Just two weeks after learning on national television that she had lost in a stunning upset to Michele Fitzgerald in the finale of Survivor: Kaoh Rong, Aubry Bracco was back on the island for Survivor: Game Changers (which will premiere March 8 on CBS). At least, she was there physically. But where was Aubry mentally after being so close — yet not close enough — to a million dollars her first time out?
We asked Aubry about dealing with Survivor disappointment, as well as handling a still sore Debbie, forming new alliances, and changing up a key element of her game. Read the Q&A below to see what she had to say about all that, and watch the video above to witness Aubry’s first big dance moves of the season! (Also make sure to follow @thedaltonross on Instagram to see exclusive on-location photos, including one of Aubry casting her pre-game vote for whom she’d like to vote off first.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So it’s been only about two weeks since Jeff Probst handed the check to Michele as the winner of Survivor: Kaoh Rong. How much does that still sting?
AUBRY BRACCO: It stings to lose. It’s always going to sting to lose but I really have been focusing on [season] 34 and having my game face on. I was over that game a few months ago. And does it suck? Yes. I wouldn’t say it stings. I would say it’s giving me fire and more of a drive than I already had.
You made it all the way to the end but just couldn’t seal the deal. So do you do anything different this time?
I want to have more fun. A lot of the feedback was that I was neurotic, hyper-paranoid, and that I make people nervous, and I played a fear-based game according to Scott, Jason, and Julia’s videos before final Tribal Council. And I realized in [season] 32 just how important it is to make people feel comfortable around you.
Whom do you want to work with out there?
I really want to work with Malcolm. He’s a physical threat. He’s also one of those people who has a similar intellect, I think, as me, and socially he knows how to get along with people. So I would see him as my Cydney in the game. But who knows? I haven’t met him and might want to throw him out the window.
How do you plan to deal with the two new players — Zeke and Michaela — you know nothing about?
How do I deal with the unknowns? Well, an unknown can be a good thing for them. They can duck under the bullets, or it could be something where you could instill some paranoia in other people by telling them things you saw the person do or say.
How sore is Debbie still at you?
Debbie is sore at me, I believe, because I feel like I am over what happened. But I think when we watched back that final Tribal Council and she probably saw that she spoke glowingly of me and then didn’t vote for me — which I knew in my gut that she hadn’t — I think Debbie is probably of the mentality of Aubry’s going to gun for me so I’m going to gun for her. But I truly don’t hold a grudge. I like Debbie as a person. I think she’s a cool person. I believe she’s done everything that she’s done. We’re both Scorpios. We understand each other. But it’s almost like we’re so close that it makes it difficult, but I’m really hoping that we can bury the hatchet. But I’m not so sure. I know when she’s lying, her eyes change color. They do! They turn green.
How do you think other people view you?
I think other people definitely see me as a threat now. I perceive myself as an underdog. I think there is a little bit of mystery around me. Even though I am a threat, people might not understand how she can be this physical threat and then be crying because she lost the ice cream challenge? How do those two things work together?
For more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.