Nearly every season, there seems to be one player who plays a very strong social and strategic game unbeknownst to the other players until they watch it back on television. This season, that player was Trish Hegarty. Tasha called Trish "the clean-up woman" who would swoop in to mend bridges and fix and problems left in the wake of her ally, Tony's decisions. But as we saw, Trish was a very keen strategic threat in her own right. Like many others though on "Survivor: Cagayan," Trish's time in the game was cut short via the blindside by the hands of Tony on Wednesday night's episode. I spoke to Trish today, one day after the episode aired.
Very early on in the game, Trish seemed to be the odd-woman-out of her Brawn Tribe. It wasn't that she couldn't handle herself, it was just that she seemed on the outside of all of the alliances. But the eccentric Tony noticed this and latched on to her and the two acted as this season's power couple damn near until the very end.
With a slightly more effective social prowess than Tony, Trish took the time to get to know the other players, before helping to cut their throat. Her perception led to many of Tony's moves and the two seemed be a formidable duo. Along with Woo, Trish was in the majority for much of the game and it was Trish who was able to persuade Kass to make her big move and flip on her original Brain alliance (although Kass would argue that Trish didn't have much to do with it).
Oh Trish was in the majority, but that didn't mean she was always in on what was happening. Twice in the game, Tony didn't include her in his decision-making, first blindsiding LJ and later, Jefra. Where Kass and others took notice, Trish stayed steadfast in her loyalty to Tony. After 36 days in the game - just three days away from the finish line - it was her closest ally, Tony, that finally cost her a shot at the million dollars. Keeping cool and calm for most of the game, her final few days were spent in aggressive shouting matches with Kass. It's safe to say the two didn't quite get along out there.
It is still yet to be explained exactly why Tony chose Woo over Trish, but Trish's torch was snuffed. Kass flipped her the bird on her way out, so its safe to say that Trish won't be voting for Kass should she make it to the end.
What follows is my exclusive interview with Trish as we discuss her relationship with Tony, her blow-out with Kass, and some controversial comments she made at Ponderosa after joining the jury:
Tom Santilli, Survivor Examiner: Hi Trish! Great to chat with you, sorry to see you go!
Trish Hegarty: Oh thank you for that.
Tom Santilli: So twice in this game, Tony made a decision without including you in it, first when he blindsided LJ and then again when he blindsided Jefra. What made you stick with Tony following both of those moves behind your back?
Trish: Well he had the Special Idol, he told me. I just felt like if I had bailed on Tony at that point, I was going to have to go with the alliance of Tasha, Spencer and Jeremiah and I would have been just like Kass, like at the bottom of the alliance and it didn't make any sense to me. Even though he had kept me out of the decisions, I felt like he kind of kept the blood off my hands. Which was good because I wouldn't have wanted to write down LJ or Jefra's names. So I felt like my best move at that stage in the game was to stay with Tony because of his Idol. So that's what I decided to do, even though I knew he wasn't trustworthy. He was still not trustworthy but on my side, you know what I mean?
Tom Santilli: Was that the main reason you stuck with Tony then, because you thought by not having blood on your hands, that you would be able to beat him in the end?
Trish: That's exactly correct. I wanted to go all the way to the end with him and Kass, because I figured that everyone hated Kass. So no one was going to even give her an ant farm, so that's a win. And up against Tony, even though Tony had played a much better game than me, he was the one with the blood on his hands, not me. From my perspective, every time Tony talked the jury seemed to be rolling their eyes, everybody seemed to be really angry with him. So I thought that had I sat next to him I might have won the popularity contest.
Tom Santilli: There was a key point in the game too right before LJ was blindsided, where Tony came to you and lied about LJ being sneaky. It seems that had you and LJ had a conversation after that, you would have been able to compare notes and would have outed Tony as being a liar and untrustworthy. Why didn't you have that conversation with LJ and do you regret not having it?
Trish: No, I don't regret not talking to LJ for a couple reasons. I knew that LJ was going to try to play the game as hard as Tony. I was just trying to keep my alliance intact so that we had the numbers moving forward. So had I gone to LJ at that point in the game, it would have just thrown our whole alliance for a loop. It would have broken us up and I was trying to be the peace-maker.
Tom Santilli: In your Ponderosa video on CBS.com, you made a comment shortly after being voted out about how you were happy to be out of the game. LJ and Jeremiah were shown taking exception to that statement and being a bit offended. What's your response to how they reacted to that comment?
Trish: Well, you have two choices. You can either come out of the game licking your wounds, and cry and be angry. Or you can just accept the fact that you were in a game with 18 people where only one can win and you weren't that one. I chose to be the happier person, I didn't sit there and become a disgruntled jury member. And there were some very disgruntled jury members there. There still disgruntled, you can hear it in their interviews.
Tom Santilli: Kass flipping to join your alliance was clearly a big move in the game, but there was some debate on the island as to who deserved proper credit for that move happening. How much credit do you take getting Kass to flip?
Trish: For me personally, I don't feel like I have to sit there and point out all the things that I did. But we did get into it on the tape. When Tasha asked what was my biggest move in the game, I said Kass and I only said that to shut Kass up. If you didn't constantly tell Kass how great she was, how awesome she was, she would be upset. She needed to be the center of attention all of the time. She needed her ego stroked. She was exhausting. And I said that. But we got in the argument not because I was trying to own [Kass flipping], I was simply just trying to state it. I said to Tash, it wasn't like I made the move, but I did offer to Kass that we would all vote for Sarah if she would vote with us. We did that just to stroke her ego but of course she took things to a whole other level. That's all she did was antagonize people the entire time that she was there.
Tom Santilli: Well, I think it's pretty clear at this point that Kass wasn't among your favorite people to have played the game with. Since then, was there any mending of fences between you and Kass or has your opinion of her changed at all after watching this season play out on TV?
Trish: If anything my opinion of her has plummeted even that much more. I've accepted the fact in life that you don't like everybody and not everybody likes you. Kass has played this game as "Chaos Kass," she loves to see people at their worst. She loves Tribal Council, she loves ruining people's dreams. I'm the complete opposite. I like to see people at their best. I hated Tribal Council. I didn't like seeing people squirm, I was uncomfortable with it. So everything about Kass made my skin crawl. Everything about her. Today, tomorrow, a hundred years from now, if you come to me on my death bed when I'm a hundred years old, and say hey, what about Kass McQuillen? [Trish is silent for several seconds]. All said! I don't like her and she doesn't like me. And it's OK. I have so many friends and I have so many beautiful, lovely, incredible human beings to back me up, why would I try to make amends with somebody that I really don't care about? I mean, what you saw out there is what Kass is. Would you want to be friends with someone like that?
Tom Santilli: A lot of other players who I've talked to in their exit interviews have pointed to you as a player that they were surprised with watching the season back on TV...that nobody really realized just how good of a strategic game you were playing. Although that's a compliment to your game, had you made it to the end it could have been detrimental. Was it a flaw in your game to not reveal how big of a role you played in some of the decision making and in Tony's success thus far?
Trish: No because, had I done that, I would have just had a bigger target on my back out there. And I'm not like that anyways, I'm not like Kass where I have to walk around saying, oh my gosh I won that challenge! Did everyone else see me win that challenge? Did you see how good I was? That's not who I am. If I'm going to make a move I'm going to do it silently. That's why if I would have been standing next to Tony or Spencer I did have a list of the things that I thought I had done, I got rid of Cliff, a few other things I was going to bring up in my final speech. For me it was not necessary to be bragging or to go over and over what I had done.
Tom Santilli: You were just three days away from the end of the game. Had you made it to the end against, say, Tony or Woo, what would your argument have been for why you should win the game over them?
Trish: This is the deal. Anybody who goes to the end against Kass is going to win, in my opinion. Tony screwed everybody, but somehow everybody hates Kass. I'm not sure how that happened, but it happened. It's fascinating to me. I could never have won against Spencer. Spencer wins against anybody there. He's done an unbelievable job, he's played the game hard, he won challenges, he was respectful, he was easy to be around. Everybody on the jury liked him, Spence wins. If Spencer wins Immunity and gets to the end, he's a winner. Anybody who goes up against Kass wins. Anybody who goes up against Woo...I would have had a 50/50 shot against Woo, because people were sort of looking at us both as being goats to Tony. But had I gone up there and done my speech about what I had done, I feel I could have beat him. As far as Tony goes, I think strategically and physically and everything else, Tony has played a much better game than I did. But I thought that I could potentially win against him just in case everyone just didn't like Tony. I just didn't have any blood on my hands and that was my philosophy and how I was playing the game.