‘Survivor: Worlds Apart’ exclusive: Hali Ford on Dan, Shirin, surprising vote, gameplay

Survivor -Hali Ford proved herself to be a reliable entertainer on “Survivor: Worlds Apart,” and she had some of the best confessionals of the season! It feels like there was so much more that she had to give than what we saw on the show, mostly because of her elimination at final 11. Her biggest flaw may have just been being a part of such a tight alliance, which also included a guy in Joe who is a challenge machine.

We had a chance to chat with Hali Thursday in the midst of a busy press day for her about the experience, and also some of what she thought about the other big players of the season. Of course, this meant plenty of conversation about some of Dan’s antics and what her relationship with Shirin was really like. There’s a lot of good insight in here, and you get the sense that she was doing so much more strategically out there than we even saw.

CarterMatt – So let’s start with this: What has your experience been like watching the show back this season?

Hali Ford – It’s been enjoyable for the most part, slightly not happy with the frequency in which I used the word ‘like’ (laughs) but besides that I was fine with my portrayal.

Going into this season, did you have any idea as to how you wanted to play this season, and did that change when you were actually in the game?

I knew, and it was the opposite of how I played. I thought I was going to play this cold, calculated game, and that a few years of being in the big city and suffering through law school would not be to no avail. Turned out, I’m on the No Collar tribe, and by the time that I am actually on ‘Survivor’ I am completely turned off by manipulation and coldness that I just didn’t have an appetite for it. So I played the game with my heart, and my social game was my biggest strength. That’s not what I anticipated; I thought I was going to be cold and reserved and calculated. That’s not what I did.

I’ve wondered this a lot myself over the years, that it is very easy for us to say that we’re going to be manipulative and detached out there, but we don’t actually know the people. When you are out there, is it much harder to vote out someone you like?

Yeah, straight up. It’s different for different players out there. Writing Jenn’s name down, I don’t know if I could have done it even though it may sabotage my game if we got to that point. We had such a loyalty to each other out there. It would have been hard to write down Shirin too, because I liked her and respected her and kind of championed her. I really liked Joe and was great friends with Joe, but could have easily written his name down. Easily. It depends on the type of person and the type of bond you have. I had a really protective feeling with Jenn and Shirin, so maybe that’s why it would be [hard] to write their name down.

I feel like you are a good person to give us a window into Shirin’s soul here, because she is someone who has at times had a hard time and has gotten a hard edit. What was your overall take on her?

I liked Shirin from the get-go. There was no moment where I was hating on Shirin with my heart or my mouth that I’m aware of, unless I was kind of just saying things to Jenn, which I did. (Laughs.) Shirin is a special girt. Talk about someone who pulled out success from her bootstraps. I’m not saying she grew up poor, but she definitely grew up hard and she has come through with flying colors. She has been at the bottom of many circles that she grew up in. All of that just dominated the theme of the show. Shirin’s psyche was a major issue this season. I think she learned a lot about herself out there. What do you want to know about Shirin?

I think something I’m curious in is if getting rid of Max allowed her to get closer to you, and to get you closer to her.

The only thing that I didn’t like about Shirin was who she was around Max … Shirin may talk too much for the No Collar tribe, but I think she may have mellowed out once Max was gone, and maybe that was her just assimilating. She never really got on my nerves. She’s a sensitive, considerate, highly intelligent, engaging person, and I always thought that. It’s just the Max [alliance] tainted her a little bit.

So let’s move from someone sensitive to someone coming across as very insensitive. Let’s talk about Dan. What’s with this guy? Did he act like this all of the time?

I really don’t have a lot of first-hand personal knowledge beyond what we’ve seen on the show. He always treated me nice. We didn’t have a lot of interaction. But when it comes to second-hand knowledge of what I’ve seen or heard from other people is that he’s got some dark alleys that I don’t want to know about.

Going into last night’s tribal council, what did you think were the odds of being able to get Dan out of the game and bringing Sierra over?

It was high, because I had diversified my risk. I thought that I had put out at least enough offers to enough people that the probability was low that every single person plan that I had worked would fall through altogether. I was shocked; Sierra was the biggest disappointment. I really believed in the girls’ alliance! I was excited about it, I was passionate about it. It was disappointing, mainly because it was feasible. Joe’s really the reason that blew up. If Joe had just been a little less awesome at challenges…

So did you know that you were going to be the target of the other alliance?

No! I thought I had given people a good enough feel about what they would get from me that they would at least hold off and vote Jenn or someone before me.

Did you have any clue that Mike had the idol?

There’s a lot going on with the idol, and I don’t have a clear memory of where it was then; I’m having to do like forward and backward math to figure out what I knew at the time of the vote. From what I remember Mike had taken me to a secret spot, and the clue seemed to suggest a specific spot. I had went through that spot, digging through the muck and trying to find that idol. I had been working with Mike, trying to pull something together. I was on both his and Joe’s side looking for the idol. I thought Mike probably had it because the clue seemed to hint at it being in his spot.

Did you or anyone in your alliance hold something against Will for flipping and joining Rodney and whatever scheme he has going on right now?

I was more just like ‘what the heck Will, and why?!’ There was no explanation; the only explanation that we had from Will is that he wanted to play with grownups! That’s a lame reason to drop your loyalty. That’s not even strategic, Will! Like, why did you flip? No one knows. If I had a good reason from him, it’d be easier, but it just feels like this arbitrary screw-over.

You’ve obviously had a lot of time to look back on the game since this season filmed, so is there any one move you wish you would have made, but didn’t?

I wish that I had distanced myself from Jenn. Obviously stayed in an alliance with her, but not spend as much time with her. Maybe I could have worked more with Carolyn to get her to warm up more. I really think that the girls’ route would have been the best route to go with, but if not that, I would have spent more time with Tyler.

Are you bummed that Hali is gone from the show? Let us know below, and click here to read our full review of Wednesday’s episode! Also, sign up now to score some other TV news on everything we cover courtesy of our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: CBS.)

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