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Exclusive: Will Wahl talks 'Survivor' -- My arrogance cost me the game and I take full responsibility for that


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/08/2016 

Will Wahl was voted out of the Vinaka tribe on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.

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Will, an 18-year-old high school student from Long Valley, NJ, became the 13th castaway voted out of Season 33 of Survivor. He appeared to be blindsided on Night 34 at the game's 13th Tribal Council session, becoming the season's sixth jury member.

"Getting voted off Survivor is not something that I wanted on my Survivor resume," Will joked in his final words. "But I am the youngest person to ever play Survivor, and to be able to experience this is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me so far in my life."

During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Will talked about his Survivor experience. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for more.

Reality TV World: Is it safe to say you were blindsided? Whom did you think was voting with you to take out David Wright?

Will Wahl: It's definitely safe to say I was blindsided. I was thinking that I had everybody but [Ken McNickle], pretty much, I thought was with me to vote out David. I thought it was going to be a 6-2 vote, but the other way, not the way it ended up being.

So yeah, I would definitely say that I was blindsided, but I did have this feeling of nerves going into Tribal Council. I was very nervous, very back and forth over what was going to happen and how people were going to react to last Tribal, where I kind of had the spotlight on me.

Reality TV World: Do you feel betrayed by anyone in particular and did you have an inkling Adam Klein was the one who spearheaded your vote-off?

Will Wahl: Yeah, I mean, I found out after the fact that Adam did that. And I don't really feel betrayed; he was just making a big move. The only person that I feel somewhat betrayed by would be Ken.

But at the end of the day -- even though I don't understand why he made the move -- it's very hard for me to get worked up over something that happened in the game when I'm such a big fan of the game. To me, the game and real life are two completely separate things, and I don't feel anything personal, or I'm not against anybody personally outside the game.

Reality TV World: The focus was on Justin "Jay" Starrett and David being two of the biggest threats before and after your vote off. Why wasn't anyone looking at Adam as the target? He seemed to be the one making the decisions and leading Bret LaBelle and Sunday Burquest.

Will Wahl: I think Adam is playing a very subtle game, and I feel like that's why he was able to do that and yet Jay and David have the targets on their backs. And no one really looks at Adam in that way; nobody really looks at Bret or Sunday in that way.

They are all playing very subtle, down-to-earth games compared to some people, who were playing larger-than-life and are really vocal about how they're playing, like a David or like a Jay.

Reality TV World: Looking back, what do you think was your downfall in the game? Was it Ken's betrayal? Because had Ken kept quiet about your plan to make a big move and take out Zeke Smith, the focus wouldn't have been on you and you wouldn't have had to reveal you were building a Survivor resume. Or was your downfall your behavior after the Zeke vote, acting like you were in control and in power?

Will Wahl: Definitely my behavior after the fact. I was very arrogant. Even though Ken blew up my game, that's not the reason I went home. I mean, it made it a lot more difficult for me to maneuver in the game, but it's not the reason I went home.

It was my own arrogance. I take full responsibility for why I was voted out of the game, and it really was my inability to reconnect with people like Bret and Sunday, and to be as arrogant to think I had people like [Hannah Shapiro] and Adam on my side. And it really was a combination of arrogance and a lack of social awareness that ended up getting me voted out of the game.

Reality TV World: I was going to ask you if you wished you had toned down your arrogance a little bit. (Laughs) Clearly, the answer is "yes."

Will Wahl: Oh yeah, definitely. (Laughs) I mean, I think arrogance makes a little bit of good TV, but it's definitely not good for Survivor gameplay.

Reality TV World: Adam and Hannah are responsible for taking you out since they believed Bret and Sunday would vote with them no matter what. So looking at the game from Hannah and Adam's perspective, do you think they made the right and best strategic move for their games or did they make a mistake?

Will Wahl: Oh believe me, I think that it was a good move. I mean, they still have Ken and David, and they could always reconnect with them. But at the same time, they built a relationship with Bret and Sunday, so right now, they have options, and that's something that I ran out of. And that's why I got voted out.

Reality TV World: But do you think Adam and Hannah made a poor decision in voting you out of the tribe when Jay and David were still around?

Will Wahl: Keeping David around is always a scary thing. Keeping Jay around is scary. If either of them can win immunity and get to the end, then they're going to be tough [to beat] in the Final Tribal, but it's a risk they are obviously willing to take. So we're just going to have to wait and see!

Reality TV World: Last night's episode didn't show you asking Jay to play his hidden Immunity Idol for you. Was that because you were confident you weren't going home?

Will Wahl: So I knew Jay had an idol because I found it with him; we were both there. But the thing about that is that I kind of knew that Jay would not play the idol for me. I asked him multiple times. I asked him multiple times before that Tribal.

It was something where I knew that he was probably not going to play it for me. It was worth a shot, and I gave it a shot, but it didn't end up panning out, unfortunately. But yeah.

Reality TV World: Zeke told me last week that you deserved the credit for taking him out since you were the swing vote, but he said credit for a bad move isn't necessarily worth having at all. Do you think that was a bad move, or at least a move made too soon?

Will Wahl: I think the timing was off. I think it was a good move to get rid of Zeke, but I think my timing on the move was definitely off. And I think Zeke was very fair in saying credit for a bad move ended up coming to hurt me later on in the game.

And at the end of the day, I should've waited another Tribal or two to vote out Zeke. I think voting out Zeke at the Final 9 was way too early and ended up being a bad move.

Reality TV World: I think a surprise with the Zeke vote was the fact you voted with the group that didn't include Jay, who was your closest ally. Why did you ultimately decide to do that? And how did you mend your relationship with Jay afterwards?

Will Wahl: Well the thing about taking Zeke out was that I knew I needed to build my resume up. I would look over at the jury and I would see their faces. They would all look at me as this little kid, and I knew that I needed to build up my resume so they would have something to go off of if I ended up making it to the end.

I needed something to say, "Hey, look, I did this. Now, this is why you should give me a million [dollars]." And that is what I was lacking. I couldn't just go off the fact, "Oh, I'm the youngest person to play." They're not going to respect that. So that's why I made the move.

And mending my relationship with Jay after, it was actually really easy to do that. The thing about Jay is that he would come to me and be like, "Will, it's okay that you made this move; I still want to work with you. You're like a brother to me," and all of this stuff.

Jay would come to me. I wouldn't even have to come to him, which was crazy to think about, but it was something that still perplexes me about Jay. I was not used to somebody being so forgiving after me basically blindsiding them.

Reality TV World: I assumed you also wanted to prove you simply weren't riding Jay's coattails. What better way to prove that than vote opposite Jay?

Will Wahl: Yeah! That was a big part of it. Out there, I was terrified, and I made a lot of [James "JT" Thomas] and Stephen Fishbach comparisons. I was really, really nervous that Jay was going to be the JT and I was going to be the Stephen Fishbach, and that I was going to get shut out at Final Tribal just like it happened in Survivor: Tocantins. So it really was something that I was terrified of being viewed as Jay's sidekick and getting no respect at the end.

Check back with Reality TV World soon for more from our exclusive Survivor interview with Will Wahl.


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