If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then behold Morgan McLeod. We are told that the mesmerizing, busty, bright-eyed beauty is used to having things go her way in life, but on "Survivor: Cagayan," she learned the hard way not to expect things to always go in her favor. On Wednesday night's episode, Morgan proved unpopular with her fellow tribe mates, and was sent out of the game. I spoke to Morgan today, one day after the airing of the episode that saw her torch snuffed.
Things weren't easy for Morgan from Day One. It was Day One, in fact, where she was voted off of her tribe immediately when an early game twist led to an impromptu vote. Sent to her camp ahead of the others and with a clue to a hidden Idol, her tribe then discovered her out in the water searching for it, which further ostracized her from the others.
Morgan though, was able to get through a vote or two and when the tribe switch occurred, she found herself in a slightly better situation and with new allies. But when Kass flipped and voted out Sarah, Morgan suddenly was to have an uphill battle if she was to remain in the game.
Portrayed from the beginning as a typical privileged, popular beauty, it came out this episode that many others at camp found her to be an entitled snob, who did little around camp. Some seasons, this would have made Morgan a perfect person to pair with until the end. And although she showed flashes of toughness - both mentally and physically - the others found her to be the safest target this week. They were right: With Kass sticking with her new group, Morgan was voted out of the game.
Here is my interview with Morgan, where we discuss her time in the game, how she handles the perception of her with others, and that "bitter, ugly old lady" who sent her packing.
Tom Santilli, Survivor Examiner: Morgan! Very sorry to see you go.
Morgan McLeod: I know, what a bummer, right?
Tom Santilli: Things seemed to be stacked against you right from the very start, getting voted out of your tribe right away. Talk about your beginning to this game.
Morgan: Yeah, getting voted out first thing, I was shocked. I did not think that I was the weakest link on the tribe but LJ thought otherwise. And you could kind of see from his interviews that he just did not like me because of my outer appearance. So that's how my game started. I had to fight through that from the very first moment until last night.
Tom Santilli: Do you regret at all your choice to get the hidden Idol clue instead of a second bag of rice for your tribe? Do you feel like getting caught out in the water hurt the perception of you with the others early on?
Morgan: I really don't think that me choosing the Idol clue really affected what people thought of me or anything like that. I think the only person who was really upset about it was Alexis. I had sworn up and down to my alliance that I did not have the Idol and people trusted me. We didn't need the bag of rice, but the Idol would have been awesome.
Tom Santilli: Now a lot was made of your looks this season, with people like LJ even saying to others not to get caught up in your eyes. Do you find that kind of stuff flattering, or more annoying in a way, that you are being judged on your appearance rather than any of your other attributes?
Morgan: I think that its human nature kind of, to just judge a book by its cover and to make perceptions of someone based on what they look like. I think that in this game, especially the way things were split up between beauty, brains and brawn, I think it was detrimental to my game. I really don't want to be judged based on my looks. I think I was portrayed a little differently that how I am in real life, but I don't think I helped myself much by giving those very dramatic interviews, or talking back and forth about Kass. I was just really upset and in the moment. People who know me know that I am not really like that. So people will just have to get to know me better.
Tom Santilli: There were a lot of harsh things said about you this season by several of the others. Last night alone Kass referred to you as an "old dog" and as "extra luggage." Do comments like that particularly sting at all, or how do you respond to all of the things people said about you?
Morgan: You know, I never take any insults to heart. I know who I am and I'm not just a lazy person who is waited on hand and foot. I've worked since I was 14 years old and I go to school full-time, so I'm a really driven person, I'm not lazy. I think that when you're out there and you're hungry and dehydrated and it's over a 100 degrees that yeah, you want to lay down. And it's really hard to keep active working. I applaud people who are able to do that. I mean, some of these guys will just work through it, through all of the hunger and dehydration and heat. Good for them. I guess I'm just not strong enough, I guess I should have worked out harder before I went (laughs).
Tom Santilli: You mentioned last night at Tribal Council something along the lines of how you felt many of the others didn't like you and that you knew that you didn't have much of a chance to win the game. At what point did you come to that realization?
Morgan: It wasn't until Kass flipped and those days following. I just realized that I wasn't going to be able to win this. So I thought that I could still try to make the Finals, that I could be taken there as a goat and that people would want to take me there because people would be able to win against me. But that vote out last night? I'm not sure that was the best strategic vote. I could have been a great goat to be sitting next to and they missed out.
Tom Santilli: You were also one of the youngest contestants this season. How important do you think age is in Survivor? It seems many younger contestants have a hard time reaching the end or being able to relate to some of the older players.
Morgan: I definitely think people with more life experience have a better chance of competing in this game. I think what may have been a real downfall for me was that I was sort of used to having my alone time, being able to just talk about problems in my life with my best friend, or boyfriend, or whatever. And I didn't have that out there, which was kind of crazy for me. But I had a camera that I was able to vent to. It maybe wasn't the best and I was sort of harsh at times. Next time around I'll just know that I need to suck it up more and be more happy-go-lucky and nicer to people.
Tom Santilli: Were there any players, had the circumstances been a bit different, that you would have wanted to align with and go deep into the game with?
Morgan: I don't think I had any chance of working with LJ or Jefra, they were just so tight. I definitely forgave Jeremiah and I realized that he had made a mistake. I needed to have more friends than enemies out there and Jeremiah was my only option. Alexis says she wasn't going to flip but I just knew she was going to, her and Jefra were just way too close. So we needed to get rid of her. So I had just attached myself to Jeremiah and Tasha, they were both good players and really smart, so I thought I could have gotten to the end with them.
Tom Santilli: Has Spencer surprised you at all, watching his gameplay on TV thus far versus your perception of him while you were out there?
Morgan: Yeah, I think Spencer kind of got a bad rap at first, you know, as the asshole. But he's so cool and he's awesome. I mean, he's playing and he's doing well. I'm glad he just found an Idol and I hope he gets far.
Tom Santilli: Having seen how you portrayed on TV, did it change the way you view yourself or were there any lessons learned? If so what?
Morgan: I think I was honest and true to myself. I'm not going to apologize, I just think that next time I'll just bite my tongue and not say things out loud. Yeah I definitely cringed at moments last night but I don't regret it. That's how I am and I usually just say it like it is.
Tom Santilli: Dealing with Kass, as a fan of Survivor do you respect her move, voting out Sarah, as a good strategic move or do you still think it was dumb and unthinkable?
Morgan: I really don't think it was that strategic. You even saw in her interview, she's kind of doing it in a way where like, oh, she's number one and I want to be number one. So she did it just emotionally. I don't think it was strategic. I don't think the other players really trust her as well. They know that she can just flip on a dime.
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