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Gordon Holmes: How are you holding up?
Stephanie Johnson: It’s been rough, but at least I got my own dedicated torch-snuffing music. That was pretty awesome.
Holmes: I know! I always get a little emotional during the snuffing, but I was like, “What are you guys doing! You know I’m sensitive!”
Johnson: (Laughs) I hope you cried as much as I did, because I sure cried.
Holmes: I’m not going to lie, it got a little dusty in the Holmes household. How did the youngsters take it?
Johnson: They’re six and eight so they did not know the outcome until last night. It was really rough. It was a little heartbreaking, they were devastated. We were all bawling our eyes out and my oldest son looked me in the eyes and gave me a big bear hug and said, “Mom, I’m so proud of you.” And then I lost it. Everything that I had said on the show, everything that I had worked so hard for, it made it all OK.
Holmes: I would imagine growing up with a mom who’s a tri-athlete, and an author, and a world traveler, they’d already know you’re pretty much a badass.
Holmes: Last night felt like an old-school episode of “Survivor.” We’ve got no idols, no advantages, we have an alliance that doesn’t seem to have any cracks. You’re just left to your own devices. Looking back, was there anything else you could have possibly done?
Johnson: The second that I got back to camp after Ghost Island, I realized it wasn’t the same tribe that I had left. Twenty four hours makes a huge difference. I brought Jenna and Michael to the side and I started plotting and scheming. And Jenna wouldn’t even look me in the eyes. It was at that point that I realized that they had made an arrangement and they were going to flip. Something was different, so I completely ditched them. I worked on the relationships I had with Naviti while looking for an idol. But, I worked Bradley, Kellyn, and Chelsea, trying to…like you said, “Old School.” If you do this for me, I’m in your corner. Use my vote. But I came up short.
Holmes: I understand braiding hair is huge on that tribe. That could have been an in.
Johnson: I was the hair braider!
Johnson: Jenna probably told him, “Look, if you vote her out instead of me, I’ve got your back, I can braid your hair.” Sea Bass and me bonded for hours over me braiding his hair. I did all sorts of braids.
Holmes: Emotional braid theft? That’s cold.
Johnson: I wouldn’t put it past either of them. I don’t doubt it. (Laughs)
Holmes: You were the only person left on classic Malolo-low that knows about the Legacy Advantage. Had you told anyone about it?
Johnson: I didn’t tell a soul. I really thought I could leverage it a little later on in the game. I had no idea who Morgan was close to. I tried to get that information from Naviti after Morgan was out. But, I didn’t tell anyone. And before I was voted out, I was thinking, “Screw that. I’m not giving you guys an advantage because I know I’m going home. I’m taking this to the Ghost Island grave.”
Holmes: I was on Instagram earlier and it seems like Kellyn is a huge Stephanie fan. Did you two became besties out there?
Johnson: We really did. They didn’t show Kellyn and I, but we had a lot of conversations. Our life storylines are very similar. We really bonded. We got really close out there. And I didn’t know that she was crying at my Tribal. I was in a complete daze. I didn’t know Jenna or her were crying.
Holmes: Last week Brendan said that he caught Kellyn tearing up when he was talking about going home before his birthday. It seems like she doesn’t have a poker face.
Johnson: She really doesn’t. She’s an amazing woman, but she has no poker face at all. You can read her like a book.
Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Brendan.
Johnson: Big brother that I never had. He’s one of the most strong and honorable men that I’ve ever met.
Johnson: Misunderstood. I say that because in the game we didn’t connect, but outside of the game we are very similar.
Johnson: She’s a beast, she’s a silent, powerful beast.
Johnson: Sunshine. (Laughs) She just makes you smile.
Johnson: My soul sister.
Johnson: The most creative man I know. And actually, he is the one who pushed me to get my book published.
Holmes: Sea Bass?
Johnson: A big ball of love, passion, and silliness.
Johnson: Loyal, highly intelligent…and extremely easy to talk to.
Johnson: Very reserved, but in a good way. I don’t think she opens up to many people. But, she opened up to me out there and we became pretty close.
Johnson: Hot. (Laughs) He’s charming. He’s going to find great success in life.
Johnson: The most kind-hearted soul ever. She’s a fighter.
Johnson: Out there I thought of her as a little sister. After last night I want to pull a Morgan and say, “Don’t trust the cute blonde.”
Johnson: Lovable, he’s got a rare innocence to him. But, he’s one of the strongest people I’ve met.
Holmes: And let’s finish with Bradley.
Johnson: He’s complicated. On one hand I feel like he’s a whiny bitch. On the other hand, he and I had some really deep, heartfelt conversations.
Holmes: Let’s stick with the Bradley thing for a bit. I feel the same way in that it seems like he goes too strongly in one direction, realizes the error of his way, and then quickly course corrects.
Johnson: Yes. And the one thing with Bradley is that he’s not malicious. He’s not mean-spirited, he just complains. He’s snarky. I think that’s who he is. But at the same time, we had a lot of great talks.
Holmes: It feels like you and Jenna were close out there. Aside from her not looking at you when you returned to Ghost Island, was there anything else she did that felt like a betrayal?
Johnson: No, Jenna was my day-one girl. We hit the beach running. We were always together. We plotted to poison Bradley. Ninety seven percent of the stuff we talked about…they couldn’t even air it because it was not appropriate. We had the same sense of humor, she was really like the little sister that I never had. But, when it came down to it being us three and I was gone, she has a relationship with Michael too. She had to do something to save herself. It sucks. But, I feel like my best friend backstabbed me. But, I don’t hold it against her because it was a good move. If I had been there, I would have thrown one of them under the bus too. She did what she had to do. I just think it sucks that she chose Michael instead of me. But, that’s because I’m kind of a feminist.
Holmes: Just to clarify; when you say you were going to poison Bradley, you meant figuratively poisoning the tribe against him, not literally poisoning him, correct?
Johnson: Oh no, we wanted to poison him. (Laughs)
Johnson: We were picking berries and leaves and we were thinking of all the ways we could get him med-evac’d and then we wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore.
Holmes: That’s terrible.
Johnson: You know, he came over and just (expletive deleted) all over our camp. He was arrogant, I did not like him those first days. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Holmes: OK, but he was figuratively (expletive deleted) all over camp. Unlike you literally wanting to poisoning him.
Johnson: Yes. He didn’t literally (expletive deleted) all over everything. But we did want to poison him.
Holmes: I’m a little afraid to ask this question; was there anything out there that we didn’t get to see that you wish we had?
Holmes: Other than planning a potential homicide?
Johnson: (Laughs) I’m really glad they showed my ambition to look for idols. There wasn’t a single day or moment where I was not digging through the most disgusting, bug-infested logs. I tore that camp apart every single day.
Holmes: The worst thing you can do is go out there and be a bump on log. I said this to Brendan last week, and I’ll say it to you too. If there’s ever another Second Chance vote, I’ve got you back.
Johnson: Aww…thank you! They knocked out some players. Every single one of us was there to play.