"I was literally walking around camp going, 'No one's talking to me. This sucks. Hey, crab. You want to talk to me?'"
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SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

She wanted to bring the crew and the crabs to Tribal Council to help keep her safe, but in the end, even a last-minute gambit from an unlikely ally could not save Tiffany Seely from being voted off Survivor 41. She became the first post-merge casualty and first member of the jury after the rest of the tribe united against the former Yase threesome of Tiffany, Xander, and Evvie… even after the trio had broken apart from each other and no longer appeared to be in any sort of an alliance.

So what really happened at that Tribal Council after Heather attempted to flip the script and put votes on Naseer? Did Tiffany ever consider not giving Xander his idol and advantage back? And what else did we not see on TV? We asked Tiffany all that and more — and she had plenty to say.

Survivor
Tiffany Seely on 'Survivor 41'
| Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, Tiffany, what happened?

TIFFANY SEELY: Okay, I'm gonna try to give this to you in like a nice package. Yase fractured. And at that point, because there was not that much time at the merge where you could actually sit and talk with the merge people — which was heavily Luvu and there were a lot of rock draws — it was one of those things that you just could not get your footing with because there wasn't enough time. And then you had Liana flipping on me and immediately getting caught. And somehow, because she lied to me, I became her target. I was like, "What?"

And then right after that big move, Xander flipped, which made no sense to me, especially since I absolutely did what he wanted me to do. I could have taken that idol. I could've taken that extra vote. I didn't in good faith and loyalty, and he just didn't show loyalty. And I think I was seeing that way early on. And with Liana as well, they were both soft-pitched. Liana was on my radar from day one, but Evvie really wanted an all-girls thing and there were just not enough people to really sway it. So if I was good with the all-girls, I wasn't going anywhere. And then what nobody saw was that on that last day after Xander flipped on me, nobody would speak to me at all. It was awful. So I would go talk to Xander, and Liana was following us and wouldn't give me a second, but then Xander wouldn't talk to me either. So it was very odd.

And the craziest part is Luvu thought it was an act. And Danny said that. And I had pitched myself all day to as many people as I could, saying, "This is not an act. Use me as a number." And then last night, it just was so messy and was supposed to be split between Xander and me — flushing Xander's idol and having him go home. Also, if that wasn't the plan, it was Naseer. Somehow, Heather created some sort of episode, and she told me to sit there and not move, which by the way, Dalton, have you met me? I was like, "Yeah, okay. No!" Like, I'm not going to sit here. And what are you up to right now? And she almost got herself voted out. So that was just absolutely crazy.

I might have used the Shot in the Dark, but to be honest with you, I totally forgot about it because it was such a fractured, messy Tribal that the lines were not clear enough for me to put myself out like Sydney did. I did kick myself about that on the island, but in hindsight, I wouldn't have used it. So the vote was just a mess and nothing was flushed.

The edit makes it look like you went out pretty quietly. So what happened there? Did you raise a little hell on you way out that we didn't see?

I think the fans and people watching know that I'm not quiet at all. And it did have me look very quiet walking out, like the lovely little sweet mommy that I am, which I was not! I got up right after Heather said, "Sit here and don't move." That, to me, was like, "Get your ass up, get out of the seat, and go figure something out." So what I did at that moment was I ran to Xander. 'Cause I was gonna say, "Listen, dude, either use your idol on me or use your extra vote. We're gonna flip this whole thing on its head." I knew I had myself, Evvie, his extra vote, Xander, possibly Heather and Erika, and possibly Naseer. So there was so much work that could have been done around this, but he said he wouldn't talk to me.

So I was so angry at the moment. And I was really upset about Liana, because she was after Xander so hard! And then you go after me? I was so annoyed that I was like, "This is so stupid." So when Xander didn't talk to me, I said, "You know what? If I go out tonight, this is terrible jury management. Like, how do you do this? We're a tight three. We're tight. We're coming in. And you just all blow it." It was horrible.

So I left not that happy. And my whole conversation walking down the plank, I was like, "Please, God, let there be an Exile! Please, for the love of God." And there was nothing. And I put up quite a conversation on the way, saying, "Oh, the fans are gonna love this, the stupidest vote-out in history with nothing flushed! Leaving all those advantages in the game." I thought it was an absolute fail. Listen, get me out. I'm a social threat. Use me as a number as far as you can and then get rid of me, but at least flush something. So I thought it was terrible.

As a viewer it was odd to see the Yase folks so divided because the three of you at least appeared to be tight coming out of the last Tribal.

Okay, so another thing that you guys didn't quite see was that we need to remember that Xander didn't know the steal-an-idol thing was even a thing, right? I found out, I relayed it to Evvie, and here's what y'all missed: Evvie and I were always strategically on the same page. It was unbelievable. So we looked at each other and were like, "We have to take the idol." I'm like, "We can't give it to you. You can't have it because everybody's going to know it's you," because everybody saw them as tighter. So give it to me. And then we tell Xander the plan. He has this fake idol from probably when he was trying to snuff me on Yase.

So we were behind that. He had the theatrics of the fake idol and everything else. So I don't know if there was like a "Let me make my own move here to make it look bigger," because the move itself was enough. And in our eyes, when we watched that back, I was like, "Why would you take the chance and overplay that with Danny the way you did?" That was a big tell in my eyes. Why would you do that? It was just this unaware — maybe 'cause he's young — and very shortsighted game. And there was a lot of that with the younger folks with shortsighted games, and we were playing for long. And to just flip on us like that, that's just not looking ahead. We actually had so much going into that merge and so much after that big move that we could have pulled off. He just shut down.

Survivor
Danny McCray and Tiffany Seely on 'Survivor 41'
| Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

So when did you give him his idol and advantage back? Right after Tribal?

After Tribal, we get back to the camp and I'm like, "Here you go." I didn't do it in front of people because obviously I didn't want anybody to see me actually give it back so that they had a feeling that maybe I still had it or had something. But listen, I'm not that player that's going to take your stuff because that's just not who I am in real life. And I can't not be authentic. It's who I am, and I wasn't going to do that to him. However, if I had seen that sort of personality before I gave it back, I might've kept the extra vote. I might've done something. Because it was so bad. That flipping was just not what we were as a team.

It was so against what we were standing for as the Yase three and the underdogs of the season with absolutely amazing strategy under our belts, but it just kind of fell by the wayside. So I gave it right back to him thinking, "You know, there couldn't be much more loyalty than this, right?" And then last night, I really thought he should've played the idol on me. "Play the idol on me and we will flip it! We have everything! We have the numbers, we have the people, I have so many people in my corner."

I'm curious about your reaction and the reaction of everyone else when Xander tried to make this seemingly very altruistic move of, "Hey, Erika, I'll take your spot. I won't take the chance at a reward. And hey, I'll step forward and not play in the immunity competition."

I'm going to tell you how I saw it. I was seeing it as massively performative and résumé-building — it was not authentic. And in my eyes, he's a great kid. Don't get me wrong. That being said, it was just way too much. The minute he did it, I was like, "Oh, God, of course you will. You have an idol; you have an extra vote. This is not a big move!" If I stepped out, that'd be a big move because I need to win. I need to be here. But all these people are stepping out for rice when they have full security — they have five people who have all of Luvu. Like good for f---ing you! [Claps hands in mock applause] Excellent, great move. It wasn't. It was so performative. And I just couldn't respect it as a player.

So you didn't see my face on that one, but it was baaaaad. I don't think it came off as "I'm such a great dude." Like, use your idol on me. That's a great dude. That's how I feel about it. Outside me and Evvie, everybody else was just shortsighted. They weren't even paying attention. It was like, "Let's get the grilled cheese, you know?" Meanwhile, I'm like, "Let's get me through another night! Like, I don't need the f---ng grilled cheese! And Zander is on friggin' paleo! He doesn't eat that! So, hello? What the frig?"

Who did you feel at this point in the game after the merge was running the camp or calling the shots? Who was in the power position before you got voted out?

Obviously, Lulu was going to be strong. They'd be stupid not to stick together. Right? Makes sense. They're all there. They know they have the numbers. They're going to try to at least grab as many others — obviously Ua. Which, by the way, was the biggest mistake Liana made. And I'll tell you why just to give you a better picture. We sent Liana on that journey because she hadn't had a chance to do anything. So go, give Shan the extra whatever it is so we can use that at the merge. What does she do? She goes, keeps it to herself, and forgets to tell Shan that she's not telling us, tells Shan we're super tight, and then comes back. So she screwed up that whole plan. It blew up right away.

And that was a big, big, big problem for us to begin with because she was supposed to secure our six. So that happens. So now Liana's pissed at me somehow. And Liana is a hundred percent with Shan from one day versus 12 days with us on Yase, which makes sense. And Luvu has the numbers. There's the alliance that they create. There's me and Evvie alone. We are like free agents just trying to save our own lives. And it looked like Yase had no shot, but truly we did. And it was just people not sticking together. It's just so cliché. Like, what the hell? How many times do you guys have to watch Survivor to know you stick together? Like, just do it! Just stick together! It made me crazy.

So then that night, there was no loyalty from Liana. Xander flipped on me for no good reason. I knew he wouldn't talk to me all day. Nobody was talking to me. I was literally walking around camp going, "No one's talking to me. This sucks. Hey, crab. You want to talk to me?" And I was the provider for Yase. I caught grabs barehanded every time before a challenge — big ones. And I was like, "What the frig?!? Dalton, it sucked s---. It really did. There was just nowhere to go. I was dead in the water. [There is] nothing you can do if nobody's talking to you. There was just no way.

So going into that last Tribal, I was like, "You know what? Everyone's so messed up that they're going to be a mess at this Tribal." Just like I thought. And then Heather wanting to, like, save me? I think she ended up voting for me and getting me voted off! She makes this whole big thing and then writes my name down? Like, what the f---? I think everybody was a little blindsided. I wasn't. I thought it might be me, but I thought I could squeak by, and it just didn't happen.

And the person in power there, it looks like it's Shan. But then at Tribal with Deshawn… I was safe and then Deshawn throws a freaking fit, which by the way, he did on the island. After I wrote his name down, it was like a nightmare with him. "You wrote my name down. You wrote my name down? You wrote my name down." And I was like, "Well, dude, my name has been down like every freaking time I'm here. So deal with it!" But he threw a baby fit onstage and Shan fell for it. And she was like, "No, you're good. We're going to do whatever you want." Why? And so he threw that fit, Tribal went live like that, and then that last moment when he just doesn't let it go, that's what got me voted off.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

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