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Jenna Knows Why She Was Voted Off Survivor—And It All Comes Down To Numbers

The first cast-off of a double-elimination night dishes on what went wrong for her game.
Posted on May 3, 2018 | 02:45pm

In a game-changing shakeup, Survivor: Ghost Island host Jeff Probst let the castaways know that this week would be a dreaded double elimination—sending two castaways to Jury on the same night. 

STREAM: Full Episodes Of Survivor: Ghost Island On CBS All Access

The Survivor gods kept the numbers against the original Malolo tribe, and the first cast-off of the night was 23-year-old Jenna Bowman, who despite a promise from Donathan that he'd play his Immunity Idol for her, found herself on the way to Ponderosa

We caught up with Jenna to talk about the Survivor numbers game, what she learned about herself, and more. 

How did you feel when Jeff dropped the bomb about it being a double elimination?

Jenna Bowman: We all were kind of speculating because of the numbers, and when he finally said it, it was a shock. But at the same time it felt like, "Okay, maybe this is an opportunity for the Malolo tribe."

I was hoping that maybe it was a good thing, that maybe something would come out of it. That we wouldn't be down in the numbers. And of course, it was the exact same pattern, 3-2 on both sides. 

How does that change the politics around camp when there's a giant shake-up like that?

Jenna: Having a small Tribal, it was crazy. We got to camp and everyone was like going nuts.

At the same time, it was the same exact strategy with the Naviti on top, Naviti strong, "We're gonna relax and let Malolo run around like chickens with their heads cut off and try to figure out what they're gonna do."

It didn't change too much, it was just now they could maybe get both of us out. 

When you were back at camp after the Immunity Challenge, it seemed like you had convinced Donathan to use his Idol on you. What do you think changed between that conversation and Tribal?

Jenna: I went into Tribal believing that I was settled with Naviti to vote out Donathan and that I would act like I knew it was me going home and there was nothing I could do about it, to not give him a reason to play his Idol for himself.

He came up to me and offered, "I'll play an Idol for you if you vote for Sebastian." I agreed to it, just to have a second option. If someone offers to play their Idol for me, I'm not going to turn that down.

But it was just a red flag because Donathan and I didn't have that open relationship up to that point. I was a little concerned as to why he was so willing to do that. And then the Tribal was so quick and kind of cryptic, and I think that just kind of set him off and he wound up playing it for himself. 

So what went through your mind as Donathan went back on his word and played the idol for himself?

Jenna: It's hard because I respect [the move]. It's his Idol, and when you know there's a 50/50 shot of one of us going home... I don't blame him for keeping it for himself.

But at the same time, it would've been a lot cooler if he played it [for me] and we were able to do something. But again, I was under the impression that we were voting for him, so in the end it would've been a vote between him and Sebastian and Donathan probably would've been sent home.

So he made the right move and saved himself, so props to him.  

What did you learn about yourself during your time on Survivor?

Jenna: I learned that I'm really good at censoring myself. Watching back, I don't show myself at all. I'm literally just like a bland version of myself.

I think I just tried so hard to stay under the radar that I almost came across as just irrelevant. I think that was the hardest part was trying to figure out where I stood in things.

What would you do differently if you could do it all over again?

Jenna: First off, I would probably ask to be on Naviti. [Laughs] I don't know, it's hard. It's like, "I'll play harder if I could go back!" and that's true, but at the same time, I feel like I was willing to play and the game just wasn't letting me.

Our gameplay on Malolo was just trying to stay for another vote and I managed to do that, so I was just proud of myself for getting that far. 

Watch all-new episodes of Survivor: Ghost Island on Wednesdays at 8/7 on CBS and CBS All Access