Michelle Shubert had some game when it came to strategy on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. But then her game slipped away when she pulled back a bit due to worries she was playing too hard. She paid the price for that mistake when a joint coalition of Millennials and Gen Xers took her out. How does she feel about her ouster? Let’s find out!
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So what happened? Did you get too comfortable?
MICHELLE SHUBERT: No, not exactly. I was not comfortable at all during that vote. That was the one vote the entire game that I did not take care of the relational aspect of the strategy. That was the one vote that I sat back and just listened to my alliance and said, “You guys take care of it. Tell me who to vote. I’m sitting back for a vote or two because I heard people were thinking I was strategizing too hard.” So I sat back, I let them do all the strategizing, they came to me and said, “It’s all worked out, just vote Adam.”
And I felt uncomfortable the whole time about it. I don’t like trusting other people’s intuitions rather than my own. So it wasn’t necessarily that I was comfortable with it, it was just a stupid decision — especially coming post-merge when reconnecting with everybody we had been strategizing with is so important.
We saw you say getting rid of Adam was a personal move as opposed to a strategic one. Who did you want to target?
This is what’s killing me is because I had already started to rally the troops and everybody was on board against Chris. It was going to be a man, because not enough men had left yet. It was going to be a Gen Xer, because we needed to keep numbers. And there were already Gen Xers on board with me. So it seemed like I could have kept pressing that, but then that’s when I started hearing from my own alliance that “Hey, people think you’re strategizing a little too much. Don’t prove ‘em right.” So I was like “Okay, I’ll sit back for a couple of votes.” And then I went dark with 90 percent of the people. So 90 percent of the people thought, wait a second — she was strategizing with me and now she’s not. She must have changed their mind.
You mentioned you had Gen Xers on board. Which Gen Xers did you think you had on board to get rid of Chris?
At that point, both Jessica and Ken were up for a Chris vote.
And you believed them.
Did Jay tell you he had a hidden immunity idol?
I honestly cannot remember. Part of me says yes, and part of me says no. To be honest, my brain was so sleep-deprived at that point, I was not thinking clearly. So I’m not sure. But there was a time at Tribal Council that I felt it was me that was the target. It was by something Chris said, actually.
What did he say?
He interrupted me and disagreed with whatever I was in the middle of saying. And it was that moment where I was like, wait, you and me are supposed to be voting together tonight. If we were voting together and everything was peachy, why are you interrupting me? Essentially, he was calling me a liar. So I was like, uh-oh, this isn’t good. So I’m trying to remember if I knew [about Jay’s idol], and part of me feels like I knew because I almost kind of reached over and told Jay, “Hey, play your idol for me.” But I also don’t exactly remember. I feel like he did.
You seemed to be closest to Jay and Taylor? Were they in your final three had you made it to the end?
I honestly wasn’t too worried about who I would go to the final three with. I felt like at least until final four, Jay wouldn’t vote against me. And at that point I was going to have to decide whether or not to get rid of Jay. I wasn’t too worried about who I would go to the end with, but I might have been overconfident. I was confident in the moves I had done so far so I felt like I had a cushion and just had to keep the people close to me until later.
What was your sense of what would have happened had Vanua lost another challenge before the merge? It sounds like Zeke was pretty close with both David and Chris, so do you think you would have gone?
I knew I would be gone. It was ridiculous. Chris wouldn’t look at me when he would talk. He couldn’t make eye contact. David wouldn’t touch me — me and him were freezing at night and trying to cuddle and it there was an awkward time where he wouldn’t touch me or get near. Zeke, of course, didn’t like me. And Chris wouldn’t look at me. So I felt like this leper, this unclean citizen outside the gates. And my strategy talk would not go anywhere with any of them. Zeke would entertain it and give it hope, but Chris and David were closed off, and I knew at the end of the day Chris and Zeke were much closer than he and I.
One thing about the merge is that we really didn’t get to see anyone’s reaction about Michaela being voted out. So what did you make of that?
At first, I was a bit downcast. I wasn’t extremely downcast because I knew she was a pretty volatile player. So I was like, “There has to be a reason. Let’s see what it was.” And when I talked to Jay, I found out that when she was doing her little shells and rocks on the beach, and she was telling them they were the final four, I was one of the first ones to go on her list. And so I was like, “Alright, I’m glad you guys did that.”
Was there any comfort in at least making the jury?
Yeah, there was. There are certain landmarks you’re thinking about during the game. The first one isn’t a big one, that’s making it to the tribe swap. That wasn’t too much of a relief. In fact, that was the worst day of my game, maybe. So making it to the jury was one of the marks along the way.
If you could change one thing about your game, what would it be?
I would not have gone silent at the merge. I would have kept talking. I would have kept strategizing, and when I threw that little fit when they came and told me, “Hey, we’re going to vote out Adam,” I wish I would have kicked into gear and said, “No, you know what? I’m going to find out what’s going on.”
Watch an exclusive deleted scene from the episode below. Also make sure to check out Dalton’s full recap, as well as our Q&A with Jeff Probst and exclusive mid-game interview with Zeke. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.