Jay Starrett was booted from Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X in a nail-biting Tribal Council where he was duped into playing a fake Immunity Idol. It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch, but Jay doesn’t seem to mind it whatsoever. In fact, he thinks it’s funny. That was just a part of our conversation on the finale’s red carpet with Jay, where the sixth-place finisher also discussed how he found out Adam’s mother had passed away.
SheKnows: You fell victim to a fake Immunity Idol. As that moment played out on TV, the studio audience was laughing at you. I truly felt bad about how it all unfolded. Could you hear the crowd’s laughter backstage?
Jay Starrett: No, because I was laughing. Dude, it’s a game. When funny stuff like that happens, you gotta go with it and laugh.
SK: Who did you think made that Idol?
JS: I just looked around and David looked at me. I was like, David did it for sure. He looked at me and tapped my back.
SK: Despite the way you were eliminated, your exit from the game was very gracious.
JS: I respect the game so much. We’re all here playing a game, so you can’t take these things like stab wounds to the heart. It’s a game. If you lose, you lose with pride, respect, and you appreciate the people that beat you. It’s life.
SK: From my perspective, it seemed like your game changed when Taylor was voted off. It was almost as if Taylor was a distracting you from the big prize.
JS: I was pretty focused the entire time. The story they showed was me growing in character, I guess. I was focused the entire time, honestly. I’m here to win. But in the beginning, I was with the Millennials tribe. You have to learn to adapt with these different players. With them, you can’t seem to be too focused because they’re gonna come for you. I’m not gonna sit with Tails and be like, “Yo, this is how we’re gonna win.”
More: Survivor viewers rejoice after Taylor Stocker gets voted off
SK: But when Taylor buried the tribe’s food, you eventually ate some of it with him.
JS: I didn’t really get to eat too much because at the merge, I got sick from like salami or something, and I was sick for like three days. When he buried it all and I found out, I was like, “What are you doing? Dude, this isn’t right. We should tell somebody.” Then everyone was against me and I was like, “You know what? I’m gonna eat it.”
SK: What was your dream final three?
JS: Me, David and Adam. I wanted to duke it out like men to see who won. If you win like that, then you are the sole Survivor.
SK: Adam won the $1 million in a landslide victory with every single vote. How quickly did you decide to give him your vote once the final three was determined?
JS: I knew immediately in my heart. I just followed my gut. When David went home, I knew who my vote was for. It doesn’t matter what anyone can say. Hannah flipped all the time, no offense to Hannah. With Ken, we bonded as competitors, but we never strategized together. I saw Ken voted Dave off, and I was more impressed with Adam. No. 1, his mom is at home sick. No. 2, he’s got a million things on his mind, even with the game on the line. That must be insane. He made his way through it all, so it’s gotta go to him.
SK: Had David made it to the final three against Adam, who do you vote for?
JS: No idea. I have no idea. That would’ve been a question of, do I respect strategy because David made it? Or do I respect emotion based on my love for Adam and he’s a good dude? It’s a mix.
SK: Before that final vote, you were the only person Adam confided in about his mom’s health. His mom passed away just one hour after returning home from the game. How did you hear the news?
JS: He FaceTimed me. I broke down. I was sitting with my mom and we started crying. I love that kid. Life does funny things to you.
SK: How did you get on the show?
JS: I just sent in a video. For anyone that wants to be on the show, just make a video and be yourself. Tell a good story and you can make it.
SK: If CBS called and asked you to play again, what’s your response?
JS: Are they calling right now? I need to go!
Would you like to see Jay play the game again in a future season? Join the conversation by leaving a comment in the section below!
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.