Survivor’s Sandy: Hef, She’s Waiting for Your Call
03/09/2009 AT 12:00 AM EDT
At 53, bus driver Sandy Burgin was the oldest contestant on Survivor: Tocantins. Not that the wacky mother hen let that affect how hard she played the game. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to save her at the fourth tribal council. She talked with PEOPLE.com from her home in Louisville, Ky., about why she thinks the JT/Stephen pairing will be unstoppable, how age is just a number and how she hopes to hear from Hugh Hefner. – Carrie Bell
Is being the oldest the kiss of death in Survivor? It is most definitely an image battle. But age is just a number. As you saw, I held my own and did whatever I needed to do in challenges. The first one Sydney and Spencer didn’t get through the maze. I had it figured out. It took her forever to get the puzzle piece. Sydney was the cause of us going to the two councils. I had a target on my back from the first two minutes of the game, but I made a reprieve. If the vote was done over, I think that Sydney would have been the one and I think in the next few episodes you’ll see the regret.
The editing made it seem like were actually contemplating Syd instead. Did you think you had a chance of staying? I wasn’t blindsided. I took everything I had with me to tribal council. When we came back from losing, Taj brought up that I was stronger than Sydney and we were leaning toward her. But as the day wore on and JT started avoiding me, that’s when I knew in my heart that I was going home. Taj was the only one who made a commitment to not write my name down and she didn’t.
You said in your goodbye speech that you had lasted longer than you thought you would. What odds had you given yourself? Going into the game, I thought I was going to last all the way. I thought I could win the game. I am real smart at puzzles and challenges. I am strong. I trained very hard for three and a half months.The impression thing and being older was what made me start changing my mind. I’ve said my whole life that you never get a second chance to make a first impression but I have taken that out of my vocabulary because I did get a second chance to win my tribe over.
It must be noted that you rocked that bikini for a 53 year old. I worked hard for that body. I didn’t feel bad about my body. I know I don’t look like a 20 year old but I sure as hell wore a bikini like I was, didn’t I, honey? If Hugh Hefner calls me and wants to get a picture of these eraser nipples, I’m game. I ain’t turning that down. I already forewarned my daughters.
What was the hardest part for you – the weather, the lack of steady meals, the physicality? It was the social aspect of the game that was the most brutal. I had nothing in common with nary a person on my tribe. We couldn’t discuss movies, music or nothing. All of them were in their twenties and Taj was 37 so we could not relate to each other.
Did the beans JT and Joe stole from the other tribe have the outcome on you guys that you suspected they would? Yeah, they was farting beans. I warned my tribe that we could actually eat too much. That’s what I think Timbira was doing and that’s why they were losing. After we ate those beans, we ended up at tribal.There was plenty of space out there and we were already used to pooping in the sand like cats, so hell, farting was no big deal.
Syd’s flirting was quite the topic of interest this episode. How heavily was she using her sexuality? Joe was eating it up the most. She was using it pretty heavy on everyone but Spencer. I don’t think it’s gonna take her very far. Beauty does not win challenges.Like I said, she’s gonna have to take off more than a bra when they realize that.
How has it felt to watch call you crazy and annoying on the show? I don’t care. I am secure in who I am. I am a seize-the-moment kind of girl. I am game for whatever adventure comes my way and if that makes me crazy, baby, then man, I’m totally crazy.
On the first episode, teams were asked to vote for the weakest link and youwon the title. Looking back on that day, who did you think would be the last person standing? I thought I was that person. I thought I would be there for 39 days. After getting to know , I think JT and Stephen are the team to beat. Opposites attract and they are powerful because they are different who have different skills. JT can do anything. And Stephen may not look like a threat but with JT he is. I hope Stephen comes out on top. He was totally out of his element being a city boy, and that’s a true survivor.
Now that you are back in civilized society, do recognize you? Well, I am not working right now. I got laid off when I got back. The guy I work for told me my job was secure for when I got back but there was no truth to the story. But everything else has been positive since coming home.The funniest thing was when this lady walked up to me the other day and said, ‘Oh my god do you know who are?’ I said, ‘I have been trying to figure that out for 53 years.’ I take pictures with little kids and their grandmas. If I was like Howie Mandel -- afraid of germs and having to do that knuckle thing -- I would be sh-- outta luck because everyone is hugging me. I have no choice but to hug right back.