Exclusive: Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen talks 'Survivor: Cagayan -- Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty' (Part 2)
By Reality TV World staff, 06/03/2014
Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen, a 41-year-old attorney from Tehachapi, CA, finished Survivor: Cagayan -- Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty in third place behind runner-up Yung "Woo" Hwang and winner Tony Vlachos.
Kass was voted out of her Solarrion tribe at the Final 3 Tribal Council, when Woo had the decision to take her or Tony to the end and he opted to bring Tony to the Final 2. Woo ended up losing the $1 million prize to Tony.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Kass talked about her Survivor experience. Below is the concluding portion. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: We saw Spencer suspecting the game would end as a Final 2 and sharing that with Tony. But we didn't see him share that with you or Woo nor did we see you suspecting it on your own. Had you left that Final 4 challenge suspecting it'd be a Final 2 because of what Jeff Probst had said or did you arrive at that theory earlier on?
Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen: Well, I mentioned it at Tribal Council a couple weeks ago in travel. I said, "It could be a Final 2," because when you sit out there and you're keeping track of days, and if you're like a fan, you kind of know what's going to happen on which day or you can estimate.
So we had a certain amount of days left, and there was just this one glaring day where I was like, "We're not going to be walking around with people's torches that day."
And we were told we're not getting a family visit, so I already was on track thinking it was a Final 2. When my husband was there, I said, "It's going to be a Final 2," to him. So I think everyone -- I don't know if Tony or Woo put it together, but I know Spencer and I were definitely banking on that.
Reality TV World: Would you have done anything differently if you had known it was going to be a Final 2 definitively, like earlier in the game? Because there seemed to be a lot of focus on the whole, "Who should I have in the Final 3," type of thing and the dynamics of a three vote versus a two vote.
Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen: I don't think it would've changed my game, because my game was such an individual game. I never really was in these Final 3's and Final 2's.
I played the game alone basically without great allies. So personally, for me, it wouldn't have changed my game. I think it would've changed Tony's game because he probably would've kept [Trish Hegarty] and then let someone else make that decision to get rid of her.
Reality TV World: Would you have voted Tony out if you had known his special powers idol wasn't good at the Final 4 Tribal or did you want him in the end at that point?
Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen: I wanted Tony there. I mean, I really thought my best bet was to go with Tony and Woo, and I didn't care about his idols. I made fun of them. And again, being a fan of the game, it would be patently unfair to have an idol that you could use at [Final] 4.
And we didn't know when we were at [Final] 5 whether it was for sure, you know, a Final 2 or a Final 3. It would just -- the fans would go nuts if someone had this unilateral power to get rid of someone at Final 4.
Reality TV World: I was going to ask about that. Why didn't we see more suspicion of Tony's idol? Was that because that suspicion didn't exist on your part or Spencer's part? Because you both seemed to be very knowledgeable about the game, and like you said, the idea you could get a free pass to the Final 3 with the jury would seem ludicrous.
Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen: Yeah, I mean, I have confessionals saying that, and I didn't care what his super power was because I wasn't going to write Tony's name down. I love to give him a hard time and tell him [that] I was going to write his name down -- because it sends him into a tailspin -- but I had no intention of getting rid of Tony.
But we're out there, I mean, who knows how many hours of footage they have and why they make the decisions they do. I think they wanted to play it up like everybody was thinking Tony was a genius for saying he could use it at [Final] 4 when everybody was like, "Whatever."
Reality TV World: So it sounds like you and Spencer were pretty confident Tony was lying about his idol and it just didn't get edited into the episodes. Is that right?
Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen: Well, I think Spencer believed he might be able to use it. Spencer really liked Tony and believed a lot of what Tony said. (Laughs) Me, I didn't believe a word that came out of, really, anybody's mouth out there, (laughs) so.
Reality TV World: You were shown saying during the finale that Tony played on a winning all the way up to the merge and he really didn't have to do much. Did you really believe that or were you just brainstorming ways to knock Tony's game at the final Tribal if you ended up making it that far? And watching the season back now, has your opinion of Tony changed at all?
Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen: I think Tony was very fortunate. I think he played a great game, but I think he was very fortunate to be on a tribe where he could have followers. The Brains tribe, not one of us was ever going to be a follower. So there was no chance to get a tight two or three people.
You really need two people in this game that are going to be loyal to you. You see it time and time again, and you need to make them feel valued and then you need to take them to the end and make your case.
So Tony had that! He had Trish and Woo. Tony had allies and he had idols and he was on a winning tribe. They ate like kings, they had that extra bag of rice, you know, they did not suffer as we suffered over at "Team Dysfunction" over there.
Reality TV World: During the reunion show, Jeff made a comment that one of the things he was amazed to see this season was how many people came to play the game. And from what got shown on television, it almost seemed like the opposite. It seemed like there weren't many people willing to make really big moves against Tony and he appeared to have a lot of followers. So what do you think about Jeff's comment? Do you think Tony had much competition out there? (Laughs)
Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen: I think I was Tony's only competition strategically. I think if Spencer was playing the game he said he was going to play, when Tony came to him and said, "Let's vote out [Jefra Bland]," or even [LJ McKanas], I was happy that LJ went because he was a strategic threat.
I think Spencer missed several opportunities to make a move and play the game instead of being dragged around, and I think that's just being young, you know? And Jeff and I have talked about this, where I would have that feeling inside of me.
He talks to Survivors all the time who say they had this feeling and they didn't go with it, and he said that was the difference between me and the people who ended up on the jury. Whenever my radar went off, like, "Hey, I need to do something," I didn't even think twice about it. I just said, "I'm going to do it because I don't want to go home and I don't want to be the person who didn't play their hand."
So that's why with the [Sarah Lacina] flip, I just had that feeling and I went with it. I had no assurance from the people I went to, but I had no assurance from the people I was leaving.
Reality TV World: You were shown saying your plan when you had flipped on the Brains originally was to go to the end with two Brawns and you also felt good about going to the end with Tony and Woo. Why had that been your plan? Why two Brawns instead of two Beauties or a Brawn and a Beauty?
Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen: Well none of the Beauties were ever going to make it to the end. I mean, they were just fodder at the merge there. I mean, LJ, maybe, but LJ was scheming too hard, you know?
And Tony had all of his agents out on the field. Instead of laying low and playing it cool, he was trying to make moves. Once I made that move, people thought, "Oh my God. I've got to start making moves." That was the talk around camp.
"I got to make a move."
"Kass made a move. Oh my gosh, we've got to start making moves!"
So that's how you got this crazy, you know, post merge. (Laughs) Everybody would say, "I need something on my resume." So it was pretty funny, but I think [Jeremiah Wood] and [Morgan McLeod] and Jefra were all going to be people's goats in the traditional sense -- in terms of not worrying about them playing strategically.
Reality TV World: Can you tell me your thoughts on Spencer? You made some comments that would suggest maybe you don't think too highly of him, and he also was shown calling you a "brain-dead weasel" and what not. So what was your relationship with him really like?
Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen: I think Spencer is a great guy. I think he's going to do very well in life, and I think he and I are very much alike in how we're very cerebral. And I love him. Last night was tough for both of us. It was the first time we're both watching the show with our own grave ending. I love Spencer, I mean, he's a brilliant kid and he will evolve into a great man.
Above is the concluding portion of Kass' exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Click here to read the first half. Also, check our Survivor homepage for more interviews with the season's Final 4 castaways.