‘Survivor’ Castaway Michaela: ‘It’s Better to Hit a Tree Than to Hit a Person.’

'Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X' (CBS)

‘Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X’ (CBS)

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Gordon Holmes: A friend of mine told me her daughter was worried you were going to stab Jay last night.
Michaela Bradshaw: (Laughs)
Holmes: How close did you come to stabbing Jay?
Bradshaw: I try not to be violent in regular life. But, I was filled with emotions. I’m glad there was nothing sharp in the vicinity.
Holmes: Because I figured when you said, “My shoes” and went back…that we were seeing a ruse that would let you get close enough to clobber Jay.
Bradshaw: (Laughs) I was so shocked. They didn’t show it, but I walked up to Jeff without the torch. And he just looked at me. So I went back to get the torch and I was like, “Uh uh, I need to get my shoes.” And my shoes just happened to be right at Jay’s feet. Oh…there was so much passion. Devastation. But, these things happen. I can look at it as a compliment.
Holmes: Right, it wasn’t, “Michaela is annoying,” or “Michaela sucks in challenges.” It was “Michaela is too smart and too strong.” I get that all the time.
Bradshaw: (Laughs) That’s why we’re friends, Gordon. I take it as a compliment. In the moment it’s like, “Man, we were a team.” In regular life I play for my team. If I help the team win, we win. I like those scenarios.

Holmes: Were there any signs heading into Tribal that Jay and Will were making a move on you?
Bradshaw: I wouldn’t say there were no signs, but I would say I was willing to test it. Number one: We hadn’t talked about who Bret and Sunday are voting for. And two: Will and Jay know that I know that they have an idol. And three: I know that Jay didn’t intend for me to know that he had an idol. He didn’t invite me into the forest. So, when you put those things together the skeptical part of your brain says, “Watch out for Jay and Will.” But your heart will say, “No, we’re in this as a team.” It’s that struggle between your head and the need to be suspicious of people and your heart that wants to trust. In that game, it’s better to go with your head and not your heart.

Holmes: Why didn’t you tell everyone about Jay’s idol on your way out?
Bradshaw: In the exact moment that I saw my name pop up, my mind was like…I knew that was the last time I was going to see him. So all I was thinking was, “Why would he break up the trust that we’re building?” I play for the team, so it’d be hard for me to go from, “I’m devastated that you broke up our team,” to flipping on someone and ruining his game. I’m not a vengeful person. So, by the time I got on the boat to go to Ponderosa, I was thinking, I should’ve. But, I can respect good gameplay. That part of me isn’t going to throw salt on someone’s game.
Holmes: You say you’re not a vengeful person, but I think there’s a tree at Tribal Council that would disagree.
Bradshaw: (Laughs) The tree I hit! That wasn’t vengeance, that was just getting all of that negative energy out of my body. Sometimes you’ve got to let it go. It’s better to hit a tree than to hit a person.
Holmes: That’s true.

Holmes: Let’s go back to the Figgy vs. Mari vote. Why did you end up siding with Jay, Taylor, Figgy, and Michelle?
Bradshaw: That alliance started on the second or third day of the game. It was all I had. The first episode, nobody would talk to me. So if we lost the first challenge, I bet I would have went home. I was the outcast in the beginning. I wasn’t the cool kid and I wasn’t the nerd either. I was in the middle, you know, cute and smart. (Laughs) So, Jay and Michelle were the only two people who would actually talk to me. Everybody else kept me at arm’s length. I told them, “I’ll have your back the rest of this game.” That’s where that started. But, they never said they’d have my back the rest of the game, so I knew I could only trust them to some extent.

Holmes: During the ball puzzle, you were giving Hannah some stern advice. Do you think that hurt her feelings or did you two have the kind of relationship where that was OK?
Bradshaw: Those challenges take so long and it gets so hot the longer you stay out there. And you’ve still got things to do back at camp. So I just wanted to not lose. Me and Hannah had a great relationship. She was a person that I talked to a lot. Even more than Jay. And from Hannah’s perspective, she wanted to show that she could contribute. That’s a big thing for Hannah. I get it. My thing is; you have intrinsic value to me because you’re a person and you’re on my team. Right need I need you to fall back so I can make sure that we don’t go to Tribal. I figured out the puzzle and in my mind it took one person and the second person was there to cause conflict. So, I was telling her, “You need to hold the table and let me work the balls in the holes.” She wanted to keep helping. But I tried to explain to her nicely at first, “Helping is just standing still.” But at a certain point, you just have to get people to listen. So, I came across a little snappy and I apologized to her after.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Figgy.
Bradshaw: Attention.
Holmes: Taylor?
Bradshaw: Blonde.
Holmes: Adam?
Bradshaw: Smart.
Holmes: Will?
Bradshaw: Childlike.
Holmes: Bret?
Bradshaw: Cute cop dad.
Holmes: Sunday?
Bradshaw: Mom.
Holmes: Hannah?
Bradshaw: Goofy.
Holmes: Michelle?
Bradshaw: Sweet.
Holmes: Zeke?
Bradshaw: Genius.
Holmes: Mari?
Bradshaw: I want to say, “Underplayed.” Like, there was more…but we didn’t get it.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Jay.
Bradshaw: Bold.

Holmes: What was the dream end-game scenario if Bret had gone home last night?
Bradshaw: Now looking at it, I know it’s unrealistic. But, myself, Will, and Hannah sticking together. That was my thing with the shells. There was a clear path to the end. But, that path involves letting go of the other alliances that you have. And that includes Michelle and Taylor. For Jay and Will, that would not happen. In reality, that plan would not have worked. But, nobody wants to take me to final four because I can win immunity and get to the end. I was thinking it was the least complicated way, but that’s not how “Survivor” works.

Holmes: I think we were all excited when we saw how diverse the casting was on the women’s side. And yet, five of the first seven people out were women of color. What is your take on this outcome? Did something feel off out there or is that just how the cards fell regardless of race?
Bradshaw: It feels like America. You don’t feel it in the moment until you step back and look at it. Then you realize that we’re playing a social game. Part of making alliances is who you feel like you can trust. Part of who you feel like you can trust is who you feel familiar with. Part of who you feel familiar with is who you’re typically around. And part of who you’re around is who people look like. In a social game, what you look like can have an effect on what’s familiar to a person which can impact how quickly they trust you and how long they trust you. And so, maybe that had something to do with the boot order, maybe it was random. But I can say that I noticed.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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