(CBS) — Survivor 41 spares no drama, as a last-minute Tribal gambit extinguishes Tiffany Seely’s torch in episode 8. CBS’s Katie Johnston talked to Tiffany about her time on the island, her collaboration with Evvie, and the drama unfolding while Xander grew paranoid of being seen as a threat.
KJ- Survivor season 41, Tiffany is here with me today. Sorry to see that things didn’t go your way on this season of Survivor. But it’s nice to see you today. I’m excited to speak with you.
TS- Thanks, Katie. I’m excited to be here. Sort of.
KJ- Nobody ever expects this outcome, of course, for themselves. You go in expecting to win it. And with the collapse of the Yase Tribe, especially as we watch the trust kind of dissipate between you guys, you straight up said you felt like it was gonna be you voted out Tribal. So when did you start to feel like you were in jeopardy?
TS- So what I think that viewers didn’t really get to see what that Xander was not talking to me anymore. So after I gave him back his stuff, and that loyalty and trust was there. I did not use his stuff when it was on my person. And you would think after being together for 16 days, you know, and that loyalty is there. And you see I don’t use it on Evvie, who’s my ride or die. You know how close we are. That should have spoken for something, and it did not. In fact, it turned the complete other way. I think he became paranoid that everybody else was seeing us as a threat three. So he completely just did not speak to me whatsoever. I tried to talk to him. Liana ran after him while I was there. I mean, it was just, it was insanity. And I felt like, you know, there is no good game without some type of loyalty, especially when you guys are down on numbers and you’re the smaller of the groups. So you would think that we would stick together, especially at this Tribal after we made this massive move together, which was ultimately masterminded by myself and Evvie and made it look like Xander, you know, did the whole thing on his own. Evvie and I got together on that. We were always lockstep. We strategized like crazy. We came up with that. I said there’s no—Evvie and I both at the same time. I have to be honest, I said we can’t give it to Evvie, everybody knows you two are tight. Give it to, give it to me. Nobody will suspect that I have it. And it worked like a charm. Besides, I mean he did go off and tell Danny about it, which was really not smart. He was a little bit too performative at Tribal for my liking, pulling it out early, the whole thing. Like just sit there be humble, do your deal. It’s gonna be a big move. And you know, so I don’t know if there was a little bit of fear that we were so strategic. He saw us being strategic. That loyalty line, it went completely opposite. It made no sense.
KJ- Tell me what was going through your mind during that tribal, because it was so dramatic with the halting and Heather whispering in people’s ears. I mean, what were you thinking in that moment?
TS- Oh, yeah. I was thinking what in the hell was happening here? So because nobody was talking to me on the island, I was like ‘god, they just don’t want to tell me it’s me.’ So I was already feeling like I was in jeopardy. However, if they were smart, you would think it is merge, we need to flush something. So at best, I was like, okay, it may be me, but they’re gonna have to split it on somebody with actual idols and things. So they’re gonna split between Xander and myself, or Naseer and myself, right. So I’m like, you’re hustling over here trying to hear things, as much as I can gather, as much intel as I can on the downlow, because everyone’s you know, literally, Evvie and I were like, we had some sort of disease. Nobody was coming near us. It was crazy. She had the—she was safe. And I was screwed, because it was supposed to be Evvie that night. But she won, which I’m so proud of her. She did, what an episode for her. But anyway, so going in, I was like, they’re gonna split it. I mean, Xander.
But then I started seeing everybody sort of like fighting. There was Shan was crying with Liana over grilled cheese. This one’s fighting over who’s doing what. People are trying to block people from talking to people. It was sheer madness. And obviously, the time span there was not very long. It looked like we had a lot of time. But at merge there was no time to get to know people, it was minimal to none. And we got really messed up with a lot of those stupid rock draws and things, and I was not on the good side of those things. But anyway, so going in, I was thinking it was gonna be split between Xander and Naseer, so that they could use their idols and maybe say we’re going to split it between Xander and Naseer and get me out. Fine. You just flushed two idols, you got me out. Mazel tov! You did a great job. This was just, it was madness. So when Heather tells me to get up to sit there and not move. New Yorker, you think I’m just gonna sit there and not move? They did not show it. I got up so fast, you’ve never seen anything like it. And I go to talk to Xander, because I’m like, ‘this is bad.’ He’s got to be aware. He’s got to realize like, we got to do something here. And he went like this to me. He didn’t want to talk to me. It was terrible. They didn’t show it. But he did. And I was like, I’m dead in the water.
There’s nothing to do when no one’s talking to you. I can’t go and physically open their mouths like, ‘Okay, Tiff, we’ll do this.’ It wasn’t happening. But there was enough fracture and conversations that I knew it was—now when she jumped up—that I was maybe going to be okay. She ultimately tried to keep me safe by putting it on Naseer. But it ended up being between me and Heather. And then Danny, I mean Deshawn, saying ‘I’m not doing Heather.’ It was gonna be Heather, it went completely to Heather. And then Deshawn decides ‘I’m not doing that Shan,’ who normally does her own thing and is the boss, gives Deshawn the power and says, ‘okay, dude, we’re gonna do what you want because I don’t want you to be mad. We’re gonna do what you want.’ Let’s keep you placated, because he was doing that a lot on the islands. And it got me voted out. Because at the end of the day, she did what he wanted. And everybody was willing to do Heather and it became me. And I went and sat down thinking, this is going to be split. I can’t use—I actually didn’t remember my shot in the dark. But I wasn’t even thinking about it. Because I was worried I was going to be Sydney’ed. So I was like, I’m not doing it. I’m not—I’m not doing it. Then Heather votes for me. What? Heather voted for me after trying to save me. And then Liana, who I’m literally keeping at bay the entire season from Xander’s butt. The entire time. Then she votes me over Xander with an idol. What? Why? Made no sense? Made no sense. So I was pretty hot that I got out in a way where, okay, get me out, flush something. This is survivor flush something. Nada.
KJ- It was just interesting how, you know, Heather’s rule hadn’t been very big, at least from the viewers perspective until this show. And then and then all the drama unfolding near the end of it really comes to show how much was going on behind the scenes, right? That the viewers might not always see up front or see when the cameras aren’t rolling or when the cameras aren’t—when they don’t edit those into it. It was pretty clear, at least to us that Shan was orchestrating how to play the cards the entire episode. So yeah, how much of that played into it? Or do you think it really just came down to the little whispers and everything going on at Tribal?
TS- I think that Shan had a lot. Listen, I think she had a lot of power, a lot, because they kept going to Tribal. So it makes her look like this big mastermind. And she’s a good game player. You know, she’s fun to watch, this good game player. But when it came to the merge, it was a power struggle. And it was very evident. And it was like, Deshawn and Shan at each other’s throat. They’re trying to keep this group together. And the focus became like, ‘who am I going to keep happy?’ Versus doing the smart, strategic thing. And I thought, ‘guys this is not the way you play Survivor.’ I’m not okay with this. Like with me and Evvie are strategizing. We’re working with people. We’re trying to get—I mean, I had plans going out the wazoo, such great ideas, but they weren’t strategizing. They were too busy placating each other. Dude, this is Survivor! Like we’re not placating each other. We are playing a game. Let’s do it with integrity. And let’s play the freakin’ game. And I just feel like there was too much luck. Too much emotion. There were some young players, maybe not so great to be on a season that has so much craziness thrown into it. tThere was so much of—I mean, it makes for great TV and drama because they are young and they have they don’t have a filter, but it screwed up my game
KJ- If there was anything that you could do and go back that you would do differently at this point.
TS- Well, clearly if I knew Xander was going to be the way he was, I would have kept his stuff.
TS- 100% but there was no reason for me to think he would flip on me. Zero. He just trusted me with all of his best possessions. You don’t think he’s gonna flip on you like that. It made no sense. It was a very, very short-sighted move on is his end. And a lot of his moves that seemed a bit performative to me—where like, if you want to make a boss move like give me, use your idol on me. You’re not gonna use it anyway. Use it on me and then we have the numbers. One more vote. But listen. He’s got to play his game, and kudos him for flipping on me. I guess I’m hearing these. He’s not.
KJ- I want to thank you so much for speaking with me today then Tiffany, it was really great talking to you and great hearing more about your story.
TS- Thanks so much. I appreciate it.
Tune in next Wednesday for another all-new episode of Survivor 41 on CBS or stream it live with Paramount+. Check your local listings for more information.