I Was ‘Totally and Utterly’ Blindsided

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He wasn’t lengthy for this recreation. Daniel Strunk knew his time on Survivor season 42 could be short-lived after his very first tribal council efficiency.

The regulation clerk, 30, made it clear he didn’t wish to go to rocks, successfully giving Hai Giang all he wanted to face his floor in a deadlocked vote. In the midst of all of the chaos, Daniel additionally managed to upset his closest ally in Chanelle Howell.

“Everyone wants to focus on that moment because it’s the most salacious moment, but the real analysis begins way before that,” Daniel solely explains to Us Weekly. “The real analysis begins with an understanding that Chanelle and I were – at least I thought – very tight. I shared everything with her.”

The Cincinnati native goes on to say, “I lost the game the moment Chanelle comes back from the summit and says she lost her vote. At that point, I lost the game. I lost the game not because she lost her vote, I lost the game because it was on me and I should have in that moment gone to Hai and Lydia [Meredith] and just said, ‘Look, Chanelle’s playing you. She lost her vote. She’s lying. Let’s vote her out.’”

But he “trusted her so much,” Daniel tells Us. “I was all in on having her as my No. 1 ally, which in hindsight was probably a mistake, but I really was all in on Chanelle as my No. 1.”

Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment

And what ensued was what he calls “a human, emotional response to what basically felt like I was left in the lurch by people that I had trusted and shown loyalty to.” Daniel provides, “And that upset me. And I responded probably in a very bad way, strategically, but I’m not a robot. I’m a human being.”

He rapidly turned a goal as soon as the tribe lost one other immunity problem and went to tribal for a second time in the course of the Wednesday, April 6, episode. Still, Daniel admits Hai had him “totally and utterly convinced” it will be Chanelle to go. “I was blindsided, which is the way to do it,” he jests. “Isn’t it so much better to go out on a blindside than to cast some silly little die and be like, ‘Oh, my God. One in six!’ For my own Survivor bucket list, [it’s] so much more fun to be blindsided.”

As for his journey on the long-running CBS collection, Daniel, a leukemia survivor, remains to be taking all of it in and has but to observe the episode. “This journey began for me decades ago when I was sick in a hospital bed watching the show with no hair and couldn’t run.” he explains. “And so when you watched me snorkel last night, sure I’m a human being snorkeling, but there’s also a big story arc there for me in my own personal life. The story arc there is I was a very sick child who dreamed of doing something like that one day. And so when the time came, I did it. All right. And was it a good idea? Probably not. I thought I was safe. But, I was living in the moment, and at tribal, when I realized that it was time for me to go, after the votes were shown the first time, I didn’t care about the Mike vote. I didn’t care about whatever. At that moment, I said to myself, ‘This is it. Soak it in. It’s probably going to be the last few minutes of Survivor you ever play.’”

Survivor airs on CBS Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

Scroll right down to learn our full Survivor interview with Daniel…

Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment

Us Weekly: How are you feeling this morning?

Daniel Strunk: I really feel nice. I really feel like a weight’s been lifted. It’s great to have every thing on the market. The Survivor journey for season 42 has come to an in depth and that feels good.

Us: How did you’re feeling going into tribal final night time? What was the plan that you just had been informed?

DS: So I was completely and completely satisfied that Chanelle would go house. I was snookered. I was blindsided, which is the way in which to do it. Isn’t it so a lot better to exit on a blindside than to cast some foolish little die and be like, “Oh, my God. One in six!” For my very own Survivor bucket listing, [it’s] a lot extra enjoyable to be blindsided. I imply, that’s the way in which to do it. If it’s important to exit, you may as nicely be blindsided. But, I was blindsided and the reason being as a result of I completely trusted Hai. I thought Chanelle was going house. I thought Hai had my again. Hai and I had had a dialog on the seaside that I distinctly keep in mind the place mainly we mentioned the sport and I informed him how completely satisfied I was to be on the market. I informed him I wished to play and symbolize sick youngsters. We hugged and it was very emotional. I thought in that second, like, “I’ve really bonded. I’ve had this human moment with Hai. I’ve bonded with him. I can trust him.” I trusted him a lot I went fishing. We can discuss fishing if you need. But, I was completely snookered. Hai is a really misleading, very, excellent participant of the sport. Very good participant.

Us: Do you suppose he truly most well-liked so that you can keep and then simply obtained satisfied in any other case or?

DS: No, I was toast. I was toast the second the primary tribal occurred. I suppose Hai is a really … I suppose he varieties deep relationships with individuals. That’s a part of the explanation I trusted him after the tribal, is I thought that I had shaped a deep relationship with him. And I suppose he felt betrayed after the primary tribal and he ought to have felt betrayed. I’m not begrudging him that. I suppose he felt that I had betrayed him greater than Chanelle, and we are able to discuss why that’s. But I suppose after that first tribal, there was no hope, by way of he simply felt betrayed. And if I’d gone fishing or I hadn’t gone fishing, the end result would’ve been similar. So may as nicely go fishing.

Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment

Us: Let’s discuss that first tribal. You kinda referred to as out Chanelle and then you definitely stated you didn’t wish to go to rocks, successfully telling Hai he had the ability there. In the second, had been you considering, like, “Oh, no. I may have messed up here”?

DS: Everyone desires to deal with that second as a result of it’s probably the most salacious second, however the actual evaluation begins means earlier than that. The actual evaluation begins with an understanding that Chanelle and I had been – at the least I thought – very tight. I shared every thing along with her. The key instance I used was I informed her that Mike had lost his vote. By doing that, I mainly gave her the ability to eliminate me as a result of she might have allied with Hai and Lydia and voted me out. And then been within the center between two pairs of two. That would’ve been an excellent transfer on her half, however I informed her anyway as a result of I trusted her a lot. I was all in on having her as my No. 1 ally, which in hindsight was most likely a mistake, however I actually was all in on Chanelle as my No. 1.

I shared every thing along with her. So then you definitely get to the immunity problem that we lose, and proper earlier than that immunity problem, Chanelle and I have a dialog the place we each agree, and have a look at one another, and we each agree that in no way will both of us threat our vote, if we go to the summit, in no way. We knew it was crucial that considered one of us that neither of us lose our vote. So then when she comes again from the summit and says that she’s lost her vote, I felt betrayed in that second. I had a call. Seven days, you’ve consumed 600 energy and you’ve obtained half an hour to an hour – at most – earlier than tribal. What do you do? Do you stay loyal to Chanelle proper there? Do you not? What do you do? I determined, Chanelle’s my No. 1. I’m all in on Chanelle. I will stay loyal to Chanelle.

I additionally wished Lydia to go house for my very own functions. And so for that motive, I determine I’m going to vote for Lydia at tribal council. So then you definitely go to tribal council, I vote Lydia. I don’t again down on the re-vote. Again, at each level up till now, I have demonstrated loyalty to my alliance. And then you will have what everybody desires to speak about, understandably so, which is that this rocks draw second. So the important thing factor to know going into the rocks draw evaluation is I didn’t view it as a one-on-one state of affairs. I simply didn’t view it that means as a result of I clarified with Jeff [Probst] upfront who would draw rocks. I’m like, who would draw rocks if we drew rocks. And do you keep in mind his answer by any probability?

Us: I can’t keep in mind. That looks like years in the past!

DS: The answer is that 4 individuals would draw rocks – Mike [Turner], Chanelle, me and Hai would draw rocks. So in that second, I suppose to myself, I have the destiny of two of my allies in my palms, proper? I have Mike’s destiny and I have Chanelle’s destiny. If we go to rocks, they could go house. So it’s on me. One out of 4 of their destiny is on me. And in that second I should decide and I make a horrible determination. And my determination is that I’m gonna talk to Mike and Chanelle that I’m loyal to them and I have their again, and I won’t pressure them to go to rocks. And I do this by saying, “I don’t wanna go to rocks. Let’s have a discussion.” And what I hoped to speak by doing that’s Mike, I obtained your again. Chanelle, I obtained your again. You’re not gonna have to attract a rock due to me. Let’s group up on Hai. The three of us, let’s collectively group up on Hai.

And yeah, I was completely flawed about that as a result of as quickly as I wanted assist and I turned to Mike and I turned to Chanelle, and I say, “Hey, like, help me out here” – which I most likely didn’t do nicely to be clear. Again, very drained, very hungry – however that’s my considering. They each type of ran for the hills. It was each, “We don’t have anything to do with this. Go away, Daniel,” type of second. Then I was screwed. At that time, I was completely screwed. And I had what I would mainly describe as a human, emotional response to what mainly felt like I was left within the lurch by people who I had trusted and proven loyalty to. And that upset me. And I responded most likely in a really dangerous means, strategically, however I’m not a robotic. I’m a human being.

Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment

Us: I imply, we’ve seen individuals say earlier than, “I don’t want to go to rocks.” That’s not essentially out of the strange. I simply suppose the precise circumstances mixed with Hai being an excellent participant weren’t in your facet there.

DS: We won’t ever know the world that may exist if Mike and Chanelle went all in on becoming a member of the dialogue. If the 2 of them had joined, I don’t suppose there’s a superb probability that Hai backs down. I suppose there’s most likely not a superb probability. But I suppose there’s a probability. I suppose that was most likely our greatest probability of saving Jenny. Also, the factor to know is, after the inflection level the place I understand that Chanelle and Mike should not gonna be part of me in any means, at that time, I would’ve gone to rocks had I not thought that there could be a swap the following day. I thought there could be 14 individuals after this. They’re gonna swap us into two tribes of seven. Things are a shitshow proper now, however every thing adjustments when there’s a swap. So don’t threat a one in 4 probability when you may simply have a swap. I was flawed about that. I was working off of premises that at each level had been mainly flawed, however you may’t say I wasn’t taking part in, at the least, accurately given my very dangerous premises.

Us: You didn’t play your Shot within the Dark final night time since you thought you had been staying. What did you suppose when Chanelle didn’t play hers both? And what had been your ideas when Mike’s identify got here up within the votes?

DS: At that time, I’m like, “I’m screwed.” This journey started for me many years in the past when I was sick in a hospital mattress watching the present with no hair and couldn’t run. And so if you watched me snorkel final night time, certain I’m a human being snorkeling, however there’s additionally an enormous story arc there for me in my very own personal life. The story arc there may be I was a really sick baby who dreamed of doing one thing like that sooner or later. And so when the time got here, I did it. All proper. And was it a good suggestion? Probably not. I thought I was protected. But, I was residing within the second, and at tribal, when I realized that it was time for me to go, after the votes had been proven the primary time, I didn’t care concerning the Mike vote. I didn’t care about no matter. At that second, I stated to myself, “This is it. Soak it in. It’s probably going to be the last few minutes of Survivor you ever play.” And I don’t know in the event that they confirmed it trigger I truly didn’t watch the episode. But I mouthed to myself when I went to seize my torch, I mouthed to myself and stated out loud truly, I stated one thing to the impact, “Soak in this moment, Daniel.” That’s mainly what I stated to myself.

Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment

Us: We did hear you say one thing alongside these strains earlier than Jeff snuffed your torch. And then if you had been strolling away, you stated it was heartbreaking.

DS: Oh, I actually stated that? The “take in this moment” factor, that’s me taking in the truth that, like, that is it. This is a many years lengthy factor for me, going again to when I was like 15, and I wished to absorb the second as a result of there’s just one time in your life the place Jeff Probst snuffs your torch. And there are only a few moments in life the place you realize within the second that it’s an enormous second. I simply proposed a couple of week and a half in the past and you realize, if you suggest, it is a actually large second, proper? And it’s an even bigger second than getting your torch snuffed, to be honest. But there are different actually large moments in your life that you just don’t know after they’re taking place that they’re large moments. When you realize that one is occurring, you must actually soak it in. So when the votes had been learn, who offers a crap concerning the Mike vote. At that time, I was simply soaking within the second.

Us: Would you prefer to play once more?

DS: The No. 1 impediment could be my important different. I suppose this was a really, very troublesome factor on her. To be blunt, I love her dearly and I don’t suppose that I would prioritize Survivor over her. That’s what it will come right down to. If I was a single man, then certain. I would go play once more. I want to, however I’m not gonna plan my life round it. Right now, the rank order precedence is being a superb companion to my fiancé, being a superb future father to youngsters that I can’t wait to have sooner or later, and being a superb lawyer. Survivor is a factor I did, however it’s a factor I did. And let’s transfer on in life.

Us: I love that. I know it’s important to go, however to wrap up, do you suppose there was something you possibly can have achieved at tribal council that night time to save lots of your self or do you suppose it was a achieved deal if you walked in?

DS: No, I was toast. I suppose I lost the sport the second Chanelle comes again from the summit and says she lost her vote. At that time, I lost the sport. I lost the sport not as a result of she lost her vote, I lost the sport as a result of it was on me and I ought to have in that second gone to Hai and Lydia and simply stated, “Look, Chanelle’s playing you. She lost her vote. She’s lying. Let’s vote her out.” And that may’ve put me in a nasty spot as a result of then there would’ve solely been 4 votes after that. And Hai and Lydia would’ve been two of these votes. It would’ve been me, Hai, Lydia and Jenny. So it wasn’t ultimate, however I would’ve gotten tighter with Hai and Lydia. I’m unsure I might have even satisfied them to do this. They might need not achieved that. They might need stated, “All right. Let’s vote Daniel out. He’s been deceptive as well.” So, you realize, shoulda, woulda, coudla.