The show's latest castoff acknowledges her weakness, but hoped she could overcome it

By Steve Helling
March 11, 2013 11:00 AM
Monty Brinton/CBS

Though Laura Alexander knew she was the weakest member of her tribe, she still hoped her loyalty would take her deep into the game.

After one too many losses, her tribe decided to cut her loose, making her the fifth person to leave Survivor: Caramoan.

The 23-year-old administrative officer from Washington, D.C., talks about her surprise ejection and what it was really like living with a volatile contestant like Shamar.

You weren’t the strongest at challenges, but you had an alliance. Did you know they would vote you out?
I was totally blindsided. I thought that at the end of the day, my alliance would stay strong. My thinking was this: loyalty is extremely important at this stage of the game. They may do a tribal switch, and Reynold or Eddie will flip immediately. What I had to offer was loyalty, but the tribe didn’t see it that way.

What was your strategy, knowing that you wouldn’t be the strongest challenger?
I knew coming into the game that first impressions count, and that the minute these people see me struggle in the challenge that I would need to fight. So I immediately knew I needed to form a majority alliance so the relationships would be there when I needed them.

Luckily, the first challenge wasn’t that bad, and we ended up winning the challenge. And by that time, I had a majority alliance, so I thought I was okay. And I really tried my hardest.

Did you think of pointing the finger at Sherry? She was unable to break her tile in the immunity challenge the first time.
Sherry wasn’t the only one who struggled in the challenge. Three tribe members had to take a couple of tries to hit the tiles, but they only showed Sherry.

Granted, her performance wasn’t amazing, but I wasn’t about to toss out her name, because that would have sounded ridiculous. I could not target someone about their physical strength, so every time I tossed out a name of someone to vote out, it was about something other than challenge performance.

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Obviously, you lived with Shamar. Was he as hard to get along with as they showed?
People don’t see the subtlety of Shamar’s personality. You see clips of him being angry and disrespectful and telling people to shut up, but it was deeper than that.

Most of the day, he wasn’t really helping out the tribe, and even when he was up and not sleeping, he wasn’t happy. That didn’t come off very well. Shamar would laugh when people were having serious conversations, and it would seem very disrespectful and intentional.

There was a disconnect with him. It wasn’t just these big dramatic arguments that put everybody against Shamar. It was those little moments that added up.

So why didn’t your alliance cut him loose earlier?
The day before Shamar was evacuated, we had a discussion that he would go home that night. We even told Eddie and Reynold that. Granted, that’s what we had been telling them all along, so we didn’t know if they believed us. But if he hadn’t been evacuated, we would have voted him out.

You spoke to Eddie and Reynold about voting out Shamar earlier. Would you have gone further if you had followed through?
I’ve thought about that several times since the show. I could have swapped over to Eddie, Reynold and Hope, and we would have voted out Shamar. But that would have created a lot of distrust with Sherri and Julia, and would have put a target on me. I was trying to keep my name from being written down.

I couldn’t have predicted the medical evacuation … but if I had known, then sure, I should have flipped over.

It’s over pretty quickly. Did the experience sour you on Survivor?
I’ve been watching the show since I was 10 years old. I caught on the very first season. I had originally applied for season 24, the One World season. But the timing didn’t work out.

I was thrilled when they cast me on this season. So even though it was a shorter experience than I would have hoped, I had a great time and will always be a fan of Survivor.

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