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Survivor: Cagayan Interview With Jefra Bland: “I Tried Not To Be A Bitter Jury Member”

May 01, 2014 01:29 PM by Ryan Haidet


Another beauty bit the dust when the final seven castaways booted Jefra Bland out of the game on the latest episode of Survivor: Cagayan.  Instead of flipping alliances to join Spencer, Tasha and Jeremiah just a few days earlier, Jefra opted to stay true with her primary allies, leaving the question of: What if?  What if she had swapped sides?  Would it have been a better move?  Would it have kept her longer in the game?  These are questions she discussed in depth during our interview.  But that’s not all…  Jefra said she respects the game of Survivor too much to be a bitter jury member.  Awesome!  I totally respect somebody who votes based on strategies instead of hurt feelings.  Jefra also weighed in on her personal Survivor story of beating cervical cancer and even told me where her name originated.  There’s lots to soak up with this chat, so dive on in!

As always, time for my shameless self promotion.  If you’re on Twitter and want more Survivor updates, follow me @RyanSurvivor.

Question: Were you truly blindsided or did you have any indication that Tony was going to flip on you?

Jefra Bland: I was 110 percent blindsided.  I was not expecting to go home, but when the third vote came out, I knew instantly what happened.  I knew it had to be Tony and Woo.


Question: Were you surprised to see how much of an influence Spencer had in swaying Tony to target you?

Jefra Bland: I’m kind of shocked, because my time on the island, I was certain that it was all Tony.  So hats off to Spencer for being able to pull that off.  I know it was the only game play that he had left.  Obviously, it doesn’t make me happy knowing he did because it was the reason I went home.  But that’s the game.  That’s Survivor.  It was his only option, and lucky for him, it worked in his favor.  I was shocked to see he’s playing such a strong game.


Question: You had a chance to flip and go with Spencer, Tasha and Jeremiah.  You even shook hands and agreed to do so.  Ultimately, you changed your mind and stuck by your other alliance.  What was your decision-making process with this?

Jefra Bland: I was pretty certain that I could convince either Kass or Trish to flip with me because they were just as bitter and mad about the LJ vote as I was.  When I got back to camp, Tony had been blowing smoke up them all day, telling them how we needed to stick together.  Neither of them would even really hear me out at all.  I wasn’t willing to take the risk to draw rocks when I knew I could be safe if I stuck with them.  It wasn’t an easy decision for me and there was a lot more that went into it than what was shown.  I spent a really long time talking with Trish at the well just convincing her, convincing her, convincing her over and over.  Same thing with Kass.  We had a conversation on the beach.  But neither of them were willing to flip with me.


Question: Were you bitter about your elimination?

Jefra Bland: I’m a huge fan of the show.  The first season came out when I was 11 and I grew up watching, literally, every episode with my mom.  From a fan’s perspective, and out of respect of the game, I knew it was a good move.  For sure.  But, obviously, it doesn’t make the hurt any easier.  It doesn’t make you go out without any emotion.  I lasted 30 days, just nine days away from the end.  It didn’t make it easier, but I do respect the game.  Blindsides happen.  That’s what makes the game so great and that’s what makes the season so great is that there are so many unpredictable blindsides.


Question: What was your plan moving forward?  Who did you want to go to the end of the game with?

Jefra Bland: I had two options.  I wanted to go with Kass because I knew there would be a very bitter jury and they were all still boiling about the move she made to get rid of Sarah.  I definitely wanted to take her with me because I didn’t think she would get a single vote.  Then, my second option, which I was still kind of feeling out, was to go with Trish because we played a very similar game.  I was a social player as she was.  I had just as big of a hand in getting Kass to flip over with us, which wasn’t really shown.  I was stirring the pot to get Sarah mad at Kass. I was also thinking of how to get rid of Trish and take Woo with me.  I don’t think he’s played a very strong game.  He’s just kind of in Tony’s back pocket.


Question: Did it bother you to hear Spencer say that you weren’t really playing the game at all?

Jefra Bland: I was definitely playing harder than the edit that I got.  But I get it.  It’s TV.  Everybody can’t be the number one player on the show.  I was definitely playing a hard game.  I think Spencer was just bitter I didn’t flip with him.  That would have been a good move in Spencer’s game for me to flip, but he’s saying I didn’t make a big move and that’s why I went home.  It wouldn’t have been a good move for me to make as far as my game play, because there’s no guarantee when it goes to drawing rocks.  Spencer thinks Kass made a horrible move by flipping, but I think her move was great because it saved me.  It’s just different strategies to get to the end and it was just Spencer’s perspective.


Question: Is it difficult for you to root for anybody on your alliance now?

Jefra Bland: It makes it a little difficult, but I really tried hard not to be a bitter jury member.  But I do wear my heart on my sleeve at the same time and it’s hard not to let your heart affect it.

Question: Who do you think is controlling the game?  Trish?  Tony?  Spencer?

Jefra Bland: Definitely Tony.  He was making the Kool-Aid and everyone was drinking it — including myself at times.


Question: Tony expressed some concerns that there was going to be an all-female alliance to target himself and Woo.  Was there ever any real consideration to pull Tasha in to form an all-women alliance?

Jefra Bland: Absolutely not.  There was zero shot at having a female alliance.  Tasha had approached us when we were at the pond.  They didn’t show it, but she did say, “Hey, what about an all-girl alliance?  We can get rid of Tony, Woo or Spencer.  Whoever you guys want.”  We instantly, automatically shut her down.  We assumed Tony was listening somewhere in the bushes.  By this point, everybody pretty much caught on that if you leave camp, Tony follows.  We shut her down immediately to calm down his paranoia, thinking we were doing the right thing.  She was hanging around talking to us after that.  It really wasn’t anything about an all-girl alliance ever.  It was strictly paranoia.


Question: You mention that Tony was following people to hide and listen as people would walk away to chat.  Were you aware of the Spy Shack at all?

Jefra Bland: We weren’t aware of the extremes of the Spy Shack and how close he was listening to literally every word.  We didn’t see all of it until the episodes aired.  But we did notice every time we would leave to go to the water well, Tony goes and follows us.  If he didn’t go, he’d send Woo.  He didn’t want us to talk to anyone else, yet he can go with whoever to the water well.


Question: So, how did you get picked to be a castaway?

Jefra Bland: I love the show.  I’ve always loved the show.  I’m from middle-of-nowhere Kentucky.  I’m a country girl at heart.  I grew up hunting, fishing and hanging out on the family farm.  I’m just super outdoorsy, which a lot of people don’t see that side of me with the whole Miss Kentucky deal.  I made a video of myself out on the farm one day hunting, fishing and shooting guns.  I sent in the video wondering if I would ever hear anything — and I did.  When I got the phone call it was amazing.  It was like a dream come true.


Question: Was that the first time you ever applied?

Jefra Bland: Yeah, it was.  I thought about applying several times before, but I was never really in a point in my life where I could leave for two months with school and Miss Kentucky.  But I was done with school and said, “I need a new adventure.  I’m gonna go for Survivor.”


Question: Some viewers may not realize that you’re actually a true Survivor in your personal life.  Are you OK discussing that?

Jefra Bland: There are a lot of things I’ve been through in my life — one was surviving cervical cancer.  I don’t really talk about it a lot.  People on the show were aware.  I had several conversations with Trish and Alexis about it.  But I didn’t want to play that card because I’m not the kind of person who wants a pity party.  I had a procedure done almost two years ago and I’m healthy now.  I’m cancer free and that’s what matters most.  It’s just a part of my story.  Everybody has a story in life.  Everybody has something they’re going through.  When I was going through casting, everybody was like, “How are you gonna go out there and starve for 39 days?!?!”  I’m like, “Seriously, 39 days on the island?  Although it would be very difficult, I’m sure that’s vacation compared to what most people go through in their everyday life with treatments and surgeries and sickness and illness.”  Yes, I am a real-life Survivor as well.


Question: Finally, does the name “Jefra” have any special meaning?

Jefra Bland: It’s a family name.  My father’s name is Jeff, so they just kind of stuck “ra” on the end.  My mom really liked it.  She’s very unique and likes different things.  Everybody always wants to know all the details behind it.  They named me after my dad.


What are your thoughts on Jefra’s comments?  Do you think she could have actually won the game?  If you were in her shoes, would you be a bitter jury member?  With the finale getting closer, who do you think should win the game?  Sound off and leave a comment in the section below!

Photos: CBS

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Topics: CBS Reality TV Shows, Survivor |

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3 Responses to “Survivor: Cagayan Interview With Jefra Bland: “I Tried Not To Be A Bitter Jury Member””

  1. Mark MacNeil Says:
    May 1st, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    I have been watching since Episode 1 and have to say that I think Jefra is the most endearing member to play the game so far.

    She had it all in terms of combining her beauty and brains (strategy) and when voted off handled it with the grace that showed that even though everyone has to get into a bit of the devilish mode occasionally to make it far on the show, that it is just a game and you can comport yourself with grace upon exiting.

    Bravo Jefra – I hope you win a prize on the final show for your great performance!

  2. Rodney Standerfer Says:
    May 5th, 2014 at 10:18 am

    I was very impressed with the way Jefra played the game. She played the best game should could have played. I know the family from racing against her brother and know she is not one of these back stabbing people. They will tell you straight up how it is and that is why most people respect this great family of hers.

  3. Shelly Perkins Says:
    May 5th, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I think Jefra represented Kentucky very good. Jefra, I know some of your family, you are truly a good person. God Bless You.


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