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I've never played "Survivor" before. I give the players all the credit in the world for pushing themselves to their physical limits. And, it's really easy to sit on my couch with a bowl of chips and a beer and tell these people what to do. That being said…
If someone is going to beat everyone in front of the jury and has a history of finding idols…FOLLOW HIM WHEN HE “GOES TO GET WATER!”
I spoke with the latest victim of Ben's Idol Streak the morning after she was eliminated. While we chatted I asked about Devon's betrayal, Chrissy's motives, and how five people couldn't stop one dude from wandering around a jungle.
Gordon Holmes: I hate to start off like this, but why weren’t you guys following Ben?!
Ashley Nolan: (Laughs) I didn’t really think he was looking. In the morning, that’s a different thing if we were sleeping. But, we should have been on Ben patrol. After Tribal, when he went off to get water, I wasn’t in that huddle, because I did follow him. I went with him and tried to talk about game stuff and mend our relationship. They didn’t show that.
Holmes: OK, you get a pass. But everybody else is going to hear about it.
Nolan: We should’ve been on Ben patrol for sure. Everywhere he went they just seemed to pop up.
Holmes: What was the plan heading into Tribal?
Nolan: We were going to split the votes between Ben and Mike. And when Ben showed the idol, nobody’s demeanor really changed. They had a Plan B. And they always say on “Survivor,” if you don’t know the Plan B, then you are the Plan B. So, it hit me right then. I remember someone saying, “We’re going to stick to the plan.” And I remember Mike agreeing. So, I was thinking, “What does he think the plan is?” If I’m confused right now, then something might be up.
Holmes: Had there been any hints that Chrissy was targeting you before Ben played the idol?
Nolan: I knew as soon as they took Ryan to the reward. It wasn’t going to be good for me. Chrissy and I didn’t play together at all. We talked no strategy. Getting to the final six, I knew I was nothing but a number to her. So, as soon as she got Devon, that was it. I love Devon, but he’s naïve. Chrissy’s a good player. Ryan’s a frickin’ lawyer. He can convince anyone.
Holmes: There was a moment where it seemed like you and Chrissy were bonding over the way Joe was treating you both. Nothing came out of that?
Nolan: I think it was fair to say that we both just didn’t like Joe. At that point in the game, she wanted him out because of who he was. And I did too. Gamewise, that’s when you saw us get him and Mike on our side. They didn’t show this, but he got really personal. Like how he got personal with Ben, Chrissy had sworn on her children, and what kind of mother is she. It was really degrading as a person. They just showed our reaction to it. So at that point, I felt like I needed to stick up for her. Me and Chrissy joke about this still, we really enjoy each other. I just got a Christmas card from her and her family. But, for some reason we never played together. When Devon and Ryan had a falling out, we went with our partners. We never met back up.
Holmes: When your name came up four times, you hugged Ben, you did not hug Devon. What are you thinking in that moment?
Nolan: I expected it out of Ben. I knew he was going to do everything he could. He knew I was gunning for him. That’s just gameplay. But, Devon had looked me in the eye many times and said, “I’m not writing your name down. We’re in this together to the final three.” We made plans, made moves, so that was huge. But Ben, I joke with him that he was my “Survivor” husband. Although I did start plotting against him… But that one Tribal Council, that was our “Survivor” divorce. (Laughs)
Holmes: When Chrissy, Devon, and Ryan went off on the reward and you felt like you were on the outs, did you think about trying to get Mike and Ben together?
Nolan: That’s where my naïve self comes in. I really was hopeful that Devon was working for both of us. After the merge, we were going to try to work with Ryan and Chrissy, but then Ryan and Devon had a falling out. I did not think they were going to talk about my name. I remember that day I was just too quiet. I should be having conversations and making my own Plan B. But, that’s what I did.
Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let's start with Ryan.
Nolan: (Laughs) I don’t want it to be crazy…that word follows him.
Nolan: I can’t say hilarious twice. Mike is a character. He should be an action figure.
Nolan: He truly is a hero.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Devon.
Nolan: A free spirit.
Holmes: After Lauren is voted out, what was your dream final three?
Nolan: I really was thinking Devon and Mike. But, Mike got in both Dev and my ears. I found this out afterwards that he was telling Devon that I was going to switch on him while he was telling me that Devon was going to switch on me. He was trying to break us up. But I think that’s the ideal final three. But with Lauren and Devon, the closer you get to someone, you realize that they’re really good at the game. The more moves you make together, the more you see their strengths. I’m getting insight into their thought process. With Mike, who didn’t have a thought process, he was just kind of there, what could he sell as a game move? He’d just been going with the flow.
Holmes: Joe called you "a goat." What argument would you have used at the final three to counter that claim?
Nolan: There are a million ways to play the game. His way didn’t work. I’m not the kind of person that wants to get under people’s skin. And how can you win if people don’t like you? To each their own. But in other people’s press interviews, I’ve seen that people have said I had good relationships. I respect Joe’s game, but a “goat” is a term that people use when they’re big dramatic players. Smart players can be just a little bit quieter.
Holmes: So, insulting military veterans, mothers, calling people “goats” isn’t the best strategy?
Nolan: (Laughs) Yeah, insulting everyone isn’t going to get you a million dollars.
Holmes: I called you “a goat,” but I meant it in the nicest possible way.
Nolan: Yeah, goats are cute, right?