Jessica Reveals Why Her Relationship With Cole Became Her Survivor Downfall

Plus, the latest cast-off shares why she wanted to play the game in a selfish way.

The latest cast-off from Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, Jessica Johnston, will be the first to say her beachside flirtation with Cole probably wasn't the smartest idea, but it goes without saying that Jessica left an impact on the season with her caring personality and ability to kick butt in the competitions.

Jessica's crazy blindside at the latest Tribal Council left her utterly speechless and thinking back to where her strategy crumbled.

Let's see what the 29-year-old nurse practitioner had to say following her memorable Survivor experience.

STREAM: The Full Survivor Season 35 Episode Entitled "Get To Gettin'"

What was going through your head when you learned you were the next eliminated?

Jessica Johnston: Well, the first moment that I knew it was me was literally when Jeff held my name up. That showed just how naive and overly confident I was and just what a good blindside it was. Bravo to everyone.

That was the first moment I knew and I literally just blacked out. I immediately started thinking back to everything I could have done to save myself, if I had just even potentially suspected myself as the next person.

Looking back, is there anything you think you could have done differently to escape elimination?

Jessica: Oh, what a loaded question. That question goes back all the way to Day 1. I've argued this with a handful of people and I don't want to admit it was a downfall in my game, but let's be honest, it was. The day of the merge, I was so blinded. Instead of looking at other relationships and building, I basically picked up trash for Cole.

I was the one who told Cole to apologize about the cinnamon sticks… like, "What are you doing? We have to make friends." Our relationship was kind of like a mother and son. It took so many turns. Are we in love? Are we playing each other? Am I your girlfriend? Oh wait, no, now I'm your mother.

That's kind of what it felt like to me. I was so blinded in trying to protect him and wanting to make sure that Joe still trusted Cole, and I totally had the blinders on trying to protect the boys in my alliance.

The day of the merge, I remember I walked past Lauren saying, "Hey girlfriend," like my typical lingo, and she [acted] really different, but I didn't recognize it at the time.

Last night was the first moment where I was like, "Wow, Jessica…if you had not been so worried about damage control and Joe, maybe you would have seen it was you." So, it was totally my bad and I'll regret it forever.

Can you explain more about your bond with Joe?

Jessica: This part unfortunately didn't make the edit but Joe and I had this intense conversation where it was the first time we had seen each other since the original Soko Tribe [Healers]… and Joe and I had something deep.

He tweeted last night like, "You’re my Number 1." And I was like, "Yes!" So when we met up after the merge he was like, "Jessica, what are you thinking? Why are you trying to get Ben on your side?" We had to try and get Ben and Lauren on our side because if you remember, the Healers don't have the numbers anymore.
Roark is gone and you certainly haven't made any friends. It's our job!

I felt like everything was on my lap to take care of everyone which is what I do in life and so that was really interesting to see that who I am as a person was my downfall in the game. So he had told me in that moment that he had the Idol. I had no reason to ask him to play it for me.

Where's your relationship like with Cole these days?

Jessica: We have definitely hung out many times after the game and he's great and we both think pretty positively about of each other, but we're definitely friend-zoning it at this point.

Do you have any favorite unaired moments you can share with your Survivor fans?

Jessica: To my fans I would say, you guys would be really proud of me. I loved my edit, I love the game, I love Survivor, and I was way more than a girl in a showmance. I had so much strategy. I felt like what wasn't aired were those little moments with Joe on Soko. Joe trusted me and proved that by voting for Chrissy and his tweet last night. That was real.

I had a moment with Mike after Mike and I found the Idol. It was way more elaborate than shown on TV. We basically, in that moment, recognize that Cole is a liability. We turned into this mom and dad figure for Cole and it was basically like we were taking care of our baby-boo. It was such a sweet moment.

So I guess what I wish was portrayed was that maybe I was making a mistake by joining forces with Cole. Like, I'm going to own the showmance. It happened. People find love and a million dollars all the time, right? But, there was strategy and that's what I feel like was not shown because we just kept winning.

And, there were moments with Roark and Desi…. God, we were so tight. I would have done whatever Roark told me to do if we had gone together in the merge, because I trusted her.

What exactly was it like competing in Survivor challenges?

Jessica: I work out a lot so the actual physicality of the challenges wasn’t the problem... it is literally not having any food in your stomach. It's amazing what you can do when your mind is on point. We all walked into those challenges feeling totally dead, but it's somehow like college boy and college girl come out with all this adrenaline because you have to.

When it's over, you revert back into a mummy stage. It's absolutely a thrill. I cannot express the amount of adrenaline that’s going through your body.

What’s your biggest takeaway from Survivor?

Jessica: I was excited to play Survivor to be selfish because in my daily life I am not… I give and I give and I give. And last night, it became so supremely obvious that I was unable to succeed in separating who I am from the game.

It was shown at the day of the merge when I was unable to not care for Cole and Joe and protect myself. I didn't even know how much I needed to protect myself and that showed how much I invested in my guys. That was disappointing.

I have a lot of work to do…

Watch all-new episodes of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers on Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS and CBS All Access.