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Exclusive: Michaela Bradshaw talks 'Survivor': Expect fireworks and a bitter jury in finale, and I want answers


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/24/2017 

Michaela Bradshaw was voted out of Survivor: Game Changers' Maku Maku tribe during the latest episode of Season 34 on CBS.

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After Andrea Boehlke went home, the Maku Maku tribe voted out Michaela at Tribal Council on Night 35 of the game. Michaela became the fourteenth person voted out of Game Changers and the season's seventh jury member after she received four out seven votes from Brad Culpepper, Troy "Troyzan" Robertson, Sarah Lacina and Tai Trang.

Michaela and Aubry Bracco had voted for Tai, while Cirie Fields voted to oust Aubry from Survivor: Game Changers. Michaela said before her exit that she didn't think it made any sense for the tribe to vote her out at this point in time.

During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, the day after Michaela's elimination aired, Michaela talked about her Survivor: Game Changers experience. Below is the concluding portion of her interview.

Reality TV World: At the time you left the game, what did you predict would happen next? Did you think Sarah and Cirie would work things out or that their friendship/alliance was done?

Michaela Bradshaw: I predicted the exact vote order that happened in the game! (Laughs) We'll just leave it at that.

Reality TV World: Ironically, the steal-a-vote advantage is what got you eliminated because of how things unfolded, and that advantage was supposed to be yours -- it was placed on the dock you were sitting on when you were not picked to compete in a previous Reward Challenge. What's your reaction to that?

Michaela Bradshaw: I think it's poetic! I think God was teaching me a lesson. You know, I'm young and I'm fiery and I've been told multiple times by my mentors, like, "Michaela, the same fire that, when in a fireplace, can warm a family and make you comfortable is the same fire that can go out of control and burn a house down."

And it's something that I need to work on. I had an amazing opportunity with that advantage, but because I was focusing on the negatives of the situation instead of the positives, I ended up missing one thing that could've saved my life in the game. But because it didn't save my life, it sealed my fate in this game. So, I'm not mad about it. I just used it as a very expensive learning tool. (Laughs)

Reality TV World: When you first realized you had missed that advantage, was it really frustrating?

Michaela Bradshaw: Sarah actually told me on the island. She said she took it from under where I was sitting. She told me exactly what it was, and you know, I'm just not a bitter person. I was just like, "Oh, that's smart for you." But I never thought it would come back to bite me as hard as it did.

I was excited to watch that episode though because I wanted to see exactly where [the advantage] was. And it was literally right behind my ankle; it's ridiculous... [I was] tired, hungry, mad, you know.

Reality TV World: There was an interesting scene in last night's episode in which you told Brad to go fishing, and he told the cameras he wasn't going to give in to your "diva demands." So it seemed like you had a problem with Brad specifically. What was all that about?

Michaela Bradshaw: Brad and I never got along that whole game. It was kind of like the tension between myself and Sierra was between me and Brad too. And it wasn't from me to them; it was from them to me from the moment I swapped into their tribe. To this day, I don't know what was behind it.

I hope they'll come out and tell me at the finale, but I don't know. So, the thing though was that Brad didn't really talk to me at all on the island. And when that [Andrea Boehlke] vote was going down, it was supposed to be Brad, but I knew there was this movement brewing to vote out Andrea.

And while this movement is brewing, Brad disappears and now people are worried he's off looking for an idol, which makes you want to get rid of him even more. But I didn't want Brad to go home because I was starving, and Brad is the one person that can catch fish.

So that's why I went and found Brad, and you know, I can't trust Brad, so I can't say, "Hey, Brad, we really want to vote out Andrea and if you just calm down and be useful right now, then you can just vote Andrea too. And then we'll all be here together, and you can go fish."

All I could really say was, "Yo, it would be really great if you could go fishing." I just spent time telling people, "Wait, if we vote off Brad then there is not going to be any food!" Right?

So I didn't articulate that as tactfully as I should have, but it just really surprised me when he came out with his "blackmail" accusation, like, that's the best thing you can think of, that I'm trying to blackmail you to go fishing?" Like, get out of here.

Reality TV World: Looking back, do you think it was the right move to take out Andrea when it ultimately decreased your alliance's numbers and Brad was an easy target? Because Andrea probably would've voted with Cirie and yourself, and now that your gone, Cirie unfortunately blew a 5 to 3 numbers advantage in the last two Tribal Councils.

Michaela Bradshaw: Yeah, I do think it was a good thing, the reason being that Andrea and Aubry were a pair, and you haven't seen Aubry talk to me, like at all, this entire season even though Aubry and I had been on every single tribe together.

So what does that mean? Something was up between me and Aubry. Aubry voted for me and she's been running from me since, like, Day 1 for some reason. So I can't trust -- if Andrea's No. 1 is Aubry, then I can't really trust that part of our alliance either. So one of them needed to go.

Had Andrea came to me and said, "I want to vote Sarah," I would've been down with that! But Andrea didn't come to me and talk strategy. She talked strategy with Aubry, and Aubry would go to Cirie, and then Cirie would come to me. So that's too long of a chain for me to be trying to play with. And that's why I don't think the Andrea vote was a bad vote.

Reality TV World: You said in your final words it was a compliment to get voted out because it meant people thought they couldn't beat you in the end, but some people are arguing you were still in the game at this point because some tribe members viewed you as a goat to take to the end. What would you say to those critics?

Michaela Bradshaw: I would say to the critics, first of all, look back at [Tasha Fox]'s speech in Second Chance when she was looked at as a goat. What she said in response to [Joe Anglim] was, "I work in corporate America, and I know what I need to do as a black woman to advance." She got herself to the Final 3 playing the same game that she has to play every day in her real life.

And that's the type of game that was forced upon me in Game Changers. I had to be quiet, I had to do what I was told, I had to not be too smart but not be too dumb. Don't be too fast, but don't be too slow. I had to minimize myself to make other people feel comfortable.

And the only way I can prove that I knew what was going on is somehow, my name keeps coming up and I keep getting votes, but I know that I'm not going home. And how do I know that I'm not going home?

Because I'm eating snacks at Tribal Council. I'm going to sit in my seat, clap my hands, and I'm going to be an entertaining jester while you're over here trying to figure out what's happening. And that's the way I had to play. I couldn't let people know what I know.

But I feel like if I would've gotten to the end of that game, I would've been able to articulate the type of game I played, the reason I had to play that game connected to real life with issues certain people in America have to deal with, and then, let it be up to the jury at that point. So my game was to be underestimated, and I feel like I did that, but not to the point I would have been cast as a goat at the end.

Reality TV World: Earlier in the season, some people said some really harsh things about you, like how you were annoying and they couldn't stand to be around you. Did it surprise you how vocal your fellow castaways were about their problems with you? Did you realize your dynamic with them was that bad while you were out there?

Michaela Bradshaw: Yeah, but I also realized how easy it was at the beginning for people to be like, "Michaela has a bad attitude. Yeah Michaela is lazy," What, she's lazy? Cue a clip of me picking up firewood and bringing it to the camp. "Oh Michaela is a baby and she doesn't do anything." Cue a clip of me assisting my team in winning challenges.

I think it became very obvious that, yo, these things people are saying that make Michaela bad to be around, that stuff is not really true. So where are you getting it from? And I love that the editing was able to show that, because you know, I'm lazy and I'm eating all the sugar. You said that, but actually, I didn't!

So all of these people that had all of this negative stuff to say about me, it was just a matter of time in the game until the editing showed that actually you were wrong, dodo birds. That's not even Michaela yet you have this little thing against me. I hope at the finale people get a chance to air out whatever that [frustration] was, because I'm still, a year later, trying to figure it out.

Reality TV World: At the time you left the game, did you assume the jury was going to be bitter? Because Cirie apparently thought that since she wanted to keep Sarah around to the end. Cirie thought Sarah had betrayed and lied to enough people that they wouldn't reward her with $1 million.

Michaela Bradshaw: I viewed that as a horrible idea and I said that to Cirie. Most of the time, she was convinced. So again, the same people that might've thought I was a goat were the people who were like, "Oh, let me take Sarah to the end," and you know, we'll see.

But yeah, do I think the jury was bitter? Yes! I think people's feelings were hurt because a lot of people think highly of themselves and were just waiting and itching for the chance to play this game again.

However, I think at that final Tribal Council when all the people are talking, and you put someone like me on the jury, for certain people, that is horrible jury management. The same articulation I would use to let people see what I did in the game, those are the same words I would use to help people understand, "You can't be mad because someone played this game better than you."

In a season called Game Changers, you don't be a bitter jury. You award the money to the person who played the best game, and the best game just so happens to include you being on the jury this time. So, you know, that's just how I feel about that. Bitter jury? We'll see! It's going to be fireworks [in the finale]. Everything is going to be so cool.

To read the first half of Reality TV World's exclusive Survivor: Game Changers interview with Michaela Bradshaw, click here.



Michaela Bradshaw/Instagram

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