“A classic blindside,” she called it. Lauren Rimmer found herself eliminated during the latest episode of Survivor season 35 “Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” after former ally Ben Driebergen played a secret idol and she mistakenly gave hers away.
The fisherwoman, 35, thought she was building trust with Dr. Mike Zahalsky when she offered him a piece of her newly found idol. But he threw it in the fire at tribal council, for seemingly no reason at all.
So not only was her idol gone, but the North Carolina native told everyone she left her extra vote advantage back at camp and therefore couldn’t play it — in hopes they wouldn’t target her.
Ultimately, that mistake and Ben’s idol play got her the boot.
Here, fan-favorite Rimmer talks about what went wrong and more:
Us Weekly: How did you feel going into tribal council? Where were the votes at that point?
Lauren Rimmer: Going into tribal council, I wasn’t feeling 100 percent confident. The whole thing you’re there, you never feel 100 percent sure. And if you do, you’re crazy. I’m a perfect example. You can be out in the blink of an eye. The votes were supposed to go toward Ben. And that’s the way they went until everyone started doing their little commotion. Chrissy [Hofbeck] started drilling me a little bit. Then Mike throws the idol in the fire. I felt like I was done as soon as all those things happen. And then watching Ben, he was just way too happy. Tribal council is not happy.
Us: If you hadn’t given Mike the idol, you would have played it? Did you feel something was off?
LR: I would have definitely played it. I gave the idol to Mike in a last-minute decision. I don’t know what I was thinking. I was trying to keep Mike as close to me as I could. Mike had felt so left out on so many different things that I wanted him to feel like he wasn’t left out of this decision. When he threw it in the fire, I was just so dumbfounded that he did it, I wasn’t even functioning. Just shock. The more I look at it, I’m like, “Why didn’t I get it out of the fire? Why didn’t I just walk over there and pick it up? And what are the odds Jeff [Probst] would have allowed me to play it?” I still can’t believe Mike did it.
Us: Did no one suspect Ben had an idol? It was never talked about?
LR: Nobody ever mentioned it. He did a great job keeping it to himself. Nobody even considered an idol being out there.
Us: So that’s why the votes weren’t spit.
Us: You told everyone you left your extra vote advantage back at camp. Was that true?
LR: No. It was in my pocket. And once I kind of went with that I left it at camp and wasn’t playing it, I had to roll with it. I had to keep going so it wouldn’t come back. Once you start it, you have to go with it. So I had to convince them I wasn’t playing it. I was still, at the same time, trying to convince Chrissy not to vote for me.
Us: Then again, this group doesn’t seem to count votes. No one noticed the missing vote a few tribals ago?
LR: Chrissy was counting her fingers to figure it out, but then nobody said anything about it. When we got back from tribal, it took them all a few minutes, and then Joe [Mena], he brought it up. They still couldn’t figure out what happened. As a matter of fact, they didn’t show it, but when we went back at the next tribal, JP [Hilsabeck] actually asked Jeff, “Do you count every vote?” And Jeff said, “No, if I don’t have to, I don’t.” They didn’t show that, but they asked if Jeff counted all the votes. He didn’t give them a yes or no answer.
Us: What was your plan after this tribal council? Who did you want to work with and who was your next target?
LR: I really wanted to work with Devon [Pinto], Ashley [Nolan] and Mike. Even if Mike threw the idol in the fire, I still would have tried to work with him. I would have laughed it off, along with him. Chrissy and Ryan [Ulrich] would have definitely been my next two targets.
Us: Why do you think Ben ultimately turned on you?
LR: I think he felt that I was gunning for him. We’re both very strong players. We were doing really great. I think both of us knew that we couldn’t sit beside one another in the final three. So who was going to get who first? It’s the same thing I would have done if I were in his shoes.
Us: We have to talk about that challenge. Drawing randomly out of a bag? What did you think of that?
LR: Knowing my sister and how excited she was to be there … I promised her before I left I would get her to the family visit so she could experience something we both loved. That was the stupidest challenge that I’ve ever seen. We didn’t even have a chance to fight for it. Sunny’s a strong girl. Both of us together — we’ve worked on the water together, we’ve pulled crab pots — I know we would have given everyone a run for the money had we had some sort of a challenge. I was disappointed because that would have been the icing on the cake for her, to do an actual challenge. And then to come out and have on second of drawing a rock and that’s it? OK.
Us: I’ve already seen some support for you two to be on the next Blood vs. Water season…
LR: I think that would be awesome. The two of us, we’re about half-nutty. It would be hilarious. We would have a great time doing it. We are like night and day, so it would be like blood versus water between me and her. I could see us against each other playing and then I could see us together, you know what I mean? It wouldn’t take much for us to say, “OK, forget them. Let’s go this way.” It would be quite comical.
Us: So you want to return and do another season?
LR: Oh, heck yeah. I would love to do it. Watching myself, I see mistakes. People always say, “Oh, I’m never going to do that.” But until you’re actually out there, you never know what you’re going to do until you’re in that situation. Being in that situation and watching it, I’ve called myself a “dumbass” I don’t know how many times. I would totally love to play again and put myself completely out there. See how far I can make it. I’m ready. Let’s pack our bags.
Us: What was your biggest mistake?
LR: My biggest mistake is obviously the idol. I could have played the idol that night and they basically would have had to pick among themselves. I honestly think it would have been Mike. Between Devon and Ryan, and Ryan and Chrissy, and Ashley had this thing for Devon … Mike was still on the outside so I have a feeling it would have been Mike.
Us: Lastly, was there anything you could have done during tribal council to change your fate?
LR: I could have played my secret advantage and voted Chrissy out right then. That was one of the worst mistakes. All I had to do was write Chrissy’s name twice.
Survivor airs on CBS Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.