'Survivor: Samoa's' Shannon 'Shambo' Waters: Laura is 'a great Christian woman'
What were you up to before Survivor?
I've been in restaurant sales for 11 years.
Did you go back to that as soon as the show wrapped?
I was pretty beat up when I got home, so I took a couple more weeks off before I could come back to work. My employer was absolutely, positively generous in letting me do that. I'm back in full swing now.
Let's talk about last night. Were you surprised when you got voted out?
Not in the least. There was no other way that vote could've gone. Foa Foa was strong from day one to day 19 and the merge. Brett won Immunity and even though I was an insider, I could not see them voting one of their own off, it would not have been the right thing to do.
When you got your torch snuffed, you left with a big smile on your face. You weren't mad?
No, I was fine with it. What other choice did they have? I had extended the limit of what I thought my body could go through anyway. It was my time.
Are you at all bitter towards Russell? He was certainly the mastermind out there and he was also your buddy.
None whatsoever. When I asked Russell what Jaison had said to him, three times I got a different answer. So I went back to the Shambo Shack and packed up everything I had with me for the first time. I had done everything I could do and it was time. If my name didn't get written down, great. But I wasn't going to start a fight or start talking garbage about anybody. It was what it was.
Who do you think at this point is playing the best game?
That was pretty hesitant. Why was it so hard to choose?
Well because there was so many styles of play going on out there. Natalie was really smart for aligning with Russ and being strong at challenges. Mick and Brett are under the radar but very capable and very strong, competitive. This thing can go any way.
Were you a fan of "Survivor" before the show?
Oh my god, huge, huge, huge fan.
Did it live up to your expectations? Was it at all disappointing?
I wasn't disappointed in the experience. I think everybody was surprised and probably humbled and shocked that we weren't given any source of nutrition since there were coconuts growing on the island. There was no rice, there was beans, it was just coconuts. We've never seen a series of "Survivor" in the last 19 seasons where there were such severe weather.
So it was what you signed on for?
I'd say it was way, way way worse than I could've possibly imagined. It was unlike any "Survivor" ever. There's never been a Survivor where they had tropical downpours for three days and then it stopped raining for 3 hours and then it rained for another four days. If you can't make a fire, you can't boil water and when your perimeter runs out of food, what do you do? You're starving to death. I lost 30 lbs in 36 days. Rumor has it that Russ lost 48 lbs. and the starving wasn't anything compared to the freezing. Being hypothermic for days on end was the worst of the worst.
Now the finale is coming up on Sunday. I'm assuming you're coming. When do you leave for LA?
I've been in Los Angeles for about 24 hours now.
Welcome to Los Angeles! Are you looking forward to anything in particular at the finale?
I really want to meet Betsy, Marissa and Mike because they were out of the game by the time I went to Foa Foa. I've been watching the show and not having had the opportunity to hug those guys, I'm really looking forward to meet them. I'm also looking forward to letting bygones be bygones and burying the hatchet. I don't think there's all this dissension that we would have everybody believe.
Even with Laura? Your relationship with her seemed particularly contentious.
Absolutely. After the show last night, when I went back to the Ponderosa, a few people said hi, a few people hugged me, a few people were off in their own little worlds but Laura gave up her Quonset hut so I could have a hot shower and a bed. So is Laura this big demon person who hates Shambo? Absolutely not. She's this great Christian woman who gave of herself in my moment of need and that's what I hold on to at the end of the day. Things happened that we both regret and we can't change it, but we found a forward path and it makes me happy.
Do you have any final thoughts or messages to your fans?
I'm heart-warmed and touched by the outpouring of people coming up to me. There's just been huge support. It's overwhelming. I just want everybody to know that I appreciate their support and kind words. Hopefully they'll see me one last time on television dancing with Ellen DeGeneres on her stage because I think she's a really cool person and she's really upbeat. More than anything I'd like to do that. Then just go back to my regular boring life with my dogs and family and friends and just go forward, spread some love out there.
[ Ed's note: Shambo was a delight to talk to. She kept calling me "sweetheart" and was just the nicest lady. We'd love to see her on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Make it happen, Ellen!]
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Photo credit: CBS