CBS Local – Who leaves a dominant player like Ben alone to search for an idol? These remaining castoffs of “Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers” do. That’s partially why this week’s castoff – Ashley Nolan – had her torch snuffed. Here’s her unique perspective (as told to CBS Local’s Adam Bloom and Samantha Bennet) on the goings-on behind the scene as well as the moment she realized her game was done.
AB: Do you think it would have made sense for the group to follow Ben – or maybe you were following Ben – while he was looking for an idol? Was anybody else looking for an idol as well?
A: That’s the biggest question. Everyone looks at their TV and says, “What are you guys doing letting this guy look alone?” We should have taken shifts more than we did but I think we were following him. It’s just hard when the guy is getting up going stealth mode in the middle of the night. I look back at that last tribal after Lauren when he went to go get water. They don’t show it – I did follow him that night. I tried to talk about the tribal because I was thinking that – he should not go get water alone. He just played an idol and we don’t know if it’s already back. I was looking for idols. I don’t know about anyone else – they didn’t show that – because I didn’t have any luck finding them. We should have been on Ben patrol at all times. I don’t have an excuse for that one.
SB: Why did people want to wait to get Ben out? He seemed like an obvious threat, but it seemed like there were other people that everyone was gunning for first.
A: For us, when Lauren had won the reward and brought Devin and I in on it – we all decided to be an alliance together. I remember Lauren talking about it out in the open and bringing Ben in on it and we thought, “What the heck is she doing? We don’t need or want Ben. Ben needs to go.” I don’t know why he was brought into that. It ended up working for a little bit – he got to do the double agent thing and that was helpful to extent. But I know in my head – and you saw – I wanted him out sooner than everyone else was planning on. Ben needs to go – what are we doing? It’s interesting – you get a group of people and opinions are all so different even though he’s clearly the threat. You found this one after the last tribal, “He needs to go. This should have happened a long time ago.” It’s just weird how it all works out.
AB: Were you surprised that people went along with Chrissy’s plan to get you out?
A: Surprised? Yes. I was surprised then because I really did not think that I was going to be the bigger threat. There’s a lot of talk about Chrissy wanting to be the last woman standing and she had a thing about getting the other girls out. In all honesty, I hadn’t had game talk with Chrissy ever. Since the merge, we hadn’t talked at all. Then at the family reward, I blew off her offer to gang up with them so I could see that she saw me as giving her the cold shoulder. So she didn’t know what my plan was – if I was coming for her next. So I think that was her way of splitting up Devin and I. That’s what gets me is that they picked Devin at the last reward but she had just tried to work with me at the family reward. I denied her so she’s like, “Okay now I have to try for Devin” and it worked. I think it made sense that she wanted me out but I don’t think I was the biggest threat. I was a little bit surprised.
SB: Your strategy always has to change as things change. What was your strategy going into the game and how did it change over time?
A: I have to admit to you, I don’t think I had much of a strategy going into the game. It was, “I’m just going to feel this out.” I’ve never played “Survivor” before. You can say you have a strategy all you want but every conversation, things just happen that you never expect. I did whatever I felt was best, I have to say. I didn’t really have much of a strategy. As the game went on, it evolved based on the person. It was based on the reactions I was having with Devin. We would come up with a plan. “Let’s just stick with it, please!” But nothing’s ever that easy so my strategy was just roll with the punches the best I could.
AB: I know Devin had an original alliance with Ryan but his alliance with you seemed way more powerful and the reward challenge selection of Ryan could not have been enough to break Devin in your alliance. As a viewer, it felt like we were missing something. What do you think was another key moment where you missed out securing Devin?”
A: What they don’t show a lot of is that Mike actually was so desperate to find somewhere to get in that he wanted to split Devin and I up. Mike was telling Devin and I two different stories – telling Devin that I was planning on flipping on him and telling myself that Devin was going to flip on me. I didn’t want to believe it – apparently Devin did. I think, too, part of it was – the closer you get to somebody and playing the game, you start realizing how good they really are. You start getting insight into how their brain is working and how well they’re playing the game. I think that happened between Devin and I when I came to him wanting Ben out. I came to him at another point wanting Lauren out and he started realizing, “Oh Ashley is playing this game better than I thought. Maybe she’s not the person I want to go to the final three with.” On top of that, Mike’s telling him that I wanted to get him out and he believed it. So I think that’s something that isn’t shown. It wasn’t as simple as sharing a cheeseburger with these guys like, “You know what? Ashley’s old news.” It was more intricate than that. He had to play offense instead of defense at that point.
AB: Would you want to play the game again?
A: In a heartbeat, yes. It’s so funny because when you’re out there so miserable and you’re like, “I don’t even know why I played this in the first place. This sucks!” But then as soon as you get a meal or two in you, you think, “Oh my gosh I want to go back.” You forget so quickly the bad stuff and you remember how wonderful it all was.