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Exclusive: Chelsea Townsend talks 'Survivor: Ghost Island' -- I played hard! Very little of my game was shown


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/14/2018 

Chelsea Townsend was voted out of Survivor: Ghost Island's Lavita tribe during the latest episode on CBS.

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Chelsea, a 24-year-old EMT and former professional cheerleader from Salt Lake City, UT, was voted out of the game on Night 32 through a 5-3 vote at Tribal Council instead of Wendell Holland, a 33-year-old furniture company owner from Philadelphia, PA.

Chelsea therefore became the sixth member of the Survivor: Ghost Island jury.

"As a Survivor fan, I am so grateful. I actually have no regrets with this Tribal. I knew I wanted to make a big move tonight and I'm proud that I went for it. Even though it didn't pan out in my favor, I can go out saying I went out with a bang and I went out fighting," Chelsea said following her ouster.

During a recent exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Chelsea talked about her Survivor experience. Below is the concluding portion of what she had to say.

Reality TV World: Do you think Donathan Hurley is going to stick with Laurel Johnson going forward no matter what, even if Laurel chooses to continue working with Wendell and Domenick Abbate? Because Donathan mentioned he wants to become a more aggressive player.

Chelsea Townsend: Yeah, you know, Donathan really wanted to play the game, and he even told me multiple times before that Tribal Council, like, "I'm ready to make a big move! I'm ready. I want to do this. I just have to convince Laurel."

I think the only problem is Donathan should maybe have just been more assertive with Laurel. I think Laurel was a little bit more of the voice in their partnership, and I think it would've been better off for both people if they had maybe taken Donathan's side and taken out Wendell and taken out a huge player.

But I think Donathan figured, "I have to vote with Laurel because if Laurel votes with them and I vote with the girls, it'll be apparent that I didn't vote with the guys and then I might be in trouble down the line." So I think Donathan just figured he had to vote however Laurel decided she wanted to vote.

Reality TV World: Laurel and Donathan seemed to think they had a secret alliance with Wendell and Domenick. Did you have any awareness of those relationships while you were out there, or when did you find out that secret alliance existed?

Chelsea Townsend: So I actually had no idea at the start of the merge. They definitely did a very good job of keeping it under wraps they were all aligned. It took me a while to kind of piece it together.

But I think what gave it away is we would give Laurel information, and it was constantly getting told to Wendell and Domenick. She constantly fed them information.

We kind of figured it out, and then we saw her and Donathan always hanging out, and so we were like, "Okay, it's obvious those four are working together." But it took a second for everybody to kind of piece it together.

Reality TV World: So did you feel betrayed by anyone in particular? If not Laurel then maybe Wendell or Domenick, since you had been "Naviti Strong" with the guys for quite some time?

Chelsea Townsend: You know, I love this game so much that I couldn't even feel betrayed, even though I had a great relationship with Dom. Those guys were out there playing so hard, and I have to respect a game well played.

They saw me as a threat and they took me out. I saw them as a threat and was trying to take them out!

It's just the way Survivor goes, and I have so much respect for both of them for doing what they had to do to get out somebody that could potentially beat them in challenges.

Reality TV World: When Sebastian Noel won the Reward, did you anticipate he was going to choose all the guys to join him? And what was your reaction when Wendell immediately stepped up to go to Ghost Island but Domenick -- who's been playing the game really hard -- did not?

Chelsea Townsend: I was shocked because it definitely made things very clear. But at the same time, it kind of helped my game because Laurel was pissed off about the whole thing, so she came back to camp very upset. And I was like, "Well, I'm very upset too, but at least I can use this to my advantage."

Like [I could say], "Hey, see! They are all tight and you are not. You should come with us!" (Laughs)

But yeah, I think the worst part of the whole thing, which also worked out in my favor, was when Wendell decided to go for the advantage, because it basically took away one of our chances to spend time with our loved one.

And people were very upset about it and were very, very mad at Wendell! It only worked in my favor because I was trying to get him out of the game.

So as much as it sucked, it was all working in my favor and everything was coming together in this perfect, little plan to blindside him. So it just fell down to Laurel's decision, and it was hard for me to not have the power in my hands and to have it in somebody else's.

And I scowered that island every day for a hidden Immunity Idol and specifically four hours on that day! So, I did everything I could to take the game into my own hands, but no matter how hard I looked, I couldn't find an idol anywhere.

Reality TV World: Did you ever consider lying about having an idol? That seems to be a trend this season since there are so many idols and advantages in play.

Chelsea Townsend: Yeah, I thought about it and I weighed, "Okay, if I lie about it, maybe it will help me." But at the same time, I already had a huge target on my back from the Individual Immunity wins.

So I felt like if I said I had one, people would just be like, "That's even more reason to get rid of her because she has even more power outside of just doing well in Individual Immunity Challenges."

So it's something I went back and forth with, but I think ultimately I decided I already had a pretty big target on my back and I kind of needed to keep that as minimal as I could and play up the game of, "Hey, there are much bigger threats in this game than me" and try to have that be my argument for getting people out.

Reality TV World: If the decision about whom to send to Ghost Island had been turned over to you four girls, what do you think would have happened?

Chelsea Townsend: Well, I hoped it would have been me! (Laughs) And then maybe I would have won that challenge and things maybe would have been a little bit different because I would have had immunity and power, and I could have shaken things up a little bit.

Reality TV World: At the time you left the game, what did you predict would happen next? Did you automatically assume Kellyn Bechtold or Angela Perkins would be the next target?

Chelsea Townsend: Yeah, I think it was pretty clear cut. I told Kellyn, "They're gunning for you next, so you better do everything in your power to pull out all the stops!" So I figured they would go after Kellyn next, probably, just because she was a big threat in the game and she was really good socially.

Reality TV World: How much of a role do you think Kellyn's two votes on Laurel at the previous Tribal Council played in Laurel's decision to stick with Domenick and Wendell?

Chelsea Townsend: I think it played a big part. Laurel and Kellyn definitely had a lot of tension after that vote, and I knew that was going to hurt my gameplan because I needed Laurel to trust Kellyn.

And I think when she was weighing her options, she was like, "Yeah, I might do better with these girls, but I don't trust Kellyn. I feel like she'll just vote me out." And so I think that safety blanket of the guys and their power was too alluring after Kellyn put her name down essentially.

I was just hoping that maybe she would look past the emotional side of, "Ugh, I can't believe you voted for me," and look at the big picture of the game and see, "Hey, this is going to be better for my gameplay in the end."

Reality TV World: Viewers unfortunately didn't see much of you on Survivor this season. We saw your challenge wins, but are you a little disappointed with your edit overall? Did you make moves that just weren't shown or do you feel the edit was accurate because you intentionally tried to fly under the radar?

Chelsea Townsend: Yeah, I mean, that was definitely the most frustrating part of watching it back. I truly feel like I played a very good game. The way I wanted to come out and play the game was exactly how I played it.

I flew under the radar during the pre-merge but was still calling a lot of the shots without people knowing I was. Post-merge, I really came out hard and was winning challenges and looking for idols, you know, creating relationships with people. I worked really hard and I did a lot of things that I was really proud of.

And I felt like very little of that was actually shown. So it was very frustrating for me, but at the end of the day, I had to say, "You know what? This is about my experience and my journey on Survivor, and I am so proud of my game." Therefore, I am just so happy with my journey.

Reality TV World: Looking back, do you wish you had done anything differently that might have advanced you further in the game?

Chelsea Townsend: There really isn't! I did everything I could. I played as hard as I could. My biggest regret was not being able to find a hidden Immunity Idol, but it was not for lack of hunting for one, because I looked for one every day.

Angela and I were the fire-collecting crew, and I used that [job] as a decoy to go look in the jungle every day (laughs) and then bring back a couple of sticks as firewood. So it wasn't for lack of trying, and so I can't say that I really regret anything.

To read the first half of Reality TV World's exclusive Survivor interview with Chelsea Townsend, click here.



Chelsea Townsend/Instagram

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