Denise Stapley is the winner of Survivor: Philippines. On paper, Denise appears to be one of the unluckiest contestants ever. She was originally placed on the ill-fated Matsing tribe, she lost every pre-merge tribal Immunity, and she attended every single Tribal Council of the season. However, through all this Denise displayed a superior social game and a good mind for strategy, earning her the jury votes and a million dollar cheque at the end.
Throughout her time on Philippines, Denise was aligned and then opposed to Abi-Maria Gomes, who she clashed with on a number of occasions. While they never quite saw eye-to-eye, Abi did eventually vote for Denise to win the season.
Since Philippines, Denise has remained a part of the Survivor community and can often be found giving her thoughts on Twitter. Inside Survivor had the opportunity to briefly talk with Denise and get her thoughts on her fellow Philippines’ cast member Abi. Denise Stapley talks Abi-Maria Gomes and her chances on Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance.
“What was your overall perception of Abi’s game in Survivor: Philippines? Pros and Cons?
This first question cracks me up. My perception of Abi was made pretty clear during my season. Clearly I viewed her as a goat that people would want to drag to the end, as she was someone who socially had not played the type of game that I myself valued at the time. The clear pro of this…it happens, and she could have easily ended up in that Final Three as much as myself. The goat strategy is in fact a viable strategy in the game of Survivor – like it or lump it. The challenge is that if in that process you make it miserable for those around you, you may never get that deep into the game to make it work.
“How do you think Abi will change her game on Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance?”
I have NO idea how she will change her game. But I do believe that going in she has a much better awareness of how her social game needs to change. The question will be, can she maintain that? I firmly believe we are who we are and who Abi was in the first go around is who she will be in the second go round, just a lighter version.
“Who on the Second Chance cast is Abi’s biggest threat?”
Any of the women that are strong willed, intelligent…. (Ciera, Tasha, Monica etc). you name it. If they know her game, they will know her loyalty to them will not run nearly as deep as it will to the male players.
“Who on the Second Chance cast do you see Abi potentially aligning with?”
I can actually see Kass and Abi aligning, more by Kass’s driving that initially than Abi. There are fewer young guys out there which is who I see Abi drawn to. So Joe or even Woo.
“What is the major thing Abi needs to avoid this time around?”
Pissing people off! She HAS to engage with people authentically and with genuine interests to make connections. While it is a game, 39 days is a long time and someone rubbing you the wrong way or being a drain on camp life becomes a big deal.
“What is Abi’s secret weapon to win?”
I believe her Brazilian charm. If she can engage a group of men to bring her in, initially she will be seen as no threat to them, she can stroke their ego and they can stroke hers. Then she can slide right to the end.
“What kind of animal/player will Abi be this time – Fox (cunning strategist), Bear (strong and loyal), Goat (no jury votes), Dead Fish (dragged to the end)?”
I believe Abi would like to be the Fox of course, and on some level she might be. However, my concern is that she could easily become a goat depending on the level of personal awareness she brings into the game the second time around. At the core of it all, I would love nothing more than to see Abi kick some serious Brazillian booty out there.