Exclusive Michaela Bradshaw 'Survivor' interview: If I made the Final 4, I don't think anyone could win the million over me
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/04/2016
Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X castaway Michaela Bradshaw was voted out of the game during Wednesday night's Episode 7 broadcast on CBS.
Michaela, a 25-year-old in vacation club sales from Fort Worth, TX, became the seventh castaway voted out of Season 33 of Survivor on Night 20 at the game's seventh Tribal Council session.
The new Ikabula tribe, featuring a mix of Gen Xers and millennials, had to vote one of their own members off after they lost the Immunity Challenge to the opposing Vanua and Takali tribes.
Instead of taking advantage of an easy vote -- one of the two Gen Xers on the tribe -- Justin "Jay" Starrett convinced his alliance of millennials to turn on Michaela so she wouldn't be a threat to them come the merge. Michaela appeared blindsided, pissed off and disappointed.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Michaela talked about her Survivor experience. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: When Jeff Probst read the votes and you yelled "What?!" you immediately turned around to look at Jay, asking if he did that to you. You seemed to have a gut feeling it was Jay behind the betrayal, so what led you to assume that and therefore were you truly blindsided?
Michaela Bradshaw: I was definitely -- I got to give credit where credit is due, it was a blindside in the sense that I knew logically that there was a chance I could go home. It was just in the sense of, "Man, this vote seems so easy. No one wants to vote for anyone, but since we have to, let's vote a Gen Xer." Boom, it was done.
But that was just one thought in the back of my mind: "If a Gen Xer doesn't go home, it's going to be me." But did I think that anyone would do that to me? No, especially not Jay because we had a connection.
Jay and I have a similar background. We're the person in our family that's grinding right now, trying to get it done and change things for ourselves. We've had those conversations on the island.
So when I saw my name once, it was like, "Why [Bret LaBelle] and [Sunday Burquest]? Why aren't they voting for each other?" When I saw it twice, I'm like, "Okay, they're working together. That means they're working with someone, and I know it's not [Hannah Shapiro]. So it's got to be Jay."
And if Jay voted for me, I'm going home because [Will Wahl] would do what Jay does. So then I saw that next one and I was like, "Rahrrr!" (Laughs)
Reality TV World: So clearly you thought Will was just riding Jay's coattails in the game.
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Michaela Bradshaw: I knew who was there and I knew my name coming up in that Tribal was not a good thing.
Reality TV World: You kind of flipped out on Jay when leaving the game. (Laughs) Is there any reason you didn't yell anything at Will on your way out? Because he also voted for you.
Michaela Bradshaw: Because I looked at Will as a non-factor. It's just like, you know, even if it was Will's idea to vote me out -- which honestly, it could have been, right? It could've been. But it would not have worked without Jay, and so, I didn't have a direct loyalty to Will.
Just like with Bret and Sunday, they were part of the Ikabula six, but I didn't have a direct loyalty to Bret or Sunday. But Jay and I had made a deeper connection in that game, and so, I felt betrayed by him.
I looked at Bret and Sunday like, "Ya'll are just saving yourselves. I get it; This is a game." Will, I'm like, "You're 18. I get it." But with Jay, it was like, "You're supposed to be my bro!"
So I took that harder, but looking back at it, I understand. It's a game for him too and I look at it as a compliment, honestly, like, if you don't feel like you can beat me, get rid of me. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Since Jay screwed you over, why not screw him over by announcing to the whole tribe he had a hidden Immunity Idol? Did that thought just not cross your mind in the heat of the moment?
Michaela Bradshaw: It came up, right? You can use information for good or bad, but just the way I am in real life, if things don't work out my way, I'm not the type of person that wants to ruin someone else's game just because mine didn't work out how I planned.
So, yeah, I could've been like, "Hey! Jay has the idol!" and blah, blah, blah, blah. But no. I'm out. Once my name got written down that fourth time, it was over for me. So I'm the type of person -- I want to let the rest of the season play out the way it plays out.
I don't want to, you know, throw sod at someone else's game just because they got me good, and they got me good! So, it's like, "Okay, keep playing. Let's see what happens."
Reality TV World: Why did you automatically assume you'd be the first millennial to go if your tribe decided not to vote out one of the two Gen Xers?
Michaela Bradshaw: Just because, okay, you have to think about where we were in the game at that time and what had happened. Basically, Ikabula was set up to lose just about every challenge, and at the last minute, I pull it out at the end, right?
So, you don't want a come-from-behind person going into the merge. You don't want a person that can strategically lay out plans going to the merge. You don't want a person that, you know... during that challenge when [Jessica "Figgy" Figueroa] got voted off, I had told [Adam Klein] to vote Figgy during the challenge.
I turned around to [Adam] and was mouthing, "Vote Figgy," and I admitted that when we came back to Ikabula. So they didn't show it, but everybody on Ikabula knew that I told Adam to vote Figgy, and I was hoping that he voted Figgy.
So, when that happened and he voted Figgy, you don't want a person that is influencing other people to get rid of your alliance in the game. So, yes, it made sense to vote a Gen Xer, but I was the only other person that it would make sense -- for at least Will and Jay -- to vote out, if they were going to turn on the millennials.
Reality TV World: When the game began, Jay was in an alliance with Figgy, Taylor Stocker and Michelle Schubert, but it's been unclear whether Jay hoped to reunite with that group come the merge. Since you had a tiff with "FigTayls," do you think that's partly why Jay took you out, almost like a form of revenge?
Michaela Bradshaw: I don't think it was a form of revenge. I think that it was because Michelle was going to be my first target after the merge, and I made the mistake of revealing that.
So if Jay has a solid five, and I took out -- well, Adam took out one of them, but I was 100% down for it -- and now, going into the merge, the first person I'm talking about getting rid of is Michelle." No. 1, I'm talking too much. I should've kept my mouth shut.
No. 2, that's not good for Jay. So, we all know that Taylor would never work with me. You don't even see him having a conversation with me in the whole first seven episodes. So, I just think for Jay, like, if I'm coming after the people you want to go to the end with, of course you want to get rid of me.
Reality TV World: Looking at the game from Jay's perspective, do you think he really made the wrong move in voting you out when he did? Because obviously you kept yelling at him that he messed up and would eventually look like an ass.
Michaela Bradshaw: (Laughs) I think I'm right! I think you could look at it multiple ways. Considering if you look at traditionalSurvivor, at this point in the game, it really works where, before the merge, four people say they're sticking together and then they go all the way to the end together.
In my mind, that was possible, and I would've stuck to that as long as I felt like it was possible. So, on that end, considering we could've blasted through to the Final 4 -- if the four of us would've stuck together -- Jay made a horrible mistake.
Considering I was basically the most loyal person in the game, it was a horrible mistake. But even if that would've worked, the plan of getting to four with me, Jay would've lost a million dollars, because I don't think the jury would give it to him over me.
So, with him winning a million dollars as the goal, I think it was a smart move. Because I was somebody that even if we went to the end together, [the money] probably would've went to me, but do I think it was necessary right then? No.
But do I think he would've had the chance to do it after the merge? If I have the chance to win immunity, no. So, it's kind of like one of those things in Survivor where you'll never know, but for my sake, I wish it wouldn't have happened.
Reality TV World: You mentioned how you would've stayed loyal to Jay, Will and Hannah in the game if it was possible until the Final 4. Did you start thinking about what your ideal Final 3 and 2 would be?
Michaela Bradshaw: My whole thing was look, if I could get down to four, I can pull out a W. So that was my whole thing. I didn't care who I sat next to, because I felt like I'm articulate enough and I had done enough the first half of the game to where... if you let me fly to the end, I don't know a jury who wouldn't give me the money. So, I was not concerned with who was going to be two and three. I was just trying to get to the end. That was my focus.
Check Reality TV World's Survivor page for more from our exclusive interview with Michaela.