The latest person to be voted off of Ghost Island broke a record, albeit one that a contestant on “Survivor” shouldn’t be proud of. In 11 episodes, Chelsea Townsend had a grand total of four confessionals make the show. Whether her confessional game wasn’t as strong as her individual immunity game (she wore the coveted necklace twice) or her character simply didn’t fit into the overall narrative of the season, Chelsea, we hardly knew ye.
Her sendoff wasn’t without drama, though. In an apparent attempt to flush an idol and weaken the power bromance of Wendell and Domenick, swing votes Donathan and Laurel theatrically announced the cracks they would be exploiting.
But Wendell’s read was too good. He held onto his idol, and Chelsea was sent to the jury where she’ll probably get more screen time.
We spoke to Chelsea about her demise in the game, and about being the ghost on Ghost Island.
It seemed like you were targeted because of your challenge prowess. In retrospect, should you have held back on your performances at the individual immunity challenges? Could you have?
Definitely not. You know, I’m definitely not the type of person to be able to throw a challenge or not perform at my absolute best. I just always end up being super competitive. I grew up in sports, I grew up in a family that was very competitive and I knew that if I wanted to be crowned Sole Survivor at the end I had to have a resume that was worthy of it, and that includes winning individual immunity. I wanted to win as many as I could and I knew that was going to put a target on my back, but it was a necessary thing to do to build my resume, and even more impressive if I could have pulled off my social game, keeping me in the game regardless of the big target from the challenges.
If you could go back, what would you say to Donathan and Laurel to keep yourself in the game?
You know, that’s really hard because I’m pretty sure anything I could possibly have said, I did say to them. And so many times they were like, “Oh yeah, that’s a really good point,” and, “Oh, I didn’t even think about that.” It was very clear, just like it was on TV, that Dom and Wendell had all the power at that point, and everybody knew they both had an immunity idol to save them as well. So the fact that they couldn’t see that, I don’t know if they were thinking about where they were going to end up. I was thinking in a cast of super-fans that everyone playing would know that if they wanted to win at the end they would have to have the resume for it. And I just feel like looking back, I would have been like, “Yeah, maybe you’ll make it to the end but you won’t win.” So why go to the end if you don’t have a shot at winning? Like, you need to build your resume now. Those are all points I definitely brought up to them but I guess they just couldn’t see it.
My closest ally actually switched a couple of times due to the tribe swap, but I think ultimately at the end of the game my biggest alliance was with Kellyn and Angela, probably equally so. Angela is the most amazing woman, and she was rock solid, our alliance was rock solid. I knew that I wanted to take her to the end because she was the most loyal person out there. And Kellyn I formed a really good relationship with, and she was real good at the game. It was really fun to be able to strategize with her, and we worked really well together. I knew I most likely couldn’t take her to the end, but she was an amazing player and it was really great to be aligned with her.
How frustrated have you been with the lack of airtime you got on the show?
It’s definitely been frustrating. You know, you go out there and you play this amazing game and you feel like, “Hey, I’m really proud of my game, I think I did really well, I performed well in challenges, I did good socially.” And then you watch it back on the screen and you’re not really given any credit for the big moves you made, or your story isn’t really shown. It’s definitely very frustrating. But I think it just got to a point where I had to say, “You know, it’s about my experience and it’s about my journey on ‘Survivor’.” I know the kind of game I played, and even if they chose not to show that, I still need to be proud of what happened out there, because I did play my best game and I played exactly how I wanted to play.
Why do you think that was, about the limited air time?
You know, I can’t say. There are so many theories out there. I know a lot of people like to say that I must be very boring [laughs]. Like, I don’t know how an EMT can be super boring. You know, it’s just hard. There are so many theories, there’s so much reasoning. I will never know. That’s Jeff, that’s the producers, that’s kind of their decision as to why they didn’t show [more]. I don’t know, all I can do is speculate, and I don’t really know.
What were some of your favourite moments you had out there that weren’t shown?
Oh gosh, there’s so many. There were some really fun moments that were part of my story, like the first time I made fire, and the times after that I was making fire in the rain, in the dark, and became really good at it. And I never thought that would be something I would be super good at, even though I practised. So moments like that, of growth, that would have been fun to see back. But also moments of strategy would have been pivotal for them to show because I only voted wrong two or three times. That doesn’t happen just because you’re just floating along, that happens because you’re part of the strategy, you’re deciding who’s going home. I feel like a lot of the time I was shown as somebody in the back seat, but I was very much in the driver’s seat for a lot of those big moves.
Can you tell us something about one of your fellow castaways that will surprise us?
Hmmm… so, I think one of the things that would surprise most people is they didn’t really show the fact that Domenick and I had a really solid relationship from the very start. He actually approached me on day two and was like, “I want to work with you, you seem like the type of girl I would want to work with. You seem smart and you’re gonna play this game hard,” and so we started working together pretty early on, and that was never shown. So when we reunited on Naviti everyone thought like, “Oh, they just started working together” but we had been working together for a long time. It wasn’t until the Desiree vote that our relationship actually fell apart.
How has your passion for “Survivor” changed since playing?
You know, I think it’s stayed the same. I’ve always been a huge fan of “Survivor”. My family has been watching it for years. The opportunity to be on the show, and not only that, but to make it to the loved ones visit and have my sister be a part of the show was just huge. I have such a respect for the game, having gone out there and played it. You always watch and think, “Oh, just how hard is that?” or, “Do they really starve? Just how tired are they?” There’s so much when you watch that you just don’t take into consideration. So I only have that much more respect for the game having gone through it and knowing just how hard it actually is.
Now that you’ve played, fill in the blank: You shouldn’t come on “Survivor” if you can’t ________.
If you can’t make a big move.