Handpicked by Terry and Co. to round out the male-dominated La Mina alliance, Ruth Marie Milliman remained nothing but loyal to her tribe mates, but once Sally's athleticism was deemed a more valuable asset, her fate was sealed. Milliman may have been quiet during her stint on CBS' Survivor: Panama Exile Island (Thursdays at 8 pm/ET), but the South Carolina native and mother of two made up for it when TVGuide.com tracked her down the day after she said goodbye to her tribe.
TVGuide.com: As hard as it was, you must have sensed your exit was coming especially once La Mina discussed putting you on the chopping block the week before last.
Ruth Marie Milliman:
I had an alliance with the guys, so I wasn't in jeopardy then. The ultimate decision came down to Sally and Misty. Sally was going to go, but at the last minute it changed to Misty.
TVGuide.com: Do you feel your ultimate fate would have been different had you been on Casaya and not subject to the guys' alliance?
Possibly, you never know. It appeared that the women got a little bit more say-so over there. We were having to follow protocol because of the type of leadership we had, but their camp may have been stressful in a completely different way.
TVGuide.com: What were your initial feelings when Dan suggested you'd be a good fit for the guys' alliance?
I went to Dan about an alliance during the first hour we were on the beach. I had to. He went to discuss it with Terry and I also discussed it with Terry. It was probably about 24 hours later that they absolutely committed to it. I was thrilled, because they could have said no. Had they said no, I would have gone with the girls and we could have tried to make our own alliance.
TVGuide.com: In the previous episode, Sally explained how she felt isolated at camp after Misty's departure. Did the La Mina women have a special bond?
That tribe was the "love tribe." I wish those two girls could live with me that's the kind of bond we have. There are absolutely no hard feelings or anything. Honestly, the way the alliance was set up, I didn't have to be mean or backstab them. That was all kind of coming from Terry.
TVGuide.com: Misty told me your tribe sang at night to keep busy.
We would sing, play games... anything to pass the time. There were very few unpleasant moments, if any, at our camp.
TVGuide.com: In the reward challenge, La Mina took an early lead, but once it came time to assemble the puzzle pieces floating in the ocean, things fell apart. What happened?
Um, actually... I'm not certain we had all the right pieces. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Oh, really! Did you realize that while you were working on the puzzle?
I can't say it with certainty, but a certain person may have brought me the wrong piece. Most of those challenges are so close. On occasion, one is a runaway, but most of them are so close.
TVGuide.com: Do you remember how long it took you to complete that puzzle?
It's quicker than it looks on television, because everybody's motivated to go so fast. I can't imagine it taking more than seven minutes. Maybe 10.
TVGuide.com: When Casaya chose Terry to head to Exile Island, the tribe seemed distraught over his 48-hour departure. Austin seemed especially worried about there being no one to take charge while he was gone.
I didn't feel that was the case at all. Maybe Austin was the only one who did. We definitely produced a pretty smooth camp life under Terry, but any one of us could have been the leader.
TVGuide.com: Once Terry returned from what Shane deemed "hell," he said no one really asked him about the immunity idol. At that point, did you believe he had it?
I thought he had the idol just by the way he was talking about it. You could tell he had something to be proud of. I'm sensing the others thought he had it, too, but I can't say that for sure.
TVGuide.com: Looking back at the immunity challenge, did Austin take any heat for transporting the water buckets to you too slowly?
No, because there are so many things that go into those challenges. Nick had asked to pour the water because he wasn't feeling good. Had I been able to take his place, being smaller and lower to the ground, maybe I would have done a little better than some of the taller guys.
TVGuide.com: After dining on tribal dishes like snail soup, what was your first "real" meal after coming home from Survivor?
The first thing that I had when I came out of the game was sour-cream-and-onion potato chips. Then I just remember dipping chocolate in peanut butter. Then I remember vomiting all night! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: What does your family think about your time on the show? Your kids must think you're quite a cool mom!
Your kids think you're a dork no matter what you do. But they got to observe me doing something that may teach them when they're older to step out of the box and experiment a little. They've had a lot of fun with it. All their friends are throwing parties. It's been awesome.
TVGuide.com: Viewing parties sound like fun. Have there been any scenes you wish hadn't made it to the air? Anything you wish we had seen?
I definitely wish they would have taken out all those scenes of me in the bathing suit! I wish there had been more scenes of me gaming, because I was a little bit mute for my personality.
TVGuide.com: Might fans see you pop up in any additional reality shows in the future?
Well, gosh, I hope so! Maybe they'll do a Survivor: All Stars for people who got voted off. That would be interesting, wouldn't it? Bring me back!
Are you addicted to shows like Survivor? Find out the real reason reality's a hit.