Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Michelle Schubert almost pooped on the hidden immunity idol
With Survivor filming for seasons 41 and 42 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.
"I can't believe I'm saying this publicly..."
Whenever any answer starts with those words, good things usually follow. But not even we were prepared for what happened next in Michelle Schubert's Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire. The Millennials vs. Gen X star — who became a fan favorite before being voted out eighth on day 23 — began by shedding a little light on what the bathroom situation is out there on the island.
"There's an agreed-upon location to poop while you're out there," explains Michelle. "Everyone knows, you walk down the beach to the right and you can dig a hole in the sand OR you can go out in the ocean at that location and do an "aqua-dump.'"
Always the free thinker, however, Michelle had a different plan in mind. "In the opposite direction, I found this wonderful little private area on the beach that had a nearly 360-degree wall of soft foliage all around," she says. "And, to me, I thought, 'As long as I don't go near a path and as long as I dig a proper hole, this should be good, right?' WRONG. Producers would occasionally remind us sternly to 'go where we all agreed' and so eventually I conformed."
Why? What was the big problem… I mean, other than surrounding the camp with human waste on both sides? For Michelle, the answer came back when she returned home from Fiji. "It wasn't until watching the season on TV six months later that I realized I had been pooping just feet away from where the idol was hidden."
Unfortunately, by making Michelle switch sides to do her business, it seems producers denied us an opportunity to bear witness to what could have become some of the most awkward hidden immunity idol hunting ever. Thankfully, Michelle made her mark on Survivor in other ways, single-handedly flipping a vote early in the season to show her social and strategic bona fides. But, if, like many, you feel like Michelle's too-brief outing left you wanting more, than dig into her Quarantine Questionnaire!
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.
MICHELLE SCHUBERT: Ha, where to begin? I feel like I've lived a lifetime in just four in a half years. I've had some great experiences, but also some deep hardships. Let's focus on the positive. I've been working for two international non-profits and have worked all over the world: Pacific Rim, Southeast Asia, East Asia, West Africa, etc. For hobbies, I've been participating in roller derby and lots of beautiful hiking, mostly in the Cascade mountain range. Public eye — I was on the 11th season of American Ninja Warrior. I really loved training for that event, but didn't really get to use much of what I had learned and practiced. Still a fun experience.
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
My proudest moment on Survivor was the "move" I put together in episode 2. For those of you who might not remember off the top of your head, most people had decided to vote "Figgy," but she was one of my closest alliance members. Although I could have gone with the current and voted Figgy, I felt I needed to rally the votes to send someone home who I was less close to. The talking points had to shift depending on which person I was convincing, but at the end of the day, what would have been an 8 to 2 vote to send Figgy home ended up 7-3 with Mari going home.
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
My biggest regret was going quiet on the day I went home! It was the only vote in which I did not participate much in the strategizing or conversations for. In the previous days leading up to my vote out, I had begun to rally numbers to get Chris voted out, and looking back, I wish I'd have pressed for that. I'm sure I could have made it happen. However, in the moment, I believed that if I did that, I may look like too big of a target right out of the merge and put a target on my back for the rest of the game.
What's something that will blow fans' minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
I can't believe I'm saying this publicly, but there's an agreed-upon location to poop while you're out there. Everyone knows, you walk down the beach to the right and you can dig a hole in the sand OR you can go out in the ocean at that location and do an "aqua-dump."
Anyways... in the opposite direction, I found this wonderful little private area on the beach that had a nearly 360-degree wall of soft foliage all around, and to me, I thought, "As long as I don't go near a path and as long as I dig a proper hole, this should be good, right?" WRONG. Producers would occasionally remind us sternly to "go where we all agreed" and so eventually I conformed. It wasn't until watching the season on TV six months later that I realized I had been pooping just feet away from where the idol was hidden.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
In real life, I'm always smiling and giggling and often joking around, but the edit I was given rarely showed that. I didn't feel I was given a bad edit, just not a good one.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
It. Was. Difficult. I was ALWAYS eating, ALWAYS hungry. My sleep schedule was super messy. Perhaps the hardest part was my decision-making problems. I just couldn't decide anything. Ever. I would overanalyze everything to the point of tears. Literally. Someone would ask, "When do you want to go to the store?" and one thousand details would come to mind that I felt should affect my decision. Eventually, time and a good counselor helped me figure out how to swiftly make those simple decisions again.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
Not really. There were definitely moments that I would get overwhelmed with what I thought was expected of me socially, whether social media-related or other. Perhaps if I were not as introverted this would not have been so hard.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
There's a handful I stay in touch with. Usually just calls and texts, but sometimes meeting up in person too if one of us happens to be "in the neighborhood." I would welcome any of my castmates to come see me in the Cascade mountains!
Do you still watch Survivor, and if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
I love Survivor. It's been the only show I've ever watched religiously. I'm easy, whichever season I happen to be watching at the time is one of my favorites or any seasons with Parvati or Coach. Heroes vs. Villains stands out to me as well. TBH, one of the only seasons that I don't think I could ever call my favorite is my own season because I found it so hard to watch myself on TV.
Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
Perhaps against Boston Rob, to see who's better at puzzles. Or with Coach or Phillip Sheppard because of the fun imagery they often used to describe their co-castaways. What would they have said about me?
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
More clothing and food. [Laughs] I guess that would make it a lot less "Survivor-ey" but being cold and hungry is a terrible, terrible combination.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
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