Exclusive: Castoff LJ McKanas talks 'Survivor: Cagayan -- Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty' (Part 2)
By Reality TV World staff, 04/23/2014
Survivor: Cagayan -- Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty's merged Solarrion tribe voted out LJ McKanas during a recent broadcast of the CBS reality series' 28th edition.
LJ, a 34-year-old horse trainer from Boston, MA, was voted out of his Solarrion tribe at the season's ninth Tribal Council session, which marked the third time Solarrion had attended Tribal together.
LJ was eliminated from the game after his closest ally, Tony Vlachos, turned on the majority alliance in order to vote him out.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, LJ talked about his Survivor experience. Below is the concluding portion. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: Before you guys voted, you told Jeff Probst that you had been approached by Latasha "Tasha" Fox, Spencer Bledsoe and Jeremiah Wood but rejected them. Were you just referring to the conversation in which Tasha had said she wanted to meet you in the jungle and you blew her off, or were there additional conversations beyond that?
LJ McKanas: Well, that was one. I kind of just sat there and analyzed, "Alright, I've got a paranoid cast member here who, even if I stand up and look like I'm having a conversation, it's going to actually end up with the result [of my elimination]," which actually ended up happening last night.
So I thought, "There's nothing that she could actually say to me that's going to be worth the risk of that paranoia," so I didn't. I did have a conversation with Jeremiah at one point and it was, "If you want to make a move, I'm here."
But he -- unfortunately towards the beginning of the game, where he had that option to flip, and because it was in his best interest that he went back and then [Morgan McLeod] exposed his unloyalty -- I just couldn't put my trust there. So I had to go with what I thought I paid for, was a loyal, loyal group. And I stuck with it and it kind of bit me.
Reality TV World: Did Tasha ever come back to you and let you know that Tony was looking to blindside you after he had made his plan with them, or no?
LJ McKanas: No, no. I don't even know. I haven't really communicated with her in regards to that, but I'm not sure if she knew that that was the plan at that point in the game. And I'm not sure if she was going to share that with me.
In hindsight, yeah, I should've went and heard her out. And if she said, "Listen, he's trying to get you out but we can't stand him more," that would've been something to consider, but I just didn't think Tony had it in him to make that decision when he did.
Reality TV World: Do you think Tony thought Trish Hegarty, Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen and Jefra Bland were just going to welcome him back after your blindside or do you think he feels he might be in trouble now? What do you think his plans were going forward?
LJ McKanas: I mean, I think he pre-planned the fact that -- "Alright, I actually had this conversation with LJ and he was willing to vote out [Yung "Woo" Hwang] and he's going to use that for leverage." But I don't know if -- he's such a minute by minute, second by second kind of guy, one can only think that you're in trouble now because not only did you blindside me, you blindsided three of your six.
And the other players know how you play too when you flip, so there's got to be some concern there, and I think, maybe, it was just, "Let me get out the actual strongest player here who was my concern all along and now it's considered me and suffer the consequences and maybe win immunity next time."
Reality TV World: Were you surprised that Trish refused to go along with Tony's plan but she also knew about it and didn't clue you in on that? What was your relationship with her like? You guys seemed to be pretty close out there.
LJ McKanas: Yeah. As I watched the episode and it was unfolding and he was saying his piece, being a spectator, I was like, "Yeah, Trish! Yeah! Nice. Stick with the plan. Stay loyal." And then the fact that she didn't come tell me, or she didn't at least -- we're supposed to be a strong six.
At least hash out the differences and figure out who's lying, because this could be the deciding factor in her future. Like, who's lying here?! And if you're not willing to flip, you got to at least find out -- make a decision and go with it.
But I was pretty bummed that she didn't come to me and have that conversation and at least give me the chance to call me a liar. [Then] I could justify that I'm not a liar, "We had a conversation. We know how paranoid he gets." I was just kind of bummed that she didn't come give me a hint.
Reality TV World: Tasha made some comments that suggested she felt you and Jefra were in a tight alliance and Jefra would basically go along with whatever you want. Did you feel that was the case? What was your relationship with Jefra like out there?
LJ McKanas: Yeah, I mean, from the beginning, we were kind of on the bottom, on the top, on the bottom, on the top. So we went through a bunch, but I think that whatever our circumstance was, Jefra and I would have voted the same no matter where we were in the game.
And she is somebody that I would take to the end game just because she was playing under the radar, she wasn't really getting anybody mad, but she wasn't really making any assertive moves or anything that would outshine anything.
But I mean, we had a great relationship and it would've been a vote with the power of two. I know people saw that, so it was a little concerning that she was in an alliance with me and we were a voting power of two. So Trish maybe kind of sat back and thought, "Okay, well I need to kind of lean towards Tony, but I'm definitely not going to vote LJ." So I think she just took a backseat there.
Reality TV World: I want to ask you about your sort of controversial issues with Morgan in the beginning of the game. You basically thought she was too hot to trust, I guess, is a good way to sum it up. Could you elaborate on that a little bit? That got a lot of attention earlier on.
LJ McKanas: Well, yeah. Unfortunately, it was a situation where you're making me choose. And then, you know, just when you have a very short time to evaluate the group and read people's personalities and read future circumstances all in a matter of moments, I looked at the two girls -- [Alexis Maxwell] and Jefra -- and I thought, "Well, no matter what, they're going to be together. They're going to be an alliance."
And then I look at Jeremiah and I had in my head, "Alright, we're going to do everything at camp, and we're going to just build the shelter and do all of this type of stuff." And I was surprisingly shocked by [Brice Johnston] and how hard he worked.
I looked at him and I thought, "Well, he's going to be -- if I get him off, I'm going to really be in some serious trouble." Because I could tell. He's got personality, he's got a social game, he's going to have everything going forward and he's going to have a grudge against me. I mean, I sent out a hot girl with a grudge, but there's nothing actually worse than a game-handler with a grudge.
(Laughs) So I said, "Alright, it's going to have to be Morgan," and I made that decision. And I still stick by the fact that I think that cute girls are a little easier to trust than hot ones, because hot ones are used to getting what they want and will do whatever it takes to get what they want.
I just made that decision on the fly, and I thought, "Maybe there's a chance I could fix the problem in the beginning," and it would've been easier to deal with it that way than had I chose Brice.
Reality TV World: You were obviously a member of the jury. What did you consider the important criteria when determining which castaway should get your jury vote? Was it remaining loyal or really playing the game hard and blindsiding alliances, like Tony did for instance?
LJ McKanas: I mean, I was playing on loyalty. I thought I had a big enough part in winning challenges, so that was easy enough to validate some voting power. But I also, you know, I thought, "The more loyal I can play the game, the more chances I'm going to have to get more votes." So that was kind of the direction I was hoping to play for the outcome of the game.
Reality TV World: But as far as casting your own vote on the jury goes, did you consider that same criteria when thinking about whom to cast your vote for to win the game?
LJ McKanas: I consider it -- I mean, it's going to be a matter of who's standing there and certain things weigh more than others. It's just a matter of loyalty. That is a big part, but it's also a part of who's actually playing the game and who deserves the money -- not who just kind of floated there or what not. But loyalty does play a part and your word and how you use your word in the game to get where you got.
Above is the concluding portion of LJ's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Click here to read the first half.