Blinded by love. Jessica “Figgy” Figueroa will forever be remembered as the girl who fell in love with the snowboarder “bro” on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X. But was it true love? During our one-on-one interview with Figgy, she unleashes behind-the-scenes, post-game secrets about why she and Taylor are no longer dating. In fact, they’re not even talking. What went wrong? Plus, she explains why Taylor doesn’t even deserve to win the game. This is a great interview, so sit back and soak it in.
SheKnows: You were definitely the victim of a blindside, so walk us through what was going through your head once the votes started falling against you.
Jessica Figueroa: I kind of knew the 2-2 tie vote was gonna come, I just didn’t know about Adam flipping. I knew the vote was coming toward me because I was more of a threat in the game than Taylor was. I think he thought we were in Alaska because his mind was all about snowboarding. His mind was not in the game for the most part. Mine was. I knew that if the vote was gonna come between Taylor and I, they would take me out over him because at that point, he would be at their mercy. I would never be at anybody’s mercy, so they had to take me out while they could.
SK: Are you angry with Adam for flipping on you?
JF: Yeah. I hate him! No, I’m kidding. I commend him. Adam is like a Cochran on Survivor fandom-level. I am not at that fandom level, but I’m a huge Survivor fan. When I watched the move, I think it was brilliant. I said it before and I said it when I got voted out — if they didn’t take me out now, it would’ve been bad for them in the long run because I would’ve came after them. I would have. Some people laugh online saying it’s a joke. No, I am a force to be reckoned with. My cover-up was the whole relationship that I had on the show. I understand why Adam did what he did. I don’t hate him for it. I applaud him kinda-sorta in a salty Mari way, and will toast a margarita to him.
SK: As a self-described fan of the game, do you respect Adam for taking you out? As a viewer, how do you respond to the move?
JF: I totally respect Adam for that move. You take out a power couple, but was it smart for your game? You could’ve kept the power couple in to keep the target off your back long-term. It could be a bad thing for Adam in the game or it could be a good thing because he now has Ken and Jess at his mercy. He also has Zeke who hates Figgy. Michaela doesn’t really want to work with anybody but Jay, but she’ll eventually come back to him. It could be a really good thing for Adam and that’s the only reason I will commend him. Obviously, because it was me, I’m bitter about it. I didn’t like watching it on TV. If I were in his shoes, that would be a tough decision. I probably would’ve done the same thing or taken out Taylor.
SK: While in the game, would you have ever voted Taylor out despite your flirtatious relationship?
JF: Yeah. If it came down to the merge and people were saying it was either me or Tails, I obviously would write Taylor’s name down. Taylor was just my 100 percent. That was my buddy out there. We’ve seen it before. It was Andrea and Matt Elrod [Survivor: Redemption Island] and she was shocked when he was voted out. Matt was her No. 1. That’s how I felt with Taylor.
SK: Are you and Taylor still interested in each other?
JF: What do you think?
SK: I don’t know. It’s been a long time since you filmed that episode. I’m gonna say “yes.”
JF: Wrong. The legend of Figtails has come to an end. When you’re on an island, it’s completely different from real life, and you find some things about people in their real life that you didn’t know on the island. It leads to a downfall, and it’s for good reasons we’re not together. It’s for the better. If we would’ve gotten married at Tribal Council, it would’ve been the world’s quickest divorce.
SK: Well, since you bring it up, let’s talk about that marriage offer. Jeff Probst is an ordained minister, so he suggested holding an impromptu Millennial-style wedding right there at Tribal Council between you and Taylor. You said you were willing to go for it, but were you serious?
JF: Yeah, man — I was a Survivor first! Why not do it? I mean, hell, I would’ve divorced his ass afterward anyways. I’m a Millennial. I’m all about doing things for the first time and being that person who says, “Let’s friggin’ do it.” It’s kind of a joke. I wasn’t in love with Taylor at that point. I felt for him, and I did love Taylor at some point. In that moment, I didn’t realize that I actually did love him. I was just like, “Let’s do it! Give me some margaritas, Jeff!” It’s a joke. It would’ve been funny. I’m definitely glad it did not go through. Thank you, Jeff, for talking some sense into everybody and just changing the subject.
SK: So you would have said “I do” that night.
JF: I think it would’ve been fun. I don’t know. It would’ve been funny [laughs.]
SK: Do you blame your early game demise on Taylor? Is it his fault for being so open about your bond?
JF: That’s a tough question to answer regardless. I’m gonna take it all the way back to Episode 2. I think if Taylor and I wouldn’t have been together, I would have been in trouble when Jay went up to Michelle and revealed it was me that night. Michelle said “no.” If Taylor and I weren’t together, I think it would’ve been easier for them to take out Figgy. I think that Taylor may or may not have helped me survive that first vote. I think because I paired off with someone who was thinking he was in another state like Alaska snowboarding down a mountain versus in Fiji playing a game for a million dollars was my demise. He was completely infatuated and wanted to make out the whole time. I wasn’t about it. I was like, “No. Don’t hug me. Don’t touch me. Don’t talk to me.” He couldn’t stop. I think my demise was just working with someone who was a 12-year-old boy.
SK: Do you regret playing so closely with him?
JF: I don’t regret anything in my life. It’s a lesson. Definitely a lesson learned on who I will work with in the future when I do play again. I will redeem myself one day.
SK: So you say you found some things out about Taylor after the game. Are you guys even talking now?
JF: Nope [laughs.] We are not talking. Yeah, we’re just not talking. Come the reunion show, things might change. We’ll see. We will obviously have to be in communication there, but we’re not friends.
SK: Are you dreading seeing him again?
JF: I don’t give a fuck if I’m his friend right now. I’m not dreading the reunion show. I think the fact that I love our season so much, I can’t wait to give Jeff a huge hug and see everybody again — other than him. I think that overpowers anything I have against him. I’m excited. It will be a good show for you guys to watch.
SK: I know this may be a bit personal, but can you tell us anything about what went wrong with Taylor?
JF: [Laughs] You will have to watch the reunion show. Just know that there are things that I found out about Taylor and they led to the demise of our relationship.
SK: But you were dating after the show?
JF: Yeah, we dated for a couple months after the show. We tried to make it work, but ultimately it just could not happen.
SK: If you could give your $1 million vote to anybody right now, who would it be?
JF: This one’s tough, honestly. I have three people I love to watch: Michaela, Jay and David. I could go with Michaela just for shits and giggles of her hating me and her being a beast. I could go with Jay for being in an alliance with me, but I think my vote would have to go to David. He is just what the game of Survivor is about. He is literally the person nobody would expect to be finding these Idols, playing them for people and doing all these things. He’s getting outside of his comfort zone, playing the game and adapting. It’s beautiful to watch.
SK: On the flip side, who does not deserve to win at this point?
JF: The person that does not deserve to win is Taylor. No, that’s mean of me. Other than Taylor, it would be Jessica. I just think she was saved by grace when David played his Idol. People are saving her and she’s not doing enough for me. She should’ve gone home instead of Lucy. She owes her life to so many people in this game. I don’t think she deserves right now to win. Same thing for Taylor.
SK: How did you get on the show?
JF: I applied last year for the first time. I had always been a fan and always wanted to apply, but I’m a workhorse. I’m work-work-work-work-work-work-work. If I have time, sure, but I never really had time, the camera or equipment to do anything. My sister gave me a Survivor buff from her office that she had because she knew I was a fan of the show. I wear it out in public all the time. This little girl asked me if I’d ever been on and I said, “No, but I’d probably be really good at it.” I told my mom that and she told me to apply. I did and here I am talking to you.
SK: For all the geeks out there, which buff is it?
JF: I love it. It’s a buff that has all the seasons on it. It’s one of the orange anniversary buffs.