Posted on Apr 20, 2017 05:10pm
Hali Takes Her Role As "Mayor Of Ponderosa" Very Seriously On Survivor: Game Changers
The recent cast-off also explains what that Idol strip search offer at Tribal was all about.

As the first to go in the back-to-back episode event of Survivor: Game Changers entitled "There's A New Sheriff In Town," castaway Hali Ford was also the first to join the Survivor jury on Ponderosa—a role she definitely doesn't take for granted.

WATCH: The Survivor: Game Changers Tribal Council That Ended Hali's Game

Following the latest Game Changers, we caught up with Hali to talk about her elimination, her unexpected strip search proposition, and being the self-proclaimed "Mayor of Ponderosa."

This week's Tribal was a pretty close call! In retrospect, do you think there was anything you could have done beforehand to swing the votes in your favor?

Hali Ford: If I had known they genuinely believed I had an Idol, perhaps I could have dispelled that notion before Tribal, when it is too late to change minds. Also, I wish I had bluffed about numbers and told Brad, Sierra, and Debbie that I had Aubry.

Were you as in the dark as you let on going into it, or was there a strategy in place for you?

Hali: I thought I was going home. What I didn't know was that people I thought were on my side were actually gunning for me, like Brad and Sierra. No clear strategy, I believed my "alliance" with people on the last Mana Tribe was tenuous—but it proved to be nonexistent.

What was your thinking behind offering yourself up for an idol strip search at Tribal? Was that sort of a "Hail Mary" for you?

Hali: I wanted people to be honest about why they were voting for me. I believed no one had a real reason and all were buying time with my vote instead of making a real move to control the game.

Of course, I didn't want to go home because people thought I had an Idol and I wanted to dispel any concern, but I didn't believe that could possibly be the real reasoning behind the vote. I thought everyone was just stalling and playing a low-risk, boring game.

STREAM: Exclusive Bonus Clips From Survivor: Game Changers On CBS All Access​

What does it mean to you to be the first person in the Survivor: Game Changers jury at Ponderosa?

Hali: "Mayor of Ponderosa" is apparently my lot in Survivor—and I embrace the role. It matters how people feel at Ponderosa. Emotions are raw and psyches are vulnerable. I take my role seriously as the one to set the tone and cradle everyone's fall.

What surprised you the most about your time on the show?

Hali: I was surprised by the nonstop gameplay this season. My first season, we spent 70 percent of our time laying around, chatting about nothing. I would say 80 percent of our conversations out there were strategy-related this season. The gameplay amped up. You could let no one out of your sight and could never let down your guard.

Looking back, would you have done anything differently?

Hali: I should have sucked it up and worked harder to commit to Sierra and Debbie. I could have possibly capitalized on the Debbie/Brad rift, to make some headway on a ladies alliance, working the "woman power" angle.

Honestly, though, I think Brad had them roped in deep. I regretted not throwing the Metamorphosis challenge to vote off Cirie, but after seeing the bonds Cirie forged while on Mana, I may have dug my own grave if I whispered "Metamorphosis" to Nuku.

How did your second time on Survivor differ from the previous one, in terms of gameplay?

Hali: I was more intentional and engaged this time around. Internally, I was night-and-day better at this game—but I achieved the same result, so who knows. I don't think I'm an amazing Survivor player.

What did you learn about yourself this time around?

Hali: I learned more about myself at Ponderosa than in the game this time. I did a ton of reflecting on my life and self. In the game, I thought about the game and that's about it.

What advice do you have for future castaways?

Hali: Don't be rude. Don't be inconsiderate. Don't be a weirdo.

WATCH: All 34 Seasons Of Survivor On CBS All Access​

Would you come back for another go-round at some point?

Hali: If people really wanted me back, sure. Survivor is a blast. But I think other players deserve a second, third, or fourth run more than I deserve a third.

Watch all-new episodes of Survivor: Game Changers on Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS and CBS All Access.