Survivor: Hannah on the 'huge mistake' she made (Hint: It's not what you think)
Hannah Shapiro lasted all 39 days and then argued that she put everyone on the jury in the order they went there. She hoped it would be enough, but the Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X jury saw it differently, awarding the million dollars to Adam instead. Does Hannah feel like she got a fair shake from the jury? We asked her that and more when she called into EW Morning Live (Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM, channel 105), and here are the highlights from our chat.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You obviously didn’t get the result you wanted at the final Tribal, but how were you feeling about your chances when you showed up for it?
HANNAH SHAPIRO: I think all you can do is think about the game you’ve played and I felt like if I was going to get to the end, I wanted to get to the end and have a strong case and an argument that I believed in. And so I went in there believing that I had an argument that I felt I did play the best game. So I went in there thinking that I had the best case for the money, and that’s sort of what you have to do going into the final Tribal. There was a point in the season where I realized that there were maybe a few ways I could get to the end but then I really wanted to play a game that I was proud of and that I’d have an argument for. And I think I went in there believing I did.
Were you surprised that you didn’t even get a vote, especially since you appeared to have a strong performance at the final Tribal?
Yeah, the thing I struggled with the most out there was perception vs. reality of what was going on. I often lied with being goofy and quirky, which is definitely a part of my personality, but I did that so I could hide my cards better. The problem was, Survivor is a game of balance between showing your cards and hiding your cards. I think that a lot of the juries didn’t understand how much I had been thinking strategically and what sort of influence I had had on the game. And by the time I left the final Tribal, I could feel it was an uphill battle in a lot of ways. And I also think that the second thing is, our cast is incredibly close. I think you could tell at the reunion. There was a lot of love there, which is beautiful. But it also means there’s this one-mind mentality of the jury, so I think if any season was going to be unanimous, this was probably going to be that season.
That brings us back the long-debated question as to whether the jurors should be sequestered from each other, because there often is a lot of groupthink that goes on there.
My mom is a real lawyer and the first thing she said was, “That’s not how real juries work.” But it’s the way Survivor works and I respect the game. That’s a part of it. You’ve got to send people to the jury that’ll be your advocates, and I think that’s a huge mistake I made. I think that the people that I was sending to the jury — I wasn’t communicating what I was doing. One of my closest allies, Adam, was the one who understood my game the best and the one that I probably should’ve sent over there to explain it a little.
We saw, during the final tribal, Chris giving Adam the credit for convincing Ken to flip on David. He called it the move of the game, actually. And, on the show, it looked like you were given that task of getting him to flip, so what was your reaction when Chris praised Adam for that?
I’m not shocked that Adam was getting a bit of credit for, not just that move, but for a few of my moves. Adam was much better at showing his cards a bit more at previous Tribals. I know, with Chris specifically, in some of his exit press he was like, “Hannah’s just goofy and silly,” and that’s what I was leading with and I think, again, it’s a perception thing. I think that Chris was going to have a hard time believing what I was doing if his perception of me wasn’t as a smart, strategic player.
And I also think other things come into play: how you’ve articulated your case in the past, gender, a bunch of different variables. But, yeah, people were like, “Well why didn’t you fight Chris?” I fought as hard as I possibly could at that final Tribal, but there was just not going to be convincing for so many people. Ken was key to my game and keeping Ken’s loyalty. Ken was someone who would go on and on about loyalty and how important that was to him. So keeping his loyalty influenced a few of my moves that seemed more sporadic, but there’s a difference between who’s seeming sporadic and actually being sporadic. And, again, I think that came back to perception and how I was articulating what I was doing.
The big controversial thing was getting rid of Bret over David. My take on it — and obviously feel free to disagree — was that your best bet was to go to the final three with Bret and Ken. So, to do that, the next two votes out had to be in whatever order — David and Adam. You had to get those to out to go with Bret and Ken, yet you got rid of Bret instead.
I would disagree with you, actually. I think that my best move was not to go to the end with Bret. I think the thing you’re not seeing by watching the show is that Bret had a chance against Adam at the end. Bret was playing a very strong social game and there were a lot of people that were willing and wanting to go to the end with Adam. Not many people wanted to go to the end with Bret.
I think that, for me, I misinterpreted that because my experience with Bret on the island was very different than most people’s experience. But Bret had a lot of friends on the jury and I think that, while watching the show back, it may seem like Adam was this obvious person to get out across from Bret. That just wasn’t the case on my reality of the island. And I think that’s something I think about a lot. It’s so easy to watch it back from home and to sort of read everyone’s diaries and be like, “That’s what you should’ve done,” but when you’re out there and you’re hungry and you’re sleep deprived and you’re trying to gauge public opinion and what’s going on, you have a very different perspective of the game.
It’s funny because you’re right — as viewers, we have both an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage is we see things you, as players, don’t see. The disadvantage is we only see what the editors choose to show us. So our perception is always different.
It’s fascinating sort of becoming this two-dimensional character and watching it all back. I mean, I still think that the places that I went wrong in the game, both in maybe how I was articulating my case and also, sort of, certain moves — I agree with the audience in a lot of ways. I had certain moves that I regretted coming out of the game but, again, when you’re on that island, your perception and your perspective of everything is so limited. I always had reasoning for why I was doing the moves I was doing.
Jeff Probst said that he would have this entire cast back and put you back on the island — that’s how much he loved you all. So, if you get that call to come play Survivor again, what do you say?
Oh man, I’m such a big fan. I’m always open to it. I feel like there’s so much growing up I want to do and so many things I want to pursue in the meantime, but I’m not surprised that Jeff wants the whole cast back. It’s a wonderful group of people. So I’m very open to anything. It’s crazy — I wrote my college common app essay about wanting to play Survivor. So, to actually get to play and to be out there with Jeff Probst and to be in a position to be making decisions and trying my hand at the game was incredible.
You can listen to audio of all the Survivor finale interviews below! Also make sure to also read Dalton’s full Survivor finale recap as well as Jeff Probst sharing intel on the next season of Survivor: Game Changers. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
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