Kellyn Bechtold was a formidable player through much of Survivor: Ghost Island. She had a great mind for the game and understood the value of certain relationships. She also knew that she couldn’t go to the end of the game with Domenick and Wendell. She tried to make a move against them that didn’t work out and unfortunately, that marked the beginning of the end for her time on the show.
So after being voted out on Thursday, what does Kellyn have to say about her overall experience? What would she change, if anything? Check out our exit interview with her below for more.
CarterMatt – Do you think you had a good shot of winning had you made it to the end?
Kellyn – I mean, we’re all the author of our own story, so of course I thought I had a shot! I didn’t think I had a shot against Dom and Wendell, but I thought I could beat the rest of them. I thought I had a chance for a while there, but I think it then became pretty clear — I think I spoke at Tribal last night about how there are big dogs and there are little dogs. I think I was one of the puppies with the really big bark who thinks they’re a big dog (laughs).
That’s what it feels like my story was, but I definitely thought that if I could get Laurel or Donathan to come with me [I could get further]. Or, if I could get Dom and Wendell to flip on each other, which was the work I tried to do the last two days. I really tried to get the two of them to think that they couldn’t beat each other. That was my final plea and it just didn’t work out.
You were so kind to everyone leaving the game. How hard was it to put your own frustrations about leaving aside for the sake of wishing everyone well?
I think I had a little bit of a leg up because I had built some really great relationships. Sebastian and Wendell had both come to me separately to give me their well-wishes and tell me, respectfully, that it was my time to go. When Chelsea got voted out I kind of thought I was next; I was trying to stir things up. Because I had that time to think a little bit, it allowed me to switch into gratitude pretty quickly after the votes were read.
I had no idea I was going to get the votes to tie and that was super exciting. I figured out that they were going to split the vote in the middle [of Tribal Council]; I was originally voting for Dom. It was SO fun — they had to re-vote on my episode [leaving the game]! It was great. Between that and as they were all re-voting Sebastian and Ang wouldn’t look at me, I knew it was me. I had those few moments where I was crying, realizing that the journey was coming to an end, but also to be super happy and grateful for the experience that I did have.
It felt in the episode like you were going to be the target, but did some of Donathan’s actions, in your mind, cause you to seriously think he could be voted out instead?
No (laughs). I really didn’t. When they started whispering behind me in the middle of Tribal, I was like ‘wait a second, something’s happening!’ — that’s when I said to Jeff ‘well, there’s plan Bs and Cs.’ There were no plans! Nobody had come to talk to me; only Donathan was talking to me. In that moment, though, I thought ‘holy cow.’ They were splitting votes and I got this glimpse of hope in that moment because Donathan was really going off the wall.
But, I went into Tribal thinking that it was my time. It was fun for a moment, and poor Donathan — he’s so frustrated and I understand why. He’s doing all that he can to get things stirred up; unfortunately, I do think he was getting things stirred up in his direction and he didn’t really realize it.
I know there are a lot of viewers out there probably wondering why Dom and Wendell haven’t been taken out, but how much of what is happening with these guys out there the result of fear, given that they have immunity idols?
For Laurel and Donathan, they were definitely playing with fear in that they didn’t want to get hit by stray bullets. I totally understand that.
For me, I’m just as frustrated for everybody because I should have flipped on Wendell instead of voting for Laurel, and then ultimately Michael [on the re-vote]. I should have taken that moment to vote for Wendell and take that risk! I was too worried that I had voted off too many Malolos and I had been a part of this ‘oh, we’re a happy Naviti family! I’m the mom, Dom’s the dad! We’re all together.’ I was too afraid. Jenna told me before Tribal that Michael wanted me gone and he had pitched to Dom and Wendell to get me out. I just couldn’t do that. That’s my excuse, but it’s still not a great one (laughs).
Dom and Wendell are extremely good at managing relationships, especially Wendell. I believed Wendell for way too long. I didn’t stop believing Wendell until hearing him tell Laurel to vote for me during the Michael vote. Then, I finally realized that Wendell wasn’t staying with me anymore. With Dom and I, I always called us a marriage of convenience. We never really trusted each other, but we were working together for convenience. But Wendell, we definitely had a relationship but he thought Laurel’s relationship was either stronger or more beneficial for the two of them.
What was your dream final three?
Some version of me, Ang, Des, and Chelsea — the girls. I thought that the girls could stick together and pull it off, so when Des defected from the army and cut off her nose in spite of her face, that was a problem. I was slow to pick up her being willing to come after me because I really was like ‘that’s such a bad move for her. I’m voting with her; this doesn’t make sense.’ I still stand by that. If she had come to me and tried to loop me in, I may have gone with that. I think I would have, honestly!
My final three would’ve been any of those girls — maybe I’m full of myself, but I thought I could beat Sebastian, Laurel, Donathan, and Angela. I thought any of those four I could beat so last night I was willing to go with any of them.
Going back to the first swap, you had that five-person group with Bradley. How different would the game be if Bradley had made the merge? Or, was that alliance with Bradley also a marriage of convenience, like you described earlier?
Now, Bradley and I were a complete opposite of a marriage of convenience! Bradley and I were working together, I think, seamlessly. I was building relationships with Des and Chelsea and he was with Sebastian. I was also with Sebastian — me, Sebastian, and Bradley had a threesome alliance. I was really worried about Chelsea — she was one of my close friends out there but I was really worried that she was working with Dom.
Bradley may say things that aren’t kosher all the time, but Bradley was taken out of the game because he was a strategic threat and Dom knew it. When my main strategy shield was taken out and I was walking into the merge, it was really a bummer for me. I think if Bradley and I could’ve teamed up it would’ve been an entirely different second half of the game.
Was there a part of Survivor that was harder than what you expected?
The hunger and all of that is a little easier than what I expected. I haven’t lunch today and I’m like ‘oh god,’ and I haven’t eaten in like four hours! That’s not what it’s like out there. It’s more of an empty feeling.
The absolute hardest part of Survivor for me was to be willing to understand that people are making moves even if you think you know better for them. I thought I knew better for Des! Never assume you know better because that is when you will step in s–t.
How interested are you in playing again?
My cell phone’s on. I don’t think Jeff Probst has my number, but I think he can get it. If he gives me a call I’ll definitely pick up the phone.
Are you already thinking about how you would play the game again?
I don’t know. It’s so dependent on who’s there and what the theme is and how the tribes break down. If you think you’re going into that game with a plan you’re playing the wrong game. It just doesn’t work that way!
I do think that I would have to own my strategy a little bit more. I am not athletic, but I was playing up ‘oh, I can never win a challenge. I’m so terrible.’ Now, people know that I can do puzzles — I’m no genius at it, but if I’m a part of a team I can do it. I think I would have to own my work a little bit more than trying to play the sweet backseat rider.
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