Exclusive: Morgan Ricke talks 'Survivor: Ghost Island' (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/08/2018
Morgan Ricke was eliminated from Survivor: Ghost Island after a tribal swap during Wednesday night's episode on CBS.
Morgan, a 29-year-old marine animal trainer from New Albany, IN, was voted out of her new Naviti tribe on Night 9 of the game.
Morgan's tribe ousted her through a 4-3-1 vote instead of Angela Perkins, a 42-year-old Army veteran from Cincinnati, OH, and Libby Vincek, a 24-year-old social media strategist from Houston, TX, respectively, at the season's third Tribal Council session. One of her tribe's members, Chris Noble, was at Ghost Island at the time.
As Morgan was leaving the game, she passed on her Legacy Advantage to Domenick Abbate since he was always open and honest with her.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Morgan talked about her short-lived Survivor experience. Below is the first half of what she had to say.
Reality TV World: Would you say you were blindsided? Going into Tribal Council, how convinced were you that it was going to be a unanimous vote for Angela?
Morgan Ricke: Not completely convinced. So, right before Tribal, I was definitely getting a different vibe from Libby. She wasn't quite looking at me as much as normal; she wasn't smiling or winking. So, going into Tribal, I was a little worried.
And that's why at Tribal you saw me talking, like, "How could you not love her?! She's so cute, she's so gorgeous." And that was me just reassuring Libby, like, "Girl, I've got you. I'm not voting for you. Hang with me. We can do this."
People are saying, "Why did you say that? Did you really trust her?" And I was just kind of playing up this moment, like, "Girl, hang with me. Hang with me." So that's kind of what I was doing with those comments.
Reality TV World: Why do you think the original four Malolo members didn't just vote for Angela with you? Angela was the one with the "Naviti-strong" mentality, and whether Angela or yourself got voted out, Malolo would still be knocking out an original Naviti. Either choice would serve the same purpose.
Morgan Ricke: Correct. And that was the thing. It felt like it was such an easy vote for them. So, like, why not? Why wouldn't you guys do this? It would be 4-4, nobody has the numbers, we're on an even ground. But they just thought it was too easy and they had a trick up our sleeves.
And I think I was safe until [Domenick Abbate] showed them the fake idol. So Dom inadvertently kind of hurt my game. I'm sure he didn't do it on purpose, but when he showed them that idol, that kind of changed everything.
It kind of switched to, "Well crap! Now should we get out [Wendell Holland] or should we get out Morgan?" But they just felt like we had a trick up our sleeves. That's honestly what it was. They were just too afraid. They thought it was too easy and we were going to do something.
Reality TV World: So why do you think you were the ultimate target instead of Wendell? I'm assuming former Malolo didn't go after Domenick because they worried he might have a real hidden Immunity Idol. Is that right?
Morgan Ricke: So the gist obviously having been back for a while now and getting to talk to everyone is [James Lim] thought I was the glue that held Naviti together. He saw that I was able to form great relationships and bonds with obviously Wendell and Dom.
But he felt like if anyone could keep Naviti "Naviti strong," it would be me. He felt like people respected me and I could really close in on the Naviti tribe and [convince them] to stay together.
And so, the way everyone described it was, "Everyone liked you! Everyone loved you. You were always happy and everyone wanted to chat with you. You had such a positive vibe and the energy going. And we wanted to break that up. We wanted Naviti to be split Dom and Wendell vs. Chris and Angela."
That way they had their top pick of who they wanted to go with, whereas they felt if I was still in the game, I could make it a Naviti-strong tribe again.
Reality TV World: Do you think James then was sort of running the show? Do you think he was in charge, or maybe he was the leader for just that one vote?
Morgan Ricke: There were a lot of conversations that obviously people had. Yes, I think James -- obviously James is the one who threw my name out there. But I really give Libby all the credit. James is going to hate me for this, but James threw my name out there and Libby did not want to vote for me.
Libby said it multiple times -- like at the water well -- that, "I don't want to vote out Morgan. I like Morgan." So, I know how hard it was for Libby to vote me out. We saw that on TV. It wasn't fake. It wasn't an act.
So I give her more credit than James. James threw my name out there, but it wasn't a difficult decision for him. Libby had the difficult decision. So, I give her props.
Reality TV World: I was going to ask if you felt betrayed by Libby, but it sounds like you give her points for her game move and there are no hard feelings.
Morgan Ricke: No, I respect her game and it was just so great to see that the bond I had formed with Libby was real. If it turned out that she was the best actress and it was fake the whole time, obviously I would be hurt to this day, because I felt like we really did have this strong bond.
So it was really nice to see how difficult that was for her. Also, who gets votes with sad faces on Survivor?! And I got two of those! (Laughs) So, I really just think [people voted for me] because I was a sharp player, I was a great athlete and competitor, and all of that, and I was great socially.
You know, I had kind of what it takes, and in the game of Survivornow, just because you're strong doesn't mean they're going to take you far in the game.
The game has changed and they want those strong people out right away. So I felt I had the social aspect of the game down as well as the physical part of it. So I really did feel like I played a great game. It just worked out a little unfortunate for me. But I'm still proud of the game I played.
Reality TV World: Angela seemed like a lone wolf in her plan to stay original Naviti strong, regardless of the vote potentially being a 4-4 tie and needing to draw rocks. Wendell was definitely not onboard with that, and you weren't either. So could you talk me through that?
Morgan Ricke: Yeah, no one wanted to draw rocks and we just honestly didn't trust Angela. We knew she was [Chris Noble]'s right-hand man. My original alliance was Domenick, Wendell, [Bradley Kleihege], and [Kellyn Bechtold].
So Angela was never in my original alliance. Any time we talked to her, she was just kind of harsh. I know she has a rough background, you know, she got divorced and didn't really want to talk about her family or the divorce.
We would ask her about life and she just didn't really want to talk about the military. So it was just really hard to get to know Angela. And as you could see, she had no clue what was going on. She was so clueless on both ends that it just seemed like she didn't really have a relationship with anyone.
So, good for her that you're completely clueless and you really don't know what's going on, so you're safe, but I'd rather go out kind of how I did. I played the game, I was strong physically and socially, whereas she was so beyond clueless. It was kind of ridiculous. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Other than suspicion Domenick might have an idol, was there any talk about hidden Immunity Idols going into Tribal Council? Was there a concern anyone else might have one?
Morgan Ricke: No. We weren't really concerned that anyone on Malolo had an idol. It really didn't even get brought up, and they didn't think Wendell or I had an idol, which is why they kind of targeted us. They just wanted to break up our three to make it 2-2: Chris and Angela vs. two of us -- whoever it was.
They wanted to break up Naviti and pick whom they wanted from there. It was just they thought we had a trick up our sleeve.
I mean, Dom could've played the idol, but I wouldn't have played the idol for me if I was in his shoes. So I don't blame him for not playing the idol. You saw Wendell's face and you saw Dom's face. They were as shocked as I was. So it could've been any one of us getting blindsided, and Dom would've gone home with an idol in his pocket.
Be sure to check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of our exclusive Survivor: Ghost Island interview with Morgan Ricke.