“I have no regrets with this tribal,” she said as the votes were shown during the end of the episode on May 9. “I knew that I wanted to make a big move tonight. I am proud that I went for it.
“Even though it didn’t pan out in my favor, I can go out saying that I went out with a bang and that I went out fighting.”
The 25-year-old former Jazz dancer lasted 32 days of the 39-day competition and is now the sixth member of the jury. She will attend tribal council and will help pick who wins the $1 million grand prize and title of sole survivor.
“I really feel like I’ve gotten a sense of how strong I am as a person, and that’s something I’m really grateful for,” she said in a video. The former NBA and NFL cheerleader weighed 115 pounds at the beginning and lost eight pounds during the 32 days.
In the game of “Survivor,” groups of people are divided into tribes, camping with minimal comforts — this season on an island in Fiji — and compete against each other to win challenges for rewards or immunity. The losing tribe goes to tribal council where it votes out a tribe member. There are tribe swaps, immunity idols and other twists in the game. About midway through the season, the tribes merge and it becomes an individual game. Then, those voted off will vote for one of those who are still in game at day 39 to win $1 million.
This season, a twist in the game was Ghost Island where tribe members could play for an advantage that was in a previous season, but may not have gone well when it was initially played in an effort to “reverse the curse.” Townsend wasn’t sent to Ghost Island.
Townsend shared her gratitude to be on the show and described the experience as unforgettable in an Instagram post.
“Getting to play Survivor was a dream come true. I have watched for so many years and can’t believe I actually got to be a part of it,” she wrote in the post.
"I have been watching the show for years” Townsend wrote in response to questions from the Deseret News. “My family and I have always been huge fans of the show.”
The May 9 episode included the emotional loved ones visit. It was her younger sister who came running out of the jungle to greet her.
Townsend also had won back-to-back individual immunity challenges and was safe the previous two votes.
Those were two of her most memorable moments during the season, she wrote.
During the season, Townsend was on the stronger tribe that had won challenges together and pretty much stuck together as they voted out their opponents.
“It’s a giant game of bumper cars and you’re not sure who you can trust to move out of your way (and) who is going to come right at you,” she said during tribal council on the May 9 episode.
Her strategy going into “Survivor” had two parts, she told the Deseret News. Before the merge, she wanted “to float under the radar calling the shots without people knowing I was doing it” along with forming strong bonds with other tribe members.
“After the merge I wanted to really ramp up my game play, start playing hard and kind of come out of nowhere. I wanted to win challenges, make big moves, and create a resume worthy of the winning title,” she wrote.
Townsend was trying to make a big move when she was voted off.
The May 9 episode was days 31 and 32 of the 39-day game. There were four women and four men left, and the six — three men and three women, including Townsend — from the majority tribe who had been voting together. Townsend and the two women tried to bring the two castaways from the other tribe to vote off one of the men who had been one the alliance’s leaders. They decided on Wendell Holland, 33, of Pennsylvania.
But the men targeted Townsend because she was strong in challenges.
“It’s important to get these challenge beasts out of the way so we don’t have to worry about them later down the line,” said Domenick Abbate, 38, of New York.
Townsend wrote that she was rooting for Angela Perkins, 42, of Ohio, and Kellyn Bechtold, 32, of Colorado, who she was working with on the last vote to get Holland out.Comment on this story
“However, as a fan of the show I have to respect good game play and Wendell is playing a great game. I definitely respect and support that,” she said.
For her first meal after being voted off, she said she “kind of went overboard and ordered a juicy bacon cheeseburger, fries, a meatlover's pizza, French toast and ice cream.”
Townsend, who now lives in Los Angeles, has been a cheerleader for NBA and NFL teams, has been an EMT and medical assistant and will continue her medical education this summer. She plans to go into orthopedic surgery and work in sports rehabilitation.
"Survivor: Ghost Island" airs Wednesday evenings on CBS.