Danielle DiLorenzo: “I honestly don’t think I’m a threat to people”

This is the seventh in a series of interviews with Survivor Heroes vs. Villains cast members.

Danielle DiLorenzo Danielle DiLorenzo may have been the runner-up during Survivor Panama, but I blanked on who she was, or what season she was on, or what her strategy was, or what her physical game play was like. Even after I was reminded of all that, I still have no clear idea why she’d be classified as a villain, at least not like the other villains on her tribe.

For a few minutes, I actually felt like Danielle didn’t know much about her game play, either. I asked her vague, open-ended questions, but she responded with vague answers. After she said, “if I got that far last time, not knowing half of what I know now, I’m really anxious to see my strategy and techniques and how everything works out this time,” I asked her what she learned that’d be different, and she said, “How I played then and what didn’t work for me then, and what did work, take what didn’t work and change that this time around.”

Of course, that could benefit her (more than a few of her competitors said there were people on season 20 they didn’t recognize), and she was very enthusiastic about playing again. Danielle told me that she was going to play an “aggressive game” this time, because in Panama, “I lacked in the social big-time. … “I didn’t mingle enough with everybody, and I broke an alliance early on last time that I wouldn’t do this time.”

In contrast to the other players who were cautious about having any kind of advance strategy, Danielle seems to have a clear understanding of how she will play. She subscribes to the basic idea of keeping the strong and proving you’re strong until the merge, and said, “once you get to the merge, then you restrategize,” voting out “who can beat you” in challenges. “I need to stick with my alliances this time around. I need to be smart about who I align with right off the bat: I need to find that one person that I know I can beat in the end that I can also trust to get the game with, and just bring in other people,” she said.

That kind of person is one of the people who’s already won $1 million, specifically Parvati or Rupert (“I like him”) or Boston Rob (“I like him”) and “possibly James.” Danielle said, “I’m already sizing up people and figuring out who I’m going to get along with and who I’m not, who I can trust and who I can’t.” She doesn’t want to align with Cirie (“absolutely not”), because she doesn’t trust her.

However, Danielle doesn’t have pre-season alliances (“I’m not friends with anybody. I think that actually puts me at an advantage,” she said), but “I already know how some of these people play, I know the personality types that these people have. I already know who I will get along with and who I won’t. That’s what’s I’m going to base my initial alliances off of.” She isn’t worried that other people will be concerned that she was the runner-up in Panama:
“I honestly don’t think I’m a threat to people.”

Danielle has been working in medical sales while studying acting (after basically a failed start that she describes below). To prep for her second Survivor appearance, she researched possible competitors, and also did physical prep “I tried eat a little bit less this time around rather than putting on weight” because last time “I was so hungry,” she said. “I work out like a maniac … I am totally prepared physically, mentally, and socially now.”

How being on the show has affected her life, and how it affected her acting career:

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.