March 13, 2014 12:54 PM by Ryan Haidet
Oh, J’Tia Taylor. Being a nuclear engineer, it was fitting that she was placed on the Brains tribe of Survivor: Cagayan. But some of her decisions, like dumping out nearly all of her tribe’s rice on Day 6, left some fans wondering how the hell this supposed brainiac was able to survive this long. In my interview with her, J’Tia explained her reasoning behind dumping out the rice and responded to David’s post-game comments in which he called her useless. Plus, J’Tia revealed why she believes she could have won the game. Jump inside this story for the full interview and to see loads of pictures from the show. Be sure to also follow me on Twitter for more behind-the-scenes Survivor news @RyanSurvivor.
Question: Were you fearful going into Tribal Council before you were voted off?
J’Tia Taylor: No I didn’t have fear going into Tribal. I felt like they were going to keep me. As Tribal went on and as the discussion went toward winning challenges, I think they started thinking about winning challenges. I made the argument that they needed somebody loyal because the tribe shakeup is coming up. But they went in another direction.
Question: What went through your mind leading up to dumping out the rice?
J’Tia Taylor: I came back from the challenge and I was already rejected. I already felt bad. I felt like that was my go-big-or-go-home moment. Clearly I didn’t go big. I felt like it was embarrassing as a person to be sat down and told, “You’re not even worth having conversations with because you’re going home.” That really upset me and I wanted to hurt everybody — especially the person who brought up this whole situation, which was Garrett. Garrett kept talking about how hungry he was. The rice was next to me. He was supposed to be watching me. I was like, OK, I will throw the rice in the fire. Everybody told me I was going home, so I really didn’t care about them. I figured I was going to eat rice at Ponderosa, so there ya go.
Question: When you dumped out the rice, did you think you were toast going into the first Tribal Council or did you know you were safe?
J’Tia Taylor: After I dumped out the rice, I thought there was a good possibility that I was going home. That’s the way I always went in to any Tribal Council — and I certainly had good reason. I knew that I was gonna make a strong argument (to stay). I knew I was going to talk about everything I could. I knew there was a possibility that I could stay. I knew Garrett had an Idol, but he did not bring it with him. With Garrett, the more he spoke, the higher my chances got so I just sat back.
Question: If one of the other castaways had dumped out the rice instead, would you have targeted them immediately?
J’Tia Taylor: It depends. I think Kass made a very strategic decision. With the boys, she would have been third. If she went with the girls, she definitely had a chance at two — and maybe even one. … The rice is gone. When it’s gone, it’s gone. So what’s the best move for me? That’s what I would have thought about.
Question: When I interviewed David a few weeks ago, he said you were worthless. What is your response?
J’Tia Taylor: I like David as a person. I’m not going to put him down. If he feels that way, he is certainly entitled to his opinion. I have talked with him privately. We’ve had some discussions about that. But I’m not going to put anybody down. We are all out there trying to do our best.
Question: Do you think people misunderstood you this season?
J’Tia Taylor: I’m a complicated person, so that is certainly something that’s easy to do. I don’t fit neatly into one category or what somebody would think just looking at me. I did everything you saw on TV. There was no CGI J’Tia dumping out the rice. That was me. I can be bossy. I can be mean. But I feel like that’s only one facet to the diamond that is J’Tia. So there ya go.
Question: A lot of fans have been saying that the Brains tribe doesn’t actually seem very smart. How does that make you feel? Do you take it personally?
J’Tia Taylor: I think it’s great that the fans are watching and they have an opinion. I don’t think anybody on our tribe is stupid in any way, shape or form. We are not survivalists. We did not see this twist coming. We did the best that we could. I feel like if any fan feels like they could do better, they should apply.
Question: Did you guys realize the Brawn tribe was intentionally trying to lose the Immunity challenge?
J’Tia Taylor: No. It was hilarious. If they were trying to lose a challenge involving making shots into a hoop, they probably shouldn’t have let Cliff do it. But that would have been too obvious. I didn’t know they were trying to throw it, but it was hilarious when I found out. It was very entertaining.
Question: Since Spencer was such a standout star in that challenge, would there have been a sense of guilt for you if he would have been voted out instead of you?
J’Tia Taylor: No. I would not have felt guilty at all.
Question: What is your take on Spencer? He was being portrayed as an arrogant, egotistical player before the game began. Was he that way out there?
J’Tia Taylor: I think he got humbled when Garrett got voted out. He really had to regroup and rethink. I think all the boys kind of underestimated the women. I think they really did. I think that’s what got David and Garrett voted out. Spencer didn’t do that. Spencer saw the writing on the wall and he really adjusted. I saw Spencer’s before game interviews and he was practically a deaf mute out there, so he was good at controlling himself because he certainly didn’t come off as a jerk.
Question: If you had made it all the way to the end of the game, do you think you could have actually won considering all of the negativity above your head?
J’Tia Taylor: I always believe I can win. I’m very confident in myself in whatever situation. Doesn’t always work out for me, but I believe in being fearless in any encounter, win, lose or draw. You just give the best you have. It depends. Maybe I would have been awesome at a disgusting food challenge, or some math challenge or an algebraic formula that I had to solve — because those come up a lot on Survivor. If that was the case, then I would have been the great turnaround. If I sucked all the way through and got to the finals, I would have made the case about why you shouldn’t vote for the other person because he/she backstabbed you and why would you reward that person? That would have been the argument I made.
Question: Are you rooting for your own tribe members to do well?
J’Tia Taylor: Oh yeah. I love them all. It’s a game. You gotta do what’s best for you. I feel like anybody who makes it off our tribe is going to kick some ass. I’m ready to see it. I’m totally on their side. I was mad at them then, but it’s a game.
What are your thoughts on what J’Tia had to say? Do you think she could have won this game had she made it to the end? Would you have kept her around as long as the Brains tribe did — especially after she destroyed the rice? Do you think her reasoning for dumping the rice was justified? We want to hear your thoughts! Sound off and leave your comments in the section below!
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