Last night, “Survivor: Kaoh Rong” had what may be one of the most hotly-debated finales we’ve seen in quite some time, as Michele Fitzgerald took home the Sole Survivor title over Aubry Bracco and Tai Trang. Each person contributed something to the game, but as many Aubry fans have noted, she played a dominant strategic game most of the way through and had build a really strong case for herself in the end.
We had a lot of fun this morning talking with Aubry about some of her moves, embracing this experience, and also how she was able to handle losing so many close allies to medical evacuations over the course of the game.
CarterMatt – How sure were you about some of your votes going into the reunion? When you did you know what the votes would be?
Aubry Bracco – The moment I stepped out of tribal; actually, the moment that Scot finished his speech to Michele, [I realized that] I did not own the room that night. I fought super-hard, but I knew that I did not have it and I was pretty sure it was five to two.
Has it tortured you for the past year in some way? Do you go back in your head wondering if you could’ve done anything to sway this person or that person?
Yeah, I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a lot of what-ifs. ‘What if’ this, ‘what if’ that. They’re not so much regrets, but they are like ‘what if I had said that.’ It has taught me to be a more go-with-the-flow person. It has been a lesson in patience, and I have become a lot more grounded. Life is bumpy, and sometimes you hit a bump and have to make the best of it. You can’t control everything, and you have to make lemonade out of lemons when you can. It was a relief to finally see the votes last night.
Michele took Neal away from the jury. Had he been there, and [had someone on Michele’s side been eliminated], would it have changed anything? Or, would it have been 4-3 for her to win?
I think we would have just been looking at 4-3. It could’ve helped me to have Neal there to support me, but it also could have hurt me depending on how people were feeling about him and what he said at that moment.
How did you recover so quickly after the medivacs? One of the things that was so impressive was that you were able to compartmentalize so quickly and move forward even after losing people like Neal and Joe?
It’s exactly what you said. I wouldn’t say that I compartmentalize in life, but when you’re out there and it’s moving so fast, and after things like Neal happened, and I had the thing on my leg, you just have to learn to compartmentalize and get on your feet and go. I just told myself to get through the day. ‘Wake up on this beach tomorrow.’ That was the only way to deal with it. I didn’t wallow in it. Sometimes I would get upset and I would cry and be emotional, but I really think that people have to take responsibility for their own actions. Life happens, so you have to take responsibility and make the best of your situation. That’s what I tried to do.
We saw you struggle some early in the game, but as the game went on you became more confident and were even spitting alongside Jason in the challenges! Was this just a feeling of comfort that came over time, or just you as a fan embracing the experience and getting to go through this?
At first, I felt there was so much information coming in that I didn’t know how to process it or what to make of it. Then, I hit a point where I got comfortable and I started to relax. I wanted to make the most of every moment. You’re on ‘Survivor’! It’s the dream of a lifetime, so why not spit back at Jason? That was an awesome moment; I LOVED that moment. It was this epic moment, it was a dream come true.
Was there a huge awareness that Michele would be a jury threat, and was there a point you really wanted her gone, like when Tai used his advantage?
Yea that was a tough vote, between Michele and Jason. Jason to me was less of a goat than people may have perceived him from a viewing audience. He was a very good speaker, he’s very endearing, he’s very close to his family, and at that moment he was an underdog and that was a really powerful thing.
I knew that Michele could be a threat, I knew Tai played the game proactively. He won challenges, he had an idol. I know Cydney played the game proactively, and I played proactively. I realized that Michele was up there too and that she’d played the game differently. She hadn’t annoyed anyone and could best any one of us.
How were you able to bond with Tai when he was so close to Scot and Jason?
I think we’re very similar in that we see the shades of gray in life and have very different conversations and we’re willing to see all angles of something, and realize that nothing is black and white. There are other angles and things to consider. I think Tai and I kind of bonded over the shared experience, the love of having experience and getting to know people, and the love of the game. It was really nice to have that out there.
You can check out the rest of our “Survivor” finale coverage, including our interviews with Tai and Michele, over at the link here. Also, sign up over here to secure some more TV news on all we cover, sent right over to you via our official CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: CBS.)