Interview: Brice Johnston talks 'Survivor: Cagayan'
The Beautiful People had to devour one of their own on Wednesday (March 5) night's "Survivor: Cagayan."
The Beauty Tribe held a big lead in Wednesday's Immunity Challenge, but squandered it and were forced to go to Tribal Council for the first time.
As votes were tallied -- twice, since there was a three-way tie the first time -- the power was all in the hands of Jeremiah. In a six-person tribe, he had the choice between sticking with an alliance of four and booting Brice, or aligning with Brice and Morgan to eliminate Alexis.
In the end, Jeremiah chose numbers and social worker Brice Johnston was eliminated, taking his purple pants with him.
The way Brice figures it, the other Beauty castaways felt threatened by him, specifically by his social game and by his effort in challenges and at camp. He left the game telling cameras that he didn't even remember the names of his tribemates.
In his exit interviews, Brice talks about his inner and outer beauty, explains why Jeremiah made the wrong decision and proves that he does, indeed, remember some Beauty names.
Click through for the full Q&A...
HitFix: I guess my first question is for you to tell me why Jeremiah made the wrong move and why he would have been smarter to vote with you and Morgan.
Brice Johnston: I'm sorry. Who's that again?
Brice: But why he would have been better is that, you know, no one else on that tribe had a social game like I have a social game and so, you know, if he wants to go far in the game, he's gonna actually need to talk and he's gonna need people to make power moves and I don't feel like any of those other people that he went with could make power moves. LJ talks to horses, so that's not gonna help him in the game of "Survivor." Alexis and Jefra are depending on someone to bring them along. I was definitely a leader and team player, so it's definitely sad.
HitFix: Did last night's episode give you any insight into why Jeremiah made the choice he made?
Brice: No, not at all. When I was on the island, I knew that if he was gonna make that decision, the reasons that he made, so it wasn't too much of a surprise. It was sad, but it wasn't too much of a surprise. I kinda knew that if my plan didn't work, I would be the outcome of going home.
HitFix: From what we saw, that Southern alliance you made, when you made it, it seemed like you weren't especially tied to it, but then you had no alternative. How did that become your only play?
Brice: I knew coming in that I was the odd man out, just because I just saw them instantaneous connecting, whether they were from the country, whatever bonded them that ostracized me was pretty obvious, so I knew I had to kind of scramble. Actually, Jeremiah kinda sorta approached us about that, so it kinda felt like it was a match made in heaven, but I kinda went with that. Like I said last night, I had not talked any type of strategy with Jefra or Alexis, so I knew LJ had them on a pretty tight rope and that they were scared to talk, so I really didn't have too many alternatives out there on the island. It was like me and Morgan were the odd men out, the beautiful odd men out, but we were the odd men out.
HitFix: You used the word ostracizing there. Did you feel like you were being actively pushed to the outside, or was it just that the other people were bonding and you just weren't part of that bonding?
Brice: Definitely. I was the funniest person on our tribe, if you can't tell. I was the hardest worker. I did so much. So it definitely was an ostracision. I don't know if that's a word, but I definitely was ostracized. People are scared of what they don't know and I brought something different to "Survivor." I don't think "Survivor" has ever had a character like me. I'm flamboyant, I'm funny, but I'm physical. I'm good at challenges and I think that scared them and they didn't know how to take it and they knew that I was a threat and so they wanted to get rid of me. And rightfully so, because if I were still in that game, I would be dominating. So they were scared.
HitFix: Did you actually feel comfortable with Morgan as an alliance-mate? Or was it just that she was the other person who was outside of that four-person group?
Brice: Originally, it was that she was the other person not in that four-person alliance, but I kinda groomed Morgan, so I kinda felt comfortable with her. Eventually.
HitFix: I feel like "Survivor" has had players who were flamboyant and, at least to some degree, a threat in challenges, so tell me more about why you think you're different, why you thought you were going to stand out in this game?
Brice: Well, I'm easy on the eyes, I play a stellar social game, I'm physical, I can get down-and-dirty in the challenges and I know "Survivor." I love the game of "Survivor," so immediately once we got on that island, I was playing. I had already planted seeds. I was doing what I needed to do. I was something different. I was a breath of fresh air to them and they were scared of it. That's kinda what I can say.
HitFix: Who was particularly scared?
Brice: LJ was very scared of my presence on the tribe. You could just tell. Why else vote me out. Because, what? I'm great at the challenges, I'm great on the island. He just was scared. LJ doesn't have a social game like I do, so ultimately it was a bad decision for him.
HitFix: It seemed like it was almost a surprise to several of the Beauties that there was strategizing to be done before Tribal Council. Was there *any* gameplay going on on your tribe?
Brice: Definitely, but they thought since they were the only four, since they were the four alliance, I guess they didn't think that Morgan and I would do what we need to do to move around, but it's the game of "Survivor." We're not dumb. Unlike the rest of our tribe, we actually were shaking barrels and doing what we needed to do, shaking feathers and moving around and scrambling, essentially, because it was only us two.
HitFix: I'm just trying to get a sense of how divided the tribe was and whether that was detrimental. Jefra said it was like a college party out there and everyone was having fun. Were you having fun with the college party aspect of it?
Brice: I mean, I pretended like I was having fun, but those people aren't the people I would hang out in real life with. So when we were together as a tribe, we were definitely a tribe. Like I said, I was the funny man out there, I made everyone laugh. When we would go to sleep at night, everyone would want me to talk to them. When we were together, it was fun. However, we're playing "Survivor," so it can't always be fun and games, so there were times when we had to talk strategy and do things. I was one of the people actually playing the game, so maybe to somebody who was just out there having a college party, not really playing the game, it would be a surprise to them that people are out here playing the game. If you can kinda get my drift.
HitFix: What was your initial reaction when you saw the people who were out there with, the people who were on your tribe?
Brice: [He laughs.] I was just like, "Wow, this is who I'm with?" I kinda just felt a little screwed, because I knew that they all would bond and I was literally, if you can't tell physically, I was the odd man out. So it took me off-guard, but in true Brice fashion, I used my purple pants and I tried to work every avenue and just be myself and really get people to like me, like I did. And that made me a threat.
HitFix: How much do you think you were hurt by Brains/Beauty/Brawn division?
Brice: What do you mean "hurt"?
HitFix: Well just by the fact that you were on a tribe with people all of one type, rather than people of mixed types like on traditional "Survivor" seasons?
Brice: True. I definitely think it hurt my game a lot, because if I was gonna mix tribes, I definitely think you wouldn't be speaking to me right now. I definitely think it hurt my game a little bit, but I'm not one to kinda cry about it. "Survivor" is "Survivor" and, like I've said before, I went down fighting and that's the best way to go out on "Survivor" -- You're the perceived threat, so they want to take you out. And because I was the most beautifulest person on the tribe, it comes with the territory.
HitFix: How do you think you would have done if you'd been put on the Brains tribe from the beginning? Do you think you would have been worthy of being on the Brains tribe?
Brice: Definitely. After seeing how the Brains tribe did, I don't know if I would have wanted to be on the Brains tribe, but absolutely I think I'm worthy of being on the Brains tribe. I have a college degree. I went to school for education. I'm definitely book smart, I'm definitely street smart, so definitely I feel like I was worthy to be on that tribe as well.
HitFix: But you've seen the way the tribal dynamic played out with the Brains tribe and the various Alpha dynamics and all of that. Do you think you would have done better in that sort of environment?
Brice: Probably so, because I could have maybe aligned with Tasha and Kass and J'Tia. They're strong, independent women and I can kinda relate to that more than people that are just lazy and think that their looks are what is gonna get them by. So I maybe would have fared better with them a little bit.
HitFix: Was it laziness or did the rain and storms really have a major impact on the mindset of everyone out there?
Brice: Well, it did, but it didn't stop me from doing what I had to do. I definitely think it was laziness.
HitFix: Could you see that work-ethic immediately on your first day at camp?
Brice: Absolutely! Absolutely. And I think that's what shocked people about me, was I honestly think that everyone thought I was gonna be the fourth girl on my tribe, so they were definitely shocked to see how active I was with game life, with getting water, making rice, helping with building our shelter, helping our morale and everything. So absolutely.
HitFix: You're a vocal guy. I was a little surprised that after the final votes were read, you didn't say anything at all. Why didn't you have parting words?
Brice: I didn't have anything to say to those people that I don't remember the names to.
HitFix: Do you think that anyone after this season is going to remember any of their names?
Brice: I don't. Actually, since Brice is gone from the Beauty tribe, they might as well just obliterate the Beauty tribe now, because it's done for.
HitFix: When Probst announced the tribes, he said that people had been classified by what they were going to be relying on most in the game. How did you really come into this viewing "beauty" as a major asset?
Brice: Well, I think of beauty, I don't just think of beauty as what's on the outside. You've seen my butterfly analysis, but I really feel like I embody what the true beauty is and that's having inner beauty, loving yourself, being able to endure things. In my life, being a gay black male, I've had to endure a lot of different things, a lot of ridicule, a lot of things that have made my skin tougher. From that tough skin, I've morphed into this beautiful person, that I truly embody what being beautiful is. That's why I feel like that has helped me, because I have the physical aspects of it, because I'm a runner, I have the brains aspect of it, because I'm super-smart and super-sassy and super-social, and I have the outer appearance that I'm beautiful. I'm one of the most stylish "Survivor" players ever. So I really embodied that. I wasn't that one-dimensional, "I'm beautiful, that's it." There's multi-layers to Bryce.
HitFix: If, hypothetically, a Beauty player were to continue in the game and eventually even win, who's a sleeper from that tribe? Who might surprise us?
Brice: I definitely would have to go with my girl, my alliance, Morgan.
Brice: I think Morgan is getting the rep from the first couple episodes that she's just beautiful and there's nothing else to her, but I think we need to watch Morgan. There's definitely more to Morgan than meets the eye.