Denver's 'survivor' ready to move on
By Michael Mehle, Rocky Mountain News
October 12, 2002
Ghandia Johnson knew she'd spark some heat on Survivor: Thailand, but the "Denver Diva" didn't count on getting burned by the show's first sexual scandal.
"I expected attraction from other males. I am a pretty girl," Johnson said on Friday. "But I never expected the inappropriate advances."
In the show's second week, Johnson - a legal secretary at Denver's Holm Roberts & Owen - accused tribemate Ted Rogers of grinding against her while they slept at night.
Rogers owned up to the uninvited advances, but said he was confused in his sleep and thought he was back home, next to his wife.
Unappeased by the apology, Johnson campaigned to boot Rogers off the island, but her ire boomeranged.
On Thursday, Johnson - nicknamed the "Denver Diva" by one of her dissenting tribemates - was the fourth cast member ousted from the show.
Afterward, she admitted that she let her emotions waylay her strategy to win $1 million.
"It did cross my mind: what was the most important thing?" Johnson said. "I was a married and devoted woman. I didn't go on the island with a desire to have an affair or an illicit romance. It really insulted me. For the preservation of my own self-respect and integrity, I had to do that."
Back home in Denver, Johnson had to watch episodes in which camera edits showed her canoodling with Rogers, her hand on his leg, or snuggled against him at night.
"I'm thinking that they're trying to get some ratings, trying to play up the sexual drama," she said. "When I saw that scene with my hand on his leg, I totally didn't remember doing that. To me, it was so insignificant."
Harder still, she had to relive the inappropriate island action while watching the show with her husband, owner of a Denver hair salon.
"My husband was upset," she said. "Someone's up against your wife, you get upset.
"We have a strong, wonderful marriage. I adore him. He took care of the babies seven weeks without a complaint. For him to do that, and then see this, it was tough. But we're more in love than we were before."
And, after a round of interviews from New York Friday, Johnson is ready to move on.
"Emotions were just really high," she said. "I'm just hoping that they kind of diminish. You lead a much a happier life. Just let it go."