The winner of Survivor: Worlds Apart, Mike Holloway, proved that while one big moment can change a person’s game, it doesn’t have to define it.
After his blunder during the Survivor auction, it seemed Mike was doomed. Denounced by his tribe and with no allies in sight, Mike won five of the last six immunity challenges to secure a spot in the final three.
In an exclusive interview with The TV Junkies, Mike explains what drove him to apply to be on Survivor in the first place, says that he felt pretty comfortable going into the final tribal council and reveals his ulterior motives behind pitting Carolyn against Rodney in the fire making challenge.
The TV Junkies: I usually ask everyone at what point did they realize they’d be one going home. I guess in your case, at point did you realize you had won the title of Sole Survivor and the million dollar prize?
Mike Holloway: I felt really good about it after the final immunity win and I was about ninety five percent sure when we left Nicaragua.
TTVJ: Until Jenn made her plea to the jury, it seemed no one was giving you an opportunity to even talk. How far do you think her speech went in helping you win the game?
MH: I call Jenn my little hero. Jenn gave a speech at tribal that, I literally prayed for before I went into the game. I prayed that God will give me my Spencer ( Survivor: Cagayan) and it was Jenn Brown. She went up there and told the jury “Get over yourself, the guy played a great game.” Then Shirin stood up for me as well. I can say that regardless of whether Jenn or Shririn’s speeches helped me garnish votes or not, those two women for that move alone will always have my respect.
TTVJ: Pitting Carolyn and Rodney against each other in the fire building challenge, was that all about giving Carolyn a shot, or was any of it you trying to make good with a potential jury member?
MH: That was a multi-layered strategy. Rodney was gaining momentum, he had put an alliance together that looked really strong. I’m not saying that if Rodney makes it to the end of the game that he wins, because I don’t necessarily believe that, but it would have been a closer match for sure. It was similar to the situation with Dan, how he would not listen to me after the auction blow out. I had to show him his alliance was against him for him to realize something was going on and I felt the same way about the jury.
I wanted to show them that these two individuals had been out here for thirty eight days and it’s like “you guys don’t know how to make fire?” You have to be ready for anything in the game on Survivor. Whether or not it be a fire making challenge or God forbid, a Tsunami hits the beach, ya know?
TTVJ:What inspired you to confront and falsely congratulate Joe for having a hidden immunity idol?
MH: I needed Joe to stop looking for it so I could have a chance to look for it when no one else was around. That’s why I came out of the woods and was like “Yo, good job baby brother!” It gave me about three hours of uninterrupted time to search, and those three hours proved crucial.
TTVJ: What did it mean to you to be able to share your Survivor experience with your mother?
MH: It meant everything to me, she is my rock. She is the woman I respect more than any other person in this whole wide world. There was never ever a question of who my family member was going to be, it was always going to be my mom.
(Laughs) Honestly, if I told you how bad of a kid I was, you would try to nominate her for sainthood immediately. My brother and I didn’t do her any favours in the grey hair department, if you know what I’m saying.
TTVJ: If at the time, you were told you had to pick one other survivor to spend time with their family member, who would you have chosen?
MH: I would not have chosen anyone. I would have told Jeff that I would take that reward and go off with my mom alone. I would not have given any of the other survivors the opportunity to have gotten nourishment, and be able to beat me in any of the immunity challenges that came up.
TTVJ: So you wouldn’t have ended Rodney’s rewardless streak then?
MH: No! It would have been me and my mom alone, eating for four. Haha.
TTVJ: How did you get cast on Survivor in the first place?
MH: I had actually been making Survivor videos the past ten years but never sent one in or filled out the application. Then I saw a contestant that had quit and it sparked something in me that I didn’t like about the game and someone quitting. One of my best friends was like “Hey, what are you going to do about it?” I said “well lets go make this video and we will send it in.” Then I told him, “If we send this video in they are going to call me. If they call me, I am going to go to L.A.If I go to L.A. I’m getting on the show and if I get on the show, I’m winning.” My friend was like “I believe it. Let’s do it!”
I am so blessed to have my family and friends, such a close support group that has taken this wayward child, this bad kid and molded him into…I’m not saying I’m a good guy but at least a halfway decent adult, not a jerk.
TTVJ: What was your strategy going into the game? Were you able to stick to it?
MH: Actually, you are the first person that’s asked that and I’m glad you did. I went into this game calling it the Vacation strategy. What is always on your face when you are on vacation? A smile. What do you on vacation? You do what you want when you want and with whomever you want. People were like “I don’t know if that’s going to work,” and I said “at the end of this, if I’m the winner, the vacation strategy may come into play a little bit more.” If you have a smile on your face and you are doing what you want, what more could you ask for?
TTVJ: Post Survivor, what’s next for you? How are you going to spend the prize money?
MH: Yeah basically I am taking over the world tomorrow, so I hope you are ready. We are going to have a new world order…haha. One of my friends and I just started a t-shirt company called Sweet T’s Designs, we are on Facebook and the website will be going this week. Post Survivor is going to be trying to take this one million dollars that CBS graciously gave to me and turn it into twenty five or thirty million, then sit back on a beach somewhere and do some spear fishing. Live the Survivor life but in real life.
Were you glad to see Mike win? Sound off and add your thoughts on this season in the comments below.
Ryan Scriver has been a TV Junkie since he was eight years old, when TV Guide informed him he could watch The Simpsons six times per day. (Much to the delight of his mother.) His current faves include Hannibal, Boardwalk Empire, Arrow and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Ryan has a nostalgic love for everything pop-culture, and has seen every season of Survivor at least three times. When not taking in new television Ryan can usually be found rewatching his favourite series past including, Star Trek: TNG, Red Dwarf and The Twilight Zone.