The final three on ‘Survivor’ all really brought their A-game to their face-to-face conversation with the jury, but how are they feeling today?
Michele Fitzgerald, Aubry Bracco, and Tai Trang cold not have played different games — but somehow it led them all to the final three chairs at tribal. With a new twist in store sending home a jury member, plus an appearance by Sia during the live reunion, there was a lot to chat about with the final three. Here’s our exclusive interview.
Do you think the result would have been different without the jury vote twist?
Michele: There would have been another Aubry vote, but that would still leave me in majority. It would have screwed up my momentum a little bit. Neal wasn’t a huge fan of me. It would have set me back, but I’m not sure it would have changed anyone’s vote; it just would have knocked me off my game. I also think winning that challenge made the jury respect me a little more.
Tai: Probably not.
Aubry: I don’t think there was any way to know — it was five to two, so that was more than one vote [difference]. If there wasn’t the twist, Neal could have helped me for making a speech for me at the end; but that could have been bad for me, too. Who knows.
Do you think the Q&A segment with the jury made it better or worse for your chances of winning?
Michele: Sitting in front of them and looking into their eyes, I was hoping that they would respect me as a friend and an ally first, then see the moves I made and challenges that I won, and say, ‘Okay, I respect her already as a person, and I respect the moves she made at the end; I felt comfortable and confident sitting there.
Tai: It was worse for me for me. I’m not confrontational at all; it’s really hard for me. It was not pretty! I was so fearful of what would have been shown; I wasn’t even able to answer some simple questions because I was overwhelmed! Some were so angry and hostile; I was not surprised. They were very aggressive; I pissed off a lot of people. People love the underdog; I feel like I did do more than she did.
Aubry: I thought that I did the best I could have in the moment with that group of people — it wasn’t with me that night. I didn’t have what they needed to hear. I saw some footage from CBS recently — just saw how much Scot and Jason did not respect my game in the moment, and that surprised me. I made the case as best I could, and I didn’t make any excuses. Theres something to be said about being in that position.
Was there anything not shown you wish had been?
Michele: I think what was downplayed was mine and Cyd’s relationship; the Nick vote had been in the works since we were in Chan Low. I was really fed up with Nick and the way he was talking to me, and I had to find another alliance. Cydney and I created a really strong relationship, and we decided to build it and leave the alliance we were in. We had that plan for a long time. It seemed like Cyd just came up with it, but it was a process we had worked out together.
Talk about Scot & Jason’s game and how you felt about they way they treated you?
Aubry: Scot and Jason are a force together. They have a specific force — Jason and I have a great friendship now out of the game. When they were separated it was one thing but when they were together, it was a force. You could feel the vibe. It changed the way people played the game. You could see when Scot was sent home that the whole game shifted.
Tai: I was with them but in a way it didn’t feel right. I loved Scot, we had a bond. that I did not have with Jason — they feed on each other’s energy, like a giant beast with two heads. I had to take a stand.
Do you have any regrets at all?
Michele: Maybe not spearheading that Nick vote because I was really in on it, and I wish that I had been more central in that vote; at that time we also talked about going Jason, but I wish I had made more of a stand to send Nick home and made that my move, and started that momentum earlier. But it all worked out!
Tai: I don’t. I have, “What if I went with Scot and Jason?” but you know, I could have been gone the next week that way.
Aubry: I don’t. Survivor is a game where you have to make a decision and roll with it; you learn when you’re out there, things aren’t black and white. It’s a house of cards.
If Cydney had won the fire making challenge, do you think the result would have changed?
Michele: She’s a big person to sit against at tribal — she made some really big moves! I wasn’t sure if people like Scot and Jason would be hating on her or commend her. I was hoping they’d take the bitter route if we had gone to the end, which was what I wanted because of my alliance. But I don’t know if it would have turned out any differently. She had a realy great resume, just like Tai and Aubry. It wasn’t ideal sitting next to anyone!
Tai: Probably not; I may have gotten Joe’s vote.
Who would you have voted for had Cyd beat you at the fire making challenge?
Aubry: I think so. I had a lot of respect for her since I had worked with her for so many votes. I think I would have, but I can’t say how I would have felt. I would have listened to everything that everyone had to say. Michele was a more passive player, Cyd and Tai were more proactive.
What are you going to do with your winnings?
Michele: I’m leaving for Napa today, and I’m going to drink some nice wine; I’m planning on winding down with my family and friends and really take time to appreciate them — they have put up with my turmoil for a year now, of not knowing. After that, I’m going to fix up my car and go back to the old work grind! Life for Michele won’t change much, just a little more cushion.
You got a huge surprise from Sia, what are your plans with the money?
Tai: $50,000 is huge; I’ve never seen this much money! I may take a little trip with Mark; he went through a lot. My boyfriend Mark, not the Chicken! The other part of the money, there are so many charities that I work with, I’ll probably divvy it up.