Although it appeared Survivor: David vs. Goliath contestant Angelina Keeley was about to bite the reality TV dust, she was spared from elimination as the newly merged tribe opted to take out Elizabeth Olson instead. But Olson didn’t go without a fight. Before her torch was snuffed, Olson exposed Keeley for secretly warning her of the tribe’s plan to vote her out. But it was too late. Everybody — including Olson’s own allies from the David tribe — sent her packing.
SheKnows had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with Olson about her elimination, including how one player threw her under the bus and why she believes he’s playing “one of the most dynamic social games in the history of Survivor.”
SheKnows: When it seemed like there might be a possibility the tribe was going to get rid of Angelina, everybody voted for you. What happened?
Elizabeth Olson: They saw the writing on the wall and they decided it would be better to be right than wrong. They kept all their options open for one more vote. If I was in their shoes, I would’ve probably done the same thing. It was the right thing to do. If the Goliaths weren’t voting for Angelina, then they [Davids] should try to keep their place in the game as safe as possible by voting for me, too. I’m not bitter.
SK: Did any of your fellow Davids warn they were voting against you?
EO: No. My Davids did not. When Angelina told me on the path, it was right before we had to go to Tribal. I was talking to Gabby and Carl right as I’m going to a confessional right before Tribal, so I had no time to tell everybody. Gabby and Carl acted surprised, so they had me fooled. Both of them were hamming up the fact they didn’t know I was actually going home. It was very frustrating, but at the same time, I was playing the game of Survivor. It’s what I signed up for.
SK: Walking into that Tribal Council, did you know your time was up or was it a genuine shock to be voted out?
EO: I knew Angelina was telling me the truth, so I knew I was a target to go home and likely would go home. I literally felt like my destiny was 100 percent in my hands whether I was able to convince the Goliaths to vote out Angelina. She was their giant crack. She betrayed them all by coming and talking to me. If I could exploit that well enough, I felt like I had a chance. I felt like I was gaining some major traction seeing that come to fruition.
I was whispering around, too, at Tribal and I finally got around to Carl. He loudly proclaimed to everybody, “I don’t even want to hear it, Elizabeth! I don’t even want to hear it.” At that point, that’s when I realized all my Davids were in on it and they were voting for me, too. It took the wind out of my sails. I was gaining ground, but then no Goliath in their right mind would vote for Angelina not being confident that all the Davids weren’t gonna vote for her. Had I known about the Strike Force six [Christian, Gabby, Nick, Alec, Alison and Mike] that did not involve Carl, I would’ve tried to utilize them more. But I was gunning on Alec being my one that I swapped over and having all the Davids vote for Angelina. I thought I only had to convince one; I didn’t know I had to convince my Davids, too — specifically Carl. My game was screwed up by Carl. Ugh. So frustrating.
SK: Do you feel like Carl threw you under the bus?
EO: Yeah. He didn’t like me. I don’t think that he likes me now. I don’t know what his deal is, man. That’s not how I was raised. I never, that I know of, did anything to offend him. I know I’m annoying. I know that. He and I just clash. I think it might just be that we’re so very different.
SK: Who were you planning to go to the end of the game with?
EO: When I got to that merge, my No. 1 strategy was to build relationships. I wanted to have as many one-on-one relational conversations with people — not strategy, necessarily — but with as many people that I hadn’t met as possible. I think I flawed in going after my enemies first. I think I should’ve rounded the wagon train a bit more around my own people first. I just didn’t think it was going to be my downfall. I felt like everybody, and even Carl, I had a working relationship with. I had talked in-game with Christian from day one. Me and Christian were actually much closer than what they showed. He tried so hard to save me on that vote. He tried. He kept telling me, “I’m trying.”
I really liked Alec a lot, and I wanted to play the end game with him. I promised him and Christian a final three. And Lyrsa, I promised that, too. But she was, unfortunately, the last one out before the merge, which was like a knife to my heart. Those are the people that I was wanting to play the end game with.
SK: Tell us more about Christian, because it seems he is so well liked by everybody.
EO: He’s playing one of the most dynamic social games in the history of Survivor. He’s a genius. He’s also socially on point. It’s not an accident that everybody and their mother wants to work with Christian. Kudos to my man Christian. You could tell that he was close with a lot of people.
SK: When Angelina warned you the tribe was coming for you, was it a strategic play to get your jury vote later or was it a heartfelt moment?
EO: Angelina is constantly playing. She’s a very crafty person and good at manipulating situations. […] I think part of the reason she believes herself in that is because she has genuine empathy, care, concern and kindness in her heart. I think she’s lulled to sleep by that and is unaware of how crafty she really is. Sometimes that’s what is coming across stronger to other players in the game, that she’s so aggressive, manipulative and whatever. She’s like, “Well, I was genuinely feeling that.” Yeah, there might have been 5 percent genuine but 95 percent strategic. I think she’s convinced herself that it’s all good motives where she’s actually just a genius and playing the game really well.
SK: What has the fan reaction been like?
EO: I’ve heard very, very little negative, which has been surprising because I kind of came unglued and had a meltdown bigger than what they even showed about the bed thing. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the whole experience, both while I was out there and by the fan base. As long as most people see the reality of what happened out there — the good, bad and the ugly — I don’t care if people think I was the best Survivor ever. That’s not my problem. My problem was to do my best to play the game and try my best to win.