Survivor Cagayan – Interview With Kass McQuillen
Kass McQuillen a lawyer on the original Brain’s tribe was a polarising contestant on the show. She flipped on an alliance of six and was not shy in making strategic moves or telling people what she thought.
In this very interesting interview she talks about sexism in the game of Survivor and the strategy behind her seemingly emotional decisions.
RR: You were a great player to watch. You were polarising when you flipped and I was thinking you were gone. But by the end of the game I was actually thinking you rooting for you to win. One of the things that really resonated with me was that you said was you played like a male and you got criticised for it and there was a certain level of sexism in the game of Survivor can you tell me more of your thoughts about that.
Kass: You look at the game, the first eighteen days or so and no one has had a problem with me. I am not disliked and suddenly I make a big move to benefit my game turning on people who were getting ready to turn on me and suddenly I became a bitch to half the people on the island for making a strategic move. When Tony did the same thing he was forgiven and he was applauded. It is Survivor people need to get over that if a woman wants to make a move to forward her game, which is what I did every step of the way and they say it is an emotional decision. It was a completely unemotional decision it actually worked to my benefit. After that flip Tash who was my friend there did not speak to me for six days in the game. Because she was reacting emotionally. In that time it gave me time to forma another alliance. I did not come to camp and say screw you all. I was yelled at by Spencer in the worst way, Morgan and Tasha were horrible to me, so they all had an emotional response to a strategic move. I don’t think they could believe that someone that looked like me would do that. The mum out there.
RR: I was wondering what other women have played the game hard and strategically and I was thinking Parvati, but she of course did it kind of flirty, friendly way and that obviously was not your style.
Kass: I think if I had flirted with people it would have freaked them out. It certainly would have freaked me out being a married parent.
RR: You might have stuffed up Tony’s strategy if you had done that it might have blown his mind.
Kass: Let Parvati come back when she is 41 and a parent and an old bag and get her to try out that strategy.
RR: When you did flip, I thought you are gone. You are now bottom of a new alliance when it looked to the viewer you were entrenched in the previous alliance where it looked like you were going top three, and you go into the new alliance and you are number six. Did you think about that when you were going to flip and how did you entrench yourself in that new alliance?
Kass: Well that new alliance was Tony, Trish and Woo and then LJ and Jefra. You just look at LJ and Tony on face value the alpha male and look what happened on the brains tribe. David and Garrett, two alpha males going head on. The alpha males were going to take each other out. I did not want to be a goat. I did not want to be Tasha’s goat. I did not want to be like Morgan lying around in the shelter hoping some man will take me to the end. I want to get out there and play as I only get one shot. When I flipped I envisaged being at the end with two brawn and how wonderful that would be going into the jury as a story and a narrative. I also knew an early flip would be a huge gamble. But given there was eleven of us at the time and things change in this game so much, it was my best bet to realign with people and get myself into an alliance that would get me there. The new Ipari six were misfits. We were not there because we had a bond we were there because we were against the other alliance. The big thing was I saw the clashing personalities over there versus the non-players that I was with and figured it would be great to jump in and either team with LJ and Jefra or team with Tony, Trish and Woo and work my way in there. And it worked.
RR: So you are saying it was a strategic decision why you flipped. How it was edited was how you decided you did not like Sarah and how she thought she was wielding the power. Was it strategy or was it emotion or was it a bit of both?
Kass: I played with my gut out there which is different to your emotion. I played with that feeling you get when something is just not right. Sarah was very dismissive of me and you saw that scene where Tasha, Sarah and I are down at the pond. And you watch Tasha and her body language she literally turns her back on me and says “then vote Kass out!” to Sarah. After that Tasha and I went for a walk on the beach and I said “What was that all about?” and what will we do if she does not flip with us. Everyone was just pandering to her and I was not confident she would stay with us and Tasha said she had plan b and c and suggested I get my own plan B and C, so I did. When someone does not like you and you know it then she is going to try and get rid of me so why not make the first move? I have spoken to her since, she is a nice girl and she admitted that she was going to take me out and said she had the numbers. To me it was a great move, there is a lot of revisionism going on but the one consistent thing was I was not up the top of that six or even in a tight three with that six. Spencer and Tasha were not even tight they were even in separate alliances according to their post game interviews so where would that put me.
RR: When Trish was eliminated did you flip her the bird?
Kass: Of course I did. She insulted my child and my husband. You did not see it out there but she went on and railed into me for hours in the manner that you saw. To put it into perspective she is the only person in the history of this game to be so mean to someone that they quit rather then hit her. All I did was give her the bird and I stand by that bird.
RR: My thought was that when you did that the jury saw that. After you left tribal council were you worried that the jury saw you flip the bird that it might impact you if you got to final two or three?
Kass: That jury was so bitter it did not matter. I could have flipped the bird to the whole jury at that point. They were very bitter towards me and they stewed in that bitterness. If you watch the Ponderosa videos they are just an unpleasant group of people and they also know how Trish was. That she would gloat and make fun of people. She would speak horribly about anyone who had left the game and she was very confrontational. There is a scene in there where they show her taking over the shelter and kicking the pretty girls out. And she said she was going to show me how to be a bitch back when we were BFF’s out there. That is Trish she is a very rough person.
RR: Who are you in touch with from your time on Survivor?
Kass: I am in touch with a fair amount of people. My husband is meeting up with Sarah and her fiancé in Iowa this week as he is out there working. The only person who has not spoken to me is Morgan who literally last week in Los Angeles she turned her back and refused to acknowledge my existence. That is fine as she has the mentality of a fourteen year old girl. I walked right up to Trish and gave her a hug when I saw her. Would I ever have a beer with her? No. But I am not going to mean to her. It is a game and it brought out the worst in people. Spencer and I have spoken everyday until this week and I think it has been very difficult for him to process watching that. You have to remember some of us just got our closure less then a week ago.
RR: What do you mean Spencer had difficulty processing that?
Kass: That loss. Everyone goes through this everyone has to process what they went through eight months ago when you are watching it on TV. I think it was very difficult for him to watch that challenge loss. It is hard to watch yourself lose again once you have got through it in your head and have gotten over it.
RR: Would you go on Survivor again?
Kass: Oh yes I have to get my million out of CBS at some point.