QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Game Changers.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire 20-person cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.
Name: Andrea Boehlke
Hometown: New York, NY via Random Lake, WI
Previously Played On:
“Survivor: Redemption Island” – Finished 5th and Jury Member
“Survivor: Caramoan” – Finished 7th and Jury Member
Best Known For: Being the first woman to come back from Redemption Island.
Gordon Holmes: Alright, you know the deal, anything you say here stays here.
Andrea Boehlke: Right. Wait, stays here?
Holmes: Well, until January or whenever I publish it. I mean I won’t repeat anything you say to any of the other players.
Boehlke: (Laughs) You didn’t come out here just to catch up?
Holmes: I came out here for some us time. I brought pictures of my wedding. I’ve got to tell you about this house we’re trying to sell…
Boehlke: (Laughs) Nice of you to fly all the way out here for that.
Holmes: Also, Random Lake is my favorite hometown ever.
Boehlke: It’s just some Random Lake.
Holmes: It seems like you’ve turned to the dark side. You’re now a part of the press.
Holmes: And People Now just gave you the summer off to come out here and starve?
Boehlke: It was a hassle. But, when I told them about it they were thrilled. They can use it, we’re starting to work on this relationship between People and CBS. And they just renewed my contract for another year for when I get back. It’s kind of all coming together.
Holmes: I’d imagine their fear is you aren’t going to come back after you win a million bucks.
Boehlke: (Laughs) But after taxes…
Holmes: And living in New York…
Boehlke: And after I give you $100,000…
Holmes: Which I totally deserve.
Boehlke: (Laughs) How long will half a million last?
Holmes: You joke, but I’d say I deserve that money because your experience as an XFINITY “Survivor” Power Ranker is probably going to put you over the top this season.
Holmes: It’s a level of training that you can not buy.
Holmes: Actually, that’s a lie. You can buy it for $100,000.
Boehlke: It’s opened a lot of doors. But, that $500,000 isn’t going to go far in New York.
Holmes: You left the game with an idol in Caramoan. Does it still work?
Boehlke: I have it with me. No, it’s actually sitting at work. I work with a lot of “Survivor” fans. So, I brought it in and they were overjoyed. They like to make fun of me though. They said, “We hope you’re voted out first.” And I said, “What?!” And they said, “Well, either first or win, I just think it’d be funny.”
Holmes: Thanks, guys.
Boehlke: No, it’s not funny! But, I guess my plan is to not get voted out with an idol.
Boehlke: And to not get blindsided.
Boehlke: And if neither of those things happen, I will have improved.
Holmes: How mad would you be if that idol was still eligible and it was sitting on a desk in New York.
Boehlke: (Laughs) Pretty mad.
Holmes: Yesterday you learned that theme for this season is “Game Changers.” How have you changed the game of “Survivor”?
Holmes: I bet you’ll have a better answer than a lot of people.
Boehlke: (Laughs) I’d say…game changers can mean a lot of different things. How did Caleb change the game?
Holmes: He didn’t die.
Boehlke: Yeah, he passed out in a reward challenge. I guess for me, I stick out because I was the first woman to win a duel and come back into the game. I believe I invented the puppy dog, following someone when they’re looking for an idol technique. Did that happen before me?
Holmes: They tried to chase down Russell when he was looking…
Boehlke: But not puppy-dog style.
Holmes: That’s true.
Boehlke: Puppy guarding. But after that there was a slew of people doing it. And I plan on doing a lot of that.
Holmes: I was wondering if it meant that people would be changing their personal games.
Holmes: But it’s not. I asked Probst. But, are you going to change your personal game?
Boehlke: For me, my first season I was 21 years old. I was scared to make moves. The second season I went the other way. I was very aggressive and way too paranoid. I think this time is going to be a meshing of the two together and learning from my mistakes. I can’t be too paranoid, I can’t be scared. And then also, this game is not going to be the traditional big alliance, us vs. them. There are going to be voting blocs. It’s going to be more secret alliances and sub-alliances. I’ve never played a game like that. I’ve played where you see me strategizing on the beach with my big alliance. We don’t talk to the other people. This game is going to be very different. I’m excited because I don’t have to work with a Boston Rob or a Philip. I’m excited to explore the side alliances.
Holmes: What do you think of this cast?
Boehlke: There are a lot of threats, there are some winners. The people are way more threatening than I am. I hope other people see that.
Holmes: I’m sitting here feeling a little threatened.
Holmes: I don’t want to say the wrong thing.
Boehlke: Well, in past seasons I felt like I could only go so far. I could win the game because I could win challenges and I was in a good alliance. But, I could only get to seven or five. But there are a ton of people who could win this game. I think we’re on an even playing field.
Holmes: So, with all of these threats it gives you room to maneuver because they won’t be targeting you immediately.
Boehlke: Yes. But I have to know exactly what’s going on. I want to be more low-key aggressive. I don’t want people to see me strategizing on the beach.
Holmes: Anyone you’re looking forward to working with?
Boehlke: I’m kind of thinking of maybe a girl thing this season. The last few seasons I got in trouble with my showmances. My show-mantics.
Holmes: I’m stealing that.
Boehlke: (Laughs) But I’m stoked to see people like Ciera. I loved watching her, I feel like I’d get along with her. And the other Sierra and Hali…I think there’s a good group of girls that I can work with who aren’t too strategic. I think it’d be fun to have a little girl group, but with something on the side with someone like a random…I don’t know…maybe Brad Culpepper. I don’t know. Looking at this group, there’s nobody I’m opposed to except for maybe Tony.
Holmes: What’s wrong with Tony?
Boehlke: He’s just so scary. I rewatched his season right before I came out here and I was reminded of what a lunatic he is. He’s one of the most dangerous people in this game. He’s better to get out right away.
Holmes: Who else is an early target?
Boehlke: Maybe Brad Culpepper because in his season he wasn’t very likable. He is kind of abrasive. I don’t see people targeting the non-offensive girls early. I think the big personalities will be first to go.
Holmes: You played with Malcolm in Caramoan. What’s your relationship like with him?
Boehlke: Eh…I don’t know! In Caramoan we were against each other the whole time. We tried to vote each other our four or five times in a row. And I really don’t know where he stands. My feeling going in is; why would we go after each other immediately when there are bigger fish to fry? My plan is to have a conversation with him and say, “Hey, let’s get on the same page or one of us is gone.” I just don’t know because we don’t trust each other. I feel like he’s my long-lost brother and we know each other too well. The thing about Malcolm is I know when he’s lying. So, if I do find myself in an alliance with him, I think I’ll be able to sniff out when he’s lying.
Holmes: Does he have a tell?
Boehlke: Yes. If he’s serious about something his voice is very low and he talks very fast. Malcolm is very smart. He’s one of the smartest people out here. But when he’s lying, he perks up and his voice gets high and he starts nodding. Like “Yeah, yeah, yeah, OK!”
Holmes: When Malcolm played in Caramoan, you didn’t know anything about him because his first season hadn’t aired yet. There’s something similar this season with Michaela and Zeke. How do you approach them?
Boehlke: It’s tricky. I think they’re going to be safe for the first couple of rounds. People are going to look at them as numbers, as an easy grab. Because they don’t have anybody. They’re probably really scared coming in, but I think they’re in a great position. If I have people I’m working with and then there’s Zeke, I’m going to be like, “Hey, come with us.” Once we learn more about their stories, that might change. But, I’m not too worried about them.
Holmes: You returnees love your pre-season chatter. Are you a part of any pre-season alliances?
Boehlke: So, I’m not going to give you a lot of information.
Holmes: Nobody is going to know until January.
Boehlke: I don’t think I want to comment on any pregame stuff.
Holmes: This is my puppy dog face.
Holmes: I learned it by watching you.
Boehlke: The thing is, I don’t think I did as much as some people have. That can really get you. You hear the stories of people who pre-game too hard and then they’re gone, like Varner.
Holmes: The fact that you’re not talking about it makes me think something is going on.
Boehlke: There’s actually a pretty big thing.
Boehlke: But, I’m going to keep quiet about it.
Holmes: Have you heard of any other alliances?
Boehlke: There are a lot of connections. Like, Malcolm used to date So Kim who was on a season with Hali and Sierra. I’m sure he’s met them. And even meeting them gives you a connection. I feel like Troyzan is talking to a lot of people. It’s the people who reach out randomly that you have to worry about. I’m pretty sure Troyzan and Brad are close. I’m sure Varner is talking to a lot of people.
Holmes: You’re in lockdown now, so you’re not allowed to talk. But winking and smiling happens. Are you doing any of that?
Boehlke: I’ll be pleasant and if I’m alone with someone I’ll give a little smile. But JT, what is he doing? You’ll be in line for food and he’ll hand you a plate.
Holmes: What a monster.
Boehlke: (Laughs) No. I mean everybody saw you do that.
Holmes: I’ll get my own (expletive deleted) plate, dude.
Boehlke: He’ll make toast and be like, “Oh, there’s one for you too.” Everybody is seeing you do that, weirdo.
Holmes: So, say JT makes the final three and you’re on the jury; will that piece of toast sway your vote?
Boehlke: (Laughs) Yeah, probably.
Holmes: Does it concern you that there are four people from Kaoh Rong?
Boehlke: It’s very concerning. Even though Aubry got Debbie out and Debbie didn’t vote for Aubry…they’re going to work with each other. Especially in the beginning. I think that’s a good case for getting them out early.
Holmes: If there is a twist aside from game changing, what do you think it could be?
Boehlke: Maybe it’s going to be…another island? We’ve seen Exile Island and Redemption Island, this island will be different and something magical will happen there.
Holmes: “Survivor: Magic Island.”
Holmes: I know you’re a unicorn girl.
Boehlke: (Laughs) I would die of happiness if it was unicorn island.
Holmes: You’d never come back.
Boehlke: Snuff my torch, I’ll spend the rest of my days there.
Holmes: That’ll be fun to explain to People.
Holmes: Alright, I’ll give you a twist. You tell me if it’s awesome or awful. Hidden immunity idol?
Holmes: Redemption Island?
Boehlke: Awful! So bad.
Holmes: Nobody knows that like you do. Exile Island?
Boehlke: That’s so tricky. I think awesome. I liked it on Micronesia.
Holmes: Extra votes?
Holmes: Stealing a vote?
Holmes: Eliminating a juror?
Holmes: Unicorn Island?
Holmes: That’s what I thought.
Holmes: Alright, I’m not just here to chat, I’m here to prepare you. You’re a former Power Ranker, so you’re one of my super faves.
Boehlke: Yeah, but you like Malcolm better.
Holmes: I do love that guy.
Boehlke: What did he say? Is he against me?
Holmes: Can’t say.
Holmes: Can’t say.
Boehlke: I would be miserable if I went out first because of Malcolm.
Boehlke: He wouldn’t be gunning for me early? That’d be silly.
Holmes: Can’t say.
Boehlke: Your voice got high.
Holmes: That’s my tell. OK, I’m going to give you a reason why someone should get rid of you. You have to counter it.
Holmes: Andrea can get it done in challenges…
Boehlke: Are you kidding me? I feel like compared to these people I am nothing. I’m bad at swimming. I hate swimming. Look at Caleb? He’s the Beast Mode Cowboy. Malcolm is still here, Tony is still here. They’re all bigger and better in challenges.
Holmes: Yeah, but she won her way back from Redemption Island…
Boehlke: By balancing a vase!
Holmes: Against so many people…
Boehlke: Against guys who are notoriously bad at balancing!
Holmes: She eliminated three people in one challenge!
Boehlke: By balancing a vaaaaaase!
Holmes: I didn’t expect this to get so heated.
Holmes: Andrea is very crafty. She invented the puppy guarding method.
Boehlke: (Laughs) What good did that do me? I ended up with an idol in my pocket when I went home. I’ve been voted out three times. I’ve been blindsided twice. I’m not that crafty.
Holmes: I’m going to apologize for this one in advance; Andrea Boehlke? More like Andrea Smell-ky.
Boehlke: (Laughs) That’s true. But we all smell out here.
Holmes: Alright, I hold in my hand a deck of cards that has all of your competition in it. Well, except for Zeke and Michaela because we don’t know them yet. I’ll hand you three at random. You tell me who you’ll vote out first, who you’ll work with but eventually eliminate, and who you’ll take to the end.
Round One: Brad, Tony, and Hali
Boehlke: This is pretty easy. I’m going to vote Tony out first…the three idol thing, the spy shack, winning… He’s such a wild card. Even just watching his antics. He’s like Philip, but he’s really smart.
Holmes: Smart Philip.
Boehlke: Exactly. The thing is, I love watching him. I’ll align with Hali. I don’t know why she would come after me. We’ll get along, she seems like a down-to-Earth chick. And I’d love to bring Brad to the end. I’d die of happiness. I just feel like of anyone here, he’s the least likely to win. He’s offensive, people usually don’t like him. I don’t see him being some strategic mastermind. I actually might really like the guy, I just don’t think he can win.
Round Two: Cirie, Aubry, and Ozzy
Boehlke: This one is hard. I’m going to vote out Cirie first. As much as I love her, she’s just so smart and cunning. I’d be worried about her not liking me. Ugh…I think I’ll align with Aubry, but I’ll take Ozzy to the end. Aubry should’ve won last season, so if she gets to the end she’s going to win. Cirie, if she gets to the end, she’s going to win. Ozzy, I think viewers like him, but I don’t think the players like his as much. And he’s never played a strong strategic game. It’s not like he’s going to become some kind of mastermind. It’s his fourth time.
Holmes: Do you hold that against people?
Boehlke: If you’ve played four times you should be damn good.
Holmes: Says the girl playing her third time.
Boehlke: (Laughs) Fast forward three years and I’m saying, “Five times. If you play five times you’d better be good!”
Round Three: Tai, Debbie, and JT
Boehlke: This is tricky. I’d take Debbie out. I can’t get a read on her. I don’t know if she likes me. She’s gone. I’d align with JT. He probably feels like he was really stupid in his last game, which he was. So, I think he’ll probably try to play more a straight-forward game. He’ll try to overcompensate. And, I’ll take Tai to the end, because I don’t think he’s very strategic. You just have to control his flip-floppy ways.
Round Four: Sandra, Jeff, and Sarah
Boehlke: Oh gosh…Sarah Lacina. I don’t know what it is about her. There’s something about her pre-game that freaks me out. I just feel like she hates me for some reason. First out. I could be wrong.
Holmes: Part of the gig is being able to read people.
Boehlke: It’s crazy. Of all these people I’m scared of her? First out. I’ll align with Sandra and take Jeff to the end because if you take Sandra to the end she’ll win.
Round Five: Sierra, Malcolm, and Caleb
Boehlke: I’m going to do this first…I love Malcolm. He’s one of the smartest guys out here. But if I get a chance to get rid of him, I have to. I’d align with Caleb for a little bit. Then I’d take Sierra to the end because she didn’t really have strategic chops the first time around and I can outplay her.
Holmes: Two left. Align with one and boot the other.
Round Six: Ciera and Troyzan
Boehlke: I like them both. I’ll take out Troyzan because I think he’s talking to people. And Ciera is my girl crush of all time. I’ll keep her.
Don’t miss the two-hour season premiere of “Survivor: Game Changers,” Wednesday March 8, 2017 at 8 p.m. ET.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes