Sarah Lacina on Winning ‘Survivor: Game Changers’: ‘I Know That I Played a Phenomenal Game’


The tribe has spoken. Sarah Lacina was crowned the winner of Survivor: Game Changers on Wednesday, May 24, after an exciting tribal council, in which she beat out runner-up Brad Culpepper and third place finisher Troyzan Robertson.

Sarah Lacina is crowned Sole Survivor during the two-hour season finale.
Sarah Lacina is crowned Sole Survivor during the two-hour season finale. Monty Brinton/CBS

The police officer, 33, exclusively told Us Weekly that she wasn’t totally confident going into the live reunion show. “I know that I played a phenomenal game, but the problem is I hurt a lot of people, and I knew it,” she told Us at the taping in Studio City, California. “And it just was going to come down to — that’s what the game is about. Jeff [Probst] says it all the time, ‘You vote these people out, but in turn they have to vote for you.’ So I did a great job of voting them out. Did I do a great job of getting them to vote for me? Honestly I was clueless on it.”

Sarah Lacina on the eighth and ninth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers.
Sarah Lacina on the eighth and ninth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers. CBS Entertainment

Lacina added that she was truly surprised with the results. “I would go through bouts where I was like, ‘Yeah I won this game because I played so good,’ and then I’m like, ‘It might not matter how good your game was,’ so, until tonight I truly didn’t know and it was the ultimate relief: I don’t have to wonder anymore!” she said. “I have the check!”

In an interesting twist, this season switched up the typical Q&A format of the final tribal council to an open discussion, and Lacina said the jury was tough on all three finalists. “We just felt terrible about ourselves, they were very hard on us, but that’s the price you pay for sitting in the final three, because guess what? I sat on the jury too, and I wasn’t very nice to Tony [Vlachos] or Woo [Hwang],” she said. “It’s just the price you pay.”

Zeke Smith and Sarah Lacina on the eighth and ninth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers.
Zeke Smith and Sarah Lacina on the eighth and ninth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers. Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment

The Iowa native revealed that she plans to use her $1 million winnings for some “responsible” investments. “I’m going to give 10 percent to my church. I grew up Baptist, tithing is a big thing,” she told Us. “Then my husband and I, we live in a condo now, we’re just going to build a home, and then retirement. We’re not going to spend it all.”

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