Angelina from Survivor defends her fake idol trick on Alison
She didn’t win. But in terms of screen time on Survivor: David vs Goliath, nobody else could even come close to Angelina Keeley. Whether it was angling for a jacket, angling for more rice, or just angling in general, Angelina was all over this season, and she saved perhaps her most controversial move for last.
After finding a hidden immunity idol on Wednesday’s finale, Angelina wanted to win over the jury with a big move, so she concocted a scheme to get Kara and Alison to vote for her so her otherwise useless idol would make more of an impact. But then she went one step further: She concocted a fake idol she wanted Alison to find, which others in the game saw as an unnecessary step meant to embarrass a fellow player.
We spoke to Angelina to get her side of the story on Fake Idolgate. We also asked the third place finisher how she thought she would do in the final three against Nick and Mike, if she was disappointed to get no votes in the end, whether she would want to play again, and more. She even revealed to us how she almost refused to be taken to the end by Nick! Read on to see what Angelina has to say… as long as you promise to give her more rice. (Also make sure to read our interviews with Survivor champ Nick Wilson, Mike White, Kara, Alison, and Davie.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So I went to the supermarket the other day and they were out of rice. Think you can you help me with that?
ANGELINA KEELEY: Oh, no. I can get you a hookup. I know someone, I know a guy.
So, no votes at the end from the jury. Was that disappointing?
You know what? It wasn’t unexpected. I was reading the room quite a bit night after night, and knew it would be an upward battle to sway them my way. But I gave it my best shot, gave it my best argument, let them know that from my perspective, I was the most battle tested person out there. I felt that the three of us had played different games. I wanted to differentiate myself in whatever way I could. But no, it was not a surprise, and I’m so happy for Nick. So it was a good outcome in that regard.
Before you got to final Tribal, were you thinking like, “Hey, maybe I got a shot at this?” And then as it was going on you could sense it was heading more Nick’s way?
I knew after the Elizabeth that if I made it to the end, it was gonna be dicey. And so, my mindset was like, never lose hope, or faith, to keep trying my hardest to be creative, to make moves, to create moves [Laughs], and that’s what I did, because my mindset was just, I’m never gonna give up. I’m gonna give it my all. I’m gonna have fun, I’m gonna see what happens.
And so, even though I was very aware that after Elizabeth outed me, that people were pretty sour on me, I was hoping that I could create new relationships, get back in good graces, make some moves to get me to the end, and have a story to tell. But yeah, I mean, you try your best and that’s all you can do. And I fell short this time, but I learned a lot from it, so I’m so happy I did it.
Who was in your ideal final three? Whom did you want to go to the end with?
So, by the time we were at the Loved Ones visit, I was locked into Mike and Nick. I was very open to Davie at that point. But when Davie chose Kara, and when I made my revenge rice, I was definitely tipped off to the fact that he was really trying to take Kara over me. And so, at that point, I knew that it was just lip service from Davie. As much as I loved him, I knew that, that wasn’t a real bond there. Not bond, but promise.
And so, yeah, pretty much from there, if not a little bit sooner, I felt really good about going with Mike and Nick. And again, that wasn’t because I thought I could beat them. That’s because I felt I was playing a very different game from them. And I just hoped that I could make an argument for the things I was doing and the experience that I had over them. But obviously, that didn’t work. That was my game plan.
So you were rooting for Mike to beat Kara at the fire making then?
I helped Mike practice his fire that day! So, first of all, on Jabeni, I was the primary fire-maker. And then on the merge tribe after Carl left, I was the primary fire-maker. And I actually was extremely close to declining Nick’s offer to take me to the final three and putting myself to fire. And let me explain why.
To get the hero moment?
Not just that. I think that with the new fire twist, whoever’s taken to the final, you are automatically put into a weak position, where you’re viewed differently. And that’s not what you want your perception to be when you’re going to the end, because regardless of what you’ve done before, it just puts a cloud over you. And Dalton, I was literally so close to just being like, “Thank you, Nick. I appreciate that so much. But, Jeff, I haven’t won an immunity yet. I really want to spend my time in the fire and I want to earn way to the end.”
And so, that was one of the things at the end that I almost regret not doing it, because then I obviously was willing to throw my hat in the ring with other moves. And so, if I were to do it again, I would’ve done that. And it may not have swayed the votes for the million, but I just would’ve felt more satisfied, I think, in getting to the end on my own.
You keep talking about these other moves. Let’s talk about it. We know the one we’re dancing around, the whole fake idol shenanigans. You watched the episode backstage. I don’t know if you could hear it, but Mike is calling you a psychopath, and evil, and Nick’s saying that you did do it to embarrass Alison. What do you have to say about that move?
So, here’s the truth about the move, and now I’ll just lay it all out there. The move was both strategic and emotional, as many of my moves were. So, I’ll tell you first about the strategic part, and I meant this wholeheartedly. I knew that Nick had the immunity necklace. I obviously had the immunity idol in my pocket. There were three other people left: Alison, Kara, and Mike. I knew that Alison wanted to take Kara to the end, because she thought she could beat her. And so, I knew that her next best option was Mike.
Obviously, as I told you, my final three was Mike and Nick. So I really did want to protect Mike. The reason I wanted Alison to think she’d have a real idol was because I knew I was her public enemy number one. So I thought if she thinks she has a real idol, she will vote for me, Mike is safe, and I play my idol correctly. So that would’ve been the best-case scenario. I explained this to Mike. It did not make the edit unfortunately.
So, of course, they want to maximize my polarization and my controversial plays. That being said, that’s the strategic part. The emotional part was Alison had been coming at me incessantly from the beginning of the merge, and she threw the first four or five punches with different comments and things that she would do to try to undermine my game. And I really did have chances to take her out and I didn’t. And regardless of that, she just never wanted to repair the relationship. And so, basically to me, it’s like, yeah, there was a little bit of vengeance in it. And you do get emotional. You tell yourself you’re not going to. You tell yourself you’re gonna have control and separate it.
But, at the end of the day, I felt like she threw the first four punches, and I threw the last. And it is a game, and to me, it’s like, you hope that you can be close and work it all out after. We’ve talked about it several times. I’m hoping that we can move forward. We have so much in common. We were born six days apart. I love the girl, and again, I never meant to hurt her, but there was a little bit of revenge in the air with it. So again, looking back at it, it’s hard. It’s hard to watch.
Last note about that idol that you found. I can’t tell you how much I wanted Nick to not come down that ladder and just go get it, because I wanted to see what you would’ve done had that happened. I’m sure you were a little worried about when Nick was on that ladder.
I was! I was like, “Hey, what are you doing?” You know? Because the rule in that rulebook is then it’s theirs. And so, I was glad that he did the gentlemanly thing there and let me get it. And the truth really about that idol is that had the clue been written correctly, I would’ve been able to find it on my own. It said, and I still have it, “The protection you want to find is atop the rock behind the well.” And even though I lost it temporarily, I remembered, “atop the rock behind the well.”
And that is why I climbed to the top of the waterfall. Okay, it wasn’t 100 feet, but it was probably, like I said, probably 50 and very, very dangerous, very steep, and slippery. And had the clue said, “in the rock wall” or “along the rock wall.” I would’ve been able to find it on my own. And so, that was actually a big disappointment. I think words matter. Of course, they want to leave it ambiguous in some ways, but to me, it was a really big thing that production overlooked, and it really, really impacted my game, because I could’ve found that alone had it been written a little bit more precisely.
Alright, let’s say the votes are a little different, Angelina. Let’s put you in the position of Laurel last season. Let’s say Mike and Nick are tied and you have to go cast the deciding vote for the winner of Survivor: David vs. Goliath, who do you vote for?
Oh, my gosh, I thought about this a lot actually. Honestly, I don’t know.
You have to.
There were so many reasons for both!
Not gonna accept that.
Okay, let me tell you this. Having left the island and not watching it all back and seeing the details that we’ve seen, I would’ve voted for Mike. Having seen the whole season, been through it, seeing the subtleties, and the relationships, and the different moves, and the strategy, then I’d probably vote for Nick. So that’s where I’ll land on that, but again, I respect both of them so much. I feel bad that Laurel had to do that. That’s a terrible position for anyone, so I’m really, really, really glad that wasn’t what I had to do.
You know I’d love to see you play again. You know that Jeff Probst told me that you’re the one player above all others this season he wants to bring back. So, Angelina, the question becomes: Would you do this whole crazy thing over again?
It’s an honor to be asked to play once. It’s insane to be asked to play twice, especially amongst the cast that this was. I think my response right now to Jeff is: make me an offer that I can’t refuse.
Also make sure to read our interviews with winner Nick, Mike White, Kara, Alison, and Davie, our full episode recap as well as intel from the host and four returning players on NEXT season of Survivor. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.