‘Survivor’ Castaway Hali: ‘I Think Sierra Legitimately Thinks That I Was a Nothing Player’

“Survivor: Game Changers” (CBS)

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Gordon Holmes: It seemed odd to me to target people on the outs, why didn’t they try to bring you in?
Hali Ford: I don’t know! (Laughs) My assessment then was that they were trying to buy time. Nuku’s plan for the merge started at that original tribe separation. I think they planned to be Nuku strong until the end.

Holmes: Before the game, I interviewed both you and tall Sierra. And you both said you weren’t working together. And I nodded and smiled but I was thinking (expletive deleted).
Ford: (Laughs)
Holmes: And then you get out there and that was totally the case. What was your relationship like?
Ford: I think the potential chance was destroyed at the Malcolm vote when I showed that I was more willing to work with the Mana tribe than to stick with Brad and Sierra.
Holmes: What was your best outcome during that Tribal?
Ford: I was trying to throw Brad under the bus, but it didn’t work out that way. I think that broke any feeble rapport we had built. I tried to bring it back, but it felt fake out there. It was somewhat real. On the last day, Sierra told me that my name was on the chopping block and that it was me or Michaela. So maybe she was trying to extend the olive branch. She could’ve made a move. She could have easily brought me and Michaela in. I spent the day telling them how stupid it was to not start taking out actual threats.

Holmes: Not now, but at the time your torch was snuffed, who did you hold responsible?
Ford: At that time…I was seeing it as a group thing. I wasn’t mad at one person.
Holmes: Now that you’ve seen the episode and you’ve seen how the politicking went down, did that change your opinion at all?
Ford: Yeah. I really thought Sierra was more on my side. I didn’t have any grudges or hard feelings about Sierra at the time I was voted out. But now after seeing the episode, I’m frustrated with Sierra. I think we could have done something.

Holmes: At the merge we have this mega alliance that is made up of Ozzy’s faction and Brad and Sierra’s faction, is any one person standing out as the person that’s running the show?
Ford: I saw people coming to Ozzy a lot. Looking at the episode it seems like Zeke was more of the orchestrator. But, on the beach I saw people coming up to Ozzy. I saw people counting numbers on their fingers with Ozzy. When Ozzy got voted out, I was praising him as a strategic player. That was my understanding at the time was that he was the puppeteer. But now that I’ve seen it seems like Zeke and Sierra were running things.

Holmes: Sierra said she had reason to believe that you had an idol.
Ford: That was ridiculous.
Holmes: Do you think she believed that or was she using it as a reason to target you?
Ford: I think Sierra legitimately thinks that I was a nothing player. There was no way that I could be playing the game, there must be some other reason that I’m confident.
Holmes: You did have a very different swagger this season. That was noticeable when you volunteered to do the solo swimming leg of the first challenge.
Ford: I applied myself this game…with no better results. (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs)
Ford: I’m happier with what I did. The first season when I was going in I was in an entirely different headspace. I thought it was entirely random that I was going on “Survivor” and some big things had just happened back home to distract me from the game. It was not my number one priority. But, going into this game, I had a vendetta, something to prove. I really poured myself into this game.
Holmes: Is there any concern that this rift with Sierra could tear the Dirty 30 apart?
Ford: No. I love Mike. I’ve been hanging out with Jenn and Mike and Tyler. I’d love to hang out with Sierra again. I don’t have any bitterness against Sierra outside of the game. She’s this sweet, incredibly impressive rodeo queen. I have nothing but respect for that girl.

Holmes: Alright, it’s time for the longest word association ever. Let’s start with Malcolm.
Ford: Nerdy, brilliant stud.
Holmes: Sandra?
Ford: Hilarious, cream of the crop, everlasting queen.
Holmes: Varner?
Ford: Misunderstood, judged, abused.
Holmes: Tall Sierra?
Ford: Sweet, caring, why?
Holmes: Medium Ciera?
Ford: Smart, out-of-the-loop, bad luck.
Holmes: Michaela?
Ford: One-of-a-kind, senior citizen in a millennial’s body.
Holmes: Tai?
Ford: Salt of the Earth, plant master.
Holmes: Caleb?
Ford: Hulk.
Holmes: Troyzan?
Ford: He’ll appreciate this; green monster. We’ll just leave it at that.
Holmes: Please. Tony?
Ford: Are you on meth?
Holmes: Debbie?
Ford: Gosh…delightfully delusional.
Holmes: Brad?
Ford: Soft-hearted macho man.
Holmes: Ozzy?
Ford: “Survivor” super hero.
Holmes: Zeke?
Ford: Strong, impressive human being.
Holmes: Andrea?
Ford: My pick for the win.
Holmes: Cirie?
Ford: “Survivor” master.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Sarah.
Ford: Silent assassin.

Holmes: You were a central part of Debbie’s weird meltdown after the balance beam challenge. It was so odd and big that I almost wondered if it was faked to throw people off the scent that her and Brad were working together. What was your take on that?
Ford: At the time she was freaking out I thought it was entirely real. If that was acting, she deserves an Oscar. She was hysterically laughing and screaming. She was down the beach just screaming by herself at one point. I think that when she was acting drunk, I knew that that was fake. She wasn’t drunk. Debbie is an actress. I think a lot of what she did with Brad was rooted in something real, but most of it was a show, actually.

Holmes: Has this experience changed your love for nature, or is that still going strong?
Ford: (Laughs) I think it put a damper on my love for nature. Before “Survivor” I loved camping, now I’m good to just sleep in my car.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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

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