Every season, there’s a Survivor contestant who flies under the radar and doesn’t get much airtime.
This season, it was Julia Landauer, a 21-year-old race car driver from New York. Despite being well-liked and athletic, Landauer was voted off after her alliance was outnumbered. She tells PEOPLE about her experience – and how fellow castaway Phillip Sheppard drove everyone crazy.
Julia, we didn’t see much of you on the show – and John Cochran called you "vanilla."
I know! It’s so wrong. I’m totally not vanilla! I’m mint chocolate chip.
Tell us what we may have missed.
I did weird voices, and did little dances to keep people laughing. I have a lot of personality, and I poke fun at myself. But I’m not a drama queen, and I guess that made it harder to be super interesting on the show.
During last week’s tribal switch, you were on the weaker tribe.
I know! You look around and know that you’re in trouble, and you just make the most of it. The thing is, Phillip [Sheppard] talked about being so strong and how he could carry us to victory, but he was so weak he couldn’t do anything but talk. Phillip talked about himself all the time; it was non-stop.
Was Phillip really hard to live with?
You know, there was some sexism with him. He acted like he was so strong and the girls were weak. But in the last challenge, Corinne and I were willing to keep going. It was Phillip that lost that one for us.
But he said he wanted to work with you.
I didn’t believe him. When he brought me in and started talking to me, I just felt like it was a lot of BS. The way he talked was not convincing. I was not convinced that he was going to make me a double agent. I didn’t have many options. Phillip was just talking, and Cochran was his little puppet. Dawn is all about loyalty, so I knew I couldn’t work with her, either. And Corinne told me point blank that she was sticking with the favorites. So there was nothing I could do. I knew I was in trouble.
Part of the concern was that you were weak at challenges.
But I wasn’t. Cochran was weaker than me, and he had just as much responsibility for losing challenges as I did – like the puzzle challenge last week. He let me take all the blame, but he couldn’t do it, either. And we all saw how Phillip did!
What was the best thing about Survivor?
There’s something about being out there and realizing, “I’m doing a Survivor challenge!” It’s so exciting. I loved doing them. There were a couple of challenges I really loved, like the one where we threw coconuts into the other tribe’s nets. It was so much fun. It’s amazing how intricate some of the challenges are.
So would you do Survivor again?
Oh, absolutely. I feel so fortunate to be part of the elite group of people who have played the game. It was an amazing experience, and I loved every minute of it.