First to find herself on the outs of her newly-picked tribe was Michelle Chase, the music-producer bikini eye candy from Los Angeles, CA. FORT caught up with Michelle by a conference call in which several journalists were able to ask questions of this season’s first boot.
What else was going on behind the scenes that led to you being voted off besides being bad in challenges?
As far as behind the scenes, I don’t think anything happened that you didn’t see. They just used the fact that I was freezing cold and looked small and weak—the older people played that a lot to save their own asses.
Were you surprised that nobody even suggested voting off GC after you were gone?
No. After I was gone, I didn’t understand why they didn’t vote Gillian off the first time. Her, Randy, and Susie were all completely useless to the tribe. The whole Fang tribe didn’t have any competitive edge, which you need to have when you’re in a challenge. But GC does have a work ethic, and he was doing a lot around camp, so no, it didn’t surprise me at all that they didn’t talk about booting him off.
Was your tribe really “retarded and ugly?”
They were retarded, yes. I mean, they voted me off, what do you think?
What did you think of Gillian wanting to have everyone eat the elephant dung?
Like I said, I have no idea why she wasn’t voted off first. She was completely useless. She wanted to seem like she knew all this stuff about the outdoors and everything, but really she just dressed in safari gear, and wanted to eat poo.
Ken really wanted love. Did you flirt back with him? Was that part of your game play?
We got along, we clicked, but I definitely wasn’t flirting or anything. I thought he was adorable. He’s just a little kid who never had a boyfriend before—I mean girlfriend! I thought he was super cute!
The tribal council was a little unusual in that Jeff Probst forced you guys to pick a leader. What did you think of all that?
I think he just wanted to make us realize that we didn’t have our sh** together—and at the very least having someone to lead the group would probably be the best place to start. Of course he was wrong, the best place to start was getting rid of the dead weight. I think it was kind of pointless, honestly.
At tribal council, you really spoke your mind—do you think anything you said changed anybody’s mind, maybe swayed anyone’s vote against you?
No, because at that point I knew they were all voting for me.
When did you realize that everyone was going to vote against you?
Walking into tribal council, I kind of sensed it. Up until that point I thought that there was no way that Randy, Susie, or Gillian would last longer than me—I was completely oblivious to that thought.
So why weren’t you able to build enough inroads with people in the tribe besides Ken?
I didn’t have time!
Looking back, what would you have done differently?
I think I probably would have flirted with younger guys more. I probably would have played that card. I honestly, like I said, was completely confident. I didn’t think that I would be the first one to go, especially looking at my tribe. Maybe if I was on Kota and I were competing with a bunch of young people that were in shape, then I would have been more worried about getting booted off. I didn’t think for a second that I’d be the first one to go.
Why do you think you got picked last?
I have no idea. It was really shocking. I just took into account that I was smaller than I usually am; I was skinnier than I usually was. I just kind of figure that’s why I got chosen last. It still didn’t make sense, though, that Susie was the third person picked. It didn’t make any sense to me to put together a tribe that you’re going to be competing in physical challenges with, and picking people that are obviously out of shape, and useless. To this day I don’t understand how the tribe ended up the way it ended up.
Who would you have picked to be on your tribe, if you had been one of the first people?
I definitely would have picked a big strong guy. Ace, or Dan, or Marcus would have been one of my first picks.
How did you prepare before going on the show? What was your strategy going in?
Learning to use less food, less calories. Every day I’d eat less and less and less, and go about my normal day-to-day routine but on less calories so I was ready for it. That was a really good strategy, because I was only there for three days, but the hunger—I did eat one termite—but hunger didn’t bother me at all. But it was the cold that really did me in.
What did the termite taste like?
I couldn’t tell you because—actually, I swallowed it like a Tylenol, but then I burped, and I did kind of have this sultry taste in my mouth.
When you guys were going into Africa, what did they warn you about? What was the most dangerous element there?
Not having face wash.
Yeah! Did you see my face on TV? I have like ten zits.
But that’s not really dangerous, though.
Oh, well I guess we have different descriptions of danger, and me being caught on HDTV with ten zits is very dangerous.
What do you think is the secret to surviving the first week then?
I don’t know, I didn’t even make it a week! (laughing) Ask Parvati or somebody that made it through the week. I don’t know.
That first challenge, you were the first woman up the hill, did you think you had secured your place in the tribe at that point?
Yeah, absolutely! Even if I hadn’t been the first woman, I still would have been totally confident and looking at my tribe saying there’s no way I would be the first one to go out of all these people. But being the first one up in the tribe, I thought for sure that fueled keeping my place on the tribe at least a couple of weeks.
After that did you sit back and relax?
So it definitely changed how you played the game?
It did. I was kind of cocky, kind of, “Ha ha, you guys didn’t pick me but I was the third person up the hill.”
You confronted everyone at tribal council, so what was going through your mind at that point?
When I was being brutal and upfront, I had already known they were planning on voting for me.
Being on HDTV this time, the wildlife shots for us viewers are unlike anything we’ve seen on Survivor. But what wildlife did you get to experience yourself when you were out there?
I actually didn’t get to see any wildlife when I was on the show but I heard it at night. I do remember seeing these tiny little frogs that were the size of your pinkie fingernail. They were bright green, they were so cute and pretty. They were the tiniest frogs - like they must have just turned into a frog from a tadpole. That’s what sticks out, this neon colored tiny little frog that I was thinking about eating.
Was there a previous Survivor whose game you thought you were similar to – you mentioned Parvati?
Actually, I thought I would be playing a little bit more like Courtney.
Do you read the websites to see what people are saying about you?
No. (laughing) No, it’s like, I was the first to go so it’s hard enough to keep a positive outlook about it. I don’t want to go online and read what a bunch of people are saying about me that don’t know me. You know. I have gotten some nice messages and Myspaces; really nice ones, like, “I can’t believe they voted you out.” But I know if I were going onto the forums I would probably be reading stuff that would make me cry.
When you found out you were going to be on the show, how hard is that to not tell everyone you’re going to be on Survivor?
It was fun. I like keeping secrets. “I’m going away, but I can’t tell you why. I’m not at liberty to disclose that information.” It was fun to say that all the time.
What’s the casting process like?
I had no idea if I was going to make it after all the interviews. They prepare you to go, your shots and everything, but they still don’t give you an answer. They could be preparing you to go and just saying, “Sorry.” There were definitely people waiting to go who were backups or something.
What would you tell someone who wanted to be on Survivor?
I was just myself -- my bodacious, loud, say-what-comes-to-mind, self.
What advice would you have given your tribe at the moment you got voted out, if you could have?
My calling out Ken and GC in the middle of the challenge—it kind of was harsh criticism, but if they plan on staying in this game they need to get a game face on. You don’t stop in the middle of a challenge. I didn’t get to say anything before I left, but I kind got to make my point before I did leave, that you just don’t do that in competitions. You don’t stop and take a break.
Maybe it’s too early to speculate, but who do you think might go all the way?
Of course I want to root for Ken, because he was my buddy. I think he could go pretty far. And I really think he wants that title, Sole Survivor, so I think that he would do whatever he needs to do to get it.
Would you have been a good back-stabber?
No, even my mom said, “How are you going to stab people in the back, you’re not going to be able to do that!” But I think if I’d gone far in the game and I was there, I think I could have possibly done it well. But I do have a hard time lying, I’ll be honest.
Other than Ken, had you made any alliances in those first three days?
I wouldn’t call them alliances, but with GC and Dan and even Crystal—Crystal did approach me and ask if I wanted to start a girl alliance, and I’m looking around, like “You mean with Gillian and Susie?” I want a strong alliance!
Would a strong alliance have been possible with your tribe?
You know, I really don’t think so. Going back, if I was going to try to do anything different, it would probably be to try to get all the younger people together and thinking on one line. Possibly. But they stopped in the middle of a challenge, I mean, c’mon!
That really pissed you off, didn’t it!
It did! It was disappointing.
Now that you’ve had a taste of this, would be up for doing another reality show in the future?
I would do it again! But it would have to be a really cool one. You can’t go from Survivor to Wipeout. I wouldn’t do the Bachelor! But if it was physical, and living up to the standards of Survivor, I would do it again!
As long as you can have face wash!