Both Jenna Bowman and Michael Yerger could have used any advantage Ghost Island may have doled out, but the notoriously stingy island seemed to have disappeared for an episode. The only thing less likely to give out idols was Donathan, who was approached by both of the eventual victims of the double tribal council.
Not only was Jenna denied an idol, she was denied the walk out of Tribal, denied final words and worst of all – denied hugs. Visibly crushed, she was forced to process her demise publicly as she plunked down next to her fellow jurors.
Through teary eyes, Jenna got to witness the second Tribal Council.
Even though Michael couldn’t persuade Donathan to lend him his idol as a prop, it didn’t stop him from convincing a paranoid Kellyn that he had one. Michael was one of the youngest contestants to ever play Survivor, and he did it with flash, a calm ferocity and a smooth charisma well beyond his 18 years. “The Idol King” almost got away with it too, if it wasn’t for that meddling extra vote… and his own vote for the wrong person.
The Malolo victims of the double Tribal Council shared with ET Canada what it was like fighting from the bottom for a month in Fiji, and how life has been post-“Survivor”.
Q&A With Jenna:
What was the feeling like of being voted out, and immediately having to join the jury for the next Tribal Council?
While it was happening I no thoughts or feelings going on. I was still trying to process that I just got betrayed by someone I trusted. I’m still kind of shocked that it finally was my turn, and then going from that to Jeff snuffing my torch and then turning around and walking back by everyone that just betrayed me and then sitting on the juror bench.
It was a weird feeling because I had to quickly go from player to juror. I think the transition for me was honestly kind of positive because I quickly moved from being bitter and sad to quickly like, ‘Okay, now I’m a juror, I have to pay attention to this tribal because this is going to reflect in my final decision of who I think should win.’
It seemed as if you and Sebastian really connected during (and after) the show. Were you surprised he cast his vote your way?
Yeah, I mean, I definitely wasn’t expecting that. We obviously weren’t in a strategic relationship by any means but I just assumed that, based on how close we did get, I didn’t think he would actually ever write my name down, or at least he would let me know if it was coming my way.
But I was shocked that it even looked like he led the campaign against me too. So it was hard to swallow that, yeah. After I got voted off, that was probably the hardest part of me getting voted out that day.
What’s your status with Sea Bass now?
I’m moving in with him in two weeks!
How good would you say your read was on the dynamics of everyone’s social game out there?
So, I didn’t ever really play too closely with Domenick, Laurel and Donathan. I never met Dom until the merge, and then Donathan and Laurel, I was close with at the very beginning in Malolo, but I hadn’t seen them in a long time, so I didn’t have a read on them.
I only really knew from the very beginning Malolo and very beginning Malolo, they didn’t really seem too strategic. So seeing them come this far with Dom and Wendell has been very surprising. But other than that I think I had a pretty good read on everyone that I had actually played the game with.
Who was the most frustrating person to strategize with?
Good question… Well, this most frustrating person, that was in the game, and trying to ever strategize with or even just like trying to plead a case with was Bradley. There was no relationship there and it was the hardest, most frustrating position to be in trying to work with him.
What was your favourite “Survivor” moment you got to experience?
I think the helicopter reward. It is such a classic reward and I love helicopters. And to share it with Michael, Sebastian, Kellyn, and Chelsea, I think that was probably my favourite moment.
And that was honestly the first reward I had won. It was a big moment because we were losing, losing, losing, so it was awesome to be given that new life. Just to have that type of experience in Fiji was amazing.
How bitter of a juror were you?
I wasn’t bitter. Game respect game. I think the people that are playing the game the hardest deserve to win. I think I quickly got over the betrayal just because I was so quick to move into a juror position. You know, it just happened and this is the next phase of the game.
Were you ever able to overcome your R.B.F.?
I think I was! Jeff Probst gave me a tip going in, he goes, ‘Get out there and when you get out there just say, ‘Guys, I have this R.B.F., this is not who I am. Get to know me first, don’t judge me off of that!’
You know we had conversations the first day and everyone’s opinions were ‘yeah, definitely we noticed that.’ But I think I was able to maintain and make all these amazing relationships without having to worry about anyone judging me.
Q&A With Michael:
What made you decide to put your vote on Wendell?
Before tribal obviously I had to bluff everything with my fake idol, or the idol Donathan had found. So I used the exact same story, the back story, from the super idol from Kaoh Rong, and I just acted like it was mine.
I told Kellyn, and I think she believed it and didn’t ask to see my idol simply because I had that backstory and was really able to build on it. And then Kellyn obviously was worried that I might turn on her if she didn’t work with me. So she, as we all saw, was scrambling and trying to figure out what the right move was to do and she agreed with me and Laurel that it’s time to go ahead and blindside Wendell.
So going into tribal, I felt super confident that the three of us were going to catch him by surprise and flush an idol and move forward together and to put up that power duo of Wendell and Dom, which didn’t end up happening. But that was my impression going into tribal.
What from the whispering between Domenick and Wendell were you able to make out?
Honestly, none of it. I was trying to listen in, I was right by them. You saw how close I was. But it was quiet in there and my only speculation was that they were deciding whether to put the votes on me or on Kellyn.
And I know that they came in there guns drawn on me so I’m assuming that something triggered them in tribal and made them think, ‘Wait, does this guy actually have an idol?’ Which was obviously a good time for me. I was excited to see that there was a little communicating going on, but unfortunately, it still went my way.
At what point did you realise that there was an extra vote cast?
As soon as Jeff read that sixth vote. Clearly, I knew something was going on. Kellyn had been to Ghost island twice. so it definitely caught me off guard.
I didn’t think that she actually had something as she told me time and time again that she didn’t get anything either time at Ghost Island. So, that was a surprise but we were able to add that up pretty quickly once we saw that sixth.
Time after time throughout the season, we saw you as a masterfully convincing stone-cold liar. How dubious have you found people are around you now?
(Laughs) I think that everybody that knows me knows that I’m an honest, loyal, stand up guy, and I’d like to think that I am, but the game is completely different from me. That’s been a common thing in previous seasons, you know, separating the game from real life and letting yourself lie and letting yourself do those things.
I mean, I think there is a silver lining to it – you really have to pick and choose the way you lie and the types of lies that you tell. I was proud of and happy with every lie I told besides the backstory to why I wouldn’t drink because my backstory was that I had some family history of alcoholism and I had some bad past experiences that lead me to not want to drink. I definitely don’t take that lightly, at all.
I know that that is a huge problem and I don’t want to make light of that, but at the same time, I needed a realistic backup story to cover that question. That would be the one kind of iffy lie that I told out there. But overall I was pretty proud of my game and I think that everyone that knows me in my real life is able to separate that from me.
How has the exposure of your real age affected your professional life as a real estate agent?
As an agent, I wouldn’t say that I’ve had many business encounters where they’ve said, ‘Oh hey, you’re the guy from ‘Survivor’.’ It’s a pretty niche crowd so we deal with a lot of overseas, out of the country buyers and I have not run into the problem just yet.
So we’ll see how that goes but its been okay now and some of the people in my firm and in my office are following along. When they hired me they didn’t really pay attention to my age, they didn’t really think anything about it.
So I think that that came out as a surprise to them but overall its been good feedback and I think I’ve even impressed some people along the way. So I’m proud of it and I hope that doesn’t hinder my business in the future. But it’s freeing now to just be able to be me and not have to try to keep up with the thoughts.
After you played the F—ing Stick, how hard were you idol-hunting out there for its replacement?
What would you say was the biggest impact you made on the season?
My story as an underdog, I guess you could call it… it was a heart story because nothing ever went my way. It was the same thing time, and time again. And I really tried playing my hardest, tried making every move that I could, forming relationships and making big moves and I was never really able to execute a large blindside that I wanted to.
So for me its like, there’s not even a huge moment that I think I influenced the game by. It was more so influencing the game by keeping my skin in the game. And that was hard enough for me to do without even having the luxury of dictating the vote or causing a blindside. I just had to focus on me.
What bad decision did you make that will haunt you forever?
Misreading the crowd with that idol with James and sending Brendan home as collateral. Going up there I literally said that I was playing this for Brendan and me, which I could only play for one. I was judging the crowd and looked over at Bradley and he looked scared but for some reason, I just didn’t get the response that I was looking for.
And it’s so hard when you have so many thoughts in your head and to a certain extent you’ve already made up your mind. And it was so hard at the moment to really try and take that in and really make the best possible guess.
I was so close to pulling that off and that would have been legendary in my eyes to actually come out on top with the odds that we had. So that will definitely haunt me. I hate that I played James’ idol wrong of all people. At least it got played, right?
How likely do you feel you are to get the call to go back and play again?
I couldn’t tell you, I mean, I would do everything I can to get back out there. I would give my heart and 100% everything I got out there but I can’t say.
I don’t know what CBS is going to do next, so we just have to see. But my phone sound is on, so you can let them know!