Survivor 43 has come to an end, and Pop Crave had the chance to speak with the final 5 castaways about their time on the season.
Keep reading for our full exit interview with 5th place finisher, Karla Cruz Godoy!
Congrats on an amazing run this season! With that being said, you’re juror #7. Have you been able to grapple with your loss since filming wrapped?
You know what? I left the game with a lot of agency. They didn’t really show it, but people clapped for me when I left. I was clearly telling Jeff that this is the best feeling ever when he snuffed my torch. And I meant it because I laid it out on the line, I gave what I had, and I played. So watching it back for me was actually okay. I felt great. You know, you have to make some apologies to people and you have to talk to people who you either voted out or blindsided. But overall, a lot of it was recovering. I had a lot of post-game injuries, and a lot of infections that I had to deal with.
I saw your tweet last night where you said fans will hear your side of the story in regards to your vote. So let’s talk about it! What would you say influenced your vote for Gabler over Cassidy?
I feel like for me… you get to a final three where your ideal winner is out. And for us, we all went in thinking Jesse was going to win fire. We were like, “That’s the winner. It’s unanimous.” So you get to a point where you’re just kind of like, ”Alright. The final three people have played very similar games. Everyone was safe in the way that they played their games.” And so we wanted to know, in the society that we created, “How do you distinguish yourself from each other? What move did you make that you can say you led or took the initiative to spearhead?” That was what was most important for us as a jury because we wanted to see who took a risk and who wanted to step outside of their comfort zone. As a jury, we deliberated on that, and the one person that can claim a big move that they led was Gabler with the Elie vote right at the merge. I think it’s funny because I feel like people underestimate the power that fire has, and especially when you have very similar resumes, you should be wanting to make a big move. And so for us, it was also like, “Who’s going to take the biggest threat out of the game?” That’s what led to the vote.
So had Owen beat Jesse in fire, you would have voted for him?
Yes. I would have voted for him. If Cass took out Jesse, I would have voted for Cass.
You mentioned during the after show that the jury fact-checked things about the finalists. Do you have any specific examples of things that you’d say influenced your decision after being fact checked?
Yeah. I think that you could kind of see it at tribal, right? Either moves that people claimed were theirs, like you were able to see with… I think it was Ryan. Cass was trying to say that she led the move on Ryan, and you kind of see Jesse and Cody being like, “I don’t know. That’s not what happened in our eyes.” The way you saw that happen at final tribal council is the way that that happened at Ponderosa. People were literally like, “What can people claim to be theirs, and is it true?” And if none of us at Ponderosa had anything to do with it, we were like, “It’s theirs [to claim].” So that’s essentially what happened.
You almost had a saving grace in that final 5 tribal council where chaos ensued and Jesse considered using his idol on you. But, you still ended up voting for him. Why wasn’t that able to work out?
Well because, the thing that threw me off was that he wanted to have someone else in on the vote. And I was like, “Why can’t we just make a move? It’s just the two of us!” That didn’t compute, like, why did he need the extra number? So I started to panic and I was like, “I’m scared, so I’m just going to tell everyone his idol is fake to see if they will flip.” And they didn’t want to flip. They actually did the opposite and went straight to Jesse and were like, “Karla’s saying your idol’s fake.” And I was like “Y’all, really? You’re going and telling him what I’m telling you?” So for me to write down his name, it’s out of love, actually. I would have wanted him to play that idol for me and then for him to go home. To me, that’s why I wrote his name down. But also, I’m the only one who ever wrote Jesse’s name down the entire season [laughs].
You were clearly well respected by the jury. After speaking with them, do you know what your odds were had you made it to the end?
I think it really depends on who I sat with. If I would have gone to the end with Jesse, I feel like he definitely would have had that. But let’s say Jesse wasn’t in the game. I think I would have had a really good chance, especially if it was with Gabler, Cass, or Owen, just because I can talk my way into and out of a lot of things. But also, I feel like I had a lot of social game when it came to post-merge, like working with Cody and Jesse, and just being on the majority and getting people out.
I’d love to hear a bit more about your relationship with Jesse because it was briefly shown on the show. How did that initially form and how close would you say you were with him throughout the game?
The relationship first started when I overheard that he went to UC Berkeley and I was like, “Wait, I went to Berkeley.” Then we kind of just were talking. We were there at the same time and we knew some of the same people; we knew the organizations that we were part of. It was, like, very wild. But then we got to know each other’s backgrounds, and so I’d say that while Jesse and I were never at a Cody/Jesse relationship, we had the realest relationship out there because our backgrounds were way too similar. It’s rare to find someone who’s just like you in this game, and it just felt like home, which is why I trusted him so much. I felt like he was my brother because he’s the only one that knows what it’s like to grow up where he grew up and to grow up where I grew up.
You killed it in those immunity challenges! Just watching those back, how does it feel knowing how much you’ve accomplished?
It still doesn’t really hit as much as it did when you were out there. For The Last Gasp especially, oh man, I was in a trance. I was in a meditative state. And so to be able to do that, and just to see and hear, Jeff be like, “Y’all just broke a record. Like, this is the first time ever,” I was like, “Wow.” But to me, it just proves that I can push through and I can accomplish what I need to accomplish. I also never tested my body in that way despite all the injuries. I’m a badass.
How has it been to receive such a positive response from the fans?
Response? I’m just kidding. I love my fans. I love my fans online. No, I think anything before yesterday was love, love, love, right? Today it’s a different ballgame. I’ll say this: I am open and honest online. I am who I am. Why hide? I’m not gonna hide behind anything. I am who I am, and so people will see that if they find me on Twitter or on Instagram. But I love it and I interact with everyone, so it feels good.
Final question. Your story was so inspirational, and you’ve truly cemented yourself as a Survivor great. You were also such positive representation for the queer community! How do you hope to inspire future players of Survivor?
I hope that people can see that the worst thing that can happen to you if you ever apply is that they say no, right? So apply. And for me, that was my fear. My wife was like, “If they say no, they say no.” I hope to show people that you can be courageous, you can be scared, you can change and evolve throughout the game. You can be plus-size and still be a challenge beast. You can be queer… like, everything, right? I think this is the first time that I’ve seen… well because it’s me, right? I’ve never seen anyone like me on Survivor. So I just hope that people saw me and they said, “I see myself in her.” That’s it. That’s really why I wanted to play aside from winning. I wanted to be that person because there was no one like that for me.
Survivor 44 premieres on March 1st at 8/7c on CBS and Paramount+.