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Interview With Lisa Keiffer of Survivor: Vanuatu

by Grant

Hi Lisa! Thanks for taking all of our questions! You were fun to watch on the show and you got a raw deal at the end. Congratulations on all you were able to accomplish!

You seemed to have little to no problem adjusting to the elements. You were always one of the stronger competitors in all of the challenges. Was there any challenge that was tough for you?

As far as the elements, the only thing that bothered me was the weather. It always seemed cold especially at night. Being from the south I wasn’t use to that. However, I don’t think anything else really got to me, even the lack of food. I really felt prepared for all the challenges. I do believe I was one of the strongest, if not the strongest as far as the woman go when it came to competing.

The only challenge I had trouble with was the diving challenge, and that was because I had lost so much weight in my face that the mask didn’t fit. Consequently I couldn’t see a thing. I had to pass and give it to the next person.

Watching the show at home, were there any challenges later on down the line that you are thankful you weren’t around to participate in? Anything you wish you HAD been able to participate in?

There was not one challenge that I was glad I didn’t participate in. In fact, when I watched the show from home I was frustrated that I was not able to participate in all the other challenges. I would have especially loved the challenge where they flipped Eliza and Julie around all the obstacles. Also, I would have loved to participate in the vertical maze towards the end.

Your elimination seemed quick and unfair and it seems that the main force behind it was Ami. Have you two talked about it after the show and made peace or are you not on speaking terms?

You’re right about my elimination. I did feel like it was quick, unfair and unreasonable, and the force behind it was definitely Ami. However, I do realize it was a game and I’m sure that she knew I was a threat.

We did not actually talk about it at the finale (that was the first time I had seen her since being on the island), but I sensed she felt a little guilty about it. I also got that impression from Leann who was also partly responsible for my elimination. I do know this, and I think Ami knew it as well. Had I gone to the merge, I would have kicked her butt!!!

What was the toughest part of the game for you? Did anything surprise you about the way things happened or did you have a fairly good idea about the way other people were going to play the game and how tough the elements were, etc.?

The toughest part of the game for me was getting voted out when I knew there was no reason, especially when I was playing a very good game. The biggest surprise to me was how quickly the game changes. I thought I knew that going in, but sitting on the couch watching it is a lot different from actually being in the game. The elements just didn’t bother me a bit. In fact, on the 15th day when I was voted out I knew that physically I could have gone all the way.

You had applied for several different seasons of Survivor. What do you think they saw in you this time that they didn’t see in you the previous times? Is there any key to success that you can share with us about getting on the show?

I had previously applied for Survivor 3, 5 and 7 making it to the semi-finals for Survivor 3 and 5. Deep down I knew that if I would make it to the final round in LA, then the producers would see my passion for the game and that I would be a great representative of a mom (having 6 kids).

When I applied for Survivor 9 I had made it to the semi-finals again, but was rejected for the final round in LA. As luck would have it, about a month later I got a call about applying for “The Amazing Race”. I submitted a video and when they called me back to tell me they received it, I was actually in LA visiting my son (who is an actor). When the casting agents found this out they asked me to come in for a “quick interview”. Little did I know it was an interview for Survivor (the final round was going on). That quick interview led to me staying in LA an additional week for the rest of the round and then making it on the show!

I really believe that not only was I right about them meeting me face to face, but I know they liked my persistence and passion for the show. The don’t want quitters, they want winners!!!!

Did anything surprise you about the way you were portrayed on the show? Were you pleased or upset by your depiction? Do you think anybody else was portrayed a lot differently than they were in real life?

I have to say that I think everyone was portrayed exactly like they were (even Ami!). You have to remember that in normal conditions we probably all act a little differently, however, we’re not much different than what you saw. For me, the only thing I was shocked about was the focus on my body. Although I was flattered, I was also a little embarrassed.

You and Eliza seemed to have quite a feud going on for a while. Have you two made up or is there no love lost between you?

I totally love Eliza. There was really only one argument that we had and it was because she was mad because I voted out Mia. I didn’t want to argue with her, but she was kind of “in your face”. I couldn’t believe how hypocritical she was being considering she had just done the same thing by voting out Dolly, and I guess that hypocrisy just pushed my button. Anyway, later that night we talked about it and from that moment on we were ok (or so I thought). That is until Ami got to her and talked her into voting me off. Ha.

What was the most exciting part of the whole adventure? What was your favorite part? What was your least favorite part?

I’ll never forget the day the game started and we were in that big beautiful boat. I looked out over the ocean and saw all those Vanuatu natives coming at us and I thought “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe my dream has come true and I’m actually on Survivor!!!”. I’ll never forget that as long as I live. I felt so blessed.

Another great moment was the very first challenge when I heard Jeff say “Survivors ready, go”. It all felt so surreal to me.

My least favorite part of the game was night time. We would get in the bamboo hut as soon as the sun went down (which was probably somewhere around 6:00 pm) because it was so cold and we were so tired. The sun wouldn’t rise till around 6:00am (or so) and that made for a very long uncomfortable night on bamboo.

Looking back, is there anything you would’ve done differently? Is there anything you would change or are you happy with the way things turned out?

There isn’t a day that goes by since I’ve been out of the game that I don’t wish I would have picked the Lopevi tribe instead of the Yasur tribe at the split. I thought the women were all sticking together and so I had the numbers on my side by going back to the Yasur tribe. Little did I know I couldn’t depend on the women. Also, one of the reasons I voted Mia out was because I didn’t want there to be a tie. Looking back, I wish I would have taken my chances on the tie and not have voted her out. She was a great player and I probably would have had her loyalty.

The reason you were voted out seemed to be because of a slip of the tongue. You said in interviews after the show that you have a nasty habit of not completing your sentences. Was that the only reason you feel you were voted out, because of what you said to Ami, or do you think there were other factors playing into it?

I was sincere when I said I wanted to go with Ami to get the food “just in case” (someone else had to go food hunting while others got wood and water). I just didn’t finish my sentence and Ami basically finished it for me. Looking back I know she just used that to get me out because I was a threat. Ami saw that I got along with the others (even the guys) and also that I was physically strong. No way did she want to go to the merge with me much less end up in the final two with me. She was a very smart player in that she had the opportunity to get me out and use Eliza the rest of the way.

What was the reasoning in keeping Scout around? It was shown that she did a lot around camp, but she had the worst challenge performance of any Survivor in the history of the game. The moment Eliza brought up writing her name down you seemed to shoot it down. Was there a relationship there that wasn’t shown?

Scout was incredible. She really did seem to know everything there was about building shelter, finding food and keeping peace in the camp. I had a whole lot of respect for her.

It’s obvious that the game of Survivor is not all about the physical challenges. Look at Chris. He lost the first immunity challenge for Lopevi and ended up winning the million dollars. And really, Eliza wasn’t that great at challenges either. It just looked like she was towards the end because most of the strong players were out. Remember, Survivor is outWIT, outPLAY, outLAST. A combination of the three is the key.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans out there reading this?

Survivor is no doubt the best reality game of all time. I will never forget my experience and how truly grateful I am for being able to participate in the show. My advise to anyone trying to get on Survivor is to NOT give up. I also want to thank all those pulling for me. Although I didn’t win the million, I did get my dream. God truly gave me the desire of my heart. Thanks to everyone.

Thanks very much Lisa! We wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide to do next.


Freelance writer, webmaster of realityshack.com, chief editor at applemagazine.com, contribtor to TechLife News and maketecheasier.com, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.