Survivor's Jennifer Lanzetti blames Jeff Probst's advice for her early elimination
In her Survivor: Kaôh R?ng demise, viewers slammed Jennifer Lanzetti on social media for foolishly talking so much that it triggered her ouster. But there was so much more to the story that Lanzetti says never made it on the show.
Although her time in Survivor's battle of Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty was cut way short, Jennifer Lanzetti had a couple of big, memorable moments throughout the two episodes she was on. From her terrible Tribal Council in which she was voted off to the horrifying incident where a bug crawled into her ear, Jennifer covered it all with us in our one-on-one interview. Why was she really voted off? Why does she say following Jeff Probst's advice was a big mistake? Why didn't the medical team help her with the worm in her ear? Which former Survivor contestant convinced her to go on the show? Her answers will surprise you.
Unlike most interviews, this one actually began with her starting the conversation with an interesting proposal. Enjoy!
Jennifer Lanzetti: Hey, Ryan. I have a challenge for you. I want you to ask a question nobody else has asked me yet today [laughs].
SheKnows: I will give it a shot. Maybe I'll come up with something, but I do have to ask you about the obvious. Let's talk about that Tribal Council where you talked yourself out of the game. What happened?
JL: [Laughs.] Oh, come on. I'm sure you've seen train wrecks before. Just your typical, average, oh shit, foot-in-mouth train wreck. I wish they could've shown more of Tribal. It was like an hour and a half. It was one of the longest Tribals they've ever had. There were so many more dynamics and twists to it. The edit was interesting. I was like wow. Why make me look like that much of a fool? I don't think I was that much of a fool [laughs].
SK: What didn't we see?
JL: You didn't see that Alecia came to me. She's on the bottom, right? We lose the challenge and go back to camp. Jason and Scot had basically told me and Cydney, "Hey, make it a nice last day for her." No problem. Of course. I'm just walking around with her when she said, "I have an idea. All-girl alliance." I had wanted to do an all-girl alliance from the very beginning. I'm on board with girl power. Women aren't weaklings by any means. I'm a big female advocate for girl power. I was like, "Yes! Girl alliance." Then I saw who the two girls were and I was like, "Shit, this is never gonna work. I might as well stay with Scot and Jason." She came to me and was like, "I'm ready. I can do this, Jen. You can trust me." I was thinking, "No I can't. I can't trust you on shit. You can't do anything." But she convinced me. I called Cydney over to see if she's on board, which she totally was. We were making a big move early in the game. Don't ever listen to Jeff Probst, by the way. He gives terrible advice. He told me to play the game like I've played it before and make big moves. I'll never do that again [laughs]. He tells me to do that and I'm like, "Yes! Big moves already." I thought we could do this and stick together as women. A Brawn tribe of all women and we can make it to the end. I was sincerely passionate and happy about it for about a whole hour. Than I was reminded of who I'm dealing with. She [Alecia] betrayed me immediately, and went right to Scot and Jason. My only recourse was what you saw at Tribal. That was me being honest. You've got to throw Jeff a bone or he will eat you and expose you at Tribal. He asks, "Jen, what happened at camp with things up in the air?" I'm like, "Yeah, Jeff. Things were up in the air. I talked to Alecia and Cydney, and I realized it was a bad idea. We're here tonight to vote out Alecia." You see some of that and you don't see some of that. Jason and Scot get this look on their face like they didn't know about it. I looked at them like they were so full of it! You guys both knew about it! Don't pretend like you didn't know about it! I know you knew about it! It just got worse from there. It was one car crashing into another.
SK: When you say Probst gave you bad advice, when did he offer that suggestion?
JL: That was pre-game. He was talking to everyone. It's funny because Jonas [Otsuji], my buddy from Season 24 [Survivor: One World], I didn't want him to tell me anything. I wanted Survivor to be totally authentic and real. He was on board with that, but he did say to make big moves and be yourself. Myself is an honest person and somebody who makes big moves while rallying girls behind each other. I'm not a man hater. I love men, but I also love strong women banding together for a good cause. It sounded so good at the time [laughs].
SK: How do you know Jonas?
JL: Jonas and I are friends. A couple years ago, we met through a mutual friend. I love TV production, and he was doing a show that needed a host. I helped him host a couple episodes, and we just stayed good friends. He came back [from Survivor] and called me to say, "Jen, you are the ultimate Survivor." I was like, "Wow. That's a hell of a compliment." From my past, I do feel like the ultimate Survivor. My sister and I binge-watched a couple episodes because I was behind a couple of seasons. We made a video and they called me two and a half years later. I didn't know they kept videos for that long [laughs].
SK: When you watched that Tribal Council unfold with the rest of America as people on social media bashed you for not shutting your mouth, was it cringe-worthy for you? Or were you OK with it all?
JL: The whole thing was cringe-worthy. It shouldn't be called reality TV. It should be called drama edit TV. Let's edit this to make this person look the worst way possible. Let's make this look a certain way so we get a certain reaction. To me, it wasn't reality TV. It was edited perfectly to make me look like a dumbass.
SK: Do you feel dumb after watching it?
JL: No. Absolutely not. I am an honest person in my real life. I have so many people — and when I say so many people, we're talking hundreds of my friends — who Facebooked me to say Survivor may not be the best show for me because I'm honest and a little blunt. Well, they were right. There [were] like 200 things I could've done differently. Who knows which one would work? I'm sad. I'm not gonna lie. I love that show. I loved being out there. The worm experience, I got bit by a centipede eight times and I had third-degree burns on my face. But I loved it.
SK: Going into that Tribal Council, did you know the tribe was going to vote you off? Some have said, including Probst, that your big mouth changed the group's mind to flip against you. Do you think that's true?
JL: I knew it was a possibility. I knew they knew that I had mentioned a girl alliance. Alecia and Cydney told them. They told me as much at Tribal. I was not surprised I was potentially on the chopping block. I honestly thought, "OK. I'll admit to it. No problem. But logically, we have to stick together." I was hoping they would realize their hypocrisy, that this is Survivor and people talk about ideas every single day. We all do this. Put me in the bottom, I don't care. You do want to win challenges, right? You don't want to keep losing. Apparently, that kind of logic just flew over their heads.
SK: You talk about the edit of reality TV not being very real. A lot of viewers have been very rough on Alecia, saying that she's worthless and pitiful. Are we seeing the real Alecia?
JL: I don't know because I don't know who the hell the real Alecia was. I was the nicest person to her out there. I showed her how to gut a chicken. I showed her all kinds of things. Yeah, it's like babysitting, but I was also trying to be her friend. It's rough out there and we need friends. I was being nice to her. Everybody else treated her like shit, and she turned on me. I don't know who the hell she is. I don't know what's going on in that girl's mind.
SK: You will go down in Survivor history as having one of the most nightmarish moments the show has ever seen when the bug embedded itself in your ear. A lot of people have been wondering why you sat there and suffered without any medical evaluation. Did you call for a medic?
JL: Of course I did. That thing was in my ear for two days. Just because you call for a medic doesn't mean they bring you one. I don't know where people get that idea from [laughs]. They will wait right up until you literally are on your last breath and you can't take it anymore before they bring you out. It's gotta be good drama. My ear started bleeding for 24 hours, possibly 30 hours, before they brought the medic out. I asked for the medic quite a few times. At one point I was actually screaming for the medic. That cry was real. Those tears were real. That was hard and very painful. Finally, they brought a medic over. I was crippled. I was on the ground rolling around just screaming. I could barely move anymore.
SK: When the bug finally crawled out of your ear, I think everybody was screaming at their TV, wondering why your tribemates didn't grab it right away and kill it. What was the deal?
JL: Right? When I saw that, I was pissed. I was like, "What the hell?" It was crazy [laughs]. The medic eventually put an antibiotic solution in my ear. He goes, "If there's anything in there, this will kill it." I was like, "If? Really, dude? Really?" It started to crawl out and that's when I screamed.
SK: Which was worse? The bug in your ear or getting voted out?
JL: Voted out was way worse. That was permanent. The ear worm was temporary. I had a lot left in me. I was ready to go 39 days. I had so much left in me.
SK: Had you gone those 39 days, who did you see yourself going to the end with?
JL: I saw Jason there for sure. I think if Jason and I could've gotten past that second vote, we would've come together and split our differences to go all the way to the end. I don't know that Scot would've made it all the way to the end, because he's a huge threat when it comes to merge time. I was kind of hoping for Cydney. Before I found out she voted for me, I was on team Cydney because I thought she was a badass.
SK: Who does not deserve to be there?
JL: [Long pause.]
SK: I think I met your challenge of asking you a question nobody has posed yet.
JL: Yeah. Thank you. Nobody has asked me this. [Long pause continues.] No comment. Everybody deserves to be there. Everybody has their reasons to be there.
Were you surprised that Jennifer was voted off so early? Do any of her comments surprise you? Had she survived the second Tribal Council, do you think there was any way she could have made it to the end? Join the conversation now by leaving a comment.
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