It was a jam-packed week for Survivor: David vs. Goliath as two more castaways’ torches were snuffed out. Relaxed surfer Alec Merlino was the first to go, and then Carl Boudreaux bit the dust after being dubbed the game’s “Godfather.” SheKnows recently had the opportunity to chat one-on-one with both Alec and Carl, which we’ve combined for this supersize in-depth interview.
SheKnows: Alec, you had one of the happiest exits the game has ever seen. What was going through your mind at that moment?
Alec Merlino: How many people get to say Jeffrey snuffed their torch? Not a lot. I was like, “This is a cool moment right now.” It sucked, but as soon as your name is read and he says, “Alec, that’s enough,” there’s like this weight that’s lifted off your shoulders. It was a hell of a ride and a hell of a journey, but it is what it is. It’s a bummer, but you gave it your all. You have to go out smiling; you can’t be bitter about it. It’s a game at the end of the day.
SK: Did you have any clue you were getting voted off, or was it a blindside?
AM: In the beginning of the day and all throughout our time back at camp, I really thought I had a fighting chance. It wasn’t until right before Tribal, when I got a look from Alison and Kara. They kind of nodded at me like, “It’s gonna be you.” I couldn’t get Gabby and Christian. They were the swing vote that had to vote in my favor to get Carl out, so I kind of told Kara and Alison, “It’s all good. No worries. No stress. You guys can put my name down.”
SK: You nearly won that painful endurance challenge, but after more than five hours, you dropped out and Christian claimed Immunity. Tell us what you were feeling.
AM: Christian was the real beast in that challenge, to be honest. It was just so mentally, physically and emotionally draining being up there for six hours. You just start to get in your head. I was just inside my head, and Christian was a huge part of that. He got inside my head because in hour four, he started talking and he didn’t stop until I stepped off. I was like, “Damn. You’re a beast.” I was super stoked he won. I was really happy for him.
SK: Who were you planning to go to the end of the game with?
AM: Alison was my day-one homie. She and I had an agreement to go to the final three, 100 percent. I knew day 10, day 12, day 20 that Alison was always really strong. I wanted to go to the end of the game with her because I knew she was such a threat. I knew she was so good socially. […] She was someone that came up to me on day one and said, “I dig you. I like you. I want to play with you.”
SK: What has the fan reaction been like?
AM: Everyone on social media has been super-nice. They’ve been reaching out saying I played so good and they’re bummed I got voted out. It’s cool to see people show love and give the good side back. I’m trying to respond to every one of them and let them know I appreciate them. It’s been cool, dude.
Want more? Check out our extensive conversation with Carl Boudreaux below.
SheKnows: Going into that Tribal Council, did you know you were getting voted off, and what was going through your mind at that moment?
Carl Boudreaux: No. Absolutely not. I was stunned, man. I had no clue that two of my allies would flip on me. They did and I got voted out. I didn’t see it coming.
SK: The tides began turning against you when some people started labeling you as the “Godfather” who was trying to call all the shots. Did you feel that way?
CB: I never once felt it. Everything we did was done together as a collective group. We discussed every move we were making, so it was not one person dictating what was going to take place. We always talked about it and came to a collective agreement on everything we were doing. I was surprised to be seen as the Godfather. That one totally caught me off guard. I’ll take it. Who doesn’t want to be known as the Godfather for playing the best game ever?
SK: Who was really leading that perception? Was it Gabby?
CB: I would have to say it was Gabby that laid that perception down. I had a tough time with Gabby at the end. When I talk, I talk straightforward. I don’t beat around the bush. I guess Gabby wasn’t used to people as straightforward as I am. So she took it in a different way.
SK: You were put on the David tribe. Was that the right fit, or are you more of a Goliath?
CB: They went off of your past and how you were brought up. When I was brought up, I didn’t have everything in life that some others had. My parents struggled. My dad was the only one working and he made sure to put food on the table, but we didn’t have all the luxuries of life. When I started working, I never went to college or anything of that nature. I just always busted my butt and worked hard for everything I had, so I was OK with being on the David tribe.
SK: You made a Goliath move in playing your Idol nullifier to take Dan out of the game. Why target Dan?
CB: Dan was a bit cocky. He was all over the place with his gameplay. We knew pretty much that Dan had an Idol, so why not get Dan? He’s a challenge threat.
SK: What are your thoughts on Christian? Did you view him as a big threat to win the game?
CB: Christian was absolutely a big threat to win. He was the smartest person out there, and he was a superfan. He knew everything there is about that game. He was probably the biggest threat to win that game going in. As far as my gameplay goes, when we had our five Davids remaining, we weren’t going to keep Christian around. We were going to get him out, but unfortunately, they got me before I could accomplish that goal. Christian is definitely viewed as a big threat in that game.
SK: Who did you want to go to the end of the game with?
CB: I was fine with going to the end with Davie and Nick because we all three became close. We all felt if we went to the final three, it was pretty much “may the best man win.” Whichever one of us won, the other two wouldn’t be upset with it. […] I just connected with those guys.