Donathan, a 26-year-old caretaker from Kimper, KY, was voted out of the game on Night 37 after Wendell Holland won the Individual Immunity Challenge.
Domenick Abbate played a hidden Immunity Idol for himself, and then Wendell chose to play his idol for Laurel Johnson, so Donathan was eliminated from the game with three votes. On his way out, Donathan gushed about how he had "the most wonderful experience" of his life.
Wendell ultimately finished Survivor: Ghost Island in first place and won the $1 million prize. Domenick finished as the runner-up, and Laurel placed third. Angela Perkins landed in fourth place, and Sebastian Noel finished the season in sixth place.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Donathan talked to Reality TV World about his time on Survivor: Ghost Island. Below is what he had to say.
Reality TV World: Sebastian told me he was "livid" at Domenick because he felt Domenick "bullied you" at the Tribal Council when Sebastian went home. Did you personally feel victimized or bullied by Domenick?
Donathan Hurley: I did. I worked with these guys throughout the game, and they always wanted to have that Tribal where they threw the idols out. I was like, "No guys, these people know they're going home, so... let's not get to Tribal and be all dramatic about it. Let's be respectful and get out."
So I was at the point where I was stirring things up a little bit because I was actually trying to make a move. I made it loud and clear at seven, so it was just a bad thing.
I didn't enjoy the moment. I was silent after they had called me out, and I was like, "No." I was like just zoned out at some point. And the jury was over there watching, and I could tell by their faces they were not enjoying what was happening.
Reality TV World: You told Wendell earlier in the game if he had made it to the end with Domenick, you would vote for Domenick to win. So did Dom's behavior change your mind?
Donathan Hurley: I never changed my mind, I just used that as a strategy to kind of get those guys pinned against each other. If they were scared -- because I felt like I wasn't going to make the Final 3 at that point, so why not try to make Wendell paranoid?
Because I was frustrated because I was trying to play this game and it never worked out, what I was trying to do. So, at that point, I was just trying to make them paranoid [about each other]. It was a bold strategy, but it was just strategy. I never had my mind made up at that point -- never.
Reality TV World: So when did you make the decision to vote for Wendell and why did you ultimately decide to do so?
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Donathan Hurley: I had collected my thoughts on Day 38 or Day 39. I kind of looked back, and seeing those two games, the way Wendell played, it's outwit, outplay and outlast.
There's a lot of things that happened with big moves, and that's what builds a television show, but we're out there experiencing this and we see, like, Wendell has done so great at the shelter and things.
He's so social; he made great bonds with everybody. There's so much that factors into that vote, so on Day 39, I did contemplate back and forth because both guys did play great games.
But Sebastian mentioning how Domenick did that, he was very abrasive and bullying, and that also did kind of affect my vote. But it's not like I was bitter about it. It's just not my style that I wanted to vote for. I really wanted to vote for somebody who played a really great, clean game, and I think Wendell did.
Reality TV World: Laurel seemed to think Dom and Wendell were her only ticket to the end because she couldn't trust anyone else to get her there. Do you think she was right about that? And did you have a plan for if she actually listened to you and flipped?
Donathan Hurley: I did. I would've tried my best to get Laurel to the end, but I do not fault her for her thinking. She probably felt like she had a great case at the end with those two, and I knew I was on the bottom of that four regardless of what was going to happen.
Because I had been out there and playing with those people as well, so I do not fault her for that. But I expected her, I guess as a Super Fan, to really make a big move, and I just never got that out of her.
Reality TV World: I think people were a little surprised you didn't give Laurel your jury vote to win, just because of how close you two seemed.
Donathan Hurley: Well, I don't vote for people who don't go out there and at least try, because I felt like she kept -- you can see this on the show -- she knew she couldn't beat those guys!
She was trying to maybe do something, but she always changed her mind at the last minute. And that's not somebody I'm going to vote for, you know? She was the bottom Malolo, she was social with people, but I think a lot of people out there viewed Laurel as a goat.
Reality TV World: At the Final 6 Tribal when Sebastian went home, why did you still decide to vote for Domenick after he played that fake idol. Did you believe Dom's idol was fake, unlike Sebastian?
Donathan Hurley: I just wanted to vote for him regardless. (Laughs) I wanted to show people that I would go out swinging and those were the two biggest threats, especially the way [Dom] performed at Tribal as well.
You know, I wanted to vote for him regardless. But I was also hoping Sebastian was going to go ahead and write his name down and use his [extra] vote anyway. So I just wanted to make sure I had that vote for that as well.
Reality TV World: When Domenick announced at that Tribal Council he knew about Sebastian's extra-vote advantage, what was going through your mind? Which castaway do you think spilled the beans?
Donathan Hurley: I was just like, "Well, crap! I can't get anything done out here!" (Laughs) Everybody tattletales and wanted to go run and tell them everything. And I don't understand why Angela did that. I don't know why she did. But, you know, I knew their pockets were loaded.
Reality TV World: Why did you tell Laurel that Sebastian, Angela and yourself were talking about voting out Dom and that Sebastian had an extra vote? I'm wondering because you didn't actually need Laurel to pull off the plan.
Donathan Hurley: Well, I figured she would be interested. She talked the whole time, "I need to make a move," and "I need to make a move," so I was like, "Girl, this is your last chance. If you really want to make a move, we're going to try to tonight."
And it was right before Tribal, so I knew she wouldn't have time to tell [others] about it. So I did that because I knew she would go run and tell them.
I never knew Angela would go run and tell them, and that's what threw me off, because I'm like, "I know Laurel didn't have enough time to go and blurt that out, so it had to be Angela." (Laughs) And it was!
Reality TV World: Can you elaborate on your sudden decision to blow up your game with Dom and Wendell? Because it seemed they wanted to take you to the end had it not been for your outbursts. Were you just getting fatigued and exhausted in the game or was that on purpose?
Donathan Hurley: It was strategy. It was more frustrated strategy, I guess you could say. You know, I wanted to go out there and play. I didn't want to be known as somebody that didn't go out there and take a swing at those big guys.
It just got to a point where I knew I didn't get picked to go to Ghost Island, they chose Laurel to go to Reward at seven. It was just like, every time I tried to do something, it just wasn't happening.
So I felt like, if I'm going to go out -- because I didn't think I was going to make it to the end -- it's time to go balls to the wall! And I did.
Reality TV World: You were the person to flip on Dom and Wendell, and you kept saying throughout the game you felt underestimated. But your fellow castaways kept talking about how you weren't a threat at all. So what's your reaction been to comments like that?
Donathan Hurley: I love my cast. We're all fine now, and I just had to do more. I was really willing to play as hard as I was out there. It's a full experience for us, 24 hours a day, and you're going by what you know.
You don't know everything out there, so the cards are just wild out there! You never know what you're going to get... (laughs) but I feel like I surprised myself.
Out there, I acted like I was underestimating myself in the beginning, but my confidence built up over the season, so at that point, I just felt like I needed to show my voice. I wanted to be heard. I loved it; it was nice.