Nick, a 27-year-old public defender from Williamsburg, KY, who currently resides in London, KY, walked away with the million-dollar grand prize after he won a 7-3 jury vote over Mike, a 47-year-old filmmaker from San Diego, CA, who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA and previously competed on The Amazing Race.
Reality TV World: You obviously won the game, so looking back, it's hard to say you did anything wrong. But some of the castaways accused you of playing a very emotional game, and they viewed that in a negative light. Looking back, do you think wearing your heart on your sleeve helped or hurt you in the game?
Nick Wilson: I actually think it helped me! Because people look at Survivor and call Survivor a strategy game, but in my mind, it's really a social-strategy game. It's played with humans; it's not chess. I'm not a block of wood. I am a person.
So, I think having emotions involved is not a bad thing, and I think it did hurt me as far as, like, Kara and Alison, who didn't appreciate it. They didn't vote for me, but they probably weren't going to vote for me anyways.
But when Davie, my best friend, hears about how mad I was that he went home, that made him feel great and that made him want to advocate for me. And I think it actually helped in the long run.
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And it was natural! I was just being a person instead of trying to be some super robot playing chess. Survivor is not chess.
Reality TV World: After Angelina and Mike betrayed you with the Davie vote, you seemed really mad. So why stick with them moving forward? Did you feel like you didn't have another choice? Because I know you wanted Alison gone for a while leading up that point.
Nick Wilson: Yeah, (laughs) I did! Maybe I didn't have many other choices, but I understood where they were coming from. On a game level, I understood why they wanted Davie to go home.
So it wasn't hard for me to work with them moving forward, because I think they made a rational decision based on what was good for their game.
Where it wasn't so easy for me was when Gabby and Christian blindsided Carl, I could not and still do not understand why Christian would do that and how it was a good move for his game. It just wasn't. It was a terrible move!
So when somebody makes a move like that, that makes it harder to work with them going forward, because they're unpredictable and unpredictability makes it hard.
But Mike and Angelina voting out Davie, I understood Angelina didn't really have a choice, and I understood that Mike felt if he went to the end with Davie, he would lose.
Reality TV World: Why were you gunning for Alison for so long? Did you really consider her a huge threat or when it became time to choose between Alison and Davie, were you just trying to prevent Davie from going home because he was your other David ally?
Nick Wilson: I think that was one of the mistakes I made. I think I didn't give enough credit to Kara and Alison in the game and I didn't work hard enough to build a relationship with them.
I think it just happened that way because when the Davids took over the game, I just kind of took them for granted and viewed them as people I just had to get out to continue my game.
And so, when I thought Alison was going home and it was Carl instead, I think it kind of put blinders on me that I had to get Alison out and I had to make that move happen and that she didn't have that long to go.
I do think it was a mistake I made, but I don't know how to explain it other than to say I just think I had blinders on. I was blinded by my urge to get her out. I should have been more proactive in reassessing the game and what I should do and who I should work with.
I should have given her more of a chance than I did, but it was just like, (laughs) I thought she was going to go home such a long time ago and she was the person I just couldn't get rid of!
I was trying and trying and trying! I just became obsessed with it, and I think I give credit to starvation and the mental toughness of the game to be feeling that way. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: When you were trying to save Davie, you told Mike that you didn't think Davie was a threat and he wouldn't receive many votes in the end and win. Did you really believe that or were you just trying to keep him in the game?
Nick Wilson: Well, I honesty felt like I should win, that I could beat anybody. So, I did feel like I could beat Davie, but that could have been a miscalculation on my part because Davie played a great game.
And so, I think maybe Mike was more correct than I was at the time by saying Davie was a threat, because if it was me, Mike and Davie sitting at the end, I could certainly see Davie getting the votes.
So, I think I kind of did believe that at the time, but it was more of me just being too confident in my own game and not being as cautious as Mike was about Davie, because Davie definitely could have won.
Reality TV World: Assuming if Alison went home at Final 6 because that's what you wanted, if you were in complete control over the game, how would it have played out? Who would've gone out at 5 and then 4? And who would have been your ideal Final 3 opponents?
Nick Wilson: So, I think my ideal Final 3 for a while was Mike and Angelina. I had been saying that since Carl went home. So, I mean, I guess if I planned it out, I would've gotten rid of Alison and then Kara and then Davie and Mike would make fire.
I wouldn't take that opportunity away from Davie; I would let him make fire. That could've been a huge mistake on my part, (laughs) Because if Davie makes fire and beat Mike, then maybe he's sitting at the end and wins.
So if I had it mapped out, I would have stayed true to that Final 4 that I made on the family visit Reward. And if Davie wins fire and sits next to me in the end, then may the best man win. If he beats me then he beats me, but I really feel I played the best game.
Reality TV World: Do you have any big plans for your prize money? I know you talked about pursuing your calling in life rather than just working to make money, but do you have any specific plans for it?
Nick Wilson: That's the huge thing, is just relaxing and being able to chill and be comfortable. I'll pay off my truck and I have student loans like everyone else in America, so maybe I'll get rid of that. But no big ideas, at least not right now.
Reality TV World: I believe you were the very first target of the game. From a viewer's perspective, if Pat Cusack never got medically evacuated, you would have been the first castaway to get voted out. And then you ended up winning! What are your thoughts on that?
Nick Wilson: I mean, that's a very likely possibility! My thoughts on that are I think it was a blessing that I had a close call early on, because it woke me up and it showed me that every second I'm out here, I need to play as hard as possible to have as much fun as I can, to build as many relationships as possible, and know that if I go home, it's not because I didn't help build the shelter or for some stupid reason, you know?
So it was a wake-up call, and I think after that, I really brought it home. That was Day 1, I think, and it didn't come up until Davie and Christian thought I had two idols.
So it was probably, like, 35 days without my name coming up. Yeah, it was huge. It was a huge break. I definitely turned my game around and turned it on.