Survivor: Edge of Extinction interview: Gavin Whitson on second-place finish

Gavin WhitsonGavin Whitson played himself one heck of a game on Survivor: Edge of Extinction — we don’t know how you could’ve asked for anything more from him. He made moves, had solid allies, and was even able to win challenges. He made it all the way to the final three, but there was one thing he just couldn’t prepare for: Chris having the unprecedented finish where he became the first person to come back after previously being voted off.

Regardless of the end result, we know that there are people out there who will consider Gavin to be the player of the season … and we were certainly excited to talk with him after the finale. For more on what next season of Survivor could hold, check out the video below and subscribe to CarterMatt on YouTube for more! We also have an official Survivor playlist that is definitely worth your time.

CarterMatt – I think you played a really great game, and I’m trying to sit in my head and think of how you could’ve actually gotten more votes. Was there a way?

Gavin Whitson – I’ve thought about it, but I stand behind every decision I made, the blindsides I did and the people I hurt. Everything I did was to get me further in the game and it paid off. I didn’t receive any votes going into final Tribal Council and won immunities, but the Edge of Extinction just didn’t play to my advantage. Chris played it to the best of his ability and it won him the game, so hats off to him.

The only thing that could have been different and might have gotten me a few extra votes is if Chris would’ve kept his immunity and I would’ve went to fire [against Devens]. That’s the only thing in my mind. Other than that, I’m not changing a thing.

Do you think you would’ve beaten Devens in the fire, judging from how long you saw the competition take?

I believe I could’ve, because watching it back [I knew] I was ready. Regardless of whether or not it was going to happen, my mentality was that I was ready. I knew that I was either going to win it or die trying. We’ll never know.

I think your biggest bragging right is having those no votes against you. During the game, what did you do in order to make that happen?

Me receiving no votes is 100% my social game. That’s why I said at final Tribal Council that my social game is my strategic game. Even though I was winning challenges, they never saw me as a threat. They saw me as a brother or a son or a friend. That’s what I planned on the whole time; I knew that these people were going to underestimate me and I used it to my advantage. I was hoping I was going to be like JT or Cochran, going into final Tribal with no votes and coming out victorious. You just gotta take the punches as they come.

Here’s a crazy conspiracy theory — did Devens staying in the game a long time actually help you, because it kept people from really looking at you?

I believe 100% Rick Devens being public enemy #1 let me stay in the shadows. Even though I wanted Devens out, it probably did play into my advantage [that he stayed]. People were so focused on him that I was still able to say ‘we gotta get this guy out. Don’t worry about me; worry about Devens.’

There are a lot of people who feel like in this game, you needed to be tested by fire — you need to go to Tribal Council a lot early on. Yet, you didn’t end up going to Tribal Council for a good while. Do you think that this helped you?

I think that it did help me for the first nine days, because it allowed me to solidify connections that I’d made — Eric and Victoria from Kama, moving into the pre-merge Manu. I think that helped me a lot. Going into that first Tribal Council and blindsiding Aubry, I was able to put on my big-boy pants and say that I was there to play. I was looking forward to going to Tribal Council; I remember telling producers that it was a bit like summer camp. I came here to vote people out!

So you’re going to come back for another season … right?

I’ll be waiting on the phone call from Jeff to come back, but the thing is that now I’m married. As long as she’s okay with it, I know in my gut I’ve got unfinished business. I’m ready to come back and whoop a little tail, but that’s if everything aligns.

Want some more Survivor: Edge of Extinction finale interviews?

Then be sure to visit the link here! Meanwhile, let us know what you thought about Gavin and his game from this past season below. (Photo: CarterMatt.)

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