Bye Bye Bessie

042701, story graphic survivor contestant Elisabeth Filarski voted off island CBS

America's sweetheart, Elisabeth Filarski, is the latest castaway to be voted off Survivor: The Australian Outback. Friday, she joined Bryant Gumbel and Jane Clayson of The Early Show to talk about her experiences and plans for the future.

And she proved herself to be as sweet and winsome as she was on Survivor, even bringing a surprise to Clayson from Colby.

Gumbel wanted to know what it was like watching herself getting the boot on national television.

"It was tough. Even through tribal council, I sat there and had the nerves. I got the butterflies. 'Maybe they won't vote me out'," Filarksi replied. "It was definitely strange to watch, but very interesting. I loved seeing how it was edited and how it all unfolded. But it was emotional. It is hard to watch it. I didn't like losing it."

She said that the lack of food and the physical toll it took on her body was the hardest thing about the game.

"I definitely did not expect the hunger, did not at all. I did not expect my body to just give out on me. My legs just couldn't carry me anymore. I expected, because I'm competitive, to go far, but I didn't expect that, in going far, it would take such a toll on me."

Thursday's episode showed Filarski losing her hair. She explained, "I think the reason my hair started falling out was because I couldn't lose any more weight so my body started shedding anything it could." But she said her hair is OK now.

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She admitted that she had a feeling that she was going to be voted out, but still remained positive. "I had feelings that it was (her turn). You expect that it was. But I'm very – I'm a huge optimist so even there, 'Well, maybe Keith will go. Maybe it won't be me'."

Asked if she had any second thoughts about her strategy for the game, Filarski replied, " I have no regrets about how I played the game. I felt good and felt that I took myself as far as I could. And that's victory."

Gumbel noted that she had never won a reward or immunity challenge. Did she think she got as far as she did because she was so well liked?

"There is hope for the underdog," she answered. "I tried to play a very clean game, and I think that's the way I would describe it: Clean. I think in tribal council, if I had made it to the final two, I think I would have benefited from that because, you know, they were happy with how I played the game. I think when it came down to a vote, I think I was so clean going into the vote there wouldn't have been a problem."

Gumbel commented that it seemed like she was always crying in the Outback; what's with that?

"I'm an emotional person. I'm competitive, and I'm an athlete. But when it comes down to it, I'm an emotional person. I've taken a lot of heat from that, but I would rather be a sap than a stone. And I'm a sap."

She's still close friends with Rodger and says they talk all the time. As a matter of fact, "he called me this week. He was giving me directions around New York. So even now he's taking care of me."

For all her niceness, she did allow that she didn’t really get along with one fellow castaway.

"Keith and I didn't exactly get along well. We kind of dealt with each other. It was little comments he made. It was just like something every day. It is just out there, it – little things tend to bother you."

And she said it was hard readjusting to life after the Ouback.

"It was tough getting back into the swing of things. It was extremely difficult for me. I'm usually motivated. I can get up and get my day started. For some reason, I was just lethargic. In terms of physically, I had a lot of help with people trying to make feel soothed and welcomed back. But it takes a toll on you, and I think that's underestimated."

In an interview with "The Providence Journal," the Cranston, R.I., resident said, "I'm having a blast," Filarski said. "I thought I'd be getting tired by now, but I'm having a great time. Everyone's been so good to me."

At the end of the day, Filarski met up with Middletown's Richard Hatch, the winner of the original Survivor show last summer.

Hatch, who had been hired by several organizations to provide commentary on "Survivor: The Australian Outback" had not been kind about Fliarski's strategy.

"I said, 'I've been waiting to meet you! You said bad things about me.' Then I made him wear my immunity headdress," Filarski said.

In the end, Filarski said Hatch was charming.

"He's all bark and no bite," Filarski said.

And even though Hatch won and Filarski lost, she said she would not have played the game any differently.

"I'd rather be a sap than a stone," she said.

Filarski, engaged to Tim Hasselbeck, former quarterback for Boston College and now a free agent with the Buffalo Bills, said she could end up living in Buffalo or even Hollywood.

But it's still Rhode Island she holds dear.

"I grew up in Rhode Island, and I love the state,'' Filarski said. ``All my childhood memories are there. Legally, I'm in Newton, and I love that, too. But Rhode Island is where I'm from, and when I get married, it's going to be in Rhode Island."


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