Exclusive Interview With The THIRD Member Of The Survivor: Game Changers Jury – Spoilers!

The Survivor Jury has grown by one, and soon it will outnumber those still standing in the game. As we enter the final month of Season 34, we said good-bye – or good riddance, if you prefer – to yet another “Game Changer” as we barrel towards the May 24 Finale of Survivor: Game Changers.

Caution, as spoilers from this week’s episode are to follow! Turn back now! If you want to get caught up, be sure to check out the Episode 10 Recap here.


The Stakes Have Been Raised

Good ole’ Deb (or Debbie) Donato-Wanner was the latest #blindside victim on a season that his been full of them. Considered by some to be the “female Coach,” her eccentric personality and incredible resume (she’s seemingly held every job title known to man) definitely made her a stand-out during Season 32, Survivor: Kaoh Rong, if not a “fan-favorite.” She was going to re-appear again inevitably; she’s too interesting a character not to get a second chance.

Debbie got her second chance this season and tried to make the most of it. Survivor has a funny way of revealing a person’s true self, as there is nowhere to hide out there in the game…almost always a person’s true colors will be revealed at some point. Deb wears her oddities on her sleeves, with pride. But she was more than just the resident clown this season (she was that too), she proved to be a savvy strategist who was definitely playing her own game. Several times throughout the season, she was shown being approached by others with strategy, and quite keenly, we saw her ability to sift through the BS being spouted by others.

A Line Drawn in Concrete

It didn’t appear that Deb was on anybody’s radar, but as Aubry pointed out this week, success in Survivor doesn’t bring out Deb’s best qualities. After successfully taking out Ozzy last week, a move that was instigated by Deb, it seemed that success was going to Deb’s head. She started coming across as arrogant and cocky to the others, where earlier in the season she seemed quite capable of restraint and grace. Sierra had even floated the idea of a Final Three with Sarah and Deb, but Sarah had other plans. Instead of voting along with her alliance of six – an alliance that Deb had full confidence in – Sarah instead sided with the minority to blindside Deb, making her the third member of the jury.

I have always seemed to “get” Deb and I enjoyed her on the show, both times she’s played. That being said, I can clearly see and understand why Deb has so many haters. If ever there was a Heroes vs. Villains 2, there’s no question which side of the fence Deb would be called to.

I spoke to Debbie today and it’s a Podcast interview you won’t want to miss (the full audio of which you can find at the bottom of this article). But here were some highlights:


On who she suspected was behind her blindside:

Debbie Wanner: My first reaction was Troyzan or Sarah. I suspected Troyzan initially because he was not part of the original Nuku Tribe and from my vantage point the Nuku Tribe had been very strong, very connected, we had a lot of good times. Sarah was my second choice because of the six, just a day or two before, I had mentioned to Brad that when the Nuku Tribe does break up, it was going to be Sarah who broke.

A Line Drawn in Concrete

On why she thought she was a target over some of her alliance members:

Debbie: Good question. My speculation was that they perceived me to be the mastermind behind taking out Ozzy. That I had the power of persuasion over my alliance. Or just that Brad and Sierra were just way too obvious of choices.

On what she considers to be her weaknesses in the game of Survivor:

Debbie: You’ve heard it a million times, but it comes down to, you can’t trust anybody but you have to trust somebody. If there is one flaw that I have, it’s the classic one. It’s getting  comfortable, it’s trusting the group of people that you’re with and not going over to the “enemy camp” enough, and trying to fish out information. Or being even more duplicitous or disingenuous with the people you fully have no plans of working with for that particular vote. So I guess it’s while I’m leading people to the slaughter, I don’t lie my butt off, I don’t volunteer to sacrifice my child’s life…maybe I should become a more smooth, savvy liar, perhaps?

A Line Drawn in Concrete

On why Michaela may or may not be a good person to take to the end of the game at this point:

Debbie: That depends on how much strength you have left in your gas tank after all of those days in Survivor. I can never adequately enough let you know how tough this game is on so many levels that you literally get exhausted. To top off the [game-play], the exhaustion, the starvation, now you have someone who aggravates you. Maybe you just want a little bit of fricking peace for a moment. So that’s why people maybe get rid of somebody that the public thinks they should just take to the end.

For much more from Debbie Donato-Wanner, including her take on why Cirie has been allowed to stay in the game, why she used her “double-vote” when she did, and what she got out of her time spent with Cochran on Exile, please listen to the latest episode of the FilmSurvivor Podcast below or by clicking here.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter – @tomsantilli – and on Facebook, for all of the latest Survivor coverage, interviews, and movie reviews.


Photo Credit: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment