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Survivor's Will: "I Didn't Give Jay the Respect I Should Have"

Plus: How he convinced his mom to let him play

Liz Raftery

Will Wahl will go down in Survivor history as the youngest person to ever play the game, as he was a high school senior when the Millennials vs. Gen X season was filmed. But apparently competing for a million dollars in Fiji is an acceptable reason to miss school.

"I had enough credits already to graduate," Will tells TVGuide.com. "The only credit I really needed was English, and I [stayed] in the class but I just had an immense number of absences, and they kind of took those all as excused absences. I think definitely a lot of colleges were scratching their heads wondering, what's going on with this kid right now? But overall, I was able to graduate on time and nothing was really affected."

Will's Survivor run came to an end in Wednesday's double elimination episode, a week after he spearheaded a self-described "big move" to take Zeke out. Read our Q&A with Will to see whether he thinks that move led to his ouster, why being the youngest player ever has its downsides, and how he feels about the tribe's decision to keep David in the game.

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Last week you were adamant about wanting to make a big move. Do you think that came back to bite you?
I definitely think it hurt me. I think it definitely led to me being voted out, and the fact that my move was so broadcasted to the whole tribe and everybody knew what was going on definitely hurt me in the game. I feel like, if I waited another tribal or two, things could have been a lot more under the radar, and I could have made this big move without causing a lot of turmoil and ending up with me getting voted out.

Is that your biggest regret in the game? Is there anything else you wish you would have done differently?
Absolutely. My biggest regret and my biggest mistake in the game was voting out
Zeke when I did. I should have waited a little while longer. I also should have trusted Jay more. Ironically, I did not really give Jay the respect that I should have given to him. He was my ride-or-die in the game that I never really trusted, or that I never really gave trust to. I feel like Jay always trusted me, but I never really trusted him. I would always backstab him. He would always come back and be like, "No, Will, we're good." So I feel like my two biggest regrets are the Zeke vote and not trusting Jay.

Will Wahl, Jeff Probst, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X
Screen Grab, CBS

That's an interesting point about Jay. This group as a whole seems to take things in stride and not take game moves personally. Did you find that to be true overall?
It's definitely a dynamic that's evident in the group. I feel like we all are very much fans and players of this game, who respect the game so much that we're not going to take it personally. But I also feel like the forgiving aspect of it is something about Jay's personality. Jay is not going to hold a grudge. The thing is, most of us in the game would forgive but not forget. Jay would kind of do both. He would kind of be like, oh, what's in the past is in the past. We're working together in this game. While the rest of us, yeah, we would forgive. We wouldn't hold a grudge, and once we got back from Tribal we would all just try to survive another night. But we would not forget, and we would kind of have this idea that, oh, this person isn't trustworthy, or this person isn't trustworthy. So I think part of it is tribe dynamics and part of it is just who Jay is as a person.

Because this was essentially two episodes packed into one, we didn't get to see that much outside of the challenges and Tribal Councils. Can you shed any light on how the target got moved from David's back onto yours?
I've been getting this question a lot today. And I feel like... I don't know. I voted for David. Jay voted for David. We definitely felt like he was a huge threat. But I feel like other people were getting wary about me, because maybe they were thinking in their minds, if Will's able to fly back under the radar after he did this crazy thing, if he's able to fly back under the radar again, he might actually get to the end and have a résumé. So maybe they're thinking, let's just get rid of him now. Everybody knows David is a threat. We can get rid of David another time. But right now, Will needs to go. Maybe that is what they're thinking. That's how I rationalize it. Maybe it's a completely different reason that I just don't know about.

I just think a lot of people are baffled that David hasn't been voted out yet.
Yeah, it blows my mind. It really is very surprising.

You're the youngest person to ever play Survivor. Were your parents OK with you playing, or did you have to convince them?
My father's always been on board. My mother was a little bit more concerned. And the thing is, she never wanted me to apply. I always told her, "If I apply, you know, I'm never going to get on. It's just a dream." And when I actually did get on, she was kind of pissed off. But I ended up convincing her to let me play the game, and it all worked out in the end.

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You mentioned feeling like some of the other players were patronizing towards you because of your age. Do you still think that's true?
Patronizing. I might have used that word in the game. I think that might be a little strong word in my reflection of how the game's progressed. But they definitely viewed me as a little kid. They viewed me as, like, a little brother, or like a nephew or something like that. They did not view me as a real competitor in the game. This doesn't go for everybody, but it goes for most people who were playing. And I feel like it definitely made it very difficult for me to have any kind of moves or any kind of strategy or make any kind of big play without people saying, "Oh, no, that was really Jay's move." Or "That was really Zeke's move. That wasn't really Will's move. Will doesn't do anything." So that was really my feeling and where my frustration came into play, is that I felt like I wasn't being credited with the things I was doing.

At the Tribal Council when Taylor was voted out, why did you write Jay's name down?
So, Zeke and I had a conversation where he was like, "Will, I want to work with you later on in the game, but for right now, I need you to write Jay's name down. And if tonight goes smoothly, then we're gonna be good for the next few Tribal Councils." I didn't ask questions. I just went along with it. They were just trying to split the votes in case one of them had an idol and played it.

So was Zeke kind of trying to test your loyalty with that vote?
Yeah, I definitely think that was part of it. And it ended up working.

Is there anything that wasn't shown on TV that you wish viewers would have seen?
There were definitely things that weren't shown, some of them positive and some of them really negative. But at the end of the day, I think this is an accurate representation of what happened out there, and I'm happy with the edit. I have no complaints about that.

Would you play again if given the chance?
Absolutely. No question I would play again.

The Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X three-hour finale/reunion special airs next Wednesday at 8/7c on CBS.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)