Lindsey Lets Loose on Her Survivor Elimination: A no-holds-barred Q&A on tattoos, tribes and tension

Posted on Mar 19, 2015 | 08:20am
John Cochran, simply known as "Cochran" to Survivor fans, competed on the show during Season 23 and walked away as Sole Survivor on Season 26. After the most recent castaway Lindsey Cascaddan had her torch snuffed by Jeff Probst, Cochran sat down with the former Blue Collar tribe member to get all the details we're dying to know. Read on to hear how the interview played out.

By John Cochran

Despite a very No-Collar exterior, Lindsey Cascaddan proved herself throughout her Survivor experience to be a true Blue Collar force, and won fans with her refusal down to some of her more physically imposing tribemates.  Though she formed a close social and strategic bond with Sierra early in the game, Lindsey had a harder time with the men on her tribe (each of whom professed to be an expert on the mystical art of talking to women).  I spoke to Lindsey about whether she still has faith in the Blue Collars, her thoughts on Rodney, and the face tattoo everyone’s talking about.

Cochran: Let’s start off with the statement you opened and closed your game with — your belief that the winner of this season of Survivor will definitely come from the Blue Collar tribe.  How much of that was a sincere belief in your tribe, and how much of that was a political way of gaining their support?  And since they’ve kicked you off, do you still want the winner to come from that tribe, or are you now Team “Anything but Blue Collar”?

Lindsey: I’m a lot of things in life, but I’m not a bitter loser.  I think that, after being voted out, the Blue Collars are even more likely to be winners because they did the right thing by voting me out.  I said from day one that, with my personality, I’m either going to be the first one out, or you’re not going to be able to get rid of me.  I genuinely believed that a Blue Collar could and will take this season.  I think that, in the beginning, that statement was: “I would love it to be me, but if it’s not, then I feel like our tribe could use some unity right now.” And then I said at tribal council that, regardless of who goes home, I still think the winner is sitting here, and Jeff seemed really surprised by that. And even now, everyone seems really surprised by that, but that sentiment is genuine, and I stand by it.    

Cochran: In the build-up to tribal council, it felt like you had a lot of momentum on your side.  We were seeing the main alliance getting fed up with Rodney’s behavior, and virtually everyone seemed on-board with voting him off.  Where did things go wrong between then and tribal?

Lindsey: I think that, when you come into this game and you find people you can’t stand or that rub you the wrong way, at first you’re like “let’s vote them out” because they’re so crazy you don’t want to play the game with someone like that.  And the Blue Collars did all feel that way genuinely about Rodney.  We all said that, although there are bigger threats in our tribe, no one wanted to work with someone like Rodney.  We all said we’d rather play a wholehearted honest game and just get really dirty after we vote him out.  I think what happened was, more than anything, Mike and Kelly saw two things: one, they saw a pair between Sierra and I, which — we were on fire, we were a dynamic little duo.  The two of us were a force to be reckoned with.  The other thing is, you look at a guy like Rodney, and of course you can’t help but think two things.  One: let’s get you out of here because you’re obnoxious and crazy; and two: I need you to be sitting next o me because who the hell’s going to vote for you? So I think when they saw that, they made the right choice, because he’s not as alpha as I am.  The thing with Rodney is, he’s always going to say he’s alpha, but he’s very threatened by strong personalities.  Especially if they come from a woman.  

Cochran: There was a moment a couple weeks ago when you got into a heated argument with Mike, during which you made reference to his religion in a way that seemed to really bother him.  Do you think that history of fighting may have had something to do with your downfall by making Mike less likely to defend you, or was that all water under the bridge by the time of last night’s tribal?

Lindsey: It wasn’t water under the bridge: there was tension between Mike and I.  Mike was really upset about my statement about God.  At the end of the day, I wasn’t trying to offend anyone; I was making a statement purely saying, “It’s great you have God.  I’m really happy for you.  Anyone here could have God, and probably does, but that doesn’t change that the fire is not roaring and bringing us clean water and cooking our food and keeping us warm, because of God.  It’s there because I tended to it all day and night, so you’re going to see that and you’re going to recognize that.”

Cochran: One of the hardest parts of Survivor is having to live with and listen to people who express opinions and beliefs that run completely counter to your own.  We saw your struggle with that last night when Rodney discussed his take on society’s expectations of men vs. women.  In retrospect, do you wish you would’ve bitten your tongue instead of engaging with him?  And what are your thoughts on Rodney overall?  

Lindsey: I definitely don’t regret speaking my mind and voicing my opinions to Rodney.  I would never want my daughter to watch me back down to a personality like his.  And I would never justify to my friends or family doing that for a million dollars.  My pride is way more important to me.  I also think it’s important for women and young girls that watch this show to see that sometimes, you have to stick up for yourselves.  No matter what’s on the line.  You have to put yourself first and others first.  Sticking up for humanity is not something I will ever apologize for or regret. 

My thoughts on Rodney are that he’s just sort of this lost boy who needs a strong male figure in his life.  I can’t imagine his mom goes to bed every night proud of what she’s raised.  She might say, “I’m proud of you,” but that might not mean “I’m proud of what you’re doing.”  Sometimes you’re proud of your kids because they’re your kids and they’re doing what they can with what they have.  I would go out on a limb to say maybe Rodney’s mom is proud of him doing what he can with what his deck is, but I am a mom, and I can’t agree that any mother would watch what we watched last night and say “I’m really proud of you.”  

Cochran: Before Rodney and Mike, the biggest thorn in your side on the Blue Collar tribe was Dan, who you called out for what you considered to be phony, attention-seeking behavior.  Have your feelings towards Dan softened?  Do you think he’s for real?

Lindsey: Dan is such a showman and he’s such a fan of the show that his idea of being a Survivor player was being remembered.  The first couple days, Dan was on my radar because he was being this showman; he was being this obnoxious, annoying, wanting-to-be-remembered character, and I just couldn’t handle it.  It was so out of this world.  It was this storybook cartoon character.  As he gets stripped down, though, he becomes so much more tolerable.  Even though he still has these wild moments and these big personality traits, I feel like in everyday life and camp, he’s really tolerable.  He’s lighthearted and funny and a gentleman.  But then when you get him in front of a camera, you see him talking about how to talk to women, and that’s just his way of wanting to get something out there to be remembered by.  I don’t take offense to Dan, because he’s just… Dan.  He doesn’t even mean what he’s saying half the time.  He just literally wants someone to be like, “Oh, remember that time Dan lost his underwear?”  So it’s not anything like Rodney, who is literally that ignorant.  

Cochran: In the midst of all the mayhem and arguing on the Blue Collar tribe, you seemed to find a real source of calm and sanity with Sierra.  What do you think is the reason for your close bond?  What drew you to her?

Lindsey: In real life, someone looks at Sierra and she’s one of the best rodeo-ers in the US; she’s a barrel racer; she’s really tall; she’s outrageously beautiful, and in her everyday life, Sierra sees a lot of women turn her down and not trust her and talk about her and be catty and conniving purely based on what she looks like and based on what people think she might be like.  The second I saw Sierra, I wanted to work with her because she’s confident, she’s beautiful, and I love a woman who can walk with her head held high.  If my personality had a body, I think it would be Sierra.  We work really well together because she’s just this steadfast, beautiful woman who’s quiet but strong, funny, and kind.  And I think Sierra took a lot of comfort in me because I was the voice to her thoughts that she didn’t necessarily know how to voice.  I am kind of this beacon of how she actually feels, which probably holds true for a lot of women in America.  I don’t necessarily look like your everyday, all-American blue-collar girl, but that doesn’t mean I’m not.  Sierra and I just meshed really well.  We were literally why people say opposites attract: because sometimes they just do.

I asked Twitter what they wanted to know about you, and the most popular question had to do with what’s arguably your least-Blue Collar feature — your face tattoo.  We’ve heard some of your tribemates’ thoughts on it, but what’s the real story behind your tattoo?

Lindsey: My face tattoo is actually my great grandmother’s wedding lace from her gown that she got married in, and I drew it out to match that side of my face.  And I decided to put it there when I was in a place in my life where my career was thriving, I was really happy with my success and managing my business, and I was a mom, and I just was really happy with myself.  And I got to this point in my life where I found the confidence that not a lot of women find, and I found this voice inside of me where being myself was the most comfortable thing to be.  A lot of people look at it and think “Wow, she must be so lost; there must be something wrong with her.”  But it’s not a loud tattoo — it is on my face, but it’s kind of a quiet color and it’s unique and something I wanted to do and it’s a bold statement and it’s in your face literally and it’s one of those things that’s like you can accept it or not accept it.  It’s just who I am.  And it represents the women in my family and who we are.  And in a lot of ways I think that being bridal lace represents exactly what you saw not happen last night — it represents men that stand by the women in my family.  And it’s the type of man that’s not threatened.  It’s the type of man that looks at a strong woman and says, “That’s my girl.”  It doesn’t bother me when people talk about it, because if it bothered me, I wouldn’t look like this in the first place.  

Cochran: Do you have any regrets?  Are there moments in the game you wish you could replay, or any conversations you wish you could take back?

Lindsey: I don’t necessarily have any moments that I regret… I have moments where I feel like I should’ve empowered Kelly more because I’m good at that.  And especially with women — I should’ve reached out to her and said “We may not powwow as much as Sierra and I do, but that doesn’t make you any less important to our group and our alliance.”  A lot of times in Survivor, it’s a matter of stroking someone’s ego.  I said it last night that I left because I hurt a man’s ego, but realistically I think it’s because I hurt two men’s ego and I didn’t stroke the ego of Kelly, which apparently needed it.  So I don’t have any moments I outright regret, but I do wish that I had sort of empowered more people on my tribe to go with who they wanted to go for and play the game they wanted to play instead of playing the game Survivor says you should play.  And I think you see that sometimes if you play the game Survivor says you should play, it doesn’t necessarily work out the way Survivor says it will.

Cochran: Life on the Blue Collar tribe looked pretty rough; tempers flared, words were exchanged, and some questionable philosophies about how to talk to women were shared.  But there had to be some great moments, too — what’s your fondest memory from your Survivor experience?

Lindsey: I think my fondest Survivor memory is just the self-reflection that I was able to do.  In my real life, I’m such a control freak and I’m a mom and I’m a go-getter and I’m constantly busy and constantly going.  And I don’t think that my fondest Survivor moment came from anyone apart from myself.  I learned so much about myself.  I played this game that is just wild and so twisting and turning and — somewhere along the way — I learned the life that I have and the things that I do and the way I do them, I’m doing them the way I wanted to do them, and I came home and wanted to continue doing them.  And I got the chance to show friends and family and America and whoever’s watching the wild journey that sometimes being yourself and taking pride in what you believe in and standing up for people that can’t stand up for themselves or just don’t know how to is worth more than any amount of money. 

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