Exclusive: 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur -- Blood vs. Water' eliminee Julie McGee opens up (Part 1)
By Reality TV World staff, 11/06/2014
Survivor: San Juan del Sur -- Blood vs. Water merged the two tribes and the new Huyopa tribe lost a castaway, Julie McGee, who decided to quit the game during Wednesday night's seventh episode of the CBS reality competition's 29th season.
Julie McGee, a 34-year-old model and owner of a spray-tan business from Atlanta, GA, eliminated herself from the running on Day 18 after she got overly emotional missing her boyfriend John Rocker and felt defeated as the outcast in the group. Her choice to leave the game and its harsh elements resulted in a canceled Tribal Council session that night.
Julie was on the former Hunahpu tribe prior to the merge, and her boyfriend John Rocker had been a member of the former Coyopa tribe before he got voted out on Night 8 at the season's third Tribal Council session.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Julie talked about her Survivor experience and surprising decision to quit the game.
Reality TV World: There had been a lot of theories about why you quit. We saw Jeff Probst going through a few of them about how you missed John or felt like an outcast and couldn't deal with the conditions or you just knew you were going to be voted off and so you eliminated yourself before that could happen. Could you clarify what was going on?
Julie McGee: It was definitely not the latter. Absolutely not. Not in any form or fashion was I trying to run from being kicked off. That was -- you can go ahead and bury that one.
It was kind of like everybody asks, "What was the straw?" Well, there were many straws that built the house, and that little straw at the end kind of imploded the entire house, and that led me to that decision [of leaving].
It was so many factors. But the factors that -- okay, yeah, I'm hungry. Alright, that's okay. I'm sleep deprived, okay, yeah, whatever, it sucked, but I can get past it. You know, and then the rainstorm. And for me, I'm a small girl and I get cold very easy. And that really worked on me, I'm telling you, that really worked on me.
The sun came out the next day, yes, but I wasn't in confident anticipation for the next. And then after we hit the merge and I'm there with a bunch of loving, very openly-loving couples, it just -- these little things just kept chipping away at me. They just kept chipping away.
And then, towards the very end where this whole #scandal -- which is not even a scandal at all. There was no stealing involved, there were just some leftover nuts in my bag.
So when I, you know, single-handedly me and [Missy Payne] and a few other people packed up all this food for everyone, and most of the people over there were rubbing their fat bellies and moaning and being full, I'm like, "Hey, you're going to be hungry tomorrow, so let's pack up all this stuff." And anything that I found... any thoughts of carrying food, I was sticking to them.
And so, a day or two days later, I noticed I had some leftover nuts. It's in this bag where all of my dirty clothes are in and out of, like, dirty underwear. It's, you know, and everybody else is feeding each other and loving each other because they all have it.
And so I'm like, "Hey, you know what? If this is the way that I can kind of give to myself because I don't have John to go and hunt a crab for me, then it is what it is." And watching it back, I'm like, "What?! How do they make that out of what was really going on?" (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Are you saying you think the castaways turned the situation into something it wasn't or the editing presented it as something that wasn't really going on?
Julie McGee: I think it was a mixture of both. But out there, thinking back to that day, I really don't think anybody was asked about this. From this point forward, I don't think they'd make that big of a deal of it except for [Jon Misch].
So, I'm not sure why Jon, because Jon was just kind of a big guy like John Rocker and he's just hungry all the time. But I swear to God, one person says something -- "Oh, well there's some broken nuts in here so let's all just get mad!" You know what I mean?
I think everybody was like, "Oh, well, I don't really care but I guess I'll be mad. I better jump onboard with this one." You know? Yeah, they really turned it into something because nobody said anything to me. Nobody confronted me and said, "Hey, what's up!?"
And I would've said, "Well, I'm smart for when we were packing up, you know, I went out of my way to get everything possible because we could bring all that food with us. And if you weren't smart enough to pack up a few, like, scattered nuts and things into your pocket, then that's your fault."
Reality TV World: So when you talked to Jeff about quitting, he apparently said straight to your face that he thought part of the reason you were leaving was to leave before you could get voted off. But you're saying now that was definitely not...
Julie McGee: Definitely not. Definitely not. That was not the case at all.
Reality TV World: Because you seemed to be kind of conceding that to him on the show.
Julie McGee: Yeah, no. It was not about me being voted off, because I knew, most likely, I would not have been. And I knew that THAT day. I knew that.
Reality TV World: Who did you think was going to be voted off if you had gone to Tribal Council?
Julie McGee: Either [Josh Canfield] or [Jeremy Collins]. The consensus that day was Josh.
Reality TV World: Okay. So do you regret quitting at all or do you still feel it was the right decision to make?
Julie McGee: Yeah, I don't regret it. It's a little hard to say right now while the dust has not settled, because I have so many supporters but also equally as many haters.
So, it's tough to have that many haters hate me because of the decision I made in that moment when they were not there to live that and they're not me and we're all different. That's what makes life interesting. And that was a decision I made personally, for my sanity and my health and my well-being.
So, yes, I don't regret it at all. But it's definitely a little tough right now to see that people don't really know who I am and they're just hating me because of that decision.
Reality TV World: In your final words, you said you had anticipated having to deal with a lot of backlash. Whom did you expect the backlash from? Were you referring to John, your family and friends, or the public at large? And how has it played out?
Julie McGee: The public at large, people that don't know me. Because the people that do love me and know me in any capacity know that I'm not a selfish person. I have nothing but love to give and I would give my shirt off my back to somebody that needed it, you know what I mean? That's who I am. So, there's no judgment from anybody that actually knows me.
Reality TV World: What was John Rocker's reaction?
Julie McGee: He was fully supportive of my decision. It was just, he saw me wrecked. He saw me barely 100 pounds and just -- he was just concerned for me and my safety and just wanted to show me love and not any judgment.
Reality TV World: The biggest question viewers seem to have is, what did you think going on Survivor was going to be like? Because not being with John seemed to be a huge issue for you as well as the weather and lack of food, but it's hard to understand why those things were a surprise to you given how long the show's been on the air and how the Blood vs. Water format pits loved ones against each other.
Julie McGee: Yeah, it wasn't a surprise. So, first and foremost, in [response to] your question, "[Why] was it a surprise?," it was not a surprise. So, "Okay, Julie, if it wasn't a surprise, then why did you make that decision? You should've been prepared?"
I mean, come on, I didn't go out and sleep in the woods and starve myself a month or two months before this. Once you're actually in it, then you know, you have to kind of go with your strengths and pull together your arsenal of strength mentally and physically. You really don't know until you actually are in that situation.
And as far as me wanting to be with John, I mean, I thought it was a great thing when he first left the game. I thought it was going to be great for my game. But then, you know, in reality after the merge, I got merged together with a bunch of loving couples.
And so, then everybody wants to give me a bunch of sh-t about a few broken nuts in the bottom of my bag, but yet, they're loving each other and feeding each other -- and I'm not getting any of that. And so, yeah, it really weighed heavily on me.
Reality TV World: When you were talking to Jeff, you mentioned you thought people stereotyped you on your looks out there. Could you elaborate on that?
Julie McGee: Yeah, watching it back, that was... (laughs).
Reality TV World: Because there's obviously other good-looking girls out there and they don't seem to be alienated because of it. So why do you think it was different for you?
Julie McGee: I'm actually laughing at myself right now because I wish -- I'm not really sure -- I don't even know what I was saying at that point. I was just so out-of-it, and I was having to make a really quick decision, and I didn't want to. But that was kind of on the back-end and it wasn't seen.
And of course there were other questions asked that weren't really shown either, that kind of led me into that, you know, "I'm judged because I'm John Rocker's girlfriend." You look at pro athlete's girlfriends and they look like they're well-kept, and let me tell you, let me tell you. Write this one down.
There were a few people -- cast members -- who told me that when they first saw me, their first initial kind of judgment was, "Oh, she looks well taken care of." And I'm like, "Ha! I love that one!"
Because I'm a very independent girl. I run a business and I also have a second career and I work really hard and I pay my own bills. John's just an added bonus. I love him and he's my partner in crime. So, yeah, there was judgment there that no one saw televised.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Julie McGee's exclusive interview.