Chris, a 25-year-old district sales manager from Myrtle Beach, SC, who currently resides in Greenville, SC, won the game with a 9-4 jury vote over Gavin, a 23-year-old YMCA program director from Erwin, TN.
Reality TV World: Talk me through how you convinced Lauren to play her hidden Immunity Idol for you. You briefly explained it on the reunion show but a lot of people are still baffled by that.
Chris Underwood: For lack of a better word, I just manipulated the situation. I mean, I knew that in her mind, she needed to play the idol correctly, and I knew that in my mind, I needed her to play the idol incorrectly.
And I had already established that alliance with Rick going back in, so I knew his idol was real. So if that idol was played, I didn't want it to be played properly. And so, I was really pleading to her and telling her I was really scared and was just in theory less okay than her.
And part of my experience in sales and in persuasion, I read that people have a tendency to want to save. When someone falls over, you want to run over and try to help them up. Naturally if you're near them, you want to help them up.
In the same social situations, when you're less okay and you need comfort, physically, people will deliver on that. And I was playing to that, asking her what she was going to do with her idol and what was going to happen if Rick played an idol.
I asked what was going to happen if this or that -- and finally, she was like, "Chris, if he plays an idol, I'm going to play an idol for you." And I made her promise me that, and the negative reverse worked where I positioned myself on the other end of the spectrum where she was in the savior position.
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So, it was what she felt like she needed, and it was what I knew I needed to boost my resume and diminish hers.
Reality TV World: How do you think the endgame would have played out in your mind if the other castaways succeeded in taking Rick out at Final 6?
Chris Underwood: If he got voted out at Final 6, I would've been pleading my case. Because at that point, if he got voted out, then I wouldn't have had an idol either, and so the Final 3 probably still would have been Gavin and Julie.
But it would've changed whom I worked with. I may have probably tried to have worked with Victoria, because she was a big threat, but I also needed to get Victoria out. I don't know!
Reality TV World: Whom did you envision in your ideal Final 3 once you returned to the game from the Edge of Extinction?
Chris Underwood: Well, I knew Rick was in my Final 3. I mean, I had to get him there because he was the biggest shield possible. If he got voted out... ideally it would have been Gavin and Julie. Everyone wanted to sit next to Gavin and Julie.
From Final 8 or Final 9, everyone was like, "I want to take Gavin, Julie or Aurora to the end." But you never know. Survivoris one of those things in which you can play through options, (laughs) a million different ways.
But at the end of the day, it's one of those games where you have to take the cards that are dealt, the cards that are handed to you, and use them as best as you possibly can.
And I feel like I did that, and I did that in a way I articulated well at Final Tribal. That's why the jury gave me their votes.
To read Part 1 of Chris' exclusive Survivor interview with Reality TV World, click here. And to read Part 2, click here. (Also, check out our Edge of Extinction show page for more interviews with the Final 6 castaways).