Going into the third episode of "Survivor: Cagayan" (the two-hour premiere was actually seen as being Episode 1 and Episode 2), everyone expected the Brains Tribe to continue to implode. But their come-from-behind second-place finish on Wednesday night's episode meant that the Beauty Tribe was going to have to take their first trip to Tribal Council. Sadly, that resulted in the torch snuffing of Brice Johnston, the colorful, flamboyant social worker who had given us many memorable sound bites in his short time on the show. I spoke with Brice today, just one day after the airing of Episode 3 (in case you missed it, here is the full Episode 3 recap).
Brice came into the game ready to win but quickly found himself on the outside with much of his tribe, despite his early efforts to form an alliance with Morgan and Jeremiah. Morgan was on the outs, having been booted out of her tribe to begin the game, so Brice really was just trying to reel in an ally and a friend since he was starting to feel on the outside of the LJ, Alexis and Jefra alliance.
His fate in the game really came down to the loyalties of Jeremiah, who had to decide between his alliance with Brice and Morgan, or the others. Ultimately, Jeremiah was responsible for Brice's exit, who was targeted over Morgan simply because he was perceived as a bigger social threat. It's too bad, because Brice did have the social skills required to make it deep into the game, and the likeability to sneak in - and win - in a final vote.
Here is my interview with Brice Johnston, where we discuss his time in the game, the others on his Beauty Tribe, the kind of player we would have seen him become and how his bad body odor on the island has led him into a prosperous new direction.
Brice Johnston: Hi Tom, how are you?
Tom Santilli, Survivor Examiner: I'm good Brice! And how are you? I'm sorry to see you go.
Brice: I'm doing pretty good. But you know, I'm a lover of Survivor and I know there has to be a jury and a non-jury, so I'm OK with that.
Tom Santilli: Going into Tribal Council last night, did you feel like Jeremiah was on your side or did you get the feeling that he was not with you?
Brice: I had sensed it going into Tribal Council, but I didn't have any other Hail Mary moves. I had to stick to my alliance, stick to my word and just hope for the best.
Tom Santilli: You had wanted to vote out Alexis. Why did you target her over Jefra? Did you see Alexis as a bigger threat in some way?
Brice: I didn't really see either Alexis or Jefra as threats, because they weren't really playing the game. I just knew that they were in the alliance with LJ and I just wanted to take LJ out. It was just numbers. We just wanted to take out someone who was important to his alliance. So it wasn't anything personal against Alexis, me and her got along great on the island when we were just hanging out. But when it came down to Survivor, it was either her or I.
Tom Santilli: Why were you targeted over Morgan?
Brice: I think they targeted me over Morgan because I think I definitely was more of a social threat than Morgan. When we got a look at our tribe, I think everyone thought that I was going to be that fourth girl, the typical gay guy on Survivor. But they were actually surprised to see how physical I was, how social I was and how active around camp I was. I think that scared LJ to his core. LJ was scared that if I made the merge, I could be a power player and he's the one desperate. So it was in his best interest to try to get rid of me. Plus just look at the tribe. I was the odd-man-out from the get-go. All of the other members just seemed to click right away and I had to work to fit in. But it worked out for me.
Tom Santilli: Speaking of the merge, had you have stayed in the game longer, what sort of Brice would we have seen? Would you be a back-stabbing blind-sider or would you have played more of a loyal-to-the-tee, honest game?
Brice: You would have seen a whole bunch of Brice. You would have seen a few blindsides from Brice, because I definitely can be a little shady. I definitely would have been a hard worker and would have done great in the challenges, probably won a few Immunity Challenges. So you would have seen a lot more one-liners from Brice, more beauty. Now that I'm out of the game, I don't even think they should call the Beauty Tribe the Beauty Tribe anymore!
Tom Santilli: You mentioned you were a big fan of the show prior to playing. Do you like watching seasons with all new players or do you like when they bring back returning players?
Brice: I love the new players. I mean I like when they bring back returning players but it's been a while since they've had all new players. I was so excited that I was able to a part of a new season, a new group of players. I mean I do have my favorite returnees, but I was definitely fun to watch and to be a part of a new cast.
Tom Santilli: Once you got out there, were you expecting to see some returning players? What was your initial reaction once you saw there weren't any?
Brice: I didn't have any idea what was going on, going into it. But once I saw it was all new people I got really excited, because we can leave our own mark on the game. But I actually was expecting to play with some returnees, just because that's how it's been the past few seasons.
Tom Santilli: Watching the show last week, what did you think of the whole "dumping of the rice" thing with J'Tia? What would your reaction have been had that happened on your tribe?
Brice: Well, if that was on my tribe, she'd probably have to go, because that was crazy. But in J'Tia's defense, if you're the person on the tribe and they're telling you to your face that you're going home, well what else do you have to lose? It should be expected for her to do something crazy like that. I can understand her thinking there. However, she probably would have went home that night had it been my tribe.
Tom Santilli: Was there ever a moment of possibility that you could have befriended or aligned with LJ?
Brice: LJ didn't want to work with me from the get-go. LJ knew what type of player I was and LJ was scared to his bones from the moment he saw me. He did not want to talk strategy with me from Day One.
Tom Santilli: How would you like people to remember you on Survivor?
Brice: Definitely that I was a breath of fresh air, that I was funny, that I was a social, physical and strategic threat. So definitely that they thought Brice was funny and that hopefully they want to see more of Brice.
Tom Santilli: Rumor has it that your funky smell on the island has led to some new opportunities for you. Want to explain?
Brice: Definitely! After I got off of the island I had to take I shower, I was so funky. But when I came home I said, I never want to smell like that again. So I recently launched my own fragrance line called Fragrances by Brice Izyah, and I have a perfume coming out this Spring and I am so excited about it.
Tom Santilli: Of everyone on the "so-called" Beauty Tribe, are you rooting for any of them to win, or do you hope they all fail epically?
Brice: The only person's name that I remember, because I don't even remember the names of any of the people on my tribe, is Morgan's. So I would definitely have to root for Morgan at this point.
Tom Santilli: Do you think Morgan has what it takes to go far in Survivor?
Brice: I think so. I think she is a tough-cookie to get to know. I think she's shy. But Survivor is going to have to bring that out of her, she's going to have to come out of her shell.
For even more, be sure to watch Brice's day after interview to the upper or left of this column. Also be sure to subscribe to this column (above by my name) to receive email alerts of new postings and you'll want to follow me on Twitter too, @tomsantilli, and at tomsantilli.com as well!
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