‘Survivor: Millennials V Gen. X’ wrapped up on December 14 with a unanimous vote for Adam Klein — and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. HollywoodLife.com spoke with the new winner after the live show to hear more about his risky game play, finding that final idol and more.
Let’s start with how you were feeling going into the final tribal. Did you have a plan?
My plan all along was to go to the end with Ken and Hannah. I was amazing we were able to make it work out. I was confident going in; I knew I had good arguments and had a good sense of where the jury’s head was at, and I know I’m a pretty decent public speaker, so I knew I could articulate the moves I made.
When Jay brought up your bond, you didn’t reveal anything about your mother to the group, but you did at the end. Was that always your plan?
So I went in intending to not talk about my mom’s story, because I knew I had a very good chance to win anyway. I probably shouldn’t have been thinking about this, but I thought maybe people would say I won because of the sympathy vote. I knew I was gonna win because I was playing the best game, but then I thought, ‘Forget about image, I want to tell these people — my friends — the truth about my experience.’ To the audience, it’s a story, but this is my real life. I wasn’t using anything, I was telling the real story. People think that these kind of stories help you win the game, but that’s a perceived thing; people vote for who they like the best and who plays the best game. I knew that if I shared it with the wrong people during the game, they’d use it against me.
You stated that when you got home, you said you had won: were you 100 percent sure?
Yeah. I was very confident going into final tribal council. As soon as Dave was voted out, I knew I had put myself in the best position. So I knew.
I have to also ask about that last idol you found. It was insane! How long did it really take for you to find it?
Of course there’s so little time in the broadcast, so you only see people when you were actually finding. I was always looking for something. This was the last day that it could even be played.
Do you regret telling Hannah about the idol?
Absolutely. I made mistakes in this game — the reason I won was because I was able to correct them. That was absolutely a mistake. I could not fathom the possibility that she was able to get out Dave, and didn’t do it. I couldn’t put it together that she might not do that. She told me that morning, ‘We need to take out Dave tonight.’ It was blindside after blindside after blindside all season.
I’ve asked everyone this throughout the season. Is there anything you wish they would have shown on the show?
There’s a lot! The editors created an incredible season with a surprising outcome; they made a point to show the full course of my game, the ups and downs. They may have actually made the downs look a little worse than they were — I wasn’t in a lot of danger after the merge. I had strong relationships with everyone in the merge tribe. I was making really strong bonds out there; Jessica was my closest ally and you almost never saw her and I talk on the season. Bret, who was kind of on the other alliance, we had a secret deal. I kept my name out of his mouth, and he kept mine out of his; we were protecting each other from opposite sides.
Would you come back and play again?
I am just as big of a Survivor fan now as I was at 9. I would go back in a heartbeat. It was my dream, and still is.
HollywoodLifers, were you excited to see Adam win in the end? He of course donated $100,000 to lung cancer research; Bristol-Myers Squibb Company will be matching donations for Adam Klein’s efforts to raise money for lung cancer research up to a total of $100,000. You can donate here.