Exclusive: 'Survivor: Worlds Apart' winner Mike Holloway talks (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/27/2015
Survivor: Worlds Apart declared Mike Holloway the winner of its $1 million grand prize during the live portion of CBS' finale broadcast.
Mike, a 38-year-old oil driller from North Richland Hills, TX, beat runner-up Carolyn Rivera, a 52-year-old corporate executive from Tampa, FL, and third-place finisher Will Sims II, a 41-year-old YouTube sensation from Sherman Oaks, CA, in the 30th season's final jury voting results. Rodney Lavoie Jr. finished in fourth place, while Sierra Dawn Thomas claimed fifth place.
Host Jeff Probst revealed six votes during the live reunion show. One person voted for Will, one person voted for Carolyn, and four people voted for Mike. As Mike told Reality TV World in the first half of his interview, the two additional votes had also been cast for him to win.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Mike talked about his Survivor experience and victory. Below is the concluding portion. Click here to read Part 1.
Reality TV World: At the Sierra vote, you thought Rodney was going to be easier to beat than Sierra if you were to go to the end. Was that just because you thought Sierra was stronger in Immunity Challenges? Because I know Rodney was considered disliked and a goat at times, but on the other side of the coin, Sierra didn't appear to make any moves on her own.
Mike Holloway: Couple of different modes of thinking. No. 1, these two people, who did not end up voting for me, I spent 37 and 38 days with -- the most of anyone in the whole game. And it's so weird, the betrayal. You know what you sign up for; You know what you're getting into.
But it's so weird, the betrayal that I felt in the game, especially from my Blue Collars, because we made a pact. I mean, I threw a challenge for our team! We had a solid plan coming into this, where you know, "We're going Final 4. Blue Collar. This is going to be us in the finals with no one else."
And [I was] sitting there thinking about everything, and Sierra is really, really, really talented at puzzles. And if you know anything about the game of Survivor, normally the last challenge is some sort of obstacle course and then puzzle. And the plan was Rodney.
And the more and more I thought about it, right before Tribal Council, I just switched it. I ran up to Rodney and I was like, "Yo, it's either you or it's Sierra. Do you want to go home tonight?" And he was like, "Well, of course not!"
I was like, "Alright, well here's the plan. We're voting Sierra, and you go tell Will," because everyone knew how tight Will and Rodney were. "You go tell Will, and that's what's happening tonight."
And I mean, we switched it up and Sierra went home, and then that in turn made Rodney and Will think that I was with them and I jumped ship to go back to them. No, it was the only way I could whittle down numbers and have one other person isolated that was on your side -- to take my side and split a vote to make you guys do fire.
Reality TV World: If you never blew up on Rodney after theSurvivor auction for betraying you, how do you think things might've played out differently? Do you think you still could've gotten to the end but in the alliance you were loyal to for a while there? Maybe you'd have an easier time doing that with less pressure and scrambling?
Mike Holloway: Here's the thing about my game that you don't see. Whenever I was safe or whenever I was in trouble, I was always scrambling, 24 hours a day and seven days a week for 39 days. It was no joke.
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If there was someone awake or someone that was off on their own or whatever, you know, I'd make a point to go out of my way to talk to them, even if I didn't want to hear what they had to say. I would go out of my way to make sure -- as I called it "checking in."
I would just check the temperature of people every single day, a couple different times of the day. If there mode or their words or something didn't line up to a previous conversation, I felt like that was kind of revealing cracks in their own game.
So, the more that you get to know these people, like actually get to know them, it's actually more of a benefit for you because knowledge is power and you're able to understand what makes them tick. And if you know what makes them tick, you can wind them up.
Reality TV World: I'm curious as to whether the advantage you got for the Individual Immunity Challenge really helped at all. Your mom seemed to lose her way a little bit while helping you practice and felt she had let you down, but you ended up winning.
Mike Holloway: Ah, she "let me down." Let me clarify that really fast. But no, here's the awesome thing. We were in that challenge and were doing all that stuff and she got really, really flustered.
And the coolest thing in the world, we stopped, we took a couple breaths, and then I was like, "Hey, let's run this first leg again." So we ran it like 10 times. And I knew that first leg inside and out. So, when [Jeff Probst] was like, "Survivors, ready? Go!" Man, bam! I'm at that first medallion and pull it.
If I was blindfolded and I knew that my competitor had an advantage and they went out there and grabbed this medallion straight off the bat, I'd be like, "Oh crap, I need to get it in gear!" And then I'd try to speed up and start making mistakes.
And I believe that's what happened, but I was able to find my way through the maze and I already had such an advantage. So no, the advantage my mom gave me whenever she came out there was EVERYTHING in the last two or three days, however many days it was. She got me to the end of the game. I cannot tell you how big or how important of a role she played in the last few days.
Reality TV World: I think it was pretty clear you were going to compete in the next season if you hadn't won the million. How do you feel about that being taken away from you, is it bittersweet? Would you have loved to play again just because you love it or are you relieved you can just sit back and relax now with a big check in your pocket?
Mike Holloway: Oh, you mean there was something else going on last night other than Mike Holloway winningSurvivor? (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Yep there was unfortunately. (Laughs)
Mike Holloway: Oh, I would have never known that. No, you guys go enjoy Cambodia. I got the win. I mean, you know what? Actually, this is my time to tell my story, so I'm just going to say it. I got five Individual Immunities.
I'm one of two people to ever do that in the game -- Tom Westman being the first one to ever do it. I'm one of -- only one person in all 30 seasons of Survivorhas played an idol and won the game -- played an idol for themselves, saved themselves and won the game.
There is so much strategy that took place in this season. For somebody that's completely on the bottom, the last four votes when everyone else is against him, how does that person control those four votes? How does that happen? But wait. We had so much drama on this season that you don't get to see any of that.
Reality TV World: So were you disappointed in the show's editing this season then?
Mike Holloway: No, I'm not disappointed in the editing whatsoever. I think the editing gave me one of the best edits I've ever seen in my entire life, and I'll forever be eternally grateful for that. Yeah.
Reality TV World: Okay good. Lastly, what do you plan on doing with the money?
Mike Holloway: You know, I'm going to give some to my church, I'm going to pay off a little bit of the money my mom has left on her house and then maybe a little vacation.
And then I'll probably sink the rest of the money into the company me and my best friend started called "Sweet T's Designs" and we make T-shirts. The shirt I wore [at the live finale] was one of our designs. But yeah, you would have never known that.
Click here to read the first half of Reality TV World's exclusive interview with Mike Holloway. Also, check our Survivor page for more interviews with Season 30's Final 5 castaways.