Quick Note: I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Blood vs. Water” competitors before the game began. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each pairing in the days leading up to the September 18th season premiere. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for those interviews, behind-the-scenes exclusives, and more…
Name: Laura Morett
Relationship to Significant Castaway: Ciera’s Mother
Previous Season: “Survivor: Samoa” – third jury member
Current Residence: Salem, Oregon
Occupation: Co-owner of Morett Construction
Name: Ciera Eastin
Relationship to Significant Castaway: Laura’s Daughter
Current Residence: Salem, Oregon
Occupation: Cosmetology Student
Personal Claim to Fame: Despite the fact that I got pregnant at 17, I am most proud of the fact that I finished high school, worked three jobs to support my daughter, and now I am happily married with two beautiful children.
Pet Peeves: Incompetent people, slow moving people, and negative people who bring the mojo down.
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Gordon Holmes: Alright, Laura. I remember you from your time leading Galu in “Survivor: Samoa.” This girl on your right I don’t know. Tell me all about her.
Laura Morett: This is my daughter Ciera. She is the oldest of my three. She is the mother of my two grandkids. She is one of my favorite people in the world and I couldn’t be prouder of her.
Gordon: Maybe you’re the wrong person to ask. Your mom has to say nice things about you.
Ciera Eastin: My mom and I get along really well. I’m really excited to be here with her.
Gordon: But in your bio you said you were looking forward to beating your mother. What’s that all about?
Ciera: There’s definitely competition in my family.
Laura: That’s why I love her so much. We will fight, well not fight, but we will compete in everything. I love that she says she’s going to beat me.
Ciera: But we’re not sore losers.
Laura: Well, I’m more of a sore loser.
Ciera: She is. It’s more of a fun competitive. We’re racing to the car, racing to get groceries.
Gordon: Can you imagine a situation where you’d vote your daughter out?
Laura: I’ve thought about this, if the tribe says, “It’s Ciera going home today.” I’d say, “I respect that, but there’s no way I’m writing her name down.” There’s going to be one vote for whoever. That’s just me.
Ciera: For me, my mom is going to be one of my biggest assets, having someone you can always trust. I think we both know it’s an individual game and we’re going to play with love for each other, but we both know that only one person can win this game.
Laura: And we’ve said, “If you know I’m going home and there’s nothing you can do about it, put my name down if you know it could cost you your game.” And I’m going to love her no matter what. She’s done worse things to me in her life. (Laughs)
Gordon: Laura, you received one of the all-time harsh “Survivor” lessons in Samoa. You were up, I think it was 8 to 4 at the merge over Foa Foa, and then bit by bit your alliance ate itself. You went after Erik Cardona, then the rocket scientist…
Gordon: Yes, John Fincher:
Laura: He got his degree in the mail. (Laughs)
Gordon: (Laughs) He turned on you guys. Ciera, what did you learn by watching your mom go through that whole ordeal?
Ciera: The biggest thing that I learned is to nourish all of your relationships. And my mom gave me advice not to get comfortable. Even if it’s eight vs. four.
Laura: Definitely. That’s the thing we learned. We thought we were shooting fish in a barrel. Then next thing you know we shot one of our fish. It was because we became too complacent. You can’t do that. (John) Cochran said it on this last show, “Every day before you go to bed, you have to lay there and think about what everyone thinks their biggest threat is.” Like Rupert, what is he thinking? Aras, what’s he thinking? And you have to put your pride aside and figure out what they think of you.
Ciera: I think you have to assume that you’ve annoyed everyone. (Laughs)
Gordon: Ciera, how do you react to people who annoy you? Can you put it behind you or do you need to address it?
Ciera: I’ve worked as a waitress, I’ve worked in coffee, working with the general public you see all kinds. But, you want tips. So, I think one of my biggest advantages will be being able to bite my tongue even though that person is driving me nuts.
Laura: She makes everybody feel like she’s their best friend…and she doesn’t get that from me. (Laughs)
Gordon: If there are twists, what do you think they will be?
Laura: I hope the twist isn’t that they’re bringing back the little Menehune Hantz.
Gordon: Wait, the what?
Laura: You know what a Menehune is?
Gordon: I don’t. I’m familiar with Russell Hantz.
Laura: The Menehune are Hawaiian, and there’s this legend that Menehunes are these little two-feet tall people that cause trouble. They’d come out at night at cause trouble. It’s a perfect nickname. He lives in a jungle and he causes trouble. But yeah, I don’t know what the twist is.
Gordon: What do you think of the cast so far?
Ciera: I think we really like Aras and his brother for allies. Having the blood bond that we have is a big advantage…
Laura: I think mother/daughter is different than brother/brother. Ciera, if you and your brother were out here, you guys could get annoyed at each other.
Ciera: But the blood bond is going to be so much stronger than the husbands and wives and the boyfriends and girlfriends.
Laura: We’ve already picked through who’s going to be effective when their loved one is sent home. You want to shoot two ducks with one bullet. You’re looking at Rupert and his wife. Send Rupert home, his wife won’t know what to do. He’s been out here like nineteen times. Send him home and she’s dead in the water. Tyson and his girlfriend? Send her home, Tyson’s crazy, he’ll eventually explode on himself. Colton and his boyfriend? On day three Colton was bawling wanting to go home. Send his boyfriend home.
Gordon: I like that. Laura, why do you think you’re back?
Laura: My season had one very big character that they focused on, Russell.
Gordon: They remember Jaison (Robinson), but only because of his socks.
Laura: (Laughs) Because he burnt his socks. And Shambo. The big controversy was me, Russell, and Shambo, whether I wanted it to be or not. And I don’t think there are many older women who can still play who have adult daughters that are this stunning. Cameras like pretty things.
Gordon: This is the first time ever we’re going into this game with pairs.
Ciera: Going into this with loved ones, first of all it’s so exciting to be a part of the first time they’ve done this. And you have to expect there to be high, high emotion and lots of drama. You feel a sense of protection and anger when you feel like someone is picking on your loved one. But, I think we’re very level-headed. And I think we’re smarter than everyone else. We’ll have each other backs, but not get angry or aggressive.
Laura: Our strategy is to be ready to jump, be ready to move when an opportunity presents itself. Think three steps ahead.
Ciera: And having someone to bounce ideas off of is great.
Laura: We’ve talked about, if someone approaches you and says, “Hey, let’s vote Rupert out.” Instead of responding to that question, throw out a positive like, “Who do you think we can trust the most?” So, that doesn’t give them ammo to go back to Rupert and say, “Laura’s trying to vote you out.” We’re women, we’re good at manipulating.
Gordon: What? So sexist.
Laura: (Laughs) It’s like with your kids where you say, “Dalton, you make the best…”
Laura: Sorry, Gordon.
Gordon: No, I took that as a compliment.
Laura: (Laughs) But I’ll say, “Gordon, you vacuum better than anybody else.” So now, you’re proud of vacuuming. And I’ve manipulated you in a positive way.
Ciera: So that’s why you say nice things to me…
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes
Don’t miss the special 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET.