Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Andrea Boehlke on having the most votes ever cast against her
With Survivor filming for seasons 41 and 42 indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EW is reaching back into the reality show's past. We sent a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to a batch of former players to fill out with their thoughts about their time on the show as well as updates on what they've been up to since. Each weekday, EW will post the answers from a different player.
It's a somewhat dubious honor, but Andrea Boehlke considers having the most Survivor votes ever — 36 — cast against her as the proudest moment of her Survivor tenure. And why not? It shows the farm girl from Wisconsin was always a target, yet still managed to last over 100 days in the game over three different seasons (Redemption Island, Caramoan, Game Changers).
Andrea has plenty more to be proud of, however. She not only was the first woman to win a duel on Redemption Island, but also won four individual immunities, including wins in three different seasons (the only female player to accomplish that feat). Andrea also learned to calibrate her performance with each successive appearance, making her the ultimate Goldilocks contestant. Too passive her first time out on Redemption Island, and a bit too haywire aggressive in Caramoan, Andrea played juuuuuuust right in Game Changers. However, she was ultimately undone once Cirie and Sarah combined forces to take her out on day 33.
Now, Andrea looks back at the good, the bad, and the ugly of her three seasons in the Survivor circus — sharing a hilarious story along the way that never made its way to TV. And might she entertain the idea of one more return trip to the island? Read on to find out!
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.
ANDREA BOEHLKE: So much has happened! After Game Changers, I was very focused on my hosting career in NYC. I've been working for People magazine and have had some really cool experiences! I've hosted red carpets at awards shows like the Emmys, VMAs, CMAs, and more. I've been doing segments on Good Morning America for the past year, I got to host the ball drop in Times Square for years, and I hosted a Survivor after show for two seasons with this wacky guy named Dalton. My current project with People is a weekly pop culture show called People in 10, that I'm thankfully able to host from home.
I had been living in NYC for a decade, but when the pandemic started in March, I came home to our family farm in Wisconsin. I started dabbling in photography and videography and actually filmed and edited some wedding videos this summer with my sister. Being in Wisconsin for this long was not something I predicted, but it's given me some incredible perspective and I'm a lot happier here. So I don't really know my next moves, but I'm okay with that! I also bought a sheep named Shelly, so I guess I'm a shepherdess now!
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
Maybe I shouldn't be proud of this — but I currently hold the record for having the most votes cast against me in the history of the game. That's 36 votes across three seasons! People love to target me! I am also proud of playing over 100 days of Survivor, winning four individual immunity challenges, and making it to the family visit twice.
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experiences?
I regret not playing my immunity necklace in Caramoan. Getting blindsided three times. Having two showmances... embarrassing! Getting tricked by Sarah into thinking we were best friends/long-lost sisters and that we were going to go tailgating in Iowa after the season. Take your pick!
What's something that will blow fans' minds that happened out there in one of your seasons but never made it to TV?
I'm not sure this is mind-blowing, but it's something I think about all the time. One of the funniest moments for me happened on Game Changers. Aubry and I were on a reward with Debbie, Brad, and Sierra where we got to take a seaplane out to a huge feast. (They were running the game at this point and we were on the bottom of the bottom, so this was truly a miserable experience having to hang out with them.)
I think the producers felt bad for us, so they let Aubry and me take wine on the plane, but the rule was we had to finish it by the time we got back to camp. At this point, we were definitely tipsy and trying to drink as much wine as possible. All of a sudden, the seaplane was landing! We decided we should try to sneak some wine back to camp, but in order to do so, Aubry had to quickly empty her water canteen. So she starts chugging her entire canteen, and chugs so fast that she gets sick and then starts throwing up in the paper barf bags on the plane. Since you're not allowed to smuggle anything back, Aubry had to throw up super low-key so that nobody would know what we were up to. It was hilarious and we were both dying laughing through all of it. We still laugh about it today.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
I got a great edit! I have many aspects to my personality, and I can get a little… dare I say... dramatic? I wasn't in the best place mentally on Game Changers, and there was this one day where I was having a complete meltdown after not being able to open up a coconut (it happens) and I actually sprinted out of camp to hide in the jungle, away from the cameras. I was peeking out of some grass trying to make sure the producers couldn't find me, knowing that I was truly losing my mind. Later, I found out that the coconut was a really old one that was so hardened that nobody could open it up. Cool, cool! Luckily, they never showed this. Needless to say, I'm VERY happy with my edit, ha!
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
It's such a tough adjustment. It's hard to talk about what happened out there with people that will never fully understand what it's like, because it's such a surreal, odd experience. It has actually been the downfall of two of my relationships, because I came back and was in such a weird headspace. You return home and are expected to casually go on with your life as if you didn't just starve on an island with a bunch of strangers who did intense emotional manipulation to get you ousted from the game.
Also, after Game Changers, I got very sick with a severe kidney infection. When I got back to NYC I went to the hospital and I was in the hospital for a week! They couldn't figure out what was wrong with me, and most of my organs were in a weakened state, including my heart! My family even flew out to NYC at that time because we didn't know if I would be okay. Obviously, I am fine now, but it was a really scary experience.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
I never regretted playing! Of course, there are some moments I look back on and cringe, but I try not to judge my younger self. The pros completely outweigh the cons. I have new lifelong friends and ridiculous Survivor stories and inside jokes. I've grown so much as a person through it all, and I learned I'm much tougher than I thought! Also, making it far enough to get my mom, dad, and sister (though I was voted out before she could see me) all the way to Nicaragua, the Philippines, and Fiji made it all worth it to me. Seeing them reminiscing about the memories they made on the family visit is even more special to me than the times I had out there.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your seasons?
I keep up with Aubry Bracco a lot, she's such an incredibly loyal and kind friend. Everyone needs an Aubry in their life! I would do anything for Cirie, and love when we catch up. I try to see John Cochran and Natalie Tenerelli whenever I make it out to LA! They are both so special to me. I am also happy to say that Francesca and I are on great terms and I've been on her podcast a couple times. I love her!
Do you still watch Survivor, and if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
Yes! I watch every season. My favorite season is still Cagayan. I'll always be on the Tony train, can't help it!
Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
It's so hard to choose just one! Besides the obvious Kelley Wentworth (and Lauren O'Connell) I'm going to go with Angelina. I'm obsessed with her. I think playing with her would be like a fun roller coaster ride I never want to get off of.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
Call me basic, but I would love to have less twists! No tokens, no Edge, less idols. I guess I'm just a little more old-school in that regard. Additionally, there needs to be more diversity with casting AND storytelling, which I think we will be seeing in future seasons.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
Probably? I have to be honest, it takes a huge toll on me mentally. Something about watching the show and having people rip you apart online gets to me. I'm not usually an anxious person, but I had such extreme anxiety when my seasons were airing and it wasn't healthy. I love the game so much and I do feel like I have it in me to win the game, but I'll just have to see where I'm at in my life. Okay, fine… I'll play again.
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