'Survivor: Philippines' winner Denise Stapley reveals the person still mad at her, and that she is the one that told Penner about Lisa's past

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Image credit: CBS

Image credit: CBS

EW: I know they cut that final Tribal Council down quite a bit. Were there any other tough moments that didn’t make the final cut?
It’s such a blur in hindsight. It was a long Tribal Council. Even my interaction with Abi was much, much longer and it was like the replaying of every single previous Tribal Council with her. That was a bit longer. But in terms of the essence of what was shown last night, that was it.

EW: You seem pretty good with everyone now. Anyone still bitter at you?
You know, I have tried multiple times to make peace with Russell behind the scenes. It’s one of those things I’m just kind of letting go. It’s a game and everybody takes it in their own way and has to take their own amount of time to just work through it and let go of it and make their own meaning of it. But Abi and I have completely made peace. Social media is a great avenue so Abi and I had made peace months ago, and RC. Everybody is in really good spirits. Even if we’re not all connected, we’re very tolerant of each other.

EW: It’s interesting you mention Russell because I know Russell has had a very difficult time processing his whole experience but I didn’t realize he had some personal issues with you. I don’t remember you doing anything egregious to him in there, except, you know, voting him out.
No, and that has been the most bizarre thing for me. I struggle to understand it. Russell just hasn’t been able to see that the person I was out there is the person that I am, and I wasn’t playing a game. And friendships that I developed out there were real and I wasn’t just talking to people out there for strategy. Which again, could have been my downfall had the game not gone a different direction. But I think there were certain things that he may have taken or thought were manipulative or trying to maneuver things, and it just wasn’t. And I think he just struggled so hard with not winning. Here’s somebody who has probably never lost at anything competitively. So I’m not sure.

EW: The fact that you and Malcolm came to new tribes as outsiders was tough because you had to find a way to survive off the bat, but once you did that do you think it gave you an advantage because you weren’t close enough to anyone where they would then feel betrayed by you?
Absolutely. And the place it made the biggest difference was coming into that merge with Tandang because I just kind of came in and could figure out where I was gong to go and they already had day after day to have their own tensions and cracks build, so when they basically turned on each other, that was the best thing ever because I didn’t have to be the one to do it. They were doing it to themselves.

EW: What surprised you most watching the show on TV and seeing the things you did not see while on the island?
I think the thing that probably surprised me the most was how quickly Malcolm turned and was ready to put the shank in me. We laugh about it and he’s like, “I was talking about booting you out for weeks!” Stupid me, I was like, oh we’re in this tight alliance. I kept thinking, oh, no, he wouldn’t do that. Well, yeah, he would!

EW: Money. Your plans. Go.
Immediately is to take a few deep breaths. We have our 9-year-old daughter and we have some future planning for her we want to square away. We have not traveled a great deal, so at some point a nice warm vacation where there is no rain and maybe a swim up bar would be lovely.

EW: They don’t ask winners to come back as much as others, but at some point they most likely will ask you if you want to do this all over again. Would you?
100 percent. There wouldn’t be a doubt. I’d be back in a minute.

Check out all the rest of our ‘Survivor’ finale coverage, including Dalton’s full episode recap, exclusive intel from the host on next season, Probst’s thoughts on the finale, and interviews with the rest of the final four. Plus, enjoy an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s finale — as well  as pre-game interviews with the final four — in the video player below. And for more ‘Survivor’ scoop all year long, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.


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