'Survivor' hero Stephenie LaGrossa on James Clement: 'I thought he was going to hit me'
What were you doing between your last "Survivor" appearance and "Heroes vs. Villains?"
After I did "Survivor," I did a lot of things with TV and did a lot of hosting and did a lot of stuff with fitness and hair products and swimsuits, but I decided I needed something a little more substantial so I opened that restaurant with my brother in Philadelphia called GIGI restaurant and lounge. Then I met Kyle Kendrick [ Ed. note: a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies] and we got engaged last July and we are planning our wedding this November in Napa Valley. But like a lot of people, I'm trying to run a business in this struggling economy.
Why did you want to come back to "Survivor?"
I had always said to Kyle, "I love the game, I love to compete, I love the show." I haven't won, so why not keep trying until you win, basically. I said to him from the very beginning if I'm ever asked to come back, especially for an All-Star season, I'm gonna do it. No matter where we are in life, if I can do it, I'm going to do it. It's funny because we got engaged July 13 and literally July 15 I got the call to come back. It was an honor to be asked back. I knew going into it I would be a huge target. I knew I would probably go if not first, then extremely early on. I was outnumbered and they got me.
Why do you think the Heroes couldn't gel as a tribe right off the bat and the Villains seemed to, because we'll be honest, we thought it would be the other way around.
So did we. We definitely did. We had all these great characters. I'd never met any of them personally except for Tom, so there was Colby and Rupert and Cirie and I was like, "Wow." But then here we are day one and Rupert's telling everybody what to do. Rupert is ultimate "Survivor" guy, you can't do anything unless Rupert says it's okay. Then you got James talking inappropriate about girls and all the free stuff he's gotten after "Survivor" and Amanda's over there smiling, modeling for the camera and me, Tom and Colby are like,"What is going on? It's unbelievable." Immediately there was a division.
Physically we're the stronger tribe and then it comes down to a puzzle and our puzzle people are not really that great at puzzles. And the Villains have Boston Rob so he is carrying that entire tribe on his back because he's so damn good at puzzles. We're a mess because there's so many egos in the Heroes tribe, it was brutal. Me, Tom and Colby were extremely quiet this time around because you don't want to piss anybody off. It wasn't a fun environment and it's really because of [Rupert and James], they made it not fun. We were very divided and I think it's only gonna get worse for them.
How are things with you and James? Did you see him at the "Survivor" party when they had all the former contestants back?
I saw him and it was really uncomfortable. He's just like let's forget about everything that happened and hugging me and buying Kyle a drink and Kyle's like, "I don't understand what happened," but then Kyle watched the episode and now he's like, "Wow, that's really hard to watch, a guy talking to a woman like that, let alone you, the woman I'm marrying."
James tried to make it alright, but it was uncomfortable. He was really loved on his season and I think he really displayed a bad side of himself [this time around]. Cirie and Candice wanted to go with us, but I think they were afraid of him. At one point I thought he was going to hit me. I don't think he would do that but for a minute, I thought he would going to hit me.
I know you were on the Heroes tribe, but how much were you guys told about Russell on the Villains tribe before the season started?
We weren't old much. He obviously must've been someone that did okay or somewhat of a known type character for him to be asked back. We were not allowed to ask him about his previous season and he wasn't allowed to answer or volunteer any information. I really didn't know him at all.
Any final thoughts?
No regrets. I should've gone farther and thanks to all the fans who supported me, they make it all worthwhile because regardless of how I did on the show, they're always there.
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Photo credit: CBS