‘Survivor’ Castaway Ciera: “Sandra Is Literally a Wizard”

Ciera Eastin (CBS)

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Gordon Holmes: Ciera played too fast, Ciera named names…it felt like there was something we missed. Were you setting up sub-alliances? Were you digging Spy Bunkers™?
Ciera Eastin: (Laughs) It was hard for me to watch back and figure out what really happened. But I think it’s a couple of things. I’d just come off of “Second Chance,” like less than a year ago. And the first day everyone hit the beach running. It was crazy. I thought this would be similar. So, when I came in I wasn’t even playing full crazy Ciera. I was pretty mild. But, compared to everyone else, I guess it was too much. But, when Malcolm said I was the only one throwing out names, that wasn’t true. I thought everyone wanted Tony gone. Tony was looking for idols. He had to go. The scene where I walked to the well, they were already talking about Tony.
Holmes: I was there for that. I can confirm that.
Eastin: Right. And so for me, I joined in the conversation. I didn’t walk in and say, “Hey, this is what we’re going to do.” I think what sealed the deal for me was I said, “If we think Tony has an idol, we can go for Caleb.” And I think there were people in that group like Malcolm who wanted to work with Caleb. And Tony and Caleb were so close those first days. Tony and Caleb were gone one night. We woke up one night and they were gone, we didn’t know what they were doing. And so, I thought it was obvious.

Holmes: What was it about Hali’s “loose lips” comment that tipped you off?
Eastin: It was because I was under the impression that it was Michaela and not for those reasons. Everybody was saying she wasn’t doing great in the challenges and in the water she wasn’t the strongest. She was an outcast. People thought she had a little bit of an attitude. So “loose lips” isn’t why we’re targeting Michaela.

Holmes: When the six of you were at the water well, Malcolm pointed out Tony’s Spy Bunker™ hole. Did you have any concept that he could’ve possibly been digging a hole that an adult-sized man could hide in?
Eastin: (Laughs) No! We thought he was digging for idols. It made me think he had a clue because it was a weird spot to dig.

Holmes: When you got you buff on day one. How did you feel about the tribe alignment?
Eastin: I thought I was in trouble. It’s so hard to describe. So much of my play is on gut and feeling. And looking around I didn’t think I was going to click with a lot of these people. And looking at the other tribe, I thought, “Damn, those are my people.” I already have relationships with Brad, I know Sierra, I know Andrea. So, I was super bummed out of the gate. And at camp, nobody was talking to me. I think Malcolm didn’t talk strategy with me one time alone. So, I knew I was in trouble. When nobody is talking to you, there’s usually a reason.

Holmes: Did anyone on your tribe see Sierra pick up the legacy advantage?
Eastin: Nope, that was the first time I’d ever heard about it.

Holmes: Sandra is someone who when you watch her on TV…it’s hard to quantify why she’s a two-time winner. If I were trying to explain it to someone, I’d use the moment last night where they were asking for her opinion and she said something along the lines of, “You tell me who you’re targeting and I’ll tell you my thoughts.” Did your opinion of her change when you were out there?
Eastin: It only got better. I’ve always thought Sandra was the queen, but getting to play with her it gave me such a greater perspective on why she does so well. Sandra is literally a wizard. She says the perfect thing. And if she doesn’t say the perfect thing, people take it as a joke. It’s this thing where you can be a total (expletive deleted) and I’m not saying Sandra is, but you can make a snide comment and people view it as, “Oh, Sandra!” And when she says, “You tell me what you’re thinking,” that’s so simple and so brilliant. When you’re living day-to-day there and there are so many conversations, Sandra is constantly on.

Holmes: Word association time. Let’s start with Malcolm.
Eastin: Witty.
Holmes: Sandra?
Eastin: Queen.
Holmes: Michaela?
Eastin: Strong.
Holmes: Tony?
Eastin: Funny.
Holmes: Troyzan?
Eastin: Genuine.
Holmes: Hali?
Eastin: Know-it-all.
Holmes: Caleb?
Eastin: All American.
Holmes: Aubry?
Eastin: Unique.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Jeff.
Eastin: Handsome.
Holmes: You’re not wrong.
Eastin: We’ve had this conversation before.

Holmes: Let’s jump back into that. You called Hali a “Know-it-all.” Was there something we missed? Was there tension there?
Eastin: I really don’t hold grudges, it’s a game. So, in the game, Hali, for someone who wasn’t really in my opinion a Game Changer. And I get that Ciera’s opinion is not gold. But from my perspective, I didn’t remember her. But, she came in and she knew what to do with everything. She knew what to do with the fire, she knew how to do the food, she knew the best strategy for the game. Everything. But, at the time I was thinking, “You know we’ve all done this before, right?” It rubbed me the wrong way out there, but out of the game I have no hard feelings.

Holmes: Dude, I lost so many bets on the challenge last night.
Eastin: (Laughs)
Holmes: I said to everyone, everyone, “Ciera’s done this puzzle. She’s gonna bring it home for Mana.”
Eastin: You know what? I think lesson learned, if I ever play again, don’t bet on me to win any challenge ever. I’m terrible. I get such bad anxiety. But, I knew the concept and how it works. It took forever for both teams to do the puzzle. It took so long. I can’t tell you what happened, but I can tell you that I sucked.
Holmes: The hardest part is getting all eight of the spokes even. The press ran it while we were out there and Parade’s Josh Wigler and I managed to beat the puzzle in about four minutes. And last night, a former Survivor named Laura bragged that she beat it in three.
Eastin: (Laughs) She would! My mom is a freak of nature when it comes to challenges and puzzles. She says she’s going to win and she does it. She says I have to be positive, and even when I am I lose. And I heard her voice in the challenge last night, she said you have to create a skeleton key. The key is to make one spoke that fits perfectly, then match it across all of them. The problem was I made a key and it was perfect and when I was making the rest, one of them had to be reversed because one end had a thing sticking out. And when I went back to figure it out, that’s when we got scrambled.
Holmes: I said to your mom, “If you’re so great, why don’t you teach your kid?” And her response was that you don’t listen.
Eastin: (Laughs) I really don’t. That’s very true. If I ever go back I need to get in better shape and practice my puzzles. The social aspect I can navigate, it’s those dang challenges that get me.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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