Exclusive: Bradley Kleihege talks 'Survivor: Ghost Island' -- Libby Vincek is as fake as all the makeup on her face
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/06/2018
Bradley Kleihege was eliminated from Survivor: Ghost Island from the new Naviti tribe after Malolo finally won an Immunity Challenge during Wednesday night's episode on CBS.
Bradley, a 26-year-old law student from Haslett, MI, was voted out of Naviti on Night 19 of the game at Tribal Council through a unanimous vote. Bradley had cast his sole vote for Libby Vincek, a 24-year-old social media strategist from Houston, TX.
Bradley did not see his ouster coming, as the tribe apparently targeted him for personal reasons when he had assumed he was getting along fabulously with the group. Bradley was also a surprising choice for the vote given he's an original Naviti member and they had the numbers -- 3 Naviti to 2 Malolo -- after the latest tribal swap.
"I was blindsided 100 percent, but as a Super Fan of Survivor, there's no way I'd rather go out... I could've done a whole lot better. I feel like if I made it to the merge, I would have won the game, so hats off to [them]," Bradley said in his final words.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Bradley talked about his Survivor experience. Below is a portion of what he had to say.
Reality TV World: By getting rid of you, the numbers in your tribe are even now -- two original Naviti vs. two original Malolo. Is it safe to say your tribe was expecting the merge? If so, the timing of your vote off would make a lot more sense.
Bradley Kleihege: Yes, absolutely. We were very, very sure the merge was the next day, and that's what [Dom] had said. When he was at Naviti after the first swap, I had gotten word back that he was already telling everyone on that tribe that he couldn't let both [Kellyn Bechtold] and I get to the merge -- that we were too big of a threat.
So he had been gunning for one of the two of us since pretty early in the game. So he took that as, "Here's my chance." And that's exactly a part of what was cut out of Tribal Council.
[Jeff Probst] was like, "Tonight's a big night! Tonight is the night where you can make a big move that sets you up to win the game and it's also a night where someone who thinks they're in a good spot to win the game is cut short."
And that, I think, was pretty true to how it was being perceived by Dom and I at least.
Reality TV World: Libby Vincek was obviously your target because you said she's sweet, attractive, and can sell anything with a smile. Did you form that opinion all on your own or did Domenick have major influence on that? Because we saw you two having a conversation about Libby being dangerous in last week's episode.
And Libby even talked about it a little bit, and what they had said kind of matched up with what Dom had told me, which was basically when Morgan left, she said, "Don't trust the blonde," or whatever, and I was very close with Morgan. And so, I was just like, "I don't think I can trust her at all."
The other hard part is there is just no passion with Libby. Everything is delivered in the same fake, you know, smiley way! And so she's hard to read. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, I guess is up to anyone -- they can decide for themselves -- but it's tough to play with that in the game.
Her smile and the way she delivers everything is as fake as all the makeup on her face, basically. It's really tough to play with because you just don't know. Same kind of thing with [Chelsea Townsend]. There's just such a lack of passion that it's just really hard to find a tell because they're just not being real.
Where with other people, it's much easier to get a little bit of a better idea -- when someone is being real, when someone truly feels passionately about something, or doesn't. And with them, it was just really tricky.
Reality TV World: I know you felt pretty safe, but did you spend any time looking for an idol? Was there suspicion anyone on your tribe might have an idol prior to Tribal Council?
Bradley Kleihege: Yeah. Oh yeah. I spent tons of time looking for an idol at Naviti and at Malolo. We looked all the time, which is what you don't see of course on the TV. Yeah, you can never feel absolutely safe -- never, not even at the Tribal Council when we voted off [Stephanie Johnson] at Malolo did I feel 100 percent safe at all.
I felt pretty good because we found the note in her bag that said the game [on Ghost Island] was closed, and we had also followed her around all day, so we knew she hadn't found an idol. But even then, you still don't know.
So yeah, I was looking, and Dom told me that he had an idol. So I knew he had one, which was a further disincentive to try to flip the game up on its head, because what could I really do at Tribal? If Dom really wanted to flip on me, he would just figure out whom I was voting for and then play an idol for them.
So I just really didn't think the odds were in my favor to try to flip something even if I thought there was a possibility something was up at that Tribal.
Reality TV World: When I talked to Stephanie earlier in the season after she got voted out, she said there was "something going on" between Kellyn and yourself. Could you talk to me a little bit about that? Were you two just great friends and allies, or was something romantic blossoming?
Bradley Kleihege: Yeah, we were fantastic allies. We were allies from Day 2 -- "ride or dies" as they say in reality TV. We were going to go deep in the game together. Yeah, we get along fantastically. It's interesting because in pre-game, producers will ask when you meet them who is sticking out to you from the group.
And of course you haven't talked to anybody at that point, you only know each other by their initials.
And so, Kellyn's initials are "KB" and I went in there and was like, "KB is the most boring person in the world. She doesn't interact with anyone. She won't look at anyone; she won't smile at anyone. She's a missionary or librarian or Sunday-school teacher. She is so boring."
So I was like, "There's nothing there!" And then within two seconds of stepping on the mat and Day 1 when we were allowed to start talking, Jeff called on her and was like, "You over there, what's your name?" And she was like, "Hey, I'm Kellyn, like Helen with a K."
And everybody in the cast, their jaws just dropped right to the sand. It was like, "Whoa, we were not expecting this!" She's hilarious and quirky and just really, really fun to be around. And she's also a massive fan of the game, so we could talk so much strategy.
And she was such a great partner at Malolo, because the two of us would decide what we wanted to do and whom we wanted to vote out. We would then break up and talk to the other three individually and then as a group, and then we would never throw any names out.
We would wait until they threw the name we wanted out, and we would encourage it. So everyone kind of thought they were making the decision, but you know, Kellyn and I had them wrapped around our finger.
Reality TV World: So was there something romantic between you guys out there? (Laughs)