Mike, a 47-year-old filmmaker from San Diego, CA, who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA and previously competed on The Amazing Race, lost the $1 million grand prize to Nick, a 27-year-old public defender from Williamsburg, KY, who currently resides in London, KY, through a 7-3 jury vote.
Reality TV World: At the start of Final Tribal, Elizabeth Olson admitted the jury was undecided and open about whom to vote for. What did you think your chances were of winning going in to that Tribal, and how did you feel after leaving the jury questioning? Did you feel confident?
Mike White: I kind of had a sense Nick was going to win. I felt like he had played a great game and had a lot of things he could point out. For me, I felt like the way I could win it was by doing a really great job at Final Tribal and giving a compelling argument and an original argument for my game.
But I was conflicted and trying too hard to make that argument, like, you're there to play a game and you want to win, but there was a part of me that felt it would be easier to fight for it as if it was just for the title and not for the money.
At the end, it feels like the money really lives large, and really, that would be a lot of money to me. It's not like I'm that rich, but it's not really going to change my life, to be honest.
And so, you don't want to be the guy who doesn't fight for it, but there's something about it. And knowing Nick, I was a little conflicted.
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I wanted the votes. I wanted the votes to affirm my game because I felt like I played a good game, but at the same time, for some of those votes, I would've had to dismantle Nick's game or really go for it in a way that I wasn't completely comfortable doing.
I think I actually had more votes coming into the Final Tribal than I did going out of it.
I think I lost votes there, which is funny, because in my head, I felt like my strength was going to be the argument at the Final Tribal. That played to my strengths, you know? But I don't know.
I had, like, an existential crisis out there a little bit. (Laughs) I was like, "I'm not really sure what I'm doing..." And honestly, last night, when it was all said and done, I was like, "This is the right ending -- not only for the season, but for me."
Nick won it fair and square and played a great game, and I was like, "If I won last night, (laughs) people would probably come to my house and torture me." (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Did any votes either for or against you shock you in particular? Maybe Christian's vote for you did, or the fact several Goliaths voted for Nick to win?
Mike White: Yeah, I wasn't really shocked by the votes I did get. I thought [Alec Merlino] might have voted for me, and there was a moment when Gabby was so tortured she was crying. And then since Christian was voting for me, I thought Gabby might be voting for me.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised Angelina received zero votes?
Mike White: I thought maybe she would have gotten one or two votes. I mean, and I think she would have gotten more votes had she owned up to some [more things].
I think people were waiting for a little more candidness from her about some of the crazy crap she did, and she didn't really do that. But I think she played a really original, dynamic game. So I don't think it's that she didn't deserve it; it was just the competition, I think.
Reality TV World: Do you think Nick's Immunity Challenge run at the end of the game was a factor in the jury voting? Or what about the fact he was the last David standing? I recall some castaways saying if a David made it to the end, he or she would win automatically.
Mike White: Well, I definitely felt that way while I was on the island. I was like, "We've got to get rid of the Davids because if there's one in the end, they're going to win."
And the one David I worked with the most was Nick, and I was like, "Well, if one of them is going to win, I'd rather it be Nick," because we had this bond. And then he did go on that [Immunity Challenge] run.
I don't know, I was really tight with him and I really liked him. I don't know though. If there were five people left and he hadn't of won that [immunity], I'm not sure what I would have done. Because I was really close to Alison too.
By the end, the last five people left were my closest friends in the game, and it would have been a hard call. But I definitely think the Goliaths had the best shot at winning if it was just Goliaths at the end.
Reality TV World: Did you see it coming when Nick decided to take Angelina to the Final 3 and force Kara and yourself to do the fire challenge? And do you think Angelina deserves credit for convincing Nick to do that or do you think his mind was already made up she was the weakest player left?
Mike White: In the end, I was happy I was able to do the fire challenge because I felt like, in a way, I earned my way into the end, but I really didn't think I was going to be able to win that challenge -- at all, ever, not one day.
And just the fact it was a huge part of my overall strategy, like, I was thinking, "I don't want to do the fire challenge." I was constantly making Final 2 deals with different people, and if they gave me a Final 2 deal, then I wouldn't try to target them.
But if they didn't, I was like, "Okay, okay [you're gone]." Davie would never do that, so I was like, "I've got to get Davie out." So it really factored into my whole approach, and so I really actually politicked Nick for him to take me.
I was like, "Oh, they'll never give [the money] to me! Nobody will vote for me." But yeah, he took Angelina and I was really annoyed for like 10 minutes.