Exclusive: 'Survivor: Worlds Apart' castoff Hali Ford talks (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/09/2015
Survivor: Worlds Apart's merged Merica tribe eliminated Hali Ford during Wednesday night's seventh episode of the CBS reality competition's 30th season.
Hali, a 25-year-old law student from San Francisco, CA, was the eighth person voted out of the game. Her Merica tribe got her out on Night 21 at the season's eighth Tribal Council session.
The majority alliance of seven castaways, comprised mostly of former Blue Collars, targeted Hali to split up her tripod with Joe Anglim and Jenn Brown, who are all former No Collars.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Hali talked about her Survivor experience. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: Is it safe to say you were completely blindsided? Were you convinced Dan Foley was going home?
Hali Ford: (Laughs) Unfortunately yes. I didn't see it coming -- not that vote. I saw it coming on the horizon, but I didn't think it was going to be that soon.
Reality TV World: Were you aware Shirin Oskooi was trying to work on getting Fredrickson to join you and take out a Blue Collar while you were out there and did you make any attempts to get him yourself? Since you needed one more person on your side to get out Dan, whom did you believe you had?
Hali Ford: I was talking more with [Mike Holloway] than Tyler. I talked to Tyler more before the first vote. We had conversations before the first vote post-merge -- the [Kelly Remington] vote -- such that I thought we were working together. And then he showed in that vote that we weren't.
I think I called that bridge "burnt" prematurely and I should've pursued it more. I didn't know Shirin had that much sway over Tyler. I saw Tyler as more of a lost cause, and I was spinning more of my web with the Mike thing and the girls alliance, because I was trying to pull that together.
Reality TV World: You said in your final words you understood why the majority alliance voted you out, that "it was good gameplay." But why do you think they went after you instead of Jenn, especially since Jenn already used her idol at the prior Tribal Council?
Hali Ford: I really wanted to be in the game and I think I was a likeable person. I think I was an asset to the tribe and I think I was at least a social threat if not physical and strategic.
Reality TV World: I'm trying to understand why sticking with the Blue Collars was the best move for Sierra Dawn Thomas to make instead of forming an all-female alliance plus Tyler or whomever that one extra person would be. The Blue Collars are such physical threats and Sierra's not even tight with them. So why do you think she decided to continue working with them?
Hali Ford: You know, I was just talking about that. I'm thinking there's two theories. The first theory is that she was a puppy dog, and even if she had wanted to break free, she wasn't strong enough. That's one option.
The alternative -- and I'll credit Sierra with this because I think this is probably the real reason -- was that look at the No Collars. We're likable people and she was amongst rules and unlikable people. It's smart to stay with unlikable people. You want to be voted on by the jury at the end. So, I get it.
Reality TV World: Shirin appeared to try to rope Tyler into the girls' plan to work together and get out Dan. Tyler even seemed to agree it would be a really smart move to take out either Dan or Mike since they are big threats. Why do you think Tyler chose to stay with the Blue Collars? And do you think, for the sake of his own game, that was the right decision to make?
Hali Ford: Hmm. You know, I think that he and "Mama C" were a block and I think he was going to do whatever she did -- [Carolyn Rivera]. Tyler and Carolyn.
Reality TV World: Yes, I was going to ask you how much a role you think Carolyn played in Tyler's choice.
Hali Ford: Yeah, I think Carolyn was more involved in this vote than it came across, I think. I could be wrong on that, but I do think Tyler and Carolyn probably had a lot of conversations with [Rodney Lavoie Jr.]. I saw Tyler talking to Rodney a lot. I saw Carolyn, [Will Sims II] and Rodney talking, talking, talking before that vote.
And I remember going up to Joe and almost yelling at him, like, "You have to talk to Will!" So I think Carolyn and Rodney were pulling the strings on that vote.
Reality TV World: What was your relationship with Carolyn like out there? It seemed like she considered switching to the No Collar alliance at one point, but maybe she decided not to because she wasn't a huge fan of Shirin?
Hali Ford: Mhmm. You know, Carolyn didn't like how tight Jenn and I were. Carolyn liked Rodney. She babied Rodney and Will. I think she just didn't like us enough. There just wasn't a lot of natural chemistry, and then she really didn't like Shirin. She didn't trust Shirin, she didn't like her -- all these reasons. We probably just overall had a bad [dynamic] for her to switch.
Reality TV World: What was your relationship with Shirin actually like out there during the final days of your game? She tried hard to fit in with you girls and be less annoying, so did she succeed in that or were you and Jenn just being cordial?
Hali Ford: I liked Shirin from the get-go. I never disliked Shirin. Yeah, sometimes she would get on my nerves, but that was when [Max Dawson] was there. Once Max was gone, she never did. I mean, I liked her.
My only quibble with Shirin was I should've trusted her more than I did. I saw her talking to other sides too much and it put a lot of doubt in my mind. If I had believed her loyalty, I think I could've spent my time more effectively talking to other people instead of making sure we secured Shirin.
Reality TV World: You and Jenn were extremely tight out there and you had no problem showing that. Looking back, do you wish you had kept your distance a little more from her so people wouldn't view you as a dangerous power couple?
Hali Ford: Of course! Absolutely. That was my biggest -- that was the worst thing I did the whole game, was how close I was with Jenn. But, you know, what a way to go! (Laughs) We had a great time out there, but hello, we had a million dollars on the line, so get it together, Hali. I didn't get my head in the game in time.
I mean on the No Collar tribe, it was all a social game. You don't talk strategy on the No Collar tribe. Post-merge though, it was time to break up. Come on! But, you know, I just got stuck in that group, and I just liked Jenn too much. We were each other's -- we'd just go off and talk about things, not Survivor, and she was so valuable to me out there.
I had a lot of fun with her. I don't know if I, I mean, I don't really wear my heart on my sleeve, but if I like you, you'll know it. It's hard for me not to gravitate to people I genuinely like.
Reality TV World: So would you have spent some of that time with Jenn getting to know other people? Maybe you think just keeping your distance from Jenn was enough to make the difference?
Hali Ford: Yeah, I would've just more visibly kept my distance from Jenn -- not walk off the beach for an hour with her and sit and talk about nothing, (laughs) because that's dumb. And I would've spent more time talking with Tyler. I crossed him off my list of possibilities way too soon and prematurely.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Hali's exclusive Survivor interview.