Kellyn, a 31-year-old career counselor from North Manchester, IN, who currently resides in Denver, CO, was voted out of the Lavita tribe on Night 35 of the game through a 3-1 re-vote at Tribal Council instead of Donathan Hurley, a 26-year-old caretaker from Kimper, KY.
On the first vote at Tribal Council, Kellyn and Donathan tied with three votes apiece, while Domenick Abbate also received one vote from Donathan.
"This journey for me came at the exact right moment in my life... I'm so thankful for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never ever forget," Kellyn, who became the season's seventh jury member, said following her ouster.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Kellyn talked about her time on Survivor: Ghost Island. Below is a portion of what she had to say.
Reality TV World: The show made it seem like you were pretty certain you were the target at Tribal Council. So is it accurate to say you were not blindsided?
Kellyn Bechtold: [Domenick Abbate] and [Wendell Holland] didn't even try to convince me that someone else was going home, (laughs) so I absolutely was not blindsided. I got excited because there was a chance -- because things started to get heated, right?!
I was like, "Oh my gosh, this is exciting. I figured out how I could get the vote to tie in the middle of Tribal!" And so that was really fun, but ultimately, yeah, my name was up. And it wouldn't have been exciting TV to just know that I knew, so hey!
And Donathan gave it his best shot -- to get himself voted out. (Laughs) But ultimately, I thought it was me. I was 99 percent sure it was me going in. For a little bit, I had a glimmer of hope, but after the re-vote, I knew I was toast.
Reality TV World: Since Donathan told you before Tribal he was going to be voting for Dom, why didn't you join him? Did you just fear Dom would play his idol and then you'd be the one going home?
Kellyn Bechtold: No, so I wanted to join him! Donathan and I had a conversation and I felt like I was stuck up against a brick wall.
I said to Donathan -- he was emotional -- I was like, "Hey, you know what? We should just, well, we can't really make a move because we don't have the numbers, but let's vote for Dom. He hasn't received any votes. Let's just let him know what it feels like. Those boys have been so cocky (laughs) and Dom hasn't received a vote, so let's just put two votes on him just for fun." You know?
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Well, that was my plan. I felt like there was nothing else I could do, but they were openly talking in front of me at Tribal that they were going to split the votes.
And so I realized, "Hey, if Donathan is really going to do this and vote for Dom, if I flip and vote for Donathan, I can get it to tie." So that was a fun little nugget I was starting to figure out in the middle of Tribal that at least made Dom and Wendell fret a little bit on my way out.
Reality TV World: Sebastian Noel showed his loyalty to Dom and Wendell by choosing to take them on the previous loved ones' Reward, so did you know Sebastian was going to vote with them, or were you surprised at all by his vote for Donathan?
Kellyn Bechtold: I wasn't surprised at all. I'm sure they were splitting the votes and so Dom and Wendell probably told [Angela Perkins] and Sebastian to vote for Donathan because they didn't trust Sebastian and Angela would write my name down, because we had been pretty close.
But I wasn't surprised that Sebastian and Angela went with the boys. I wish it could be different! But I wasn't surprised.
Reality TV World: Did Sebastian tell you about his extra-vote advantage from Ghost Island? And are you frustrated he didn't use it on his Donathan vote? Because if he had put two votes on Donathan, you would have been saved!
Kellyn Bechtold: He didn't tell me about it, and yeah, I didn't know. So of course that's all I needed. That's all I needed, was Sebastian to tell me that! And not only that, but I had put a lot of work into my relationship with Sebastian.
He and I started out really close -- me, [Bradley Kleihege] and Sebastian -- and we were a pre-merge alliance. He and I had a lot of time and a lot of special moments out there. And I still, to this day, am shocked he didn't tell me about the extra vote! We'll see if he made the right move or not!
Reality TV World: Wendell made that fake idol necklace before Tribal and there was that whole scene of Domenick handling it in his bag with Donathan watching. Viewers didn't receive much of an explanation, so could you clarify what was happening there? Did Wendell and Dom think their little act would dissuade Donathan from voting for one of them?
Kellyn Bechtold: I have no idea! I wasn't around at that point. I was probably just taking a walk or something, so I didn't see any of that go down. The only story I got -- because everyone else had shut me out, except Donathan, at this point -- so the only story I got was from Donathan.
He said, "Dom gave Wendell and idol and they're going to play it for you." And I was like, "That does not make sense, at all."
So I have no idea what their actual plan was, and it ended up not coming up on the show. So I don't know if they were acting to try to -- I mean, it looks like they were not being very careful if they were trying to be careful. So I have no idea.
Reality TV World: It was also confusing because everyone seemed to know Dom and Wendell each had an idol already, so why show off a fake one? (Laughs)
Kellyn Bechtold: Yeah! Or like pretend you aren't showing one. Were they doing that on purpose? I don't know. They obviously had more game than I did, so we'll have to find out after the season.
Reality TV World: Donathan said in last night's episode people had underestimated him in the game. Given he went rogue last night and gathered the courage to vote for Dom, would you say he's correct?
Reality TV World: (Laughs) That's okay, at least you're being honest.
Kellyn Bechtold: That sounds really harsh, but no, I don't think anyone underestimated him. I think it was pretty clear that he and [Laurel Johnson] were voting together and that they were the swing votes in whether or not they chose to come with me or they chose to go with Dom and Wendell.
And I don't really think there was anything more than that, up to this point. This is just from my perspective. My game ended on Day 35, so up until Day 35 to me, no, they are not underestimated. They were the swing votes.
Be sure to check back with Reality TV World soon for more from our exclusive Survivor interview with Kellyn, including how she feels about Laurel's decisions in the game.