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Interview With Lillian Morris of Survivor: Pearl Islands


by aurora

Lillian Morris has been through a lot! Eliminated early in the game, she had the chance as a part of the Outcast tribe to rejoin the game and fought her way to the final two. Although she didn’t win the million, Lillian remains a memorable and feisty contestant who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Here’s what she had to say to us.

[b]What made you try out for the show?[/b]

Two younger friends, Jennifer and AJ have been at me for a couple years to try out for Survivor. They had a cattle call here in town and pushed me hard to attend. We got there and we were too late for the interview. They said to send in a tape and that is what we did. We got to the Federal Express office minutes before it closed. The tape had to be in LA by 5:00 the next day.

[b]Were you surprised to be chosen as a contestant?[/b]

Yes I was very surprised. The two friends all along swore that I was a shoo-in but things like this don’t happen to people like me. I’m just a pretty basic person.

[b]What were your first impressions of your tribe-mates?[/b]

I remember giving a couple of them hugs on the ship. I always welcome people like that especially if I’m happy and excited. It’s just me and how God made me. I didn’t think anything negative. I saw the boys and thought we had some strong men among us, which is good. All in all, I didn’t think anything negative. I try and judge a person after I get to know them, listen to them and interact with them.

[b]You struck up an early friendship with Ryan Shoulders. Do you still remain in contact with him? Who else will you remain in contact with from the show?[/b]

I love Ryan Shoulders. He accepted me from day one. We were both pretty much shunned from the beginning. Andrew was out to get him and felt Ryan had no worth to his tribe. Ryan is an awesome young man who has so much to contribute to this game if he was given a chance and friendship. They missed out on that but I benefited. He is so different from me in music, beliefs and attitude at times but this young man touches my heart with his spirit.

I keep in touch with several of them. We are a Survivor family. Only someone who goes through what we have done can understand what’s it like. I talk to Trish, Osten, T, Nicole, Burton once in awhile. As Sandra would say, “it’s all good.”

[b]When you were voted out, were you at all prepared for your torch being put out? Your torch seemed to come back to life after Jeff tried to extinguish it – what did you think at that time?[/b]

I was hoping it would have been Darrah’s torch and not mine. I was very disappointed. As far as my torch coming back to life, it was just an added touch to the show. It wasn’t planned or I didn’t think anything of it until I came back onto the island as an Outcast.

[b]What was life like at “Loser’s Lodge” before coming back into the game? What were you able to eat, and were you encouraged to exercise? Were you surprised at these conditions?[/b]

Conditions at the “Loser’s Lodge” were OK. We had a bed, very little to eat, cold shower and we did exercise a lot. There wasn’t much else to do. I was so disappointed about being voted out of the game that I didn’t appreciate the bed I had. I wrote in a journal my feelings. I have put that away and maybe a year from now will pull it out and look at it. It is a painful time for all of us when you’re voted out.

[b]Did you have any inkling as to what was coming up, as far as the Outcasts? What were you told to expect?[/b]

The next day after I was voted out, Mark Burnett came to me and said you’ll have another chance to compete. The winner will get what every Survivor wants. We thought money, car, I wanted a visit from family. No one thought it would be a chance to come back into the game.

[b]The Outcast twist had some fans pretty upset. How did you feel about the twist overall, and if you had still been in the game at the time, would you feel resentment for someone re-entering the game?[/b]

I want someone to raise their hand and say, “sorry Mark but I won’t go back into the game because the twist was unfair and I don’t want to be a part of it.” I would have probably been a little upset but it’s a game. Expect the unexpected and live with it. Was it fair we got thrown over the ship with nothing but our clothing on our backs? Was it fair that the Drake Tribe had a Spanish speaking person and we didn’t? Was it fair that they had 2 power house players? Was it fair that the Morgan Tribe had 2 people who couldn’t or could swim very little? Accept it, it’s just a game.

[b]Looking back on your strategy and how you played the game, what would you do differently if you had another chance?[/b]

I don’t see myself doing anything differently. I know I wouldn’t have worn the uniform. It became a target at the end of the game. The held me at a higher level because of the uniform.

[b]How do you feel about the way the show was edited? Do you think you were edited fairly? How about the others? Is there anything that happened that wasn’t aired, but you wish had been?[/b]

The show seems to take a person and makes them into what they want them to be. I seemed to whine and cry a lot. I normally don’t do that. I run a Troop of some 80 young men and 38 adult leaders. If I was that big of a wuss, I wouldn’t be able to handle the Boy Scout Troop I’m in charge of.

There is 7000 hours of taping and you see 45 minutes each week. There were lots of cool things but they are telling a fast story.

[b]How did you get involved with the Boy Scouts?[/b]

I had a son first and he wanted to do Cub Scouts. When it was time to do Boy Scouts, we visited other Troops. They told me I could bake brownies as being part of the Troop. I can’t make brownies so I started my own Troop. They said no female involvement except driving and fundraisers. Both of these Troops are gone because of mismanagement. After 12 years, I’m still here.

[b]I’ve read that you used to work for Lenscrafters, but lost your job when you went to the Pearl Islands. What is in store for you now? Will you go back to work there, or look for different opportunities?[/b]

The last year at LensCrafters, I was very unhappy. Lots of changes and I felt dumped on when I was told that I would lose my job if I did this Survivor. I guess I can understand their policy but they sure missed out on a lot of advertisement for the Gift of Sight program, which I love.

I will be going back to regular 40 hour a week job eventually. Right now have a couple of agents and doing some speaking, visiting and meeting people. I love it but know it won’t last long. Next week they will be going, “Lill who?” Right now, I’m recognized and approached often. It’s pretty cool. They know what kind of an approachable person I was on the island, they feel I’m like that in real life. I am.

Also, the fan mail I receive and the emails, I always answer them. That is keeping me very busy.

[b]I was very sorry to hear of the passing of your mother – my deepest condolences to you and your family. It must have been a rough week for you, dealing with a very personal loss, and then having to deal with the loss of the title of “Sole Survivor”. What got you through it all?[/b]

Prayer and my belief in God got me through everything. Survivor and the loss of my beloved Mother. She said she wanted to be around to see the end of it all. I feel she had a front row seat in the end.

[b]Do you regret taking Sandra to the final two with you? Most of us felt that having Jon in the final two would be too horrible to conceive of – was your choice based on strategy, or personal feelings?[/b]

I have said this so many times…

I was an Outcast and I knew that people were pissed off I got a second chance. The uniform turned out to be a target against me also. I knew that no matter whom I took to the end, I wasn’t going to win the million dollars.

Jon’s lifestyle is totally different from mine and I don’t approve of it. Sandra’s is more like mine. She is a mother, a wife, she loves her family and she never owned her own home because her husband is in the Army. Who would you have given the money to?

[b]Finally Lill, is there any bitterness left over from the game? Is there anything you want your fans and critics alike to know about you that we didn’t get from the show?[/b]

Thank you for asking. Why would you feel that just because I wore a Boy Scout uniform that I should be held more accountable for my actions than anyone else? Do you have to wear a uniform of a police officer, clergy, scoutmaster, judge, whoever to be considered honest and the rest of the people in regular clothing be exempt from being held accountable for their actions?

People have asked me about Jon and his grandmother lie. It happened the same time that my beloved Mother died. I didn’t think anything of it. It was a game and Jon played the game. If I’m going to ask that you remember it’s a game because of my uniform, I should be able to accept what Jon did was part of the game and not take it personally.

In real life I’m still an emotional person, a loving and kind person. I’m also honest and truthworthy and all the other Scouting Oath and Laws. I especially love children and am having a hard time turning away people asking me to do volunteer work. There is so much need out there.


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