Exclusive: Missy Payne talks 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur -- Blood vs. Water' (Part 1)
By Reality TV World staff, 12/19/2014
Survivor: San Juan del Sur -- Blood vs. Water castaway Missy Payne finished the 29th season in third place, losing the $1 million grand prize to Natalie Anderson, during the live portion of Wednesday night's finale broadcast on CBS.
Natalie beat the runner-up Jaclyn Schultz, a 25-year-old media buyer from Las Vegas, NV, and Missy, a 47-year-old owner of a competitive cheerleading gym from Dallas, TX, in the season's final jury voting results, which Survivor host Jeff Probst revealed during the live broadcast.
Missy received only one jury vote from her daughter Baylor Wilson. Jaclyn earned two votes and Natalie got herself at least four. Jon Misch and Reed Kelly were the castaways who voted for Jaclyn.
Below is the first half of Missy's exclusive interview with Reality TV World. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion and for more interviews with the Final 5 castaways.
Reality TV World: How had you gone into the jury questioning thinking things would play out? Were you thinking you had a pretty good chance to win?
Missy Payne: You know what? To be honest with you, about a week before I hurt my ankle, I thought I was winning a million bucks. So, going into that jury, I knew it was going to be tough because those boys had bonded so tightly, there was just this whole "bro thing" going on.
And regardless of what I was going to say about my injury or what not, I thought it was going to be tough because I had such a rough ending to my gameplay. So, yeah, I mean, I also was not in a great pole position because I had to go first. I just felt like, knowing my competition, going first isn't always the best. So, I kind of wish I could've gone second or third to speak to the jury.
Reality TV World: How is that order determined?
Missy Payne: I have no idea to be honest. It's just the whole, where we sit -- who's first, second or third. I have no idea. I think it's pretty random.
Reality TV World: So Jeff Probst just told you to go first and the rest was history?
Missy Payne: Yup. Yup. Yeah. That's really it... I had no idea until I was crutching in there who was going first.
Reality TV World: How bad did your injury turn out to be and what's the recovery process been like for you?
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Missy Payne: Yeah, thanks for asking. So, it's a pretty bad deal. Unfortunately, I thought it was going to sort of be like a quick thing, but it's not. The doctors said it would be a six-month minimum recovery process, which I still wear a little ankle brace and I'm still doing some physical therapy.
It turns out that I had a level three sprain and some tears on the top of my ankle that physically just take time to heal -- if you heal correctly.
So I have tried so hard to be patient with this because I'm a runner and you don't tell a runner they can't run (laughs) for exercise. So, it's been tough and it swells up from time to time, but I am doing everything possible with acupuncture... and everything I can possibly do to try and strengthen it.
Reality TV World: So, just to clarify, you didn't break any bones?
Missy Payne: No broken bones, but actually, they say that breaking it probably would've been better because, when you break a bone, if it's a clean break, it heals and you can watch the healing process. With ligaments and tendons and stuff, man, it's like a rubber band.
If you take a rubber band and you really stretch it out just before it's going to tear, it just doesn't really ever come back to the same way it ever was, you know? It's just stretched. So there's this long healing process which is totally a bummer. I've learned a whole lot more than I ever thought I was going to have to learn about ankles.
Reality TV World: We saw that you popped up with a hard cast at the beginning of the finale and then we saw crutches come into the picture. So it seems like you had some more visits from the medical staff while you were out there that viewers didn't see?
Missy Payne: Yeah. Well, I mean, to be honest with you, in the very beginning, I didn't ask for medical help. And so, the way CBS is, is that they have to be able to capture it. Honestly, it makes total sense to me. So, the less I ask for help, the less they can help me. And so, finally, when I said, "Yeah, okay, my foot's swollen," when the medical team came in, the first thing they wrapped on me was temporary.
They had to get the supplies -- obviously we were in the middle of nowhere -- and so, when he said "immobilize," that was the plan. And so before the next challenge, they took me in the holding area and laid me down super fast and started wrapping me in this hard cast. I was like, "Oh dear, here we go!" It added eight more pounds to my body when I'm completely depleted.
But kudos to every single person on that medical team. They did everything they possibly could within the rule book. There's no way they give people advantages to the game. So, I was just happy to have any help. Because, otherwise, [Keith Nale] was going to have to carry me from place to place. (Laughs) So it was very kind of them to help.
Reality TV World: I was going to ask if it was more of a day-to-day situation in which maybe you became more doubtful about whether you could stay in the game in that condition as time progressed.
Missy Payne: Well, the problem for me is, my personality doesn't really lend itself to ask for help and to be helpless. I'm usually in the driver's seat. I'm a teacher, you know, a mom, whatever. And so, it was really difficult for me. I did not want to show my pain whatsoever -- or my weakness.
And so, it was hard. It was so hard. Because you come in and out of, "Oh my gosh. I'm waving the white flag." There were so many times they didn't show that the rest of the tribe would cruise off and play their social game and I'm like, "Ahh, you guys, can we do it right here in the shelter?!" (Laughs)
It changed just a little bit and it was hard for me, because I kept -- the finish line was in sight. There was no way I was going to quit. I would've crawled across it, but you start to sort of lose sight of how you're really going to get there. It was a bummer. It was really a bummer.
Reality TV World: You seemed to be okay with Natalie's decision to vote Baylor off, and you were shown mentioning that at least you didn't have to write your daughter's name down. So could you just talk about that a little bit? Why weren't you that upset and was that a reference to Jon's crazy Final 5 plan in which Baylor and Jaclyn were going to fall on their swords to let the three of you go to the end?
Missy Payne: (Laughs) Okay, well that's two-fold. So Jon did concoct this insane idea about, "Let's just map out who's going to finish," and so, never was I completely convinced that that was a good plan. Natalie and I talked quite a few times about that. I was like, "Man." And the more Jon got in the middle and he felt like he was so in charge, his arrogance and his pride came into play a little more.
So, as we got closer to that, I was like, "This is not going to work! Nobody knows the fate of Survivor!" There's no way that some person is going to have -- that this is going to happen. There's just no way. And I knew that that was a bad plan.
When Natalie voted off Baylor, I couldn't be mad at her. She actually did me a favor because I didn't have to write my kid's name down. And at that point in the game, Baylor was like, "Well, wait a minute! I want to go to the Final 3. Hold on a second!" And so I was thinking, "Oh Baylor, this is such a bad idea."
Reality TV World: So does this mean you actually anticipated having to write Baylor's name down for your own gameplay?
Missy Payne: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I totally thought that if we had gotten to that place where there were five, I was going to have to vote my kid off. And she would've known it too, but it was so bizarre the way that was all going to play out.
But I played a better game than her, and so, when she came up at the end and started getting pretty aggressive about, "Mom, we have to vote off Jon," and, "Mom, we found an idol," it was like, "Okay, slow down just a little bit." It's like, "Calm down. You're forgetting the first, like, 24-25 days in the game." (Laughs)
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Missy's exclusive interview and for more interviews with the season's Final 5 castaways.