It looked as if Lauren Rimmer had a real shot at winning Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. But her game took a sudden downward spiral after revealing she had a secret advantage and a hidden Immunity Idol. But what was her plan if she had survived that vote? Believe it or not, Lauren was preparing to build an alliance with Chrissy Hofbeck. During our one-on-one interview, Lauren also discussed the one castaway who she believes is playing the best game and explained what it’s like to be recognized by fans.
SheKnows: What was the thought process behind you giving half of your Immunity Idol to Mike?
Lauren Rimmer: The thought process was basically to try to keep Mike as close as I could. Mike always felt like he was on the outs. He would put trust in someone, but then everybody would betray him. Mike was kind of the swing person. When I heard my name was getting thrown around by Ben, I was thinking to try and make sure Mike was with me, Devon and Ashley. I wanted him to feel included in what was going on. He didn’t have to burn it, but that’s not how it worked out [laughs].
SK: Chrissy has been a polarizing player this season. Most castaways we’ve interviewed didn’t have very nice things to say about her. What did you experience with Chrissy?
LR: I try not to be mean, but I have a problem of speaking the truth. Chrissy is very annoying. She tried too hard to communicate with people. Sometimes she would try too hard and it turned people away. Your tone and voice has a lot to do with it, and she had a very harsh, demanding tone. Everybody saw when she was not in control, she threw a fit. You don’t play like that. It’s a game of everybody for themselves, but she took it to the extreme. She’s not one of my favorite players, I’m sorry.
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SK: You had a secret advantage that gave you a second vote. You told Chrissy shortly before getting voted off that you had ripped it apart. Was that true?
LR: It was in my pocket the whole time. Once I went with the decision to not use it, I had to go with that story. If I hadn’t been voted out, I probably would’ve given it to Chrissy. I would’ve tried to talk to her on a one-on-one basis and possibly try to use it with Chrissy. She and Ryan still feel like they’re on the outs. If I would’ve made it back and Ben was gone, it would’ve been a good opportunity to try to work with Chrissy.
SK: So you would’ve flipped the game again?
LR: Hell yeah. That’s what it’s about. It would’ve been perfect to come back and say, “Here, Chrissy. Here are the stipulations to me giving you this.” I could’ve still worked with Mike because he was all about not being voted out. Mike would work with you if he was safe. Our next target probably would’ve been Devon.
SK: You were clearly really upset with Ben when he tried to turn the votes against you. In our interview with Joe, he called Ben a fucking asshole. What are your thoughts on Ben?
LR: I don’t think Ben is a fucking asshole. I didn’t think that of Chrissy, either. Nobody really liked Joe because he was very boisterous. He kind of got under everybody’s skin, especially Ben’s. My relationship with Ben, we started out really tight. He and I did a lot of talking at night because it was either him or myself keeping the fire all night long. We got to talk about a lot of personal things. We grew up in the same category. I respect him in the way he’s playing, but he frequently went into that Marine mode. A lot of people didn’t like that. He had a goal with a target. He went for that target and played very aggressively. I don’t have any hard feelings toward Ben. I was mad, but of course I was upset because I just got voted out. I can’t hold anything against anybody because it was a game with all of us playing for the same thing.
SK: At the moment you flipped the game by forming a new group to topple the seven-way alliance, what was your end-game goal? Who did you want to sit at the final Tribal Council with?
LR: I had Devon, Ashley and Ben. We were all pretty tight. My plan was to go with Devon and Ashley to the final three. When we split the seven up, we went after J.P. because he had a better chance of winning challenges compared to Chrissy or Ryan.
SK: At this point, who do you think is playing the best game?
LR: I would probably have to say Ben. He’s done a really good job so far. He’s got the biggest target on his back, and he’s still working just as hard as he can work it.
SK: You gave a brief explanation during your time on the show, but walk us through how you got on Survivor.
LR: My sister found out they were having an open casting call. She begged me for a couple weeks to take her. I couldn’t because I was so wound tight with work. Commercial fishing, you have to go when it’s time to go. She finally got me to go, and we were there for more than four hours in a line. We did a minute interview and it went from there. They contacted me and not her. She never really held it against me. I had to promise her I would at least get her to the family visit. She told me, “If you get me there, I will hug you. But I’m hugging Jeff Probst first.” I was like, “There’s no way. You won’t do that.” She did.
SK: Were you a fan of the show?
LR: We both started watching when it first came out. That’s the year I graduated high school. When I first had my daughter, I worked at night a lot. My sister would record it, and that’s how we watched it. We would watch each episode, like, two or three times.
SK: Would you go back and play the game again?
LR: Oh, God yeah. I would totally play again. Just to go back and try to get further than I did this time would be amazing. It would be great to go and not make the same mistakes.
SK: You’re not from Los Angeles like a lot of the other players. You’re from a small town. Are you getting recognized by fans?
LR: I’m pretty much a social butterfly, and I live in a very small town. I came out of a dressing room once, and there was nine people standing there staring at me. I was like, “What are y’all staring at?” Then it goes from there [laughs]. I’ve had some crazy messages, but I think it’s all great.