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Exclusive: Michael Jefferson talks about 'Survivor: One World' (Part 2)

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/06/2012 

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 who he believed was calling the shots in the game and which castaways were doing the complete opposite, what his thoughts were on Leif Manson and the controversial Colton Cumbie, and whether he had any regrets from his time on the show.

Below is the concluding portion of our exclusive interview with Mike. Click here to read the first half.

Reality TV World: [Kim Spradlin] really seems to be running the show out there, based on what we've seen. Was that your take while you were out there and what was your general impression of Kim?

Michael Jefferson: Kim was like the female version of me I would say. She's not -- I don't really think she's running the shots. She knows when to speak up and when to call people down. She's just kind of a good player. She's definitely not forcing people out there. She's just bringing to light things that should happen.

Reality TV World: So is there someone else you believed was calling the shots or were you saying you didn't think there was really any one person that was controlling the game out there?

Michael Jefferson: I think right now, the women just in general. They're jointly together calling the shots, so I think they're working well together.

Reality TV World: Last night's episode showed [Greg "Tarzan" Smith] having a funny conversation with [Chelsea Meissner] in which he suggested she had a problem with him because she had an issue with her plastic surgeon. What was your take on that, was that pretty normal for Tarzan?

Michael Jefferson: He was probably just trying to relate. He's a very intelligent person by far. He probably knows just about anything you could possibly know. But he was probably just trying to relate with her on a different level because everything he's done up to that point wasn't working. Again, it wasn't working. So, that was another fail.

Reality TV World: So did Tarzan just kind of go around suggesting the different types of work that he thought people might have had done, or was that something Chelsea had been open about before that? (Laughs) Because it just seemed to come completely out of left field last night.

Michael Jefferson: I think they weren't getting along, so he was probably just trying to understand why she disliked him so much. So he was just trying to relate on a different level, which maybe some people might have -- I guess it might have worked on somebody else but not Chelsea. It's a weird topic to talk about too.

Reality TV World: What were your thoughts on Leif while you were out there? We haven't seen a lot of him.

Michael Jefferson: Leif was to me, he's a great guy, but he was just so wishy-washy. He also would just kind of go wherever anybody told him to go and then he would go to places he didn't want to go. He just never knew where his head was at.
Reality TV World: We talked about Chelsea a little bit, what were your impressions of her?

Michael Jefferson: I think she's a strong girl but she's also, out of all the women, I think she's riding the coattails -- which is also a way of playing Survivor. She's not outspoken. She's not calling the shots. She's not really dominating challenges, but she's riding the coattails of I guess the strong women tribe right now.

Reality TV World: Do you think your own role in the game would've turned out differently if Colton hadn't been evacuated from the game?

Michael Jefferson: I think things would have been extremely different. We started the game as nine guys versus nine women and with Colton in the mix, it was more like 10 women and eight guys, so he kind of brought down the morale of the Manono tribe from Day 1. So it was really hard -- it was a different type of game.

I mean, any one of those guys thought they could beat any one of those girls at any time, so getting rid of strong men at the beginning, it wasn't even an issue. They were just happy to get rid of [Matt Quinlan] and happy to get rid of [Bill Posley] and just continue the trend.

Reality TV World: So just to clarify, do you think if Colton had stayed in the game then it would've improved your own standing in the game? Because based upon what you said, it sounds like it would've actually made things worse because if Colton chose to stick with the women, there would basically be a majority of female tribe members.

Michael Jefferson: Do you mean if Colton wasn't part of our tribe?

Reality TV World: No, if he hadn't been medically evacuated. If that didn't happen, do you think the merge would have gone any differently if he was still around? It sounds like you're convinced he would've flipped to the women immediately at the merge, right?

Michael Jefferson: Well, yeah. He would've flipped immediately to the women. But him and I, we started -- at the beginning, him and I did not see eye-to-eye. We were not working well together.

I would call him out at random times for not helping and he was just dead weight on our tribe, but towards the end of his time there, him and I, I thought we were on a better page. We would work together and strategize together. It might have worked out in my favor. You never know.

Reality TV World: What were your general thoughts about Colton then by the time he left the game? He was obviously a pretty controversial figure and seemed to clash with people and was very brash and outspoken.

Michael Jefferson: Yeah, I think his time was coming though. It was just people were afraid to vote him off because if you brought his name up, he would be so dramatic for the next three days that he would find a way to get your name written down. But I think it would've come to everybody's attention that he needs to go and this could be a more pleasant experience without him here.

Reality TV World: Because of the reasoning you just gave, was that why you decided to go along with Colton's plan and unanimously vote to give up immunity to the women when you had won it and go to Tribal Council? When I've talked to other castaways, they told me they were afraid to say no because they didn't want to become his next target.

Michael Jefferson: Yeah, well I mean, [Jay Byars] and I were the only ones on the Manono tribe who did not want to go to Tribal. Everybody else was gung-ho and didn't really see that giving up your idol and send a guy home would put the guys down a number.

But Jay and I ultimately had to go just to be on the in with our tribe, because at that point with Matt gone, I thought that, "I'm the next one to go home. These guys are trying to trick me and go to Tribal Council and vote me out." But ultimately, I had to decide to go just because I was on the outs with my tribe and I had to take a chance.

Reality TV World: Were you shocked that everyone else was willing to go to Tribal Council?

Michael Jefferson: They were all excited, you know? They really wanted to do it. I thought, "Why couldn't we wait until we lose a challenge to vote out Bill? Why does it have to be right now?" It was Leif and then they switched so that the plan was going to be Bill instead.

Reality TV World: How aware of the hidden Immunity Idols were you while you were out there? Did you have any idea that [Troy "Troyzan" Robertson] had found one and that Kim had discovered the other one?

Michael Jefferson: No, I had no idea that they had the idols. I knew they were obviously out there to be found, but I didn't know they were found. We all spent time out there looking. I gathered firewood for hours everyday. That was like my job -- firewood. And every time I would get a load of firewood, I would look for the idol and I just never found it.

Reality TV World: So looking back at it now, do you have any regrets about your time on Survivor: One World? Is there anything you would've done differently if you had another chance?

Michael Jefferson: I think I played the game I wanted to play. I played an honest game. I was forthright with everybody and I played hard in the challenges. I wouldn't change really anything except for maybe building an alliance with the less-strong guys of our tribe from the beginning.

Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor: One World, how did you end up on the show?
Michael Jefferson:
I had applied and I applied for three years in a row.
Reality TV World: Three years in a row? Wow.
Michael Jefferson:
Yeah, I mean, some people applied obviously more times than me, but I tried for three years in a row and managed to pop my way onto it. So it worked out pretty good.

Above is the concluding portion of our exclusive interview with Mike. Click here to read the first half.

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