Survivor’s Hali Ford: “I switched from a mental game to a social game”

screen grab/CBS
screen grab/CBS

The theme of this season’s Survivor has been White Collar vs. Blue Collar vs. No Collar and with all of the confessionals the first few episodes, it seemed the labels were greatly affecting the game play of those individuals in their respective tribes. Survivor: Worlds Apart’s latest victim Hali Ford admits thats the No Collar label affected the way she played the game and in an exclusive interview with The TV Junkies, Ford describes the difficulty that the No Collar tribe had in communicating with Nina, what may have been going through Will’s mind and weighs in on being Survivor: Worlds Apart‘s first jury member.

The TV Junkies: At what point did you realize you were the one going home?

Hali Ford: As soon as I had enough votes until there was no going back.

TTVJ: What was your strategy going into the game? Were you able to stick to it?

HF: No, I threw it out the window day one. My strategy going into the game was to be cold, quiet and lay low and then attack later on. But I was on the No Collar tribe. You have to be a likeable, friendly, open person to succeed on that tribe so that’s what I did. I switched from a mental game to a social game and came up with a new plan?.

TTVJ: Did you feel any pressure at all with the No Collar label?

HF: I think it would have if I wasn’t a No Collar at heart but I just went back to my roots so not really. I did feel pressure to abandon one part of myself which is the colder, quiet part of myself. But if it meant I was going to have more fun I didn’t care.

TTVJ: What was your time like on the jury? Was it exciting to have a front row seat to the game or was it hard to watch the others play on?

HF: It varied, sometimes it was hard but most of the time it was hilarious. It was hard not to laugh at inappropriate times. I really enjoyed being on the jury. At times it was really hard to see some things play out where it was killing me not being in the game but for the most part it was enjoyable.

TTVJ: During your time with the No Collar tribe, Nina’s hearing disability was a big storyline. The audience got to see Nina’s side of things, I was hoping to get your take on the whole scenario. Was it difficult to communicate with Nina, are there any other factors that may have kept her on the outs?

HF: Nina’s hearing disability was a little bit of an issue. It was better once she explained to us that if people are talking in a group she can’t understand anyone and that you need to speak directly to her face. Once we got those parameters of her disability it kind of got better but she explained it a little late, or if she tried before we didn’t understand fully. I think it made her feel more on the outs, but we didn’t vote Nina out because she couldn’t hear. She said herself she knew she was going home, so let’s make this as good as we can for everybody. It’s like she gave up. She didn’t want to be a part of things. So maybe the disability put her at a disadvantage, but you can work disadvantages to your advantage and she didn’t do that.

TTVJ: Will seemed like a wildcard at times. How much gameplay discussion did you have with him personally before the merge?

HF: Not much at all. Will and I had a good fireside chat just me and him before the first vote. That was the main strategic talk that we had, it was just establishing trust between us. Will didn’t talk strategy with No collar much. After the Kelly vote, I thought he had flipped so I tried to talk to him more but he was avoiding me. When I finally asked him what was up he was like “well you all didn’t include me. I felt like I was on the outs.” So we talked some strategy but by then it was too late.

TTVJ: Shirin seems to have fans divided down the middle. Some find her annoying, others find her endearing. You’ve spent time with her. What’s your take on her Survivor antics?

HF: Of her antics? Haha! Shirin’s antics were over amplified in editing from my perspective. She is a great person; I enjoy spending time with Shirin. Sometimes she got annoying at the beginning, maybe it was the her and Max dynamic that was a bit annoying to me but after the Max vote she toned it down. I never got personally annoyed by Shirin. I love her! I love her to death now and I like her on the show.

TTVJ: How much time did you spend searching for an immunity idol?

HF: A fair amount! Before the merge I went on several expeditions on my own. What kills me is that Jenn and I went out and searched that tree where she found it. I looked all over that thing, how did I not see the idol? Then she goes and finds it. After the merge I spent a lot of time looking for the idol because Mike kept taking me to his secret spot and the idol clue that Joe shared with me seemed to point in that area. So I checked around there, but I didn’t find anything.

TTVJ: Do you feel there was any part of your game that didn’t make the edit?

HF: I feel like there were parts of my personality that didn’t make the game, but as far as editing, certainly there were many conversations I had with survivors across enemy lines that didn’t make the cut. I understand why, the storylines were stronger elsewhere. I was casting a wide net after the merge because it was apparent we were on a sinking ship. But I think the edit was fairer to me than it was to other people.

TTVJ: How did you get cast on Survivor in the first place?

HF: I applied when I was 21. I sent in a video and talked to them but didn’t go to L.A. My video got several thousand views on Youtube and Survivor called me back so I made a new video and they loved it so I got cast.

TTVJ: Would you play again?

HF: Oh yeah, fo sho!

TTVJ: Post Survivor, what are you up to now?

HF: I’m trying to get out of law school and then start my career, probably in criminal defense.

TTVJ: In an earlier episode you referred to surfing as your third favourite passion. What are your first two?

HF: (Laughs) I corrected my statement in a tweet, so here is the countdown:

  1. Jesus
  2. Friends & Family
  3. Criminal Justice system
  4. Surfing and motorcycles

Were you sad to see Hali voted out? Sound off in the comments below.

Survivor: Worlds Apart airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS and Global.