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You can lie after swearing on your kids’ names, you can vote your mother out of the game, and you can make up a story about your grandmother dying and some “Survivor” fans will find merit in your actions.
You just can’t quit.
I spoke with Julie McGee, the latest in a too-long list of Survivors who have called it quits the morning after her exit from the game. We had a chance to talk about her decision, Missy’s love, and what it’s like to be Johnny Rock’s girlfriend…
Gordon Holmes: Now that you’ve had time to think about what happened, do you regret your decision to quit?
Julie McGee: No. I don’t live in regret. I try my best to make the best decision for my overall health physically and mentally. It was hard to make a good decision, but I was pretty confident in what was going on at the time. I wasn’t running from anything. It was nothing like that at all. I was just really at my breaking point. The rain storm that had happened really shook it out of me. I couldn’t get my head twisted back on right. And everyone being jerks to me, and John not being there, and the trail mix scandal…
Holmes: People being jerks to you…was that tied specifically to the trail mix scandal or were there things earlier that we didn’t see?
McGee: I guess mainly right towards the end I felt some vibes that people were unhappy and were being mean to me without talking to me. But, before that I did feel that once we came together and there were so many couples that I lost connections with people I may have had a connection with before.
Holmes: Did other people have food in their bags?
McGee: I have no idea, and I wasn’t going to question it. It’s not because I was sitting there as full as a tick. I had some crumbs in the bottom of my bag. I was the one scrambling at the merge dinner. Most of the guys were either throwing up because they ate too much or were rubbing their tummy because they were too full. I was scrambling to find a way to pack up all this food…Missy and myself. We needed to get the stuff and get it down the mountain. Stuff it in your pockets, stuff it in your shoes. Whatever you need to do. And if you stuff some stuff in your shoes, then have it. For Jon and Jaclyn, when they’re sitting back not doing anything, they say I’m so selfish? Who says I need to pack up all this food and ration it out for you two and feed you whenever you’re hungry?
Holmes: Maybe this is just me, but it struck me as odd when Missy said she loved you. That’s not a word I’d be comfortable breaking out in front of someone I’ve only known for a few weeks. Did that strike you as odd?
McGee: Yeah, I just saw straight through her. I don’t know if it’s because she was feeling apprehensive about saying she really wanted me there. Maybe she was upset about the crumbs in my bag. She was really just putting it on. I really felt a connection with her, and I really felt sometimes like I could trust her. But, when we’re sitting there talking and I’m at my lowest point and she says, “You’ve got to stay for us. I’m your loved one now.” That kind of made it worse.
Holmes: The people that leave the game pre-jury don’t get to hang out with the jurors. They’re all taken away. Did you leave when you did in the hopes of getting to see John?
McGee: Not at all. At that point I thought that it was already done. When Jeff came down to speak to me, he asked me the same question. He said, “What if I tell you that he’s not there?” This is for me now. It’s for my sanity. It’s what I need right now. And if he’s not there, that’ll suck, but I’ve got to make this move.
Holmes: Quitting seems to be “Survivor’s” one unforgivable sin. What kind of feedback have you been receiving from the fans?
McGee: Oh…wow. (Laughs) I want to just throw my phone in a lake. It’s really 50/50 right now. I have some people who are really supportive and huge fans and I’m so appreciative of that. But of course you have the haters. You have the people that say I’m a loser, I’m a quitter, someone else could have had that spot. But they don’t know what I was going through. And I realized when I quit that I was going to have to go through this. I was somewhat prepared for the backlash.
Holmes: As John Rocker’s girlfriend, I would imagine a lot of people think negative things about you before they’ve even met you. What’s that like to deal with?
McGee: It’s human nature to go with the masses and believe what you read. For me to know who John is and to know his heart…he is a giving, sweet, loving, funny guy. And I am not selfish. I’m very loving and I’m very giving myself. I’m a great person and I have lots of great friends and family. I wouldn’t be with someone if they were an ass or a loser. People think he was a pro athlete and he’s got this money, so he’s going to have this girl…he’s gonna take care of this trophy girl. That’s not the case at all. It has really changed the way I see things. If something’s written up about a celebrity, you cannot believe what you see. You have to know firsthand. So, all these people that are judging me, judging John, they’ll probably never know us. But, we’re good with ourselves. We’re good people.
Holmes: I’ve interviewed everyone who’s left the game. And the feedback about him has been overwhelmingly positive.
McGee: Absolutely. That’s what you have to go on. Real experiences with people who’ve come into contact with him.
Holmes: Alright, word association time…
McGee: (Laughs) I was looking forward to this!
Holmes: As you should be. Let’s start with Alec.
McGee: Young and dumb.
Holmes: Let’s finish off with Johnny Rock.
McGee: (Laughs) Loud and sexy.
Holmes: Do you call him Johnny Rock?
McGee: No. I call him Boo Thang, I call him Baby, I call him Sweetheart.
McGee: Aww… my mom does, actually. He gets worn out about people using his last name, but he has a nickname for her and she calls him that.
Holmes: What did you learn during your time on “Survivor”?
McGee: We’re so caught up in routines, so being in that situation opened up the way I see life and the way I see myself. Everyday…I know it’s a cliché…but it makes all things seem small. I feel such a strength in myself knowing how far I pushed myself. It’s done nothing but good things for me.
Holmes: I feel it’s a shame you left when you did. It seemed like you would have had some options once the game progressed a little.
McGee: I know.
Holmes: But, that’s easy to say from the comfort of my couch.
McGee: Well yeah, I think if I had another opportunity and it wasn’t a Blood vs. Water, I’d go at it differently and just play the (expletive deleted) out of it.
Holmes: So, given the opportunity you’d play again?
McGee: Believe it or not, yes.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes.