Each of the four contestants on this week’s Snake in the Grass has been on reality television for at least fifteen years. Big Brother veterans Janelle Pierzina and Rachel Reilly, as well as Survivor stars Cirie Fields and Stephenie LaGrossa Kendrick, all found themselves in unfamiliar territory.
The alums of ‘Survivor,’ ‘Big Brother,’ and ‘The Amazing Race’ discuss their experiences on the shows and whether or not it was easier or tougher to compete against someone they knew.
Recognizing the saboteur was made simpler and more difficult by the four women’s obvious affection throughout the program. In the end, however, the other three successfully captured a snake since Stephenie’s efforts at deception were uncovered.
The Release Dates interviewed Stephenie, Cirie, Janelle, and Rachel about their time on the program, Stephenie’s strategies as the Snake, and how simple or tough it was to play alongside someone you had previously fought against.
What made you each decide to go on Snake in the Grass?
Cirie Fields seemed like a cross between The Amazing Race and Survivor, so that’s how it was marketed to me, Cirie Fields. You look for treasure, and you find the money. My first thought was, “! Sign me up. The time has come to go.”
So when we got to the shore, he said, “Well, you’re really on Snake in the Grass, and one of you is a snake,” I felt like I had been baited and switched. For the simple reason that these fantastic women were involved. In other words, I’m saying, “Come on, let’s go!”
Janelle Pierzina: It was also pitched to me as a treasure hunt on a new show. It’s a new game. And there’ll be an opportunity for some prize money. And then I realized, “Holy crap, I like a good competition. I can’t say no. And it’s just six hours in a jungle.”
So when I signed up, and I got to the beach, I saw, like, literally my O.G. favorite players. I remember watching Stephenie fight for her life. I’ve re-watched tonnes of seasons of Survivor.
So I was like, “This is so amazing that I’m on the beach with these people.” Like, I forgot about the game I was in for a second. I was like, “Oh my god, I’m on the beach with Cirie, Stephenie, and Rachel.”
Rachel Reilly: I heard it was a treasure/scavenger hunt, kind of Survivor. And I was just incredibly thrilled. I enjoy contests. It was from the makers of Naked and Afraid, so I didn’t know what to anticipate. I assumed we’d be nude! (Laughs.)
I believed we’d be dumped in the middle of Costa Rica. For footwear, I wore snake boots. I believed we needed to locate an exit. But, you know, I was just so pumped up.
Upon our arrival, the sight of these females sent me ultimately over the edge. That’s not supposed to happen in real life, man. It’s crazy that I get to spend the day on the beach with Stephenie.
That’s the best thing I’ve ever heard of. Our group is made up of mutual admirers. As a result, at first sight, we were all thinking, “Wow, this is going to be a huge deal. Whatever it is, it’s going to be huge.”
How did you feel when you first realized you would be the Snake in the Grass, Stephenie?
The late Stephenie LaGrossa Kendrick: Somewhat out of the ordinary for me! (Laughs.) At first, however, I was enthusiastic. I was informed of the same issue. It was marketed as a hybrid of The Amazing Race and Survivor, although a condensed one.
That’s why I thought, “Wow, this is fantastic. I thrive on difficulty. The time has come to go.” They finally take me aside the day before the game begins to explain the rules and the fact that this isn’t a treasure hunt.
That’s when I check out the company. That these women are here has me ecstatic. Nonetheless, I feel nothing but apathy when I lay eyes on Cirie. (Laughs.) Since she is familiar with me, she will immediately recognize my dishonesty. In that respect, my experience was unique; I found it far more challenging than I expected.
What was your approach to the game after learning more about how it worked?
Stephenie: The other three already knew me, so I figured I might as well just be myself. I planned to have a lower profile and hide specific details.
I want to do that, but then I think, “If I do that, Cirie will know I’m not being myself.” You’re simply behaving silly,” she said. Plus, I was thinking, “Now I’m a parent, that is. It’s for this reason that I refrain from using profanity.” (Laughs.) Any justification I could provide for its behavior was being offered.
However, Cirie quickly realized that I was acting on her suspicions. I’m not a very convincing liar; I felt she was onto me from the get-go.
I would have been caught in a lie even if I weren’t the Snake in the Grass. Like, “I peed. To be honest, I didn’t. Whatever I was doing, it wasn’t over there.” Being on the line made me suspicious of everything. The fate of everyone was at stake. Indeed, the situation became much direr as a result.
An interesting detail about this group is that you competed against each other in pairs. Cirie and Stephenie played in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, and Janelle and Rachel competed in The Amazing Race 31. Did knowing that other person so intimately helps or hurt your reads more?
Janelle: I want to become good friends with Rachel, at which point we might say, “Let’s collaborate!” I suppose we already knew one other added an extra layer of difficulty. Having two sets of people who are familiar with one another is a peculiar feature. Strangely, we’re both being accused of being the other.
A few pieces were more straightforward to work with than others since you already knew their histories. However, you are very paranoid. Simply because Rachel was behaving oddly! (Laughs.) I said, “Put your hand up if you’re the Snake.
Forget that; it doesn’t matter to me. Tell me now.” It’s as if she were saying, “I’m not the snake.” What I want to know is, “Are you lying?” (Laughs.)
Rachel: It hit me hard when she said it to me. However, when I ran into Janelle on the beach, I naturally imagined Cirie and Stephanie would interpret our chance encounter as a sign of a future collaboration.
I didn’t want it to be like a game of “Big Brother vs. Survivor,” where everyone suspected everyone else of being a snake.
And so I started pondering, “Maybe if I make less of the fact that Janelle is in on our little secret. Now, please enlighten me on your life story.” (Laughs.) What a moron. I had no idea what I was thinking. That was extremely stupid, considering we raced together and are buddies.
Janelle: I was locked up in a home in Greece with this lady for the Amazing Race. Hey, girl, what? (Laughs.)
Cirie and Stephenie, you have an additional wrinkle in that Cirie played a part in voting Stephenie out a decade back. How did that play into the way you viewed each other?
Snake in the Grass – Cirie: Yes, I’m familiar with Stephenie since I was one of the people that helped get her booted. I’m sorry that happened, Steph. (Laughs.) After that, however, we spent a lot of time together, and everything was fine.
So, we have a nice dynamic going on between us. All you had to do was observe her throughout the first minutes of the game to see that she was ill at ease. She is correct in her assessment of her lying abilities.
(Laughs.) From what I can gather, she is extraordinary. Following Heroes vs. Villains, we all took a vacation to Fiji and stayed there for a month. Karma got me since I was voted out shortly after she was.
So, I am familiar with her typical response. Typically, she would react this way, and I knew what to expect. And when Bobby declares, “One of you is the snake,” everyone knows instantly. A glance at the love of my life.
And then, when I need her most, my girlfriend turns out to be a terrifying monster! …and I’m just sitting here like, “I dunno…” She claims her name is Janelle a few seconds after he tells us it’s a game of Snake in the Grass. And I’m thinking, “Hold on a second! Nothing has been done, and we haven’t even discussed it. What’s up, Janelle?” (Laughs.)
Stephenie: For some reason, I thought, “Alright. He will now explain the rules of the game. All of them will be taken aback by the news.
Avoid coming off as doubtful.” The acting profession is not for me. No, I’m not someone who would intentionally lie. I’m working hard to improve in every area where I’m weak. I’m terrible at everything, and I’m fantastic at nothing.
Cirie: Don’t quit your day job. (Laughs.)
So it was a three-to-one vote against Stephenie in the end. We know that Cirie had a hunch as soon as the game started. Janelle and Rachel, was there a moment for each of you that made you suspect Steph?
Rachel: It was a sure thing when we got that third and last hint. Even before I rushed in, I could tell she was the Snake just by the expression on her face.
It’s the same grin my kids give me after they’ve been pleased with themselves for being wicked. Indeed, she did seem rather pleased with herself. (Laughs.)
She had the oddest “I accomplished something wonderful!” expression imaginable. That confirmed my worst suspicion. Once we found the last piece of the puzzle, though, it was over.
Janelle: The first two hours were the most interesting for me. Since I began working with Cirie immediately, I knew it wasn’t her. As a result, I kept a close check on Stephenie and Rachel at all times. Not one of them seemed like a snake to me. Already, I had ruled out including Cirie.
Then, on the final task I did with Rachel, she went down to get the key to the clue box and didn’t lose it in the water, and I was like, “Wow.” “This is not Rachel. Given that I had previously written out the other women as possibilities, the only remaining candidate is Stephenie.
What I found interesting about this particular group was that you all came in looking for something to prove that you weren’t satisfied with your other shows. Were you able to find that on Snake in the Grass, considering three of you won?
Cirie: I’ve come to believe in myself and my judgment. I had Stephenie in the center of my sights if we didn’t get any hints. And when she turned out to be this thing, it was a good reminder to trust my instincts. As soon as he described the concert to us, I had a feeling. Perhaps Janelle had some impact on me.
And what she’s saying to me is the same thing she’s telling you “There’s something off about Rachel’s behavior. She was interested in my current address. There is a problem with her. ” If I had allowed it to affect me, we would have lost. Stephenie, you’re welcome for being such a terrible liar and actor. (Laughs.)
Rachel: I didn’t come here to prove anything, if that makes any sense. I entered to increase my bank account. I arrived and learned the game’s rules quickly, and I am known for being successful on reality television. That’s why I was motivated to succeed. My third victory, finally!
Janelle: I can honestly call this a victory. The journey helped me grow immensely as a person. When they were choosing a snake out of the bunch during our interviews, I distinctly recall being asked, “Are you a leader or a follower?” I answered, “Well, that’s a good question. I tend to go with the flow.
Furthermore, I like participating as part of a group.” The competition began, and I immediately began barking commands at these helpless women. I said, “Alright, I’ll admit it: I’m the boss and can be rather authoritative. Oh, my gosh, please accept my apologies.” (Laughs.)
Snake in the Grass (Laughs.) Janelle, we’ve been watching you on reality T.V. for fifteen years! You are absolutely a leader.
Janelle: Now I see that I am a leader, Janelle thinks. Now I know better enough to admit to producers that I follow orders. They responded with a “Huh, alright” when I did.
Again, Stephenie, you had a different experience than the other three. Anything you learned about yourself from being the Snake?
Stephenie: The fact that I’ve tried three times and failed each time was enough to convince me to apply. Then I thought, “The program is brief and reminiscent of Survivor. Perhaps I can pull off a victory.” Of course, I was unaware of the particulars. And I had no idea it involved lying so much.
Thus, my own experience was different. But I entered because I was determined to give it my best shot and win for the sake of my children and to show them that their mother is still capable of surprising them.
They are unaware of Survivor. They didn’t even exist as people yet. Oh, you’ll see, I tell them. They will now think, “Oh, she’s a loser four times over.” (Laughs.)