Julie McGee became the latest player to quit Survivor on Wednesday's episode, after much misery and a #TrailMixScandal to boot. Does she regret her decision?
"No, I don't," Julie tells TVGuide.com. "I feel for the people that I left behind that I felt I could have helped, or they could have helped me. But I don't regret it. I have to say — and a lot of people will never understand this, and they're going to give me s--- no matter what — but I really proved to myself what I could do out there."
Read our full Q&A with Julie to find out what really went down with that trail mix and how John reacted to her quitting.
Was it hard for you to watch last night's episode?
Julie: It was kind of a nail-biter for me, watching all this unfold and just waiting for all of the responses. Because only I know what really was going on. It's impossible for the masses to understand what was going down and what really happened.
So what was your take on what happened?
Julie: I was the smart one. ... [After the Merge] we could take all the food but we couldn't take the bowls and pots. So I'm just stuffing things everywhere. ... I don't know if you saw me walking down that mountain with that big ass basket on my head. I mean, I had a knot on my head for a full week. And that was food for everybody else. Give me a break. A day later, I noticed everything is wiped out, everybody's eaten everything. It's like being around a bunch of hungry hippos. ... And I noticed I had some leftover nuts and dried fruit and smashed gross things in the bottom of my bag.
So it wasn't some big plan on your part to hide the trail mix?
Julie: That's not how I saw it. ... I don't think anybody really cared that much. ... It's not like I was hoarding some freshly sealed bag that no one had seen. I mean, it was a bunch of leftover crappy stuff that was just smushed in the bottom of my bag. And it was literally in the bag that I had all my underwear or bathing suit in. So, I mean, at that point, do you really want to eat this stuff that's kind of rolling around with my dirty underwear? For me, I didn't even think about it like that. It's not like I was sitting in there full and full of energy and sharp-minded and ready to play the game. ... I don't understand why, if everybody was so upset, why they didn't say anything.
So it looked like a bigger deal than it was.
Julie: When I saw it last night, it sounded like [the others' comments] were so loud and I was trying to avoid what was happening. When I was walking around or sitting there, the stupid-ass 'trail mix' word kept coming up all the time. 'What happened to this or that? I thought we had so much more food.' I wanted to smack them, like, 'You ate it all, you fatass.' No. There was Alec, who — if I had had the strength, I really wanted to say in front of everybody, 'What's your problem? What are you snickering about over there, you little s---head? Talk to me.' ... It was just this weird tension, and I didn't know what really was going down. To me, it wasn't what they were making it out to be.
Is there anything that you'd like viewers to know that wasn't shown in the episode?
Julie: There was a lot that wasn't seen last night. ... No one saw how selfless I am. I'm not a selfish person. I don't do things maliciously to hurt other people. And no one saw that. It was showing me be this selfish person and everybody kind of hating me and me not stepping up for myself. ... And nobody was stepping up either to talk to me. If that had been the case, I would have said exactly what was the truth.
Was there a specific moment when you decided to quit? You came close when you guys had to weather that storm without the tarp.
Julie: That's kind of where I lost my head in the game. I tried so hard. And I did, I pulled out of it the next day. The sun was shining. But the anticipation of the next storm that could last for two days — that was just a huge, huge weight I was carrying around. And I really didn't have anybody that I could fully trust. And when you have all the couples out there really, really, really loving each other, that made it that much more difficult. That was when I wished John had been back out there. I thought it was going to be a good thing for him to be gone. But once I saw everybody come together I thought, well, s---. Where's the guy that's going fishing for me and bringing me crab? It just wasn't happening.
When you called Jeff over, had you already decided to quit?
Julie: No, not at all. I was already at that point where I was just feeling like I was about to break. ... I just felt like it was the best decision for me at that point, trail mix or no trail mix. It was just where my head was in the game.
So it wasn't an impromptu decision.
Julie: I left my life. I left my business at the busiest time of year. I left my friends, my family, my everything, and put John and my relationship in a very tough situation. So there was no way I was just like, 'Oh yeah, sure, I just did all this for nothing. Let's go.' I cried, and I thought, and [Jeff and I] talked. And they said, 'Well, if it's going to happen, you've got to make a decision now. You can't sleep on it.' So I was kind of between a rock and a hard place.
What was John's reaction when he found out that you had quit?
Julie: He was nothing but supportive. I was kind of worried about what he would say. 'Oh, I had so much hope in you and I know that you could do it.' But he was nothing but supportive. He saw what a skinny, disgusting mess I was, and he just stood there with open arms and that's all I needed.
When you and John first agreed to do Survivor, did you have any doubts about your ability to endure it?
Julie: Oh, hell yeah. Are you kidding? We were on board for about six months beforehand. ... It doesn't matter how much time I had to prepare. I almost wish I didn't know that far in advance. Because whenever I thought about it, I was excited but I was very nervous. Because I know I'm small. I don't need a lot of food. I slept on the ground every night. I didn't mind being dirty. It wasn't like, 'Ugh, I'm just gonna lose myself because I can't brush my teeth.' All of that I didn't worry about. But it was the cold and getting soaked to the bone. That I was nervous about.
Going back to John's elimination. Was it difficult for you to see him get into the argument with Natalie? Were you trying to will him to keep his mouth shut?
Julie: Yes. Absolutely. On our side, we were led to believe ... that John was being this really evil mastermind over there. And so, I thought, if he's popping off at her ... if they're so quickly arguing like this, and cussing on TV, what really is going on hour by hour over on his camp? I thought, this is just a complete disaster. I want everybody to see how nice he is. I want everybody to see how loving and caring and funny he is, and not who he is if he's put under pressure and decides to be an ass. So, that's where I lost it. I wanted to be like, 'Stop! Just stop.'
Were you surprised, watching the episode last night, to find out that you probably wouldn't have gotten voted out?
Julie: I really wasn't sure what was going to happen. There was absolutely no way that I was trying to escape because I thought I was going to be kicked off. That's a pansy move right there, and that was not the case. ... From what it looked like, and especially watching it back, I thought I was in alliances. I really did.
At least you recognized that Missy was playing you.
Julie: Oh yeah. I read people so well. It's kind of a curse. I'm like, 'I can see straight through you, dude. Go take a few acting classes first.'
Even though you don't regret your decision to quit, is there anything else you would have don differently?
Julie: I'm not the kind of person that lives in regret. ... I felt really, really proud of myself. I feel like I'd be able to play the game a little bit better if I had been in a situation where there weren't loved ones. Maybe if I had been out there and I didn't have a boyfriend, I feel like I could have played it differently. There's a lot of factors, a lot of what ifs. But I felt confident about my time that I put in. I said, I've just got to be proud about what I've done so far. ... I'm going to have judgers, I'm going to have haters, and that's just the way it is. When I met John, I realized that the world hates and the world judges. And I won't be able to meet all these people and tell them exactly what happened, so I've just got to be strong in myself.
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8/7c.