HitFix Interview: Yve Rojas talks 'Survivor: Nicaragua'
Regrets, the latest castoff has a few, but not too few to mention
It's never easy to hear that your tribe would rather keep around the crotchety old guy who frequently threatens to quit, walks with a limp and arrived at camp with $1,600 loafers, but that's what happened to Yve Rojas on Wednesday (Oct. 20) night's "Survivor: Nicaragua."
It wasn't Yve's fault. She was just the latest part of the original age-advanced Espada tribe laid to waste by the influx of kids and helpful turncoat Holly.
HitFix chatted with Yve about her elimination and her "Survivor" regrets on Thursday morning. [With any luck, this will be the last interview of the season in which Jimmy Johnson has to be mentioned in any capacity.]
Click through for the full interview...
HitFix: When the season started, the Old and Young tribes looked like they were even for a while, but lately I've been talking to a lot of old Espada members. Is that just the nature of the game, or was there a problem with that tribe?
Yves Rojas: Well, of course, we were losing, so our spirit was down. And we knew, coming up to a merge, that we were going to be down in number of players and after that there was a high potential for La Flor and the younger tribe to definitely have the upper advantage with them having stronger numbers.
HitFix: But you don't think that "Survivor" is, by its nature, a game that favors younger players from the beginning?
YR: Oh heavens no. I don't think this game favors younger players at all! It's a game. I think coming in physically fit with a great amount of endurance and stamina and a passion to play the game, regardless of whether you're in your 20s or you're in your 60s, if you're there for the right reasons and you want to play, you play hard. I don't think age gave La Flor an advantage, by any means, out of the gate over Espada.
HitFix: So is there anything you can point to, other than age, that helped that tribe outperform yours?
YR: Well, we made a few mistakes. In the challenges, we just weren't as strong as we should have been. I don't think with that first challenge, where we failed on a puzzle, necessarily had anything to do specifically with an age advantage. We just didn't come together. I don't know if you'd had two tribes of 20 or tribes of over-40s, the advantage is not necessarily related to age.
HitFix: In last night's Tribal Council, you went after Dan pretty hard. Was that because you knew it was down to the two of you for elimination? Or did you think that you were going home and you were trying to make one last push to save yourself?
YR: Well, two reasons. I did have a degree of confidence going into Tribal Council that Chase, Holly and NaOnka we going to vote for Dan. I was semi-confident that the vote would be Dan. However, in Tribal Council, sure, I still knew that I was potentially a candidate. It's hard to sit there next to somebody who has despise [sic] for the game and wanted to quit repeatedly, somebody who cursed the land and cursed the experience and honestly expressed his lack of desire to be there. So at that point, you know, I just had my moment, where I'm here for one reason, to play the game, and I didn't feel that I was that much of a physical threat. Clearly they all knew that I was, to some of them, 17 years their senior and that, at the end of the day, the jury would be stacked with their peers. You have that moment where you're like, "Why are you here? Step out." Was that the reason, ultimately, why NaOnka, Holly and Chase changed their vote? I don't think so.
HitFix: So what do you think the reason was, then?
YR: I think they had, for whatever reason, decided before they went into Tribal Council. I don't believe those moments of my speaking about Dan were the last straw.
HitFix: Do you think the tribe became weaker without you, or just that it became weaker *with* Dan?
YR: Both. I think the tribe, and especially Alina, would have been stronger keeping me, clearly, just for basic challenges. But also, I know that Alina needed me and down the road, Chase would have... What I had going on and what I had expressed earlier, things that other people had not seen, I was pretty confident with what I was doing out there. Is the tribe less weak for Dan being on there? Potentially, yes.
HitFix: On last night's episode, your big push was to go to Alina and argue that your ties to Marty and Jill on the other tribe were an asset. She then turned around and made it clear that that backfired on you. When you made that plea, did you realize that the other interpretation was a possibility?
YR: I realized it after I had said it. After the swap, Chase immediately came to me and mentioned that Alina was the next to go on La Flor, so I knew she was going to need a few more numbers on her side. So when I came to her and I expressed that I had relationships with people over there, I was intimating to her that she'd be better off keeping me on her side. I should have been more articulate with that, because after I said that, I could see that that's not how she was hearing me. I think quickly backtracked and said that Marty and I had more of a flirtation-banter going than any respect for the game, but at that point, it was like time stood still for a couple seconds and I was like, "Wow. She's not hearing what I'm actually saying." So I should have communicated a little better.
HitFix: Was she right? Would you have flipped back over to Marty and Jill if there'd been a merge?
YR: I would, but at that point, Holly and Dan would not have. I'm quite confident in that. So making the assumption that everyone was still there, Alina would have come in and joined Jill and Marty and myself and that would have been a good start.
HitFix: How do you think the reshuffling of the tribes impacted your position? Were you stable and safe with the old Espada, or would you have been scrambling regardless?
YR: No, I had a tremendous position in the old Espada. From Day One, I had allied with Marty. He asked me who I wanted for a third and I said, "Let's secretly bring in Jill and never let the three of us be seen together." So I was in a great position. I knew exactly who was going next and from there on out. We had a great game and it was strategically playing out just as we had planned. So I was, of course, anticipating a swap at some point, but I had become a bit complacent with what we had set in motion, because it was working so well for us on the original Espada. After that, I probably should have gone out of the gate a bit stronger with the younger tribe and beat Holly to the nurturing of the relationships, which I was just behind in doing.
HitFix: You had to anticipate that Holly, who was a bit adrift, would scurry to the younger tribe immediately. Did you try to cut her off? Or did you let her go?
YR: No, I didn't try cutting her off. Also, I did really like Holly and I liked her for many different reasons and I know that I probably should have communicated with her as well and kept her. I knew Danny and I never would have stayed aligned very well, just because of my own opinion of him from Day One. Holly, unfortunately, just didn't have the trust level in me because she knew her name was up a number of times and I never shared that information with her, but at the same point, she was never really our target to go next. But at that swap, I know she had a lack of confidence in me, that I also felt, and then recognized that she took that doubt and put that into motion and used the energy towards the younger kids.
HitFix: Several of your departed comrades have told me what a big fan you were of Jimmy Johnson. Does that sound like a fair assessment?
YR: Ummm... A big fan of Jimmy Johnson? No. Did I really like Jimmy Johnson? Absolutely. I'm not a football fan, so anything that has to do with football, I was kind of oblivious to. I did happen to read his book "Turning This Thing Around" when I was in medical sales a number of years ago. But it's not like I had stars in my eyes, because I didn't watch football. No. So he, like anyone else, was just a normal person. I, however, did have good chemistry with him and respected him and enjoyed his company. I wouldn't say I was star-struck by any means, but I did have a good relationship with him.
HitFix: Did his absence change the game at all for you? Or was it just something that happened early and it was done?
YR: In retrospect, I wish I had pressured myself better with Marty and taken Dan out. I was pretty confident that I probably could have had Jimmy align with us. Jimmy, though, was non-commital to really align himself with anyone 100 percent, so I understood Dan's value over JJ. But yeah, him leaving and keeping Danny in, kind of ended up being my nemesis a bit.
HitFix: As a last question, you've now made several references to things you wished you'd done. What is your biggest regret? And do these things you've mentioned eat at you at all?
YR: Oh, I go over the events, my 15 days out there, all the time, to the point where sometimes I think I convince myself the outcome's gonna be different. But clearly, as of last night, I was reminded, along with everybody else, that I was voted out. I regret hesitating at the swap. I should have been more articulate with the young kids. I should have been more honest with Holly. I should have just played harder at that point. I can fell, when I think back, that moment where I just hesitated, took an extra breath, and I should have just kept going that 100 percent and not let any of elements or the change or the switch or the new people, the personalities, get to me at that point. It was the wrong time to take a step back, when I should have been taking a lot more forward.