Pop Crave caught up with Josh following his elimination to discuss why he was such a threat to Soka, regretting not mending things with Carolyn and Yam Yam, wishing more of his discussions about living with Prune-Belly syndrome were aired, and more. Keep reading for the full exit interview!
What was watching the episode back like for you, and how has processing your elimination been since filming wrapped?
It was chaotic. It was crazy. You know, seeing yourself in third person [and] knowing you were out there is wild. And of course, as your last tribal council, it’s traumatizing. It’s sad, you know? You want to win. Everyone’s goal was to win. But all in all, I’d say amazing, great, and awesome, because I got to play the game.
Going off of Matthew’s unexpected departure last week, was there ever a discussion among yourself, Carolyn and Yam Yam to put things aside and try to work together in the merge?
No, and I wish that would have happened. Honestly, when Jeff came, we were so exhausted mentally because being on a tribe of three people, there’s so much to do around camp and then you’re playing a game. So when he came, we kind of relaxed. We kind of went to sleep. We stopped talking basically. And I wish at that moment in time that I would have talked more with them and tried to go with them to the end, but there wasn’t.
After the tribes came together, you were ecstatic to be reunited with Soka, but the feeling wasn’t necessarily mutual. Can you talk a bit about your gameplay prior to swapping to Tika, and why Soka may have been threatened by you?
So my whole gameplay going into this was to make myself look as small as possible. I am a surgeon. I’m used to being in control and kind of the leader, if you will, but I didn’t want to look too aggressive. So, I wanted to make myself look as small as possible, lie about my profession, and just kind of prove why I’m built so much because I’m always looked at as a threat. I knew going into it [that] I was gonna be a threat. And so my position immediately was with Claire. Claire and I were actually really close but after everything that happened, I didn’t want to go down with her. So it was just an easy vote. And then I was talking to Matt — which didn’t really make the edit as much — and Danny. Then when Matt and Frannie became a thing, I was like, “Well, I’ve talked to Matt, so maybe we can bring Frannie in and we can work together.” And then I knew Danny was talking to Heidi, so I was like, “Well, I’m in that middle, so we can work together.” So the whole goal was to remain Soka strong up until merge, and that just didn’t come into fruition.
Did you spot any hierarchy or perceieved majority alliances among the “merged” tribe?
No, I think it was so early on for us to get there that it was just chaos and people were still trying to figure it out. And so that’s why for me, I wanted to talk to Soka immediately and tell them all the information I knew. So I went to Frannie and Matt and started kind of, pouring out everything I knew. I didn’t really talk much to Danny because we were all trying to find out who would have the power. Like, who was controlling everything? Who has who? Who has what? So there were a lot of conversations all at once happening.
Interesting to hear! Matthew told me last week that Ratu had planned on working with Tika at the merge to go after Soka. Was that a dynamic you saw at all while out there?
No, because I was trying to get Soka with Tika so that we could vote out Ratu actually [laughs]. So no, I didn’t see that happening.
Is there anyone you were able to bond with that you saw yourself possibly working with had you survived the vote?
Yeah, Lauren. She was actually [the] one that came to me and said, “Hey, I think they’re coming for you.” But immediately I was like, “I just got here. I don’t believe you. I need to have conversations. This could be strategy for you to get me out.” So, I wish I would’ve talked to her more.
There was a lot of discussion about whether or not you actually had another immunity idol. What was the general consensus surrounding the idol by the time you got to tribal council?
No one knew. Everyone was up in the air about it and that’s what I wanted; I wanted chaos. I knew that Carolyn and Yam Yam thought it was fake, and I knew that when she got on that side, she was probably telling them that it was fake. So, I was like, “Well, I gotta keep using this or do something, either to get information or just to get the heat off my back.” When I went to Brandon and said, “Hey, I do have an idol,” what I wanted in return was like, “Oh, this is who has this idol. Let’s work together.” Just to give me some information about who has what. I’m gonna tell other people like Jamie — who I thought was working with me because we were on the journey together — that it’s fake, but she really didn’t trust me at that point.
Was there any chatter about who might’ve been in possession of Soka and Ratu’s cage idols?
Yeah, so I talked to Matt. He thought that I had a real idol and that his was fake. That was a quick conversation that they didn’t show. But when we were talking, he thought that I had the real idol, so that kind of put another thing in his head. And then of course he told Frannie that, so no one really knew who had what. I was trying to get that information out, like, who had another idol? Who had the cage idol? I couldn’t figure it out, but other people knew, I guess.
Fans have mentioned wanting to see a different variation of challenges after Carson was able to sweep the puzzle in this week’s immunity challenge. We also saw a similar moment from Evvie in Season 41. What is your take on this?
It’s a change I would like to see. I would like to see more new puzzles, of course. Any ‘Survivor’ fan would. It’s cool that they have these consistent puzzles, but in another way, if someone is practicing puzzles, it puts you at a disadvantage a little bit. So I’m kind of up in the air about it. I do want new things, but it’s like… it puts others at a disadvantage if you’re making them 3D and practicing.
The spotlight was on yourself, Kane, and Yam Yam in the episode. Did any of the other three vulnerable contestants’ names — Danny, Heidi, or Lauren — come up?
No. They were never up there. Never. So, people just capitalized on Yam Yam and I’s relationship. Going back and looking at it, I brought that over from Tika beach and I wish I would have left it there. If I could change anything about that, I would have changed when Carolyn, me and Yam Yam were out on Tika beach after we learned that Matthew was going home. I wish I would have said, “Yes, this fake idol is fake. Haha, stupid, right?” And then bring them together, talk, and try to stay with them instead of staying with Soka and going after Yam, because I think that just highlighted our relationship. And of course, that makes us an easy target to get one of us out.
You and Carolyn had a promising game relationship after the Sarah vote. We saw bits of it on the show, but where exactly did that relationship stop in its tracks?
When Carolyn got back from the journey and she thought I was a part of the meat brigade, everything changed about her aura. That’s why I kind of had that stance about myself because I was like, “Oh, great. She thinks I’m with them. Now they’re gonna get back together.” So the only thing I had was the fake idol and it just went down the wrong path — me bringing it out and it falling apart. Ugh, it was a mess. But yeah, that’s when I think it went wrong because I thought we were cool before she went to the journey.
I think it’s very cool and so incredibly important that the Season 44 cast has such a vast amount of diverse queer representation. What has it felt like to be part of this group of trailblazers and represent the queer community?
Amazing! I love to see it. And you know when you’re out there, you don’t really realize it until you see it on TV. So coming into Tika — to bring us back — seeing Yam Yam as a POC, gay man, [and] married just like me, I wanted to work with him really bad. I wanted to form an alliance. And so when that didn’t come to fruition, I just was emotionally checked out with him. But being a part of the only ‘Survivor’ tribe that’s all queer is amazing. I want to be that advocate for that little Black gay man, or boy or girl, and say, “Hey, he can do it. You look like me.” Because growing up, I didn’t really have any representation. So doing it out there for those who have chronic illnesses, who are a part of the queer community, who are medical physicians… I’m glad to be that advocate. I’m glad to be that person. It’s amazing.
Are there any moments from your time out there that weren’t shown that you wish we got to see?
Yeah. I talked a lot about my condition and I was kind of struggling out there. I definitely passed out a couple times just because I don’t have a stomach and I had a kidney transplant. I was struggling. So I wish they would have talked more about how I was struggling because I told producers, “This is really hard. Like, oh my gosh.” I just wanted to advocate more so for those who have Prune-Belly syndrome and got a kidney transplant, and for those who don’t have a stomach due to cancer.
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