Interview: Roxanne 'Roxy' Morris talks 'Survivor: Philippines'
Roxy remains convinced there was more than warmth between Angie and Malcolm
You know who's not a fan of showmances?
For the duration of Wednesday night's episode, Roxy told everybody on her Matsing tribe that something was stirring in the night between youthful hardbodies Malcolm and Angie. Like a reality TV Cassandra, Roxy tried to warn the tribe that any sort of Angie/Malcolm alliance would eventually be dangerous and tried to make it clear that booting Angie and her distracting physical attributes would be the easiest path to success and harmony.
Unfortunately for Roxy, her caution went unheeded or, at the very least, the Matsing tribe found itself more concerned about Roxy's energy at the camp and the seminary student's outspoken faith. Angie survived and this week's exit interview is with Roxy.
In the conversation, Roxy reiterates her certainty that Angie and Malcolm were generating more than just warmth, explains her complaints about the tribe's excessive productivity at camp and also discusses her decision to throw Angie under the bus in the season's second Immunity Challenge.
Click through for the interview...
HitFix: Was there anything you learned about your elimination from watching Wednesday's episode that you hadn't previously known?
Roxanne "Roxy" Morris: At the end of the day, I think when you look at the votes and you see that every single vote except for yours is against you, it's easy for me, at the time when I was in the game, to assume that, "Oh, great. So they were all against me. Well, I just wasted my time talking." But I think after looking at the show and hearing Russell, at that last minute, realize and become enlightened and say to himself, "I need Roxanne. I need her. Let me go talk to Denise and make the effort to try to convince Denise to be on our side." I think that that was something that I couldn't see when I was in the game and I got to see through the episode. And you know what? At the end of the day, even to win one... Even to win one. Even though he did write my name down, he voted against me -- Obviously because strategy-wise that made the most sense when he realized everybody else was gonna vote against me -- I felt good, to know that he realized that there was a strength to me as a player in the game.
HitFix: So do you recognized Denise as having basically been the key vote out there?
Roxy: Absolutely. The whole destiny of that whole situation was left in the hands of Denise. She was completely stuck in the middle. She had this alliance with Malcolm and I think she's fully aware that Angie, in truth, was the weakest link. However, because he's kinda tied tied up with her, she is kinda in a bind. So she looks at me and she has to find a reason not to like me. I don't think it's that Denise actually, in truth, didn't like me. She has to now find a reason not to like me. So what's the easiest thing? From what she said, she didn't call herself an atheist, but from the things that she said, though, seems as though that's the side that she plays on, so if you don't believe in God at all, I'm definitely not gonna be a fun player for you to play with. So I think she found an escape in her mind and a reason and a rationale to just say, "Alright. Fine. I'm just gonna vote Roxanne out."
HitFix: When you were out there, how hard were you lobbying her? And could you have done anything differently to sway her vote?
Roxy: I think her alliance in the very beginning with Malcolm was a pretty strong alliance, so if I was gonna get to Denise, my strategy probably could have changed up a little differently by me gaining a better relationship with Malcolm. I think you get Denise, you get can get Malcolm. Whoever gets Malcolm gets Denise. So I think it's not so much with the tracking Denise, but it's building maybe a better relationship with Malcolm. I think the minute that I chose to put Malcolm [on alert] and make him a target, I'm automatically on the opposite side of Denise and there goes two votes right there.
HitFix: OK, so level with me: How much did you think that something was seriously happening between Malcolm and Angie and how much was that just you attempting to shift a target onto different people?
Roxy: I definitely felt like there was something going on there. I slept with them in the same bed, for crying out loud. I know better than anybody else. I slept in the middle. If you got an opportunity to kinda see how we slept. It was Denise and Russell on one side and Angie and Malcolm on the other side and I'm dead smack in the middle. I know what goes on with everybody there throughout the night because of my position of where I slept. So when I say something's going on, believe me. Something's going on.
HitFix: So when they're saying, "Oh, it was just for warmth," you're not buying it at all?
Roxy: Not buying it at all. Zero percent chance. On a scale of 1-to-10? Zero.
HitFix: It seemed like people were initially receptive to viewing Angie as a threat, but they became less-so. Do you think you maybe over-played that as a card?
Roxy: Not at all. I think the fact that I highlighted something that I felt was absolutely poisonous to the tribe, people should be aware of that. They should be alert. For crying out loud, we lost two challenges. Obviously everybody's not rocket scientists in our group, cuz we're losing. I think it was time for us to listen and take a look at all different ends of the spectrum and say, "Hey. What's really going on here? Who's really the weakest link? We cannot afford to have another person on this tribe that can't pull weight and I think it should be about who can pull weight versus who do you feel comfortable around." I would way rather play the game with someone that I absolutely didn't like, but who could play a better game, than to be like, "Oh, you make me feel comfortable and you don't talk about Jesus, so let me keep you around." And I felt like that's kinda some of the thoughts that were going through Denise's mind. She kept Angie around because it made Malcolm feel comfortable and she didn't wanna disappoint Malcolm, so "Alright. Roxanne." And it can't be about camp life. It can't be about that. And they made it about camp life. And it's like, "Guys. We can make fire first, but that doesn't make us win any Immunity Idols." You've gotta win the challenges. Bottom line. And we hadn't proved to be able to do that, two times in a row.
HitFix: OK. On the issue of pulling weight, though... Talk about the decision to say you'd rather not do a second leg with the sled out there. And do you think things would have gone differently if you had done two sled legs?
Roxy: Ummm... There are two sides to that: I could have gone twice and tried to showcase, "Hey! Look at me! I'm trying to do all this stuff so you guys can like me!" or I could say, "Oh no. I already know you guys think that Angie may be better than me, so let me give her the opportunity..." I knew if I didn't run, she would have to run it. And I knew she's not strong. So it was, "Let me let her run it and let me show you that she's not that good" and she was all on the floor just like Zane was in that first competition. Zane was on the floor. She was on the floor. Know what I mean? She was on the floor and they're still talking about, "She's strong." That's nonsense. I purposely made sure I pulled back to showcase that she wasn't and if they, for some reason, thought that that was great, then, again, I'm really excited to see the next episode.
HitFix: So you're saying that to some degree you were throwing Angie under the bus in that circumstance?
Roxy: Absolutely. I was giving her her chance to put her money where her mouth was. To give her an opportunity, to say, "OK. You think you're stronger than me? Great. Here's the floor. Go ahead and do it. Let's see." And, I'm sorry, she didn't prove that. She started the race off and they were third. They were the last ones to get to the puzzle pieces. Know what I mean? Nothing was proven to me that she was a better player than I was. And then she was on the floor after she had done her two legs of running. So I gave her the opportunity. I said, "Look, either I'm going out the door so I'm not even gonna put myself through the rigor, and then, two, I'm gonna give her the opportunity to really showcase how great of an athlete she really is."
HitFix: Surely you had to know that if you guys lost that challenge, you were going to be a strong contender to be going out. So how did you come to the conclusion you wanted to do that?
Roxy: If you talk to anybody who takes chances or who bets on things, sometimes you've gotta bet big. And I think that, yeah, I did maybe highlight myself a little bit more by putting myself in that situation, but that was the bit of a gamble that I made, is that I was going to take that route of showcasing that she wasn't really that great and hopefully that would be something they would take into consideration. That was just the choice that I made. I think it was clear that she wasn't all that great in that challenge whatsoever. However, they chose to still ignore that. They chose to still ignore that and I couldn't predict that they would actually choose to ignore that in addition to her relationship with Malcolm.
HitFix: Let's go back to the answer you gave Jeff at Tribal Council about the tribe putting too much effort into camp life. Could you give some more details there?
Roxy: Absolutely. If you remember back to the first episode, we were the first ones to make fire. We were able to build our shelter in that day. And different things like that. And I think those are huge accomplishments, but when you have all those accomplishments in the land that you live in, but you cannot perform in the challenges, there is an imbalance and there is a problem. That's all that I was trying to highlight. I'm not saying that those who work in campsites are poor players. That's not what I'm saying whatsoever. But what I am saying is that when you've lost the very first challenge in the entire season of being out there, you need to say, "OK. Where should we be putting our priorities? Where can we shift around?" As someone that dwells among commanders and many officers in the military, I know that you have to react to the spirit of the moment. You can't necessarily go in there with this gameplan and say, "No matter matter what, I'm gonna just stick to this gameplan no matter what I see. I'm gonna stick to this gameplan." You've gotta make different shifts depending on what's going on. And when you're going to battle -- three tribes against each other, that's a battle -- you've kinda gotta say, "OK. We lost the first one. Let's reassess. Where are we going wrong? Maybe we need to save our energy for challenges and not work so hard at camp trying to compete against one another." We can compete against one another, but at the end of the day, that's not really going to do anything for the tribe. What we need to do is be making sure that we're strong enough to beat the other tribes and that was not our focus and that's where I think we went wrong.
HitFix: How would you characterize your effort in camp-life?
Roxy: No matter what, I made the effort to help. I definitely did. You get to see that one moment where it starts raining so badly and it starts wearing on everybody and I think you see it wear more on me because I'm more expressive. I'm just like that. I'm a more expressive individual. So you get to see that and so you see a little bit of a change, or a little bit of a slow-down. But that doesn't mean that I wasn't helping. I definitely was helping around camp. Let's get that correct. When it's been raining a lot and you realize you've lost such a great player as Zane... Zane was the life of the party and nobody else at camp was really talking and all you hear is this rain coming down... Any normal human being, I think, at some point tends to slow down a little bit. When you're slowing down at camp, I don't see how that plays a role in a challenge. At the end of the day, we still need to have our head in the game and "head in the game" means doing well in the challenge, not running around and doing stuff at camp. I don't see how running around, putting extra effort into stuff at camp is going to play a role in challenges. The other tribe didn't really have fire. They won. So is it really about the comforts of camp, or is it really about doing well in the challenge. That's just how I see it.
HitFix: As a last question: You're obviously an introspective person about these things, what did your brief "Survivor" experience teach you about yourself and your spirituality?
Roxy: I think what I learned about myself and my spirituality while I was out there is that a lot of my spiritual gifts -- people heard me praying, they heard me speaking in tongues -- it's very important that I have those and that I'm able to utilize those in any given situation, in any storm, I would say, using it... Pun intended. I think those gifts have been given to me by God for a reason. It wasn't until I was able to pray aloud. It wasn't until... Yeah, I spoke in tongues and maybe that may not be the popular things to do, but you know what? It's the gift that God gave me. I didn't really even find peace or was able to build a fire in me to even attack the situation that was happening with Angie and Malcolm until I had that moment, until I was like, "You know what? I'm not gonna pray in my head anymore. I don't care care about everybody else. I'm gonna pray out loud. This is what I need right now to be connected with God." And I did that and I had peace and I was able to go into that Tribal Council and, I think, defend myself and to defend my position and I left it completely up to them to make their final decisions. I think when my answers aren't quote-unquote "cookies," they need to take heed to that.
Previous "Survivor: Philippines" Exit Interviews: