finally) winning its first immunity challenge, the Foa Foa tribe found itself back in the losers' circle on Thursday's Survivor: Samoa. The heavy rain not only kept the entire tribe in close quarters, but it also put a huge damper on any chance of strategizing who to vote off at tribal council. After Ashley Trainer failed to keep her Samoa smoothie down and lost the reward challenge for Foa Foa, the 22-year-old paid the price and walked the plank.
Now back on dry land and looking for a "big-girl job," the recent college graduate spoke with TVGuide.com about that gruesome reward challenge, Foa Foa's weakest links and what she would have done differently.
TVGuide.com: Were you surprised about being voted off? Obviously it was a very interesting tribal council with the weather and everything.
Ashley Trainer: At first, I felt very safe at the tribal council. Then once everyone started talking, I realized they were talking about me [as] who they were going to vote out. But we were all stuck in the shelter — this was the fourth day of rain — and I had no time to strategize even if I had known I was going to get voted out. I got voted out at the worst possible time because I couldn't help myself in any way.
TVGuide.com: Was there any indication from your tribe that you might be the one to go after the reward challenge?
Ashley: I talked to everyone after and I wasn't the only one who had a hard time getting [the food] down ... other people had just as hard of a time as me. They showed a little clip of me and Natalie sitting on the beach and how proud of me she was. I didn't feel like that was the reason that I got voted off and I didn't think that that would have been the reason I got voted off. But honestly, I don't know what their entire reasoning is behind it.
TVGuide.com: What was going through your mind during the reward challenge when you were trying to get that drink down?
Ashley: Going through it, my tribe was cheering me on as the other tribe was egging me on, making these gagging noises and saying these horrible things. I just kept thinking in my head, "steak, steak, steak," and trying to get it down. My body was literally rejecting it. I would try to swallow and it would come right back up. That was the rule: If it comes back up, you either eat it or you don't get the points, so I was like, "OK, keep this down." It was horrible, absolutely horrible.
TVGuide.com: How did the tone on the Foa Foa tribe shift after your first win last week and then losing both the reward and the immunity challenge this week?
Ashley: Being stuck in the shelter was horrible, but at the same time, we got to know each other so much better than we would have if it had been nice outside. We're huddled in a ball ... we really, truly felt that we were all connected. We were like a little family out there and I feel like that's something that we had that Galu did not have. We all trusted each other to a certain extent, as much as you can in the game. I feel like Galu doesn't have that so I'm hoping that with the next challenges to come, [Foa Foa] can get it together. Maybe there's something that has to do with trust and Galu just can't do it. That's something that we had that Galu did not have for sure.
TVGuide.com: Going back to your tribe, Jaison [Robinson] seemed to complain a lot, but at the same time contributed a lot to challenges. What was your feeling on him?
Ashley: I look at this way, with the game of Survivor, if you are good in the challenge and you can help us win, it's worth hearing him complain around camp because the challenge is how you get far in the game. If you win the immunity challenge, you don't have to go to tribal council, you don't have to lose people. At times, it got to be a little old because he kept saying, "This is the worst decision I've ever made in my life," and yada, yada, yada. But at the same time, he's physically very, very, very strong, especially his swimming.
TVGuide.com: In this last episode you said you didn't trust Liz [Kim] from the beginning. What caused those feelings?
Ashley: When I wanted Ben [Browning] out instead of Betsy [Bolan], I approach Liz and I tell her why I believe we should get Ben out. Immediately, I watched her go directly to Ben right after I talked to her about getting Ben out, and I knew exactly what she was saying. Then I watched her go to Russell [Hantz]. I knew that the second I talked to her and I was done with it, I was like "crap," because I knew she went and she would tell people. That was the pinpoint when it was like, "I can't trust her." That sucks too; you have an alliance with someone but you can't trust them. You can't go to them with possibly a girl alliance, which I wanted to happen, because I knew that was the only way I could make it to the end ... You can't go to someone that you can't trust and who's going to go directly to someone else and tell them what's going on? That's not the way the game works.
TVGuide.com: What, if anything, would you change about your Survivor experience?
Ashley: If I could go with all the exact same people, I would have trusted my [instinct]. I had a really bad feeling about Russell the second we got on the island, a horrible feeling, but he approached me. When you get approached, I didn't want to blow him off, but then he made me trust him so much. I would have probably tried to get a girl alliance going, maybe Betsy and Natalie and Liz ... I probably would have done it a little bit different[ly] but I did the best with what I had on my tribe ... The rain was a killer and I just wonder if [it didn't rain], what would have happened.
TVGuide.com: Did the combination of the reward challenge and the bad weather make it any easier for you to leave?
Ashley: You think about it and you're like, "Yes! Today I get a bed and I get a shower and some food." But, at the same time, I was doing this once-in-a-lifetime thing that I suddenly have no choice of leaving ... It was nice, but I would have loved to have stayed and played longer.