updated 04/07/2013 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 04/07/2013 AT 12:45 PM ET
On Survivor, one of the most fatal mistakes is overplotting.
Kaplan opens up about the drama, the lighthearted moments, and the worst contestant she’s ever dealt with.
(Hint: It’s not Phillip.)
You were asked to come back for other seasons, but you declined. Why didn’t you return before?
Unlike a lot of people, I’m not a career reality person. I have a job and a life outside of reality shows. When Heroes vs. Villians was cast, they asked me to come back, but I couldn’t because of my job. I changed jobs since then, and my new job was more flexible about me leaving for Survivor. Also, the producers gave me a lot more notice, so I was able to make it work.
In Gabon, you were mean as a snake. But you were actually a lot funnier this time around.
That’s totally my personality. I like to be sarcastic, to drop one-liners. When I came back from Gabon, my friends were like, ‘They didn’t show how funny you are.’ That was editing. I’m good with one liners; they’re sometimes mean, but they’re meant to be funny.
So your meanness is exaggerated?
Look, I’m not a bitch just for the sake of being a bitch. If you and I like each other and we can trust each other, I will be loyal to the end. But I have a mean streak if we’re not getting along.
Speaking of not getting along, you were on a tribe with Phillip Sheppard. Discuss.
Phillip was awful. He’s just delusional and annoying, and so hard to deal with on a day to day basis. He would say things and it took everything I had not to just scream at him for being so stupid. He doesn’t shut the hell up. Ever.
Was he the worst contestant you’ve ever played with?
No! Actually that was Sugar [Kiper] from Gabon. As crazy as Phillip is, Sugar was so much worse! I would take ten Phillips over one Sugar.
And you were on a tribe with Brandon Hantz, who was furious at you after he was voted off. Why?
I know that Brandon hates me, but I like him. He was a fierce competitor, and I was nothing but nice to him. When he had his original meltdown, he was worried that he had left his family without any money. I actually volunteered to have the producers wire $2,000 from my personal bank account to his; it was the one moment that I took myself out of the game. It didn’t happen, but that was a sincere offer. Later, Brandon saw Phillip and I talking and he assumed that I was plotting to kick him off, which I wasn’t. Phillip was, and when Phillip talks, you just nod and agree to keep the peace. So Brandon thought I was conspiring against him, and he got angry. I want Brandon to know that I like him. He’s not as crazy as he looks; he’s a sweet kid.
Were there ever any lighthearted moments?
Phillip had demands constantly, and he wanted his rice cooked a certain way. I wanted to tell him to cook his own damn rice, but whatever. So at the merge, Eddie and I started cooking the rice and we made WAY too much while Phillip was away. Like the pot was boiling over, and rice was spilling; it was everywhere. Eddie and I realized we had to eat the rice before Phillip came back, so we were scooping it into our mouth when it was hot and not altogether cooked. We were burning our mouths and swearing and laughing so hard that I was almost wetting my pants. There were light moments; you just didn’t see them on TV.
How were your other tribesmates?
You know, the first time around, everybody was naive. But this time, I was playing with people who had incredible egos. They would sit there and compare how many Twitter followers they have, and I’m sitting there thinking, ‘You people are horrible!’ One time, Phillip sat in a chair and it broke, and he said, ‘The fans are going to love that.’ I just sat there every day wondering when I was going to start screaming.
Who’s playing a good game?
I think Dawn is. As soon as she finds out info, she figures out ways to use it. She would tell you that we were best friends in the game, but she turned on me. She’s very cut throat, and it’s working for her.
How about Andrea Boehlke? I couldn’t tell if you got along or not.
I loved her; we had a lot of fun out there. She’s a lot younger than me, by about eight years. So she was led by her paranoia out there. I thought she was funny and cool and had it going on. She’s 23, she has her whole life ahead of her. But then she was saying that she wanted me out because she was insecure about me. I bet Andrea will be super awesome in about eight years; right now, she’s a little bit like playing with a teenager.
You and Malcolm aligned. Could you ever see a romance with him?
[Laughs] Malcolm is like a brother to me. I adore him; he’s great. But there is nothing romantic there, and I don’t think they’ll ever be. Besides, I was there to play the game, and having a showmance is not the way to go.
Phillip came to you with a split vote plan. Had you gone along with it, your secret alliance could have taken control of the game. Why didn’t you?
Looking back, it’s cringe-worthy. I got greedy. I knew that Reynold had an idol and I didn’t want him to use it. I thought I could get rid of Sherry, get the numbers, and protect the idols, which would mean I cruise to the end of the game. I should have gone with the split vote, but that’s how it goes!
So it’s over. Are you glad that you came back?
You know, I am. I wanted to make it further, but I had my job waiting for me at home and things are going well. So it was cool to have the adventure for a second time.