‘Survivor’ Castaway Chelsea – “A Lot of the Time the Strategy Was My Idea and the Credit Was Given to Somebody Else”


“Survivor: Ghost Island” (CBS)

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Gordon Holmes: So, I’m watching “Survivor” last night and I’m yelling at my television. How can everyone not see how dangerous Domenick and Wendell are? It had to be obvious at that point.
Chelsea Townsend: Yeah, absolutely. Everything was pretty well set up for that vote to happen as it should of. I used the loved ones visit to my advantage with Laurel. I was just very upset and very pissed off. I thought, this is perfect. It’s just going to fuel my fire to get her to flip. To see things the right way. Unfortunately, Laurel was just attached to Wendell and Domenick at the hip. She was their informant and kind of did everything they said. I made so many good points to her as to why they were the biggest threat and I was nowhere near the biggest threat. She just couldn’t detach herself.

Holmes: Was it obvious at the time that Laurel was with them, or was she still pretending to be a Malolo remnant who was now kind of a swing vote?
Townsend: Laurel told me, “I need to start building my resume, I need to make a big move. I’m with you.” She told me she was with me to the end, so she lied up until the vote. I went back to her several times and asked if she was good and she said she was on board. I was unsure whether it would happen. But I was hopeful, and it would have been so epic had Laurel just done it.

Holmes: At this point, Domenick has an idol, Wendell has an idol, there’s a fake idol. Which advantages were you aware of at this time?
Townsend: I was aware that they both had idols. I knew the second Dom found his because he came up to me and said, “I found an idol.” (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs)
Townsend: I found out about Wendell’s through Dom. Because our conversations would eventually center around, “We’ve got to get out Wendell.” I had all of that information and I was using it to my benefit. And you’d think when you have a power couple like that they’d be a target. But, apparently two individual immunity wins is enough to scare people.

Holmes: When Desiree made her move a couple of weeks ago with the classic Malolos, she included you in that deal. How on-board were you with that plan?
Townsend: I had no idea of Desiree’s plan. And even though I was on the good side of either outcome, I think she was worried about my connection with Kellyn. When I got Bradley out, the intention was to have Kellyn come to me. And she did. We formed a great connection. I think Desiree thought she wasn’t going to hurt me, but she wasn’t going to tell me about it because it had to seem like a covert plan. And my name got threw out by Laurel, and Des didn’t tell them I was part of the plan, she just told them she could reign Angela and I in.

Holmes: Before the game, you said that your sister was in love with Jeff Probst…as we all are…what did it mean to you to get to arrange that meeting?
Townsend: That was huge. I promised her I’d get her out to Fiji. So, I’m glad they showed that moment of me telling her I’d get her out there. It was a real cool moment getting to hear about her journey, it was really important to me.
Holmes: It seems like Jeff got a little bit emotional during Angela’s visit. What happened there?
Townsend: It was a very emotional loved ones visit. Everyone was so excited and we wanted it to so bad. And Angela is the most amazing person. She served our military for over 21 years. She’s used to having to leave her family behind. So, her talking about how she had a hard time because she might have let her family down, Jeff just kind of broke down. They had to stop so he could catch his breath. He started crying, he looked at us and said, “All of these years of ‘Survivor’ and this is the first time I’ve cried to the point where I couldn’t continue.”

Holmes: Word association time. Let’s start off with Morgan.
Townsend: Animated.
Holmes: Brendan?
Townsend: Honorable.
Holmes: Bradley?
Townsend: Salty.
Holmes: Angela?
Townsend: A bad ass.
Holmes: Stephanie?
Townsend: Gregarious.
Holmes: Domenick?
Townsend: Outgoing.
Holmes: Laurel?
Townsend: Passive.
Holmes: Sebastian?
Townsend: Chill.
Holmes: Donathan?
Townsend: Kind-hearted.
Holmes: Wendell?
Townsend: Crafty.
Holmes: Chris?
Townsend: Funny.
Holmes: Libby?
Townsend: Mild.
Holmes: Michael?
Townsend: Impressive.
Holmes: Jenna?
Townsend: Kind of whiny.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Desiree?
Townsend: Strong willed.

Holmes: So, say the vote goes your way last night and Wendell goes home, what would be the plan going forward?
Townsend: I would have started gunning for Dom. Knowing he had an idol, it might take a couple of votes. And then, take out big threats…Kellyn…then others who aren’t as big threats like Donathan and Sebastian. The final three would be me, Laurel, and Angela. I think I could beat them.

Holmes: You got a bit of an invisible edit this season, which has to be frustrating. But, there are 20 people and only 42 minutes a week. However, when we did hear from you, it seemed like you were always spouting some kind of sound strategy. Is that solace at all? Where are you with how your edit ended up?
Townsend: That was the most frustrating part of the journey. I played really hard. I’m a huge fan of the show. I wanted to play under-the-radar and call the shots in a way that people didn’t know I was doing it. I thought I did a good job of that. Then at the merge I wanted to come out swinging, winning individual immunities. I was always out looking for hidden immunity idols. I think I did play that game. So, the frustrating part was not getting credit for it. But, I was talking strategy and making really good connections with people. So, I think it’s frustrating. In some of the episodes I was the central part of the drama or strategy. And to be left out of it was really hard. A lot of the time the strategy was my idea and the credit was given to somebody else. But, at the end of the day, it’s not about how I was shown in the edit, it’s about my experience and I’m extremely proud of the game I played.
Holmes: Was there anything in particular you wish we had seen?
Townsend: Well, you did see much, so there’s a lot. (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs)
Townsend: They didn’t show this, but Domenick and I on the Bradley boot, we actually threw the challenge because we wanted Bradley out before the merge. I had this plan, I told Domenick, “I can’t throw a challenge. It’s not in my nature. So, if you want to do this, then I need you to do it and I’ll sit on the bench. Then it’ll be less peculiar.” My plan was if there was any backlash down the road, I could say, “Hey, I was sitting. He threw the challenge.”

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