‘Survivor’ Castaway Kellyn – “I Brought a Knife to a Gun Fight After the Merge”


“Survivor: Ghost Island” (CBS)

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Gordon Holmes: That Tribal last night! Plan A, Plan B…it was a mess.
Kellyn Bechtold: (Laughs)
Holmes: What information were you privy too before it started?
Bechtold: No plan had been relayed to me. That’s how much it was definitely me. I know it doesn’t make great TV, but Wendell had paid me my respects before we went to Tribal. Sebastian had paid me my respects. I knew it was me. But the fun thing was that Donathan started to get so frustrated that he was pigeon-holed and stuck. He’d drag me to the well, he said, “I saw Dom give Wendell an idol and I think they’re going to play it on you.” And I said, “No. No…that’s probably not going to happen.” But I realized that Donathan was emotional enough that maybe I could get him to vote for Dom. And so I was like, “OK, let’s let Dom know what it feels like to see his name come out of the urn.” He hadn’t had any votes at that point. And at Tribal they’re talking out loud and they’re explaining that the split is this and this. And I thought, if I don’t vote for Dom and I vote for Donathan I can make it a tie. It was a fun little moment. It was a little bit of sweet justice.

Holmes: Everybody is screaming at their TVs, “Laurel, what are you doing? You can’t beat Dom and Wendell in the end.” While you were in the game, did you get the feeling that she was waiting for the right time, or was she locked in with those guys?
Bechtold: My last three days I fought tooth and nail. I worked Dom and I worked Wendell trying to get them to go through the jury scenario that they couldn’t beat each other. I thought I had more of a chance with them because they were giving me more space than Laurel was. So, she was pretty locked in. It’s easy to sit at home and Monday morning quarterback that call, but they’re giving her a chance at final three. And if people were giving me a final three deal? It’s hard. I feel for Laurel, but she was the least likely to move out of the other six people out there…from my perspective.
Holmes: You’re very right that it is easy to play “Survivor” from my couch.
Bechtold: (Laughs) It is so fun, right?! That’s the best place to play.
Holmes: When I’m well fed and there are no bugs and I’ve got air conditioning, it’s a piece of cake.
Bechtold: Yes it is. Yes it is.

Holmes: There was one point after merge where they showed you and the rest of the Naviti women at the water well and I thought, “Oh wow…this is it. They’re going to let Chris and Dom battle it out, then they’re going to pick off the rest.”
Bechtold: I really thought we could keep the four girls working together. I thought it was in our best interest to get some of those guys out because once we got to the merge Dom and Wendell were so clearly wanting Chris out. The girls wanted Chris to stay and we gave in. After that, all four of us were like, “They’re telling us what to do. Let’s do this thing.” And one of my biggest mistakes was it took too long to believe that Des was turning on me. I played 25 straight days with her and I had just met Laurel. Des was telling me she didn’t do it. And the story was that Des and Chelsea were turning on me. And I’m reading Chelsea and there’s no (expletive deleted) way that Chelsea is lying to me! She’s just not. And Des was acting weird, so I really missed that. And once Des was gone, I thought maybe we could bring Laurel in as a powerful female. I just couldn’t get my feet under me. I brought a knife to a gun fight after the merge and that knife was covered in orange blood. It was an uphill battle after the merge when my ride-or-die Bradley was gone. But, I’m proud of myself for towing the line between, “Yeah, Dom and Wendell, I’m Naviti strong and I’m the mother bear of this purple family” and also, “Oh (expletive deleted), these Malolos are mad at me because I voted out all of their friends.” I was on that balance beam. I didn’t do it great, but I did my best.

Holmes: In back to back episodes you had Desiree’s betrayal and Michael’s make-believe idol. Did that throw off your confidence in being able to read situations?
Bechtold: On the Micheal vote, I asked him for 45 minutes about that idol. What season was it from? Kaoh Rong. What was it wrapped in? What did it look like? And he knew the whole story! He had helped find the idol. I’m a dumbass for not asking to see it. Totally a dumbass. I admit that. But he did have 99% of the story right. So, the moral of the story is that was probably my number one chance to turn the game on its head. I should have put my two votes on Wendell. I talked Michael into the whole story. I told him to vote for Wendell. So, it wasn’t so much that I was making mistakes and missing things, it was “Oh (expletive deleted), I just put myself on a raft and I have to start fighting uphill now.”

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Wendell.
Bechtold: Intuitive.
Holmes: Brendan?
Bechtold: True gentleman.
Holmes: James?
Bechtold: Calculated, yet kind.
Holmes: Libby?
Bechtold: Hard to get to know.
Holmes: Jenna?
Bechtold: Goes with the flow gorgeously.
Holmes: Chris?
Bechtold: Um…I’m not sure Chris and I have one thing in common.
Holmes: You’re not a rap star?
Bechtold: (Laughs) Maybe that’s what we have in common.
Holmes: Because I’ve seen you do mic drops.
Bechtold: (Laughs) What we have in common is we are both not rap stars.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Bechtold: You found the one thing! Go Gordon!
Holmes: (Laughs) Stop… OK…Desiree?
Bechtold: Don’t make me pick on him! Um…Desiree is (expletive deleted) fabulous.
Holmes: Morgan?
Bechtold: Feisty.
Holmes: Stephanie?
Bechtold: She is a passionate goddess.
Holmes: Chelsea?
Bechtold: My island BFF.
Holmes: Domenick?
Bechtold: In real life he’s an amazing family man. On “Survivor” he’s a reckless dictator.
Holmes: Angela?
Bechtold: Tough as nails.
Holmes: Michael?
Bechtold: Lethal and the little brother I never had.
Holmes: Sebastian?
Bechtold: Heart of gold.
Holmes: Donathan?
Bechtold: Unfiltered.
Holmes: Laurel?
Bechtold: Smart, but risk-averse.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Bradley.
Bechtold: Bradley is ridiculously entertaining and believe it or not, a great listener.
Holmes: Awww…that kid is bad news.
Bechtold: (Laughs) Yeah yeah yeah…

Holmes: I felt bad for you last night. You know who I felt worse for? Jeff Probst. The look on his face after the challenge was heart-breaking.
Bechtold: Gordon, I can’t believe they showed it on TV. I figured they’d just edit around it. There are zero times where you feel like the game breaks. Maybe when your loved one runs out, and you forget the game. But when Wendell said, “I had it” the air just went out of the room…or off the island. Jeff just took a minute and said, “I had no way of knowing you were done.” And I was exhausted, I could barely get up those damn steps. I felt for Wendell. He’s saying, “Wait, it’s a rule? You have to say, ‘Jeff, I’m done’?” I feel like Jeff handled it with grace and Wendell handled it with extreme grace as well. It just took everyone a minute and I think Wendell thought, “What am I going to do? Stomp my feet?” And Wendell said, “If those are the rules, those are the rules.”

Holmes: You started to get a little bit of a villain edit. Which to me was like rooting against Santa Claus.
Bechtold: (Laughs)
Holmes: What was your reaction when you noticed the edit was headed in that direction?
Bechtold: So many women on “Survivor” are edited as one note. You’re a dumb blonde or you’re the smart bitch. Or you’re like a sweet old lady. The fact that I believe that they showed a woman who was a complex character? Sometimes I was the sweet lady, trying to keep the family together. Other times I was figuring things out, working strategy, getting people on my side, making enemies. That’s “Survivor,” that’s the whole game. Did I expect the evil hag edit? No. Am I pretty OK with owning it? Hell yeah.
Holmes: I didn’t say “Hag.”
Bechtold: (Laughs)
Holmes: I don’t think that’s accurate.

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