Michaela Bradshaw is still throwing shade. As the Survivor: Game Changers finale quickly approaches, Bradshaw says that one of the top six castaways is nothing more than irrelevant. That was one of many topics discussed during SheKnows‘ one-on-one interview, in which Bradshaw accepted blame for her elimination and admitted she was kind of relieved to be voted off.
SheKnows: That was a wild Tribal Council. Please walk us through what happened in the moments leading up to your elimination.
Michaela Bradshaw: Basically, what you had was Cirie’s super bright idea to save Sarah. She genuinely felt like Tai was against Sarah, which was halfway true. She went about this whole thing the wrong way. Instead of just gathering votes the normal way, she came up with this elaborate scheme to use Sarah’s advantage to steal Sarah’s vote to get rid of Tai. Why does that make sense in her head? I don’t know. We found out she couldn’t use the advantage, which spooked Sarah. She felt like Cirie was coming after her and now she couldn’t be trusted. Sarah felt like I was an extension of Cirie and couldn’t trust me. I was trying to make sure Sarah didn’t throw me under the bus because she was mad at Cirie. Now, Brad and Troyzan had the opportunity to get out of the bottom.
SK: Did you know Cirie was going to play that advantage?
MB: Yes. I warned her against it. She was just very hell-bent on doing that for some reason. She genuinely felt like she was saving Sarah. Why go through such an extent to save Sarah? I tried to talk her off the ledge, but I didn’t do enough.
SK: Why not tell Sarah the full plan so she wouldn’t be caught off guard?
MB: Sarah felt like Tai was her good friend in this game. Sarah didn’t want to believe Tai had any part of colluding against her, even though he did.
SK: Do you blame Cirie for the reason you were voted out?
MB: She and I both know that had she not done that, I wouldn’t have been voted out at that Tribal Council. However, I don’t have any ill will toward her. In the same sense that I could try to blame Cirie for my fate in that game, there were a couple of very clear opportunities that I had to secure myself. If I had been paying attention instead of being so wrapped up in my emotions, I would’ve seen that vote-stealing advantage when I didn’t get picked for the challenge. So that’s my fault. I didn’t scramble as hard as I could’ve that day. I knew what Cirie was gonna do. Even though I knew it was a bad idea, I didn’t necessarily do anything about it. That was my fault as well. Cirie made a mistake, and that mistake ultimately led to a voting situation that was not favorable to me. I don’t have any bitterness or blame toward Cirie at all because I could’ve saved myself.
SK: Before the voting took place, there were some last-minute conversations at Tribal Council. What was being said in your circle of whispers?
MB: All the whispers were names. One had Immunity and another person is completely irrelevant but just doesn’t know it at this point. It was just one name after the other.
SK: You said one person of the final six is irrelevant. Who are you talking about?
MB: A person that has no votes thus far. [Laughs.] The final episode is next week, but everyone will be on one accord for it. Sometimes you think you’re doing something in this game, and you’re not. Sometimes you play a game like me and Cirie where you allow yourself to be underestimated, but you’re doing things behind the scenes. Then there are others who aren’t doing what they think they are.
SK: We saw several instances where you couldn’t keep your emotions calm, like kicking the challenge puzzle in frustration. Were you ever worried your behavior might make people think you’re a loose cannon that needs to be voted out?
MB: No. Not at all. If I would’ve sat still and quietly read my Bible on the island, people would’ve thought I was too serious. I think some people just had something against me in the game, and I don’t know why. I was called everything. I was lazy one day, but then I was doing too much the next day. I’m too loud or too quiet. The fact that I actually cared about advancing myself in the game and was not ecstatic to lose after putting forth so much effort in challenges — people can use that as a negative if they want, but I don’t think my honesty on its own is what made people want to send me home.
SK: Which season’s elimination was harder for you to accept?
MB: It was harder the first time to be voted out. You can see the second time I look kind of happy. [Laughs.] The first time, I was hurt and distraught. I felt stabbed in the heart by Jay. I could not fathom what had just happened, and I was deeply hurt by the situation. This time, I wasn’t hurt by the situation. I didn’t take it personally this time at all. I was actually looking forward to experiencing this other aspect of Survivor. I get to be on the jury. I get to walk out all cute and slay while asking questions at the final Tribal Council. I was looking at all the positives of getting voted out as opposed to marinating on the fact I lost a million dollars twice.
SK: You competed in back-to-back seasons. How long was it from being voted off Millennials vs. Gen-X till you came back for Game Changers?
MB: I went on the pre-jury trip to Australia [after Millennials vs. Gen-X] before I was sent back to Texas. I was in Texas for a week and a half, which was just long enough to pay my car insurance and find another place for my car to sit so I could leave again. I had already moved out of my apartment with all my stuff in storage. Everything was riding on this experience for me. I didn’t think that much about it, but when I got back to Fiji, it was like all the trauma of the first season hit me at once. That’s when I really thought this was the wrong decision. It was a lot, but I was already there. I’m grateful that I did it. It was a crazy experience. It was rough for me, but I appreciated it as well.
SK: When were you asked to play again?
MB: I was asked covertly the day after I was voted off Millennials vs. Gen-X. Somebody said, “If Jeff asked you, would you come back?” At first I said no, but when I got to Australia, I was like, “Yeah, I feel like I could do better.” Couple days later, Jeff was on the phone and we started doing it again.
SK: Would you play again?
MB: I would, but I just need to be older, wiser and less rough around the edges. Hit me up when I’m like 30-35 and I have one child. [Laughs.]