Exclusive: Morgan Ricke talks 'Survivor: Ghost Island' (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/14/2018
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 she said 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 concluding portion of what she had to say.
Reality TV World: Overall, do you feel you were a victim of the tribal swap and bad luck, or do you think there was more you could have done to stick around? Looking back, what would you have done differently?
Morgan Ricke: There was not a whole lot I could've done differently. I feel like it was bad luck. A lot of this if left up to the Survivor gods, and not only did we have the tribe swap -- which already sucks -- but then we had to draw rocks. So it was kind of left in the hands of fate.
I could've drawn that [white] rock and been completely safe in the game. So, that whole Ghost Island thing throws everything off. I wanted to send [Jacob Derwin] back to Ghost Island; we sent [Donathan Hurley].
Had we sent Jacob, it probably would've been Donathan vs. [James Lim]. Do you send home the hero or do you send home the guy that failed at the water challenge? So much goes into it. It's just a game of luck and chance, and obviously there's strategy that goes into it.
But unfortunately the rock draw kind of -- I wish they had to decide, or if they don't decide, take away their tarp! I don't know, do something crazy, because I hate leaving the game of Survivor over a rock. That kind of sucks. But it makes it interesting, that's for sure.
Reality TV World: You willed the Legacy Advantage to Domenick Abbate, but we didn't see much of your relationship with him out there. You seemed to be good friends, so would you agree with James that Dom may turn out to be a Russell Hantz 2.0?
Morgan Ricke: Yes! So obviously at the beginning of the game, I said I wanted to align with the nerds, which I did. That was [Bradley Kleihege] and [Kellyn Bechtold]. And then the way I looked at Domenick was he was kind of like my "Boston Rob" [Rob Mariano] and I was his [Amber Brkich].
He was just the guy who had the Boston Rob-vibe or the [Tony Vlachos]-vibe, and I felt like he was going to go really far in the game. So, I immediately formed a super strong bond with him, I mean, he called me his sister.
I talked to him last night, he was texting me, saying he was in tears about the vote. What we had was real. Everyone slept on the bed at Naviti beach, and we were the two always sleeping by the fire.
We had the fire going and we would go out at night and look at the stars and talk strategy and talk gameplay, and we were just SurvivorSuper Fans who have watched it forever! So we just instantly formed a connection, not that we didn't love [Wendell Holland], but I just had such a stronger bond with Domenick.
So, Jacob obviously told Stephanie Johnson [about the Legacy Advantage], which I feel like kind of hurts it for me, but I kept my mouth shut. So the question is, did I reverse the curse? We'll see. We'll see how this advantage plays out for Domenick.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when Chris Noble got sent to Ghost Island? You didn't seem to have a great relationship with him, so were you pleased with that decision, or since he was an original Naviti as well, were you ideally hoping a former Malolo member would get selected instead so you'd have the numbers back at camp?
Morgan Ricke: Honestly, I wasn't super upset at the time that Chris was sent to Ghost Island because I feel like that was our chance to get Angela out, and it should've been an easy vote. Obviously it wasn't. Had a Malolo person gotten sent, it would've been interesting.
I don't necessarily think Chris and Angela would've stuck with us. I think it would've been three Malolo vs. Chris and Angela trying to get out Dom.
I think that's what would've happened, which means I would've been safe, but yeah, just the whole kind of Ghost Island theme kind of throws everything off because you just never know who's going to go -- especially when it comes down to rocks.
Reality TV World: When Jacob gave you his Legacy Advantage, we saw your reaction, but what was going through your mind? Why do you think Jacob chose you above everyone else, and were you looking forward to aligning with him later in the game had he not been voted out?
Morgan Ricke: You know, I really liked Jacob, not that I knew him. We had never met, but that shows you how strong I was socially. I think people were worried about my social game and how I was going to be able to form these bonds and relationships. And I did a really good job of it.
I was the first person to get an advantage in the game, and that was just based on me smiling and having a positive attitude and winking at Jacob. Any time we were at the challenges, I made sure I smiled at the other tribe and that they got a warm welcome.
You know, they say a smile goes a long way, and it really, really did. It was just a really cool moment to have a piece of Survivorhistory in my hands. Obviously I'm a Super Fan of this game, and I knew exactly what it was!
As soon as I saw the words "Secret Advantage," I was like, "You have got to be kidding me! How cool is this?" It's just so cool. And [Sierra Dawn Thomas] reached out to me. Just hearing fromSurvivor [players] in the past -- they obviously love this [twist] because it kind of brings them back into the game, which is really cool.
But just getting that advantage was super, super cool, like hiding it in my bag and all the things you have to go through to keep it from people, and I was proud of myself that I was able to keep my mouth shut.
Reality TV World: We didn't see much drama or conflict unfold in your original Naviti tribe, mainly because you guys didn't have to go to Tribal Council. Was there any dissension in the tribe that wasn't shown on TV, other than the Chris and Domenick rivalry?
Morgan Ricke: No, we were honestly a really strong tribe. It was split 5-5, so it would've been really interesting. It was Dom, Wendell, Kellyn, Bradley and myself vs. the other five.
We felt like [Chelsea Townsend], we maybe could have gotten to flip flop. She really wasn't doing a whole lot... She kind of had a ghost edit as well. She'd be like, "I have [a ghost] edit," but she did nothing! She laid on the bed all day; she was a ghost.
So I felt like maybe we could've gotten Chelsea or [Sebastian Noel] to flip flop. I had a good relationship with Sebastian. We're both Florida people, we're both water people, and we're both super passionate about our jobs.
But who knows what would've happened! It kind of would've been cool to see everything go down. Chris was absolutely gunning for Dom, and my five wanted Angela out right away. She was kind of the weak link who didn't really fit in with everyone else. So who knows!
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor? How did you end up on this season, like was it your first time applying?
Morgan Ricke: It was my first time applying. They say timing is everything. I was just waiting for the right time. I knew I wanted to apply and I knew I wanted to be on the show, because I'm a huge Super Fan, but I also love myself too and wanted to be in a good place, where my job was going to let me go and play this awesome game, which they did.
So it couldn't have worked out better, but I just went to an open casting call in Cape Canaveral, which was 45 minutes [away]. I stood in the same line as Ashley Nolan [from Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers] and Sebastian. We were all in line together, and we were probably in line for like six hours.
So I did it and they said, "You have one minute to talk about yourself. Go!" And as you can probably tell, I can easily talk for a minute!
So, that was in April 2016, and then in November, I got a call and they said, "Come to L.A. in two days. We want to talk to you about Survivor!" And I was like, "Hell yes!" (Laughs) And that's kind of how my journey began.