"Sitting at home watching from the couch, I'd always told myself, I would never bet on food," Jefra confessed to TVGuide.com. "But being there and being so hungry in the moment, as soon as Jeff [Probst] uncovered the quesadilla and the guacamole, I couldn't resist. ... Looking back now, finishing seventh, obviously I wish I would have saved the money and drew for the rocks."
Jefra says she only bid because she felt so secure in her alliance — but as any fan who's been keeping up with Survivor: Cagayan knows, no one should ever rest on their laurels this season, especially not with a wild card like Tony Vlachos running around. As it turned out, Wednesday's episode featured another blindside, with Jefra getting voted out by her once-strong alliance.
Check out our full interview with Jefra to get her thoughts on the auction, why she broke her promise to Jeremiah, and why she's annoyed with Tony's accusations that he was the only one pulling his weight around camp.
Let's talk about the food auction. You were so happy about that guac!
Jefra: Sitting at home watching from the couch, I'd always told myself, I would never bet on food. What are they thinking? Save it for the clue. Don't you know there's a clue, or an advantage, or some kind of twist? But being there and being so hungry in the moment, as soon as Jeff uncovered the quesadilla and the guacamole, I couldn't resist. And I was truly feeling safe with my alliance. But that just goes to show you, you're never safe in the game.
Do you regret not saving your money to try for an advantage? It didn't work out that well for Spencer.
Jefra: Obviously, looking back now, finishing seventh, obviously I wish I would have saved the money and drew for the rocks. I could have walked away like Spencer, but at least I would have known that I'd given it everything.
When you guys were hanging out in the water, Tasha said she wanted Tony to think that there was an all-girls' alliance. Did she tell you this as well?
Jefra: No, definitely not. We just thought that she knew that she was on the bottom ... so we just thought that she was just coming out there, hanging out. We weren't aware of her plan.
Were you surprised when you were voted out at Tribal Council?
Jefra: I was shocked. There's no other way to put it. But at the same time, it's Survivor and that's what makes the game so good, is blindsides, like the one that happened to me and that happened to L.J. I really thought that Tony and I had made amends.
Last week, you had the chance to flip with Jeremiah and Spencer and Tasha. Why didn't you?
Jefra: I didn't have the numbers. To flip at 4-4 and draw rocks, I just wasn't willing to risk that when I could stay with the five and be sure be guaranteed another spot in the game. At the same time, looking back, I looked for that immunity idol that Spencer had all day when we got back from the reward barbecue. And Spencer even looked with me and Tasha, and never once told us, "Hey, I have the idol. Hey, I'll play it for you if you're scared about having to draw rocks." They couldn't guarantee me that I was safe to flip with them. So, had maybe Spencer told me that he had the idol, that would have made it a little more convincing, I guess.
You (and everyone) seemed to be getting really exasperated with Tony. What do you think about how he's playing the game?
Jefra: I think that's just Tony. I think that's who he is. I think that his paranoia runs wide open all the time. He panics. I think that he's driving himself crazy. He even said that last night in the episode, I think, or something to that effect. I mean, it's frustrating to watch now, looking back, knowing what's going on. Like, we should have caught that on Day 1, when he came to the Solana beach, and got rid of him. It is what it is, and looking back now, I think he's driving himself crazy.
Every castoff seems to regret not voting him out, and yet here he is, in a crazy power position heading into the final episodes.
Jefra: Yes. And he knows that he's in the power spot, and that's the thing. He does have the idol now, that he has shown to everyone. So everybody knows that at this point, for the next particular vote, he can't be a target. He came to bring the idol to show us all to basically tell us, "Don't target me." He's trying to act like he'd play it for any of us, but he really wouldn't.
In Wednesday's episode, Tony was getting annoyed that the girls weren't doing anything around camp. Was that fair, or just a function of his paranoia?|
Jefra: When we got back [from the challenge], everybody's canteens were full. The fire was still going. We had plenty of firewood. Nobody felt the urgency to panic to go get water. ... Trish, myself and Kass, we were constantly gathering firewood. We were constantly going to the water. I would stay up and help tend to the fire. I would go to the well with Trish multiple times a day — one, to get water to stay hydrated, but two, that's the only place you could talk out there without anyone around. Little did we know about [Tony's] Spyshack there, but I think last night, it was just his paranoia. ... We had just got back from the challenge and we were all full. But he chose not to spend his money. That's not our fault. No one asked him, "Hey, Tony, why don't you keep your money to bid on the idol?" That was all his doing. So for him to be mad or jealous that we're all laying there full and stuffed and miserable, that's a little unfair. ... I think it was totally a false accusation. Anybody who's played the game knows that you have to work out there to survive. There's no way that you can have water and fire and firewood all day if just one person's the only person doing everything. It just doesn't work that way around camp.
Are you surprised that you've made it this far in the game?
Jefra: No, I really wasn't surprised. I'm a country girl. I'm from the middle of nowhere Kentucky. I grew up on a farm. I grew up hunting and fishing and being super outdoorsy. I didn't know about the game of Survivor and the blindsides and the alliances. I wasn't sure how I would do with all of that. Making it as far as I did actually playing the game surprised me. But the survival part of it, it's kind of how I grew up. Definitely not that rough, but super outdoorsy, and camping and the whole nine yards. Whereas someone like Morgan or Alexis, who wasn't really like an outdoorsy kind of person, it was more of a shock, I think, for someone like that.
You talked about the auction a little bit, but do you have any other regrets about how you played the game?
Jefra: I wish Spencer would have shared with me that he had that idol. Because that might have swayed me into flipping and voting out Tony. And also everything with Jeremiah. From the very beginning of the Solana days, he was with Alexis, myself and LJ, and he kind of got himself in hot water by flipping and giving Morgan his word too. There was a lot of untrustworthiness between Jeremiah and the rest of the Beauty tribe after that. I really gave him my word at the barbecue. I'm like, "Listen, you'd better not go back on your word again. You've already done it once." ... And then I basically turned around and did the same thing.
In our interview, Jeremiah talked about having to apologize to you in order to try to convince you to flip.
Jefra: He just said that he was there to make alliances with everyone. Which, anybody who knows anything about Survivor knows that you can't make it to the finals with all 18 people. You make to the final with two or three people. He said, "My feet hit the ground, and I was just doing whatever I could to get by one more day. If that meant telling you something, I would tell you. If that meant telling Morgan something, I would tell her." He just basically said it was part of his game play. But then he shook my hand and said, "This is from one country boy to one country girl, so to speak. I'm gonna give you my word and stick with it."
But it doesn't sound like, at least from his end, there's any hard feelings.
Jefra: No, none at all. I don't have any towards him either. I just wish it would have worked out better for both of us, but that's ok.
What was the hardest aspect of the competition?
Two things I struggled with the most. One, the weather was just crazy. The typhoon at the very beginning really was pretty intense. I'd never been out in a storm like that. You have a big storm coming through at home or a hurricane coming through or something, everybody seeks shelter. So to be out there in it was really trying. That was hard for me, as well as the emotional part of the game. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, and I like to please people. And so, to put that aside and to be out there emotionally stripped from everything you know, and with the paranoia of Tony running so thick, it's hard. It makes you second-guess yourself and make decisions that you probably wouldn't normally make in your everyday life.
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