Exclusive: Michael Jefferson talks about 'Survivor: One World' (Part 1)
By Reality TV World staff, 04/05/2012
Michael Jefferson was eliminated from Survivor: One World's merged Tikiano tribe during Wednesday night's eighth episode of the CBS reality series' 24th edition.
Mike, a 30-year-old banker from Seattle, WA, was voted out of his tribe at the season's eighth Tribal Council session, the second session for the mixed-gender tribe since the merge.
On Thursday, Mike talked to Reality TV World about his Survivor: One World experience -- including whether he was truly blindsided prior to his ouster and firmly believed Christina Cha was going home instead, why he thought Jay Byars decided to turn on him and vote him out, what his relationship with Troy "Troyzan" Robertson was really like while he was on the show, and who he thought was capable of making big moves in the game versus who he believed would just attempt to fly under the radar.
Below is the first half of our exclusive interview with Mike. Check back with Reality TV World on Friday for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: So did you really have no idea they were going to vote you off at Tribal Council, or was that just the editing?
Michael Jefferson: I had no idea. I had a great thing going -- or I thought I had a great thing going -- with the old Salani tribe. I thought I was just going to ride free for the next couple Tribal Councils.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode made it look like you thought Christina was going to be voted off, was that actually the case?
Michael Jefferson: Yeah, I thought Christina was going home. I thought the women were going to play fair and vote off a woman who was not part of the new Salani tribe, so I thought Christina was next. There's a few of us that did too.
Reality TV World: Who else thought it was going to be Christina as well?
Michael Jefferson: Well, I thought Jay was going to vote for Christina too, (laughs) but he voted [Greg "Tarzan" Smith]. I'm not sure where his head was there.
Reality TV World: Yeah, it didn't seem like Christina drew a lot of votes from people.
Michael Jefferson: I think the women pushed it around so they would get Jay to vote out Tarzan, so he wouldn't vote for Christina and there wouldn't be an accidental Christina vote-out.
Reality TV World: So you thought Christina was going home and believed it was because your alliance was going to stay strong and they unanimously wanted her gone, right?
Michael Jefferson: Yeah, I think that would have been the case too, but I believe maybe last week when [Jonas Otsuji] had put the spotlight back on me, I think he may have brought to life to the women that, "Hey, maybe Mike is kind of a threat right now so we should get rid of him as soon as possible instead of bringing him along to a little bit later."
Reality TV World: Did you ever have any idea that your name was being tossed around, except for Jonas prior to his elimination?
Michael Jefferson: I always felt like I was always a target out there. I never felt safe, so I didn't think it was that soon though. I didn't think they were all talking about me like that. I had no idea.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode seemed to show Jay about to tell you that the women wanted to vote you off until [Kim Spradlin] wandered up and prevented it. Did you have any idea what was going on there and do you think Jay really would have told you had Kim not interrupted you?
Michael Jefferson: I mean, Jay and I talked for days leading up to that, so I feel maybe earlier in the day, we would've already kind of discussed what was going on.
And our big concern was the women taking out the guys, so I'm not sure if that was really that impactful of a moment, but she did walk up right at that moment when we were probably going to start talking about what's possibly to come. I think she did have good timing, but I don't think [it was key].
Reality TV World: Why do you think Jay decided not to tell you and just go along with Kim's plan instead? Because earlier in the episode he had seemed to be pretty insistent that a girl needed to go next.
Michael Jefferson: Yeah, I mean, he was being smart. Any person knows that -- I think the women kind of stick together more than men would stick together, so I think that he knew the numbers were becoming lopsided.
So, I mean, voting out a woman would kind of bring it back to a level playing field. He was smart in that way, but he's kind of just drifted along like a piece of driftwood in the game -- kind of like where the best tide takes him, he's going. He's kind of just floating along.
Reality TV World: What was your general impression of Jay while you were out there? Because like you said, between the way he handled last night's vote and the way he agreed to vote [Matt Quinlan] off at the beginning of the season, he's come across as an "any name but mine is fine" follower type of guy.
Michael Jefferson: Yeah, but he still has a good plan. Like, the other guys don't realize, "Wait, the numbers are lopsided." But Jay, he knows like, "Hey, these girls have the numbers right now, so if they wanted to, they could probably take us out," and that's smart to realize that on Day 22 in the game.
From an outsider's point of view, some people might not notice that. But when you're tired and you're not thinking straight, other guys might not realize that the numbers aren't there.
Reality TV World: We saw Jay talking a lot of strategy during the episode, but then like you said, he ended up just kind of going with the flow like driftwood. Do you think Jay was the type of player who could or would ever make a big move? While you were out there with him, did you ever get that impression?
Michael Jefferson: I think out of all the Manono guys, Matt and Jay were the guys -- probably the only guys -- to me that could make the big move. They had the capability of persuading people and actually being a leader. So, yeah, Jay and Matt and I would say myself, I would put us ontop of the list of being able to make big moves.
Reality TV World: Kim pointed out that it probably wasn't a smart move for [Chelsea Meissner] to ask Jay about voting you off while Christina and [Alicia Rosa] were also around, but we didn't see any repercussions of that on the show. Did Christina or Alicia ever approach you about that conversation in any way?
Michael Jefferson: No. I think they were out of the loop as well. I don't think Christina's really a part of that -- I don't think she's really part of the new Salani tribe. So I think they tell her whatever they want to tell her just to get her to -- I mean, I just don't think she was really part of the plan.
Reality TV World: Did that surprise you, given Christina and Alicia both seemed to have pretty weak positions in the game? I don't want to say in the alliance, because it seems unclear whether they're really even part of that alliance. But did it surprise you that neither of them did anything with that information or saw that as a potential opportunity, or was that par for the course?
Michael Jefferson: Yeah, I mean, they're not the standout leaders of the tribe. Alicia, she was a loudmouth coming out of the gates, but once her power ran out, I think she kind of bunkers down and hides out a little bit.
Reality TV World: So if I'm understanding you correctly, you think they were both more content with just going along with things and seeing how far that could take them?
Michael Jefferson: Yes, definitely. That's a good way of playingSurvivor, but you have to be willing to make a big move and know when to do it. I don't really think either of them have that mindset yet. I think that [Kat Edorsson] probably has more mindset than that, and Kat's kind of doing the same thing.
Reality TV World: So in that way, you think Christina was different than Jay in that Jay had the ability to make a big move, right?
Michael Jefferson: Yeah, Jay, he may be soft spoken, but he has the mentality to get a plan going and make a big move.
Reality TV World: Do you think Troy still would have voted for you had Kim not lied to him and told him that you were actually coming after him?
Michael Jefferson: Well, Troy and I, we didn't get along the entire game unfortunately. I don't like when somebody doesn't like me for no reason, but him and I just didn't work together at all. So, I think Kim used that information and just made him go crazy. He looked neurotic last night watching him freak out about the possibility of me wanting him out of the game.
Reality TV World: We saw Troy say a bunch of bad things about you after Kim lied to him and it didn't seem like he ever really liked you. So it sounds like you didn't think he just got caught up in the moment? Do you believe that's how he felt about you from the beginning? Because he said something about how you should've been gone from Day 1 and such.
Michael Jefferson: Oh yeah, well like I said, him and I did not associate the entire game. And I don't know why. I tried my hardest even to just buddy up person-to-person, but he wouldn't have it. Him and Jonas, both guys just were not willing to work with me in the game.
Reality TV World: So that was something that was really obvious to Kim just from observing you guys?
Michael Jefferson: Her and I had talked about Troy, because I didn't trust him. He was the one member of our Salani tribe that I knew he could get a revolution started with them and the Manono tribe because he was kind of the leader of them from before. So, I made it known to her that he, out of all of us, he's the one in Salani I was more worried about because he's kind of working both sides.
Above is the first half of our exclusive interview with Mike. Check back with Reality TV World on Friday for the second portion.