SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

With season 41 of Survivor delayed 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 hard to get a lot of screen time on Survivor when you're playing on a tribe with folks like Wendell Holland, Domenick Abbate, and Chris Noble. With those alpha dogs eating up screen time like Kibbles 'n Bits, it's no wonder that more reserved personalities like Chelsea Townsend ended up on the Survivor: Ghost Island cutting room floor.

Even though Chelsea ended up being a crucial vote at a few different spots in the season, and even though the former pro cheerleader won back-to-back individual immunity challenges and was therefore voted out on day 32 for being a huge physical threat in the game, we still didn't see a lot of her journey on the show. "At first, I was disappointed that more of my game play wasn't shown," says Chelsea. "Especially the moments after winning individual immunity idols that are usually shown. However, I was really happy with how I played, so I'm at peace with it now."

In her Quarantine Questionnaire, Chelsea looks back at her time in the game, including her proudest moment and biggest regret — while also explaining how she was incapable of throwing a challenge to get Bradley Kleihege out.

Chelsea Townsend (Survivor: Ghost Island – season 36)
Chelsea Townsend on 'Survivor: Ghost Island'
| Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.

CHELSEA TOWNSEND: Following my journey on Survivor, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into graduate school to study medicine as a physician assistant. I moved to Phoenix, Ariz. where my boyfriend and I bought a house and welcomed a new puppy into our lives. I've spent most of my time over the last couple years in school and graduated in August of 2020. I now work as an orthopedic surgery physician assistant in Flagstaff, Ariz. My boyfriend of four years, Ethan, proposed to me this past December and we are excited for our upcoming wedding in November of this year.

What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?

Hands down my proudest moments in Survivor were winning those individual immunity challenges and getting that iconic necklace placed around my neck. It was especially fun to watch it back with friends and family and see their excitement when they realized I won.

What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?

My biggest regret is not fostering better relationships with all of the players. I think if I could have spent more time creating valuable personal connections with players I wasn't on the same team with throughout the beginning of the game, it would have helped my cause when I tried to start going after the big dogs. Trust is hard out there, but it's important.

What's something that will blow fans' minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?

I think lots of people have found out since my season aired that Dom and I plotted to get Bradley voted out pre-merge. I knew I couldn't throw a challenge, so I sat out and let Dom do the dirty work to keep my hands clean if things should blow back. I have to say Dom had a somewhat convincing belly flop, haha

How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?

At first, I was disappointed that more of my game play wasn't shown, especially the moments after winning individual immunity idols that are usually shown. However, I was really happy with how I played, so I'm at peace with it now.

What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?

My family looked at me like I was a vulture swarming road kill at the dinner table. Yes, there was an adjustment coming back, but mostly just in regards to food for me.

Can You Reverse the Curse?
Chelsea Townsend on 'Survivor: Ghost Island'
| Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?

Never. I was so excited to be a part of Survivor and to get to experience something so unique. It is still one of the most incredible experiences I have been fortunate to have.

Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?

I talk to Kellyn most from my season. We were really close in Fiji and formed a tight bond. We still hop on the phone or text from time to time to check in.

Do you still watch Survivor, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?

Yes I do! It was really fun to watch season 40: Winners at War, because I feel the game play was definitely elevated and exciting to watch. I sure wish I could have been in Wendell's place, but it is fun to watch someone from your season play again.

Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?

I would have loved to play with Sierra Dawn Thomas. I actually knew her from when we worked a summer job together, and I think we could have been a great duo out there.

If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?

I would probably reduce how many hidden immunity idols or advantages are available in one season. I like the dynamic they create, but I think more recent seasons have too many and that can sometimes it can take away from good old fashioned Survivor game play.

Finally, would you play again if asked?


To keep track of our daily Survivor Quarantine Questionnaires and get all the latest updates, check out EW's Survivor hub, and follow Dalton on Twitter.

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Episode Recaps

SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning a million dollars, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "DIG DEEP!"

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