Interview: Morgan McLeod talks 'Survivor: Cagayan'
Before we knew anything else about former cheerleader and "Survivor: Cagayan" contestant Morgan McLeod, we knew that she was comfortable with her place on the Beauty tribe and that she was prepared to use her physical attributes to get what she wanted.
Soon, though, LJ came to look at Morgan as a threat, because of a hot girl scorned and she became a target, stuck in a not-especially-successful alliance with the previously eliminated Brice. [Somehow I forgot that LJ picked Morgan for not-elimination in the very first seconds on the beach. I'd have asked about that if I remembered. Apologies!]
Morgan was never shy about saying what she thought of people. She called LJ old. She called Kass old and ugly.
And it's a favor that was returned this week. Flip-flopping Kass compared Morgan to a useless old dog, while Tony said that because of Morgan's laziness, "you can't tell if she's a pillow or a person."
Morgan was never the biggest threat for... anything, but the members of the Brawn-y alliance decided that nobody would waste an Idol trying to save her. For her part, Morgan tried to defend herself by claiming that she would be a good and easily beatable person to take to the end. Morgan's argument didn't work and she was voted out.
In this week's "Survivor" exit interview, Morgan discusses her failures this season and owns up to how some of her catty comments looked. She also remains confused by Kass hated her so much and reveals what Kass told everybody she does for a living.
Click through for the full Q&A...
HitFix: First off... Regarding this week's Tribal Council. Did you have any idea that the votes from the other side were going against you?
Morgan McLeod: Yeah. I honestly prepared myself that day for the possibility that I was probably going home, so you can see in my reaction, I'm just kinda like, "Yup." Like, "I know." I wasn't shocked or crying or upset.
HitFix: So you spent a day preparing yourself mentally, but was there anything you think you could have done or should have done to protect yourself or to change the course of things?
Morgan: Well, I made Kass very upset and very uncomfortable and Tony knew that Kass was just an irrational person and kinda plays with her emotions, as much as she likes to deny it. So he knew that I would toy with her emotions and stress her out, so he knew that voting me out was just probably the right thing to do, just to keep Kass comfortable and to keep it harmonious at the camp. I don't think it was the best strategic movie. I think that it was kinda a waste of a vote. I'll admit it: I wasn't a power player. I wasn't going to take the game and win and they could have voted someone out. They had the opportunity to do that.
HitFix: Was there any way you could have made that argument to anyone? Were you making that argument to anyone?
Morgan: Yeah, Tasha and I approached LJ during the Idol hunt and we were like, "Come on. Is there anything we can do? There can't be two Alpha males. You're gonna have to break away at some point." But he was just like, "Nope. I'm good. I'm comfortable." And then we went to Tony and we were like, "Come on, Tony. Is there anything we can do? Can you save us?" And his words were, "You know what? You guys upset Kass and I can't have Kass being upset." And so when he said that, I was like, "Alright. That's me. I make her upset." And yeah... You saw. Trisha and Jefra, they were actually putting some strategy into it and were like, "No. Don't vote Morgan off." And I tried at Tribal Council to play that card and I was realizing that people may want to keep me because I'm a goat and I'll admit that. I'm not gonna win, so take me to the final and you'll have a way better chance of winning.
HitFix: At what point did you realize that that was the only role that you could play? That you really weren't going to win and that maybe your best chance of getting to the end was just by telling people, "I can't win"?
Morgan: I think I realized that after Kass flipped and when she just was pointing things out and very upset with me and I was just trying to ignore her and you saw that little confrontation go down and then at Tribal, Trish really opened up and started saying some really crazy things about me. I mean, not "crazy," but mean things about me and so I realized, "OK. Then I'll just play the goat role. And I'm not gonna try to say, 'Don't vote me out cuz I'm a great player and all this stuff.' I'm like, 'No. Don't vote me out because I suck at this game and you guys can win compared to me.'"
HitFix: Was that what you realized out there? That you suck at "Survivor"? Or did you suck at this season of "Survivor"?
Morgan: I don't think that I suck at the game, but I think that there's definitely things I need to change if I ever played again. I realized that I wasn't playing in the smartest and most strategic way. I played a lot of, just because I was hungry or tired or whatever it may be, so it felt like I was so grumpy and wanted to be by myself and I shouldn't have done that. I should have just sucked it up and played and helped out more.
HitFix: There are were a lot of negative stuff we saw you saying both at Tribal Council and in your confessionals last night. How much of that was part of your "Keep me around because nobody likes me" strategy and how much was just you telling the truth?
Morgan: Since it was kinda private, I was telling the camera just me and the camera, it was, unfortunately, pretty truthful. I was really upset and I was just so mad and I just was letting it all out and I, unfortunately, told it to the camera instead of behind closed doors. You know, I said some mean things, I'm not gonna apologize because I was really mad, but I could have maybe not been so harsh and maybe take that for next time.
HitFix: Talk a bit more about that. Watching yourself last night, watching yourself at Tribal Council and watching the things you said in your confessionals, what did you think of yourself?
Morgan: I think I definitely came across as really stuck-up and just a mean, malicious person and that's totally not who I am and I think everyone can vouch for that -- Maybe not Kass, because she hates me with her guts -- but it's just not who I am. I'm really down-to-Earth. I'm a nice person. It gets to you, the conditions out there. I was on an island for 22 days with rice to eat. It's hard. It's rough. And you need to remember that when you're a viewer and watching.
HitFix: And what kind of reactions have you gotten from people last night and today?
Morgan: Definitely a lot of people, mostly probably like 3/4ths of everyone's really mad that I said those things, calling me "stuck up" and "a B-I-T-C-H" and whatnot, but then there's also the people who are like, "Whatever. You told the truth. You told it how it is. Don't say sorry for that. You don't need to forgive."
HitFix: You spent a fair amount of time out there with Kass, after the Shuffle and whatnot. Had you guys been butting heads immediately or did it just start in the last few days you were out there?
Morgan: No! I honestly had no idea that she hated me so much. We were all fine and that's why when she flipped and she said something like, "None of you guys talked to me. You ignored me!" we're like, "Are you kidding me? That's all in your head." It was really all in her head. We all had a blast. At night or around the fire, we'd all tell stories and she had some crazy and, I'll admit, some really funny stories. I don't know if they were true, because now we realize that she's actually a lawyer and all that stuff, but we didn't know that out there. But I was laughing at her jokes and talking with her. I guess it wasn't enough, though. I was clueless, I guess, and that's why when she flipped and she said those things, I had no idea. I don't know. I really think it was all in her head.
HitFix: What did you guys think that she was?
Morgan: Oh, she told us that she was a stay-at-home mom and that she was like a reindeer handler and that she took reindeer to parties or to Christmas festivals or parades and stuff like that. She did not let on that she was a lawyer.
HitFix: Well, you knew that she was on the Brains tribe at the beginning, so you had to suspect that she was at least a very smart reindeer handler?
Morgan: Yeah, she told us something about how... It was something about college or she has a high IQ and we were like, "Oh. OK. Whatever." I think that there were people on every tribe that were kinda like, "Oh, really? You're on the Beauty tribe?" or "You're on the Brawn tribe?" We knew that the labels were sometimes broad, but yeah... We had no idea that she was a lawyer.
HitFix: In the original Beauty tribe, you ended up on the low side of a numbers alliance very quickly. What went wrong for you on the Beauty tribe?
Morgan: I think LJ just took that role as Alpha Male and there was no one else to take the spot as the leader. And he just, from the start, did not like me. He said it himself, he didn't like me because I was quote-unquote a "hot girl," so I can't really change what I look like and I tried, I honestly did, I tried to go to LJ and talk to him, but he just wanted nothing to do with it. He wanted Jefra and Alexis, the girls who followed him around, and were at his beck-and-call on who to vote off. So it was a lost cause.
HitFix: You talked at the Tribal Council about how you guys became a little too accustomed to LJ & Jeremiah providing at camp. In retrospect, how big a mistake do you think it was for you to not step up earlier and to not be more active around camp?
Morgan: Obviously it was, I guess, more of a mistake for me because people noticed it more from me compared to Jefra and Alexis, but they were right along laying in the shelter with me on the Beauty tribe and definitely didn't work as hard as the boys did, so I got the bad rap for it, but it was also a group effort. Yeah, I should have tried harder. But, you know, I got used to it. It's rough out there and if someone wants to do the work, then OK! You're not gonna fight them for it. You've gotta save your energy for these challenges. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way and it ultimately caused me to get voted out. I don't know. Next time, if I ever play again -- and I'm being honest this time, instead of the half-assed apology that I did last night -- I'll have to try harder and I'll have to actually work harder at camp.
HitFix: Being on the Beauty tribe in the beginning, do you feel like that messed you up to some degree? Do you think you would have played a different game if it had been normal, mixed up "Survivor" tribes?
Morgan: I do think it was detrimental to my game, because from the start I knew that I kinda wanted to steer clear of that persona of like, "Oh, I'm a hot girl and I'm so stuck-up and full-of-myself" but Beauty just puts an exclamation point on that. I wanted to just kinda blend in. I wanted to aligned with people who weren't the best and weren't the worst, just middle-of-the-road. I couldn't do that with Beauty. I knew that I did not want to align with young, cute girls, because I just thought it would be like a high school clique and people would just want us gone and just want us out of their hair. But that's who I was with on the tribe! So I think it did mess up my game.
HitFix: Last night, there were lots of people saying mean things about you during the show, Trish and Kass and Tony, etc. Did any of it amuse you? Did any of it hurt you? How did you take the things that were said?
Morgan: [She chuckles.] I think it was funny. I really do. Kass' remarks about how I'm an old dog and so lazy, I know deep down and people who know me know that that's not true and that I'm not just this lazy loser, I guess. I work and I go to school, so I'm a very busy and driven person. Tony's comments, he's funny. He's hilarious. I don't take any of it to heart. It's a game and I understand when they're saying mean things about people in the moment when they're upset and I did it too, so no harm, no foul. I think that anyone who knows -- maybe besides Kass -- but Tony and Trish, they know like, "No, Morgan's cool." They don't hate me. They know that I'm not an awful person!