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'Survivor' contestants form new tribes, but keep same strategy

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Survivor: One World contestant Monica Culpepper Survivor: One World contestant Monica Culpepper

The “Survivor” tribes are no longer divided into men verses women. On this week's episode, the tribes literally cracked eggs to form new teams. The participant's eggs that bled orange found themselves on the new Manono tribe, while those whose eggs bled blue formed the new Salani tribe. Both teams seemed upset by the shake up, but the newly-formed Salani tribe adjusted quicker to the change and as a result won the immunity challenge. That meant the Manono tribe was headed to tribal council where they all agreed to get rid of their strongest teammate, 41-year-old mother of three Monica Culpepper of Florida. Culpepper is also the wife of former NFL Defensive Tackle Brad Culpepper. Recently I had the chance to speak with Culpepper about her time on Survivor, whether or not she knew she was being voted out of the game, and why she was so trusting of Survivor mastermind and immunity necklace holder, Colton Cumbie.

Culpepper: It was totally a blindside. I wasn't expecting it all. And I wasn't expecting it for one reason, I had a relationship that started with Colton the first few days of the game.

The Maine Edge: Why isn't anyone flushing the idol?

Culpeper: That's difficult. We had no idea as women what goes on in tribal council for the men. As far as my tribe and the new alliance, I've had more emails saying, “Why didn't you get rid of Colton?” He called me “Momica,” I had a relationship with him the first few days. He was homesick, he didn't like his tribe, and I told him he had to pull himself up by his bootstraps. So our bond, I thought would keep me safe.

TME: How miserable was it the first few days out there?

Culpepper: It was really tough. We got there and it was winter time in Samoa, the winds and rain came in. I'm from Florida, the hurricane capital of the world, where it rips your roof off and you don't have electricity. But getting rained on for three straight days was hard. You still had water to drink, but we were unable to boil rice. That takes a toll on you. And you're out there with no safety net, no family.

TME: Did that change you at all?

Culpeper: I've seen a lot of things in my life being a mother and wife and civic volunteer. I don't think anything changed me. I'm truly thankful to be part of the “Survivor” family. When I watched last night, it was hard for my kids to see disparaging things said about their mother. But I told my daughter, if anything, this makes me stronger.

TME: Who was your biggest supporter out there?

Culpepper: Christina, by far. She and I were on the bottom five of that alliance. For a couple weeks, it was Christina and I having an alliance from boiling water, being chef, all that kind of stuff. She was a pleasure to play with and a real dear.

TME: Who is the most deserving to win?

Culpepper: Obviously Colton is playing a smart game. Is he deserving to win? No. I think the women are doing great on the other side. Hopefully something will happen in the merge.

TME: If you made it to the jury, who would you vote for?

Culpepper: That's so hard. I would pick Sabrina. I would pick Kim. I would pick Chelsea. I'd pick Christina. I'd have to listen to the speeches of all four. I'm for the women. The men are a mess.

Last modified on Thursday, 22 March 2012 07:37

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