Pop Crave spoke with the third eliminated castaway of Survivor 45, Sabiyah Broderick, who was voted off on Wednesday night’s episode.
Check out the full exit interview below!
Fans are already hailing Wednesday’s episode as one of the best of the new era in its entirety. How does it feel to have played such a major part in that?
It feels amazing. I mean, I know the whole superfan thing… I might not be able to rattle off every boot and order like Brandon, but I’ve been watching the show since I was five. So to make such a big impact is amazing. And to see the fans’ reactions, you know, there’s disappointment, but also the love, ultimately, that I’ve been receiving, has been amazing. And that tribal definitely will go down in history, even though it’s more of a James tribal or an Eric tribal where it’s like an egg on my face. Or even Sarah. But it’s still amazing. It’s what makes the game so good. It’s what makes it such amazing TV. So just to be a part of it is just… It’s honestly amazing; I could cry.
The journey of watching you burn the wax idol at tribal council, only to find out you had to decide whether or not you’d extend its power by sacrificing your vote, was such great television. As a player, what was it like experiencing all of that in one night?
Exhausting. I just remember getting back after you walk down the path and they pull you into the tent or whatever. And I’m just sitting there and laughing at myself because I’m just like, ‘What!? No! Now that’s good.’ You know, going in, you think you have all the cards. Of course, the camera is like the extra player out there, so there are conversations that you’re not privy to; there are alliances that are being formed that you’re just not aware of how deep they are. You might have some type of subconscious know-how, but you really don’t know until someone says, like, ‘Hey, I’m with you.’ And of course, Kaleb had had that conversation with me, and Emily had had a conversation with me multiple times. So I feel good going in. My mind is just like, ‘Okay, I need to burn this idol so that I can vote.’ Because either way, it’s only four people here. So whether I’m going to play my Shot in the Dark, whether I’m going to vote, or whether I’m going to play my idol, I need all my options open. So, you know, combine that with sleep deprivation, exhaustion, no food, no fire, [a] shelter that really looks better than it’s actually functional… I mean, I’m glad that it looks good on TV, but it sucked. It was just a very big, huge roller coaster ride for me, honestly. The deck was definitely not giving me any aces at all. So I had a blast. But it was hard. It was really hard. A lot of mental exhaustion going on.
So let’s go back to last week’s episode. You said in a confessional that it was essentially your decision whether Brandon or Emily would go home. Can you talk me through sending Brandon home despite recognizing his loyalty to you?
Okay, so I feel like that was kind of out of context a little bit because I didn’t have a vote. Of course, people saw me in a power position because of my personality and because I can be kind of charismatic and stuff like that with the way that I speak. But I didn’t have a vote. I had all the information. You know, I knew that Emily, Sean, and Kaleb were more for Brandon. But I also knew that Brandon would ride with me wherever. But how do you pitch someone’s name against the majority without having a vote? You don’t. In Survivor, you don’t, because it could easily be me. And that would have been a great big move if all of them would have just got together and flipped on me, which could have happened the entire game. So I don’t feel like that really did what my mindset at the time was justice. But at the end of the day, it was funny to see myself with my little, you know, cleaning stick and everything like that. That was a good moment.
In the event you decided not to sacrifice your vote and there was a 2-2 split between yourself and Kaleb, how do you think the vote would have gone down? I see you’re wearing Sean’s merch… Would he have stuck with you?
Right, definitely. Sean, that was my number one. I would have went with him to the end. And we had multiple talks. I wish they would have shown me and Sean’s closeness longer than just us strategizing and stuff like that. It kind of only looked like we were pulling each other off for a conversation. And they kind of built up me and Kaleb’s relationship, but it was actually the opposite. I was more close with Sean the entire time. And that’s what prompted Kaleb to build his insurance policy with Emily, because he saw the closeness between us and didn’t want to be number three. We get it; you know what I’m saying? Like, great move on his part. But I didn’t realize that he felt that way until it was too late. So I feel like if it was a 2-2 split, Sean definitely doesn’t flip on me. I feel like… I mean, you saw Kaleb tell Emily he would go to rocks for her, so… Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you. I couldn’t even tell you. That would have been amazing TV, though. I would definitely have loved to watch it.
You mentioned Kaleb recognizing how close you were to Sean. Did you ever feel that he would come after you in a similar way as you did to him?
See, and that’s something else that I feel like was kind of a part of just how everything came together. But Kaleb started talking with Emily day, what… three, four? Right after we had that tribal council, you know, with the coaching and the this and the that. And it’s like, did we know that Kaleb had an alliance in the works with Emily? No. Did we realize that he was talking to her way more than in the beginning? Yeah. And they would go off together and stuff like that. So of course, me and Sean were like, ‘That’s kind of weird.’ You know what I mean? But it’s like, was it enough to really feel like he was after me? Yeah. Out there, where you have nothing, your paranoia is like your biggest enemy. So I don’t feel like I jumped the gun. I was actually right. You know what I’m saying? And they play the part where he’s like, ‘Oh, I think I’m gonna sit with Sabiyah and Sean on this one,’ until Emily comes and tells him that we’re coming for him. But up until that moment, he was back and forth. So it’s like, I don’t really feel like it’s fair to say that I’m the one that flipped on him when he was already playing both sides. My thing was way into the end, where I’m just like, ‘Okay, he’s already gone to Reba and made all these relationships with everyone.’ That’s what we’re thinking because they didn’t show how, in detail, he was like, ‘Okay, Dee is with this person, this person, this person. Drew, I gave him this. He’s with this person.’ Like, he had an itemized Reba catalog that he’s reading to us after the raid. And so me and Sean are like, ‘How did he do that?’ You know, we’re, like, kind of impressed, but more so scared. And that was just a little bit like, ‘Okay, you’re on my radar.’ Then we have this situation with the idol. It’s like, ‘Okay, do you really want to split an idol three ways?’ No. You don’t want to split it even two ways, you know? But I knew that Sean, and he was the only one that flat out—and Sean has these big brown eyes; it’s beautiful—he stares at me, and you see the moment where he says, ‘Sabiyah, you are my number one, period. That’s it.’ He was the only person that told me that, that at that moment, I knew he was dead serious. Like, it’s a feeling that you get. You know, a lot of the stuff that you get from the players is BS, and everybody has a tell. Kaleb, he kind of looks up and off when he’s lying to you. And Emily, she does the same thing. But Sean, he’ll do it. But if he’s serious, he’s serious. And I knew that he was going to go with me into the end, if I would make it.
In terms of the plan to blindside him, what made you decide to make that move so early on as opposed to letting others do it at the merge, for example?
Right, and so there’s two perspectives. There’s the ‘Oh, use him as a shield until the end.’ Which, ultimately, I could be used as a shield for Kaleb, you know? So I’m not thinking, ‘Hey, Kaleb’s gonna be my shield,’ because it can easily, once we start getting with other people, be flipped on me. I’m thinking he has to go early because there’s no way we beat him in a one-on-one immunity. I mean, he won the reward challenge by himself. Literally, it was like he had practiced it in a past life. And it was really that quick. We were waiting for the other teams to finish for a good five minutes. They play it as if it’s close and everything with Reba and Belo, but… I mean, we even joked with Jeff, and we were like, ‘Dang, Jeff, you didn’t tell tell anybody that they were in the deep freeze?’ You know, what happened to that comment? [laughs] So, Kaleb was a huge threat, and I just didn’t see it; I didn’t see us going far. Especially with him not necessarily being forthcoming with his relationship with Emily. Especially with me having an idol. You know, Kaleb was the last person I told about the idol. I told Sean… and we went and looked. Had we had found the idol without Kaleb, he wouldn’t have even known about it. And that was a decision to me to make Sean my number one, because I just trusted him more. I felt like I could play with him, and it was more below the radar for a partnership. Like me and Kaleb, we show up on somebody’s beach, they’re gunning for us just because… Kaleb is like my brother. We literally… We’re both Virgos. We’re around the same age. We have very similar backgrounds, lifestyles, and work ethics. Emily was not wrong when she saw that we clicked like we did. We clicked, and we clicked hard. And that’s good in Survivor. But if Emily saw that and was threatened by it, you think anybody else wouldn’t be? So I’m playing all these things, and of course I want to play with my boy. Of course! Ultimately, that’s the dream. But being a woman, being a marine, having all of this presence and know-how at camp, and then being a competitive challenge threat, having somebody like Kaleb on my team just makes me even more of a target. And I was trying to kind of shift into a more low profile for the rest of the game.
While wanting to build trust with Emily, you chose not to come clean about losing your vote when she questioned the tribe after the Brandon vote. Do you wish you had done so sooner?
Okay, so really, when you look at it, he didn’t read the last vote, but it could have been anybody. Emily asking me, was because of the past stuff that we have been dealing with. And you even see Kaleb address it. He’s like, ‘Dang, why’d you ask Sabiyah?’ because it could have been Sean that didn’t have a vote, and it could have been him that didn’t have a vote. At that point, that’s the first time we’re writing people’s names down. Nobody knows what your handwriting looks like yet. So I’m thinking, ‘Should I tell her or should I just wait it out?’ And at this point, I don’t know that Kaleb and her are so close. So her coming for me… it was like a 50/50, I guess, between me and Sean, and she came at me thinking, ‘Okay, well, the person that’s more likely to have an advantage or more likely to have lost their vote at this point is probably Sabiyah.’ So had I been privy to her and Kaleb’s relationship that early in the game, I definitely would have came clean, just so I could have a chance to cement our relationship. But you don’t know what you don’t know. And so at the time, I’m thinking, ‘Okay, yeah, the numbers are off, but that doesn’t mean they’re off because of me.’ And so I’m just like, okay, it was a 50/50 moment. Hindsight is 20/20. I feel like I’d still do it the same way because, ultimately, she didn’t trust me anyway. And the only thing that I felt like I didn’t do right was play my idol, honestly.
Going back to the tribe raid, did Kaleb ever clue Lulu in on knowing of Drew’s Safety Without Power advantage?
And I thought about that. I feel like he didn’t tell us right away if he did. I don’t really remember. I know that’s an awful answer, but I don’t really remember if he came out right away and told us that he had the ability to do that or if it was something that happened later on. I talk to Kaleb a lot now, so it’s kind of hard to remember what was an island conversation and what’s a “now” conversation. So I don’t really remember specifically, but I think he might have told us. I think he might have told us.
At one point, it seemed that you had nearly all of Lulu view you as their #1 in the game. Have you always had the ability to draw people in the way you did out there? What do you think it is about yourself that makes people connect with you so deeply?
Oh, wow, that’s a great question. I think that it’s because I can relate to people on all different scales. Like, I’m a middle child; I’m an only girl in a family of boys, so I can do the bro thing, [and] I can do the girl thing. I literally have been in active duty service in the Marine Corps, you know, so there’s the survival, outdoorsy side for you. I grew up in kind of like a hippie-vibe kind of household, but I also have a conservative Christian background, so there’s that. I’m LGBTQ; I’m Black. There’s a lot of different pots that I can pull out of, really, in anything. And then, being from the south, we’re kind of like the jack of all tradesmen. If you meet somebody and they can do extraordinary things, but then you find out they’re from Georgia, it’s like, ‘Oh, okay, well, they’re probably just country.’ Country people don’t really get enough, I feel like, credit for really being able to do all things with nothing. That’s kind of our thing. So I feel like I come across as humble, but I also am a competitor. And I just ultimately lead with love; I find the thing that people love the most, I connect with that thing, whether that’s their sense of humor, whether that’s their mental health, whether that’s whatever, and I just make sure that they know that I’m there for them. Because I really am. That’s how I am in my normal life. I have a bunch of different friends from all different phases of my life. I have a big family, you know, my immediate family; we’re all really close. And I just tried to make it so that the love and the know-how, and the personality that I am with every single day and all of the different hats that I wear, I brought to the game in Survivor. So, I mean, it makes my heart super warm. Brandon and Hannah are beautiful people, genuinely. It was not hard for me to like them at all. It was a privilege for me to play with them. Genuinely.
Check out the video format of our interview with Sabiyah here.
Survivor airs Wednesday nights at 8/7c on CBS and Paramount+.