The most famous self-proclaimed Resting Bitch Face of Survivor: Ghost Island had to face the music this week when she was voted out after a new twist did her in. Jenna Bowman was eliminated after the remaining players were separated into two temporary tribes. Once again, she was down in the numbers in her new group of five, and this time there were no bigger targets to protect her.
Adding insult to injury, not only was Jenna voted out, but Donathan never gave her the immunity idol he promised (playing it on himself instead) and then she was not even able to have time to herself to collect her thoughts after being voted out by her peers — instead having to walk immediately over to the jury to preside over the next Tribal Council (in which Michael was eliminated).
How shocked was Jenna to not get the idol and then be voted out? What was it like going straight to the jury? And how frustrating was it to constantly be on the wrong side of the numbers. We asked her all that and more when she called into EW Morning Live (Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM, channel 105). Here are some highlights from that chat, including intel on a fake idol we never saw. (Also make sure to check out our exit interview with Michael Yerger.)
EW RADIO: By the time you got to Tribal Council, did you still think Donathan was going to give you his idol?
JENNA BOWMAN: Definitely not. They didn’t show the conflict we had leading up to that Tribal, so I felt like it was a trap when he said, “I’m wiling to play my idol for you” when we weren’t that close. But I was trying to go with it. What they didn’t show was that I was definitely aiming for Donathan with the Naviits. I trusted Sebastian over Donathan even though Donathan was in my alliance, but I also felt like I had a security blanket with Donathan telling me he would play his idol on me. So I felt like going into Tribal I wanted to keep it short and sweet, and make everybody know that I thought I was going home so Donathan would play his idol on me and wouldn’t play it on himself and felt safe so we could vote him out. Neither of my plans worked and I sadly went home.
The plan was I would act up in Tribal and make it seem like I for sure am the one going, so he either feels super secure and keeps his idol and we vote for him, or he plays it on me an we still get him out. But again, that plan obviously changed without me knowing. And then Donathan was still willing to play it on me, but with Tribal being so short I feel like that tipped him off in the opposite direction where he ended up playing it on himself.
So what was your reaction when he first offered you the idol?
What you didn’t see is that Donathan at Tribals before would be calling me and Michael out. He would be like “You guys are the cool kids and you don’t even talk to me ever.” So basically in my mind, our alliance was just gone, so the fact that somebody was willing to play their idol on somebody they were not super-close with, I was just shocked and I felt like it wasn’t legit.
And also what they didn’t show was our conversation after. I didn’t agree with the strategy of writing down Sebastian. Obviously I was close with him, but my biggest thing was, out of those three people, Sebastian was the least of a threat. If anything, I wanted to get rid of Chelsea, who was winning individual immunities, and I tried taking to Donathan to see if he was willing to do somebody else, because it didn’t make sense to get rid of somebody that you would want to take to the end. And he said no and was locked on Sebastian.
How hard was it to not get the idol, get blindsided on the vote, and then not even have any tine to collect yourself because you had to go straight to the jury?
Literally no time to shed a tear! I literally had to turn around and look at everyone in the face that had just betrayed me and then sit on the bench and have them walk out. And then to have the new tribe walk in was humiliating because you don’t have that time to process or cry for a second or be like, what just happened? It was weird. I think it honestly made the transition a little easier though because it shortened that. I quickly had to become juror mode and I didn’t have time to wallow. So honestly, I think it was better because it made that transition a lot faster for me.
How frustrating was it when you ended up on the wrong side of the numbers every time there was any sort of tribe swap or tribe division, even again here with the latest one?
I can’t tell you how frustrating it was. Being down time after time after time again, you learn to fight. Naviti strong was all I ever heard and it was just the worst thing ever. I was cast as more of a likable villain but I never once got to play the game like I wanted to play. I never got to take control, I constantly had to just suck up to people, which honestly is the thing I hate doing the most, and just had to try to stay in the game day after day. So it wasn’t how I expected it to go. I feel like I had to fight every night but I learned a lot about myself in that and I was really proud of myself with how far I made it, especially with how much luck was against us.
How did you feel about your story not making it to air as much as some of the others, like Wendell and Domenick?
I don’t want to say I regret it or are upset with how much air time I got because I did my best, and this experience has been amazing and it was still really fun seeing myself on the screen. Obviously, I would have liked to have been a bigger part of the storyline. But I wasn’t on Naviti and Naviti was the main part of this season. So from the beginning I wish I had been on Naviti.
What’s something about your game that we didn’t get to see that you wish had been shown?
Probably my alliances. They didn’t show any type of strategy on our end. Like, Michael and Stephanie Johnson and I were running things early over on Malolo. Michael and I were very, very close. I also looked for idols a lot. You don’t see that. I actually ended up finding a fake idol. I thought it was real, but it ended up being a fake idol that somebody had planted, but they didn’t show any of that.
Who planted that fake idol?
It was Wendell. I kid you not, it was immaculate. This kid is a furniture builder and it was unbelievable. I don’t even know how he made it. He carved a skull and it was a complete leather necklace. It was crazy.
How did you find out it was not real?
Michael had obviously seen a real idol and it came with the idol paper, and Wendell’s also had that [from a real idol]. But Michael put the two and two together and was like “Jenna, everything is from previous seasons.” And obviously him being a huge fan did not recognize it and it didn’t make sense to him. He was like “Jenna, this is not an old relic.” And so him figuring that out saved me thankfully.