NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to be for all sorts of “Survivor: Cagayan” back-stabbin’, torch-snuffin’ fun. Check out our interviews with “Survivor” winner Tony Vlachos and runner-up Spencer Bledsoe and keep checking back for the rest of my exit interviews with the final four. And, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.
Gordon Holmes: You told your husband that your strategy if you got to the end would be to point out that when men make big moves they are applauded and when women make big moves they are vilified. Do you think this would have swung people you had personal issues with like Trish or Morgan?
Kassandra McQuillen: I’m not sure those particular people would have been won over. Because sometimes hate blinds people to logic. I would like to believe those players who pre-game said they were going to play and blindside and the usual stuff would have taken a look at themselves. They’d say, “You’re right. I said I was going to do this stuff and you did it to me. And I called you a bitch. But because Tony did it I call him a great strategist.” So, I would have owned my game and made that argument. The jury obviously didn’t reward integrity. It would have been great to see what would have happened. But, the Ponderosa effect was pretty strong.
Holmes: I saw that…and it was tough to watch. People weren’t talking to you. And I’m a big believer that it’s a game, and let’s all shake hands when it’s over. But, feelings get hurt. Were you able to mend fences at all?
McQuillen: I’ve talked to everyone except Morgan. She will not acknowledge my existence. And that’s fine, she’s a few years out from high school and is still living in that world. The people at Ponderosa were terrible to me. I still sympathize with them. It’s hard to go out of the game. But I look at it as; I got to play “Survivor” which is something I always wanted to do. How does Kass get on “Survivor”? It’s crazy.
Holmes: Your highest profile move was the jump after the merge. Something like that is going to make you a lot of enemies. I was asking people in their exit interviews and it sounded like you were never able to win people back over.
McQuillen: I did speak with Spencer and Jeremiah, they asked if we could work together. But people were so mad and so blindsided, they didn’t speak to me for days. Tasha did not speak to me for six days. I wanted to talk to her, we were tight. I wanted to explain why I did what I did. And I wanted to work with her again, but she wouldn’t speak to me. And a day in “Survivor” is like a year in your life. You’re giving up your game if you’re not speaking to people. And if you get blindsided like I was on day three, you can say, “That sucks and I don’t want to play with you kids anymore.” Or you can suck it up and start playing. You can say, “I’m not going to trust you, but I can use you.” I wish that Tasha and I would’ve been able to communicate. By the time she came around I had already solidified a gameplan to go with some brawns.
Holmes: Jeff Probst said he’d be interested in bringing you back. Strategically, I thought you were rock solid. Socially, you weren’t able get those jury votes back after the merge blindside. If you go back, what did you learn that can be useful?
McQuillen: Well, I’m lacking the social skills. I admit that. If I were to play again I would try to participate more in small talk. I’d be more vocal in the daily life. I was very quiet around camp. Strategically it’s all in my head anyway. I also think when I set foot on the island and saw my tribe, there were two groups that immediately bonded. Spencer and Garrett and Latasha and J’Tia. That left me with David. It was an uphill battle for brains. My god… (Laughs) Terrible tribe, but a great tribe. I love all the people.
Holmes: The best worst tribe ever!
McQuillen: (Laughs) Doomed from the start. We had no minions. We had six people who wanted to run the game. It was a disservice to have a tribe of all strategists.
Holmes: The past few years they’ve been letting the players tweet during the game. What has your experience with that been like?
McQuillen: I never had Twitter before. I have better things to do. I think Twitter is the playground for the hateful. It’s a place where people can come and say whatever they want. I don’t know what kind of person you are if you’re sitting at a phone looking up a reality contestant so you can call them the c-word on Twitter.
McQuillen: You have to keep perspective that the people who are saying these things…it’s a projection of who they are sitting in their mom’s basement obsessing over a TV show that’s on once a week. I’ve receive a lot of hate, I’ve also received a lot of love. I’m getting tweets from women who are very happy with my gameplay and that I’ve called people out on the double standard. I was approached by two women…who are older than me at 41, if you can believe that.
Holmes: Oh, you’re so ancient.
McQuillen: Hey, 40 is the new 70 on “Survivor.” Right?
Holmes: Did Jeff offer a walker at a reward challenge?
McQuillen: Yeah! Gosh, I’m surprised they didn’t come out and dye my grey hairs. It’s funny out there; you don’t think you’re old. But you go on “Survivor” and all these people say, “You could be my mom.”
Holmes: Well, I saw a 41-year-old pull off one of the most impressive come-from-behind wins I’ve ever seen on “Survivor” last night. That has to inspire the oldies out there.
McQuillen: That was great. I gave those boys a head start.
Holmes: That was very giving of you.
McQuillen: “Fifteen minutes, I’m gonna give you boys. Then I’m coming for you.”
McQuillen: And if that final puzzle had a few more cogs…
Holmes: I don’t think people appreciate how generous you are.
McQuillen: (Laughs) No. I’ve got to get to the puzzle, that’s the problem.
Holmes: We weren’t expecting a family visit at final four. Next thing you know, your husband is on your beach. What’s going through your mind at that point?
McQuillen: Jeff had told us we weren’t getting one when we were down to six.
Holmes: He’s the worst.
McQuillen: He said, “Maybe it’s not in the cards.” So we gave up on it. And then that boat pulled up. Spencer’s sister got out first, and I saw someone in clean clothes who was pale. I thought, “That is not a producer.” (Laughs)
McQuillen: I definitely think it showed that I’m a person. I did that challenge and he was talking to me the whole time. Jeff and everyone else had written me off. That was great. And to wear that necklace and to be there with my husband to see it was wonderful.
Holmes: So the lesson here is; Jeff Probst is the worst.
McQuillen: He’s a bit of turd.
Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Tony.
McQuillen: Wow…I like her outside the game. Confident.
McQuillen: Immature, entitled.
Holmes: You’re sooooo old at 41 years old. What do you take from this experience? When you get to be our age you’re pretty set in your ways.
McQuillen: I don’t think it changes anything. It’s a great story to tell my grandkids someday. I’m a fan. I always wanted to play. It’s a small part of your life. I’m not going to be some career “Survivor” person. I don’t run around hashtagging myself and making t-shirts. I love the game, I loved playing the game. And I feel very proud to be on this season which was a great season.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes