Exclusive: 'Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X' castaway Rachel Ako talks (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/23/2016
Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X castaway Rachel Ako was voted off her Takali (Gen-X) Tribe during Wednesday night's premiere broadcast on CBS.
Rachel, a 37-year-old recruiting director from Los Angeles, CA, became the first castaway voted out of Season 33 on Night 4 at the game's first Tribal Council session.
Rachel seemed to know she was on the chopping block because her personality clashed with her tribemates and she was accused of letting her tribe down by failing to complete the Immunity Challenge's puzzle, which resulted in a loss.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Rachel talked about her Survivor experience. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for more.
Reality TV World: You knew you were in trouble, but were you blindsided by your elimination? Whom did you think was being voted out?
Rachel Ako: No, they were trying to blindside me, but I knew it was me. I didn't think it was going to be [David Wright] at all. And David wound up getting only one vote anyway. I was only surprised about the [Ciandre "CeCe" Taylor] votes, actually. I didn't know that CeCe would get any votes.
Reality TV World: You at least seemed to figure out CeCe was on the outs of the tribe with you, but we didn't see any explanation as to why CeCe ended up in that position. Could you talk about that? Did CeCe do something wrong that viewers didn't see?
Rachel Ako: No, you know, CeCe and I were just pretty close, and having that close of a friendship is probably not the smartest. Same with [Ken McNickle]. We were hanging out a lot, so that didn't make the other guys too happy either. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Your vote for [Sunday Burquest] seemed to come out of left field. How did you arrive at that decision and which castaways did you think were working with you and therefore going to vote with you?
Rachel Ako: Good question! Yeah, they edited it out. Ken had said, "We really need to tighten up and get the millennials because they're really strong and really fit. And we need to win these challenges." So we said, "To do so, we need to vote Sunday out," because, you know, we just felt she was the weakest link and that was the best way for Gen X to tighten up. But he wound up switching his vote.
Reality TV World: Going into Tribal, you had two strikes against you due to your puzzle performance in the Immunity Challenge and then rubbing your tribemates the wrong way. But David had three strikes -- HIS puzzle performance, constant paranoia and the fact he got caught searching for a hidden Immunity Idol. So were you surprised you were the target instead of him?
Rachel Ako: You're really good. You know you're stuff, I just want to say that. But I thought I was being targeted from the beginning, to be quite honest. So, no, I didn't ever think David was the real target.
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At the beginning of the game when [Jeff Probst] announced the tribes, Gen X had a lot of hard feelings toward millennials. And one of the things I said in the very beginning to Jeff was, "I feel like I'm going through an identity crisis."
Because they were just going at each other, and I said, "I appreciate what both generations bring to the table," and that probably put a target [on me] and wasn't too good.
They probably thought, "Don't let Rachel get around the millennials." However, there were also a lot of people in my tribe who have families and kids, and I think they naturally kind of paired up together, which I can see why.
Reality TV World: You apologized at Tribal Council to anyone you might have offended, saying you didn't intend to be mean. But viewers only saw you make one comment while building the shelter. Could you elaborate on how you acted out there? Do any examples stand out in your mind that left people wanting to vote you out?
Rachel Ako: You know, I am a communicator and I should've just not said anything. I think it would've been best to just fly under the radar and not communicate and be a goat, in a sense.
Because that was a lot of what was going on. People didn't want to step up or really say anything. And that was just as far as our tribe, probably the best way to go, because I really got reamed for any communication, and really, I felt like I couldn't win.
Reality TV World: Tell me a little bit about the alliances that were forming on your tribe because from a viewer's perspective, we saw much more footage of bonds developing on the millennials' tribe.