‘Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X’ exclusive: Bret LaBelle explains how he could have won, strength of social game


Bret -

Bret LaBelle is easily one of the more entertaining “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X” castaways of the season, at least based on what we like in players: Someone who is real, honest, and occasionally a little cranky. He made it to the final five, and were it not for Hannah’s decision to vote him out, you have to think there was a chance he would make it into the final three. It didn’t happen, but seeing him at the final Tribal Council would’ve been fun.

Below, you can see our interview with Bret as we discuss his strategy, that now-famous moment with Zeke as discussed during the reunion show, and also what he would do if he was to come back.

CarterMatt – How different was your game after Chris and then Sunday were sent home?

Bret LaBelle – My game never changed. It was always my social game. Chris, we all knew he was a huge threat, and could be voted out at the end. We talked about it early, but there wasn’t a good time to get rid of him. When he went, it was a shock, and he was somebody that I talked to every day. I didn’t think I could get [close to] Jess and Dave, so I went right to Zeke immediately. It was a great move on my part — Zeke’s a great kid, but it’s not like we had a lot of choices, either. We had to go together. That was a no-brainer. Chris was gone, and there’s no crying over spilled milk so you have to move on.

Sunday was a shock, but what was I gonna do? I had to move on. It was all about the relationships that I made within the game.

Were some of the frustrations that you felt at the end of the game mostly that you had these people together like David, Hannah, and Ken who just weren’t going to work with you and you didn’t have many options?

That wasn’t it at all. It was frustrating that they wouldn’t work with me, but they weren’t listening to reason. It didn’t matter if they didn’t want to work with me. They both said they were in it to win it, and they wanted to win a million dollars. Yet, they didn’t realize that if they didn’t get rid of Dave, they wouldn’t win a million dollars. They had a better chance against me, Jay, or Adam. Their problem was that they weren’t self-aware of where they were in the game and with the jury.

When we got to the final six, the only people who could win it were me, David, and Adam. We were the ones gunning to get to the end, and they needed to realize who were the big threats. The people who I thought I couldn’t beat were Jay and Dave. Those were the two I was gunning for. I thought I had a pretty good shot against Adam, Hannah, or Ken.

One of the arguments we kept hearing was that you ‘had a lot of friends on the jury’ as a reason to get rid of you. Did you have a sense of how many people were going to vote for you? I’m assuming you felt good about Chris and Sunday’s votes.

I didn’t know about Adam’s story and that may change [things] a little bit, but going into that, I felt like if I had David and Jay gone, I win a million dollars because of all my relationships on the jury. That’s a true statement. I think people would agree with it.

You followed the tradition of ‘cops hiding their job on Survivor.’ We saw some of the funeral director stuff early in the game, but were you able to keep that a secret for the whole time?

Yeah! There was only one person who thought I was a cop and that was Jay. He was smart when we were at Ikabula, so he put it in Hannah’s head ‘go ask him about this funeral stuff,’ and then told her exactly how to do it. So when you see me frustrated and look like I don’t know what I’m talking about, I actually work for a funeral home part-time so I know the stuff. She was just firing off questions to me for like two hours about it. It was so obvious what she was doing. I was like ‘she’s assuming I’m a cop and is trying to get it out of me.’ I just knew at this point ‘I can’t give this up. If I tell them now, I’m screwed.’ So I never budged, and it never came up again.

So would you play the game again?

Oh, absolutely.

So what would you change about your strategy now that you’ve been out there?

The Monday-morning quarterbacks on this game are unbelievable, but if I made it another two days in the game, I won. I don’t think I’d change much because the social game is so important. You have people saying ‘I’d make this move, that move’ — I don’t give a s–t what my ‘Survivor’ record card is. I don’t care what anyone says online. What I care about is winning a million dollars and putting my life in a better situation. I wouldn’t change much, but what I would do is when people frustrate the crap out of me, I would make sure that I never let things ever deteriorate. There were a couple of people that I got frustrated with towards the end, and I should’ve kept my calm, and maybe try to re-work those relationships.

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A special thank you to Bret for his time this morning to talk with us about his experience. Be sure to leave us a comment in the box below and tell us what you thought of Bret’s game. For some other news on “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X,” including more interviews with the final six, just be sure to head over to the link here. (Photo: CBS.)


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