'Survivor' Castaway Stephanie Johnson on the 'Power Couple' Fans Need to Watch Out For (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
No game for Stephanie Johnson at Ghost Island -- and no game for her in Survivor either.
The 34-year-old yoga instructor was voted out on Wednesday's episode of Survivor, but instead of a relic from Ghost Island sealing her fate, it seems it was the actual island that did her in.
Stephanie couldn't have been more excited to draw the white rock and be sent off to exile at the reward challenge, only to get to Ghost Island and discover that she wasn't able to play the game for an advantage. It wasn't the first time a player was skipped for the opportunity, but it was definitely the most costly.
"It was horribly disappointing, because I didn't realize that there was an option to not play," Stephanie told ET over the phone on Thursday. "We had heard Jacob's experience, which he could play a game, and I heard Kellyn's experience, who also had the opportunity to play, but I didn't know about Donathan and Chris; they were on a different tribe at that point."
"I went fully expecting to either have my demise and losing my vote, or being able to play a game and walking back with an advantage. And when I got that 'No game for you,' I had this moment of shock, and I was like, 'No, this can't be happening! One more bit of bad luck!'" she continued. "I was so excited to go for that opportunity, because I just needed something to go right for me."
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Stephanie didn't just lose out on the advantage at Ghost Island, she also lost out on critical time with her tribe, before they yet again headed off to tribal council. With herself, Jenna and Michael as the only original Malolos left on the tribe, she knew the numbers weren't in her favor. She just didn't expect to be walking into a "different tribe."
"I walked back from Ghost Island, and it was a different tribe I came back to," she explained. "Twenty-four hours, one day in a game that's only 39 days, that's a significant amount of time. I saw that relationships had been built and I tried to strategize with Michael and Jenna, and they weren't having it... So I knew it was a shot in the dark that it would be Michael, but I was pretty positive it was me."
After just sharing her story and revealing her vision of greeting her kids with that million dollar check at the Survivor reunion, Stephanie's exit couldn't have been more devastating. The Survivor super fan said she sobbed for a whole day after her elimination -- and not just because she felt betrayed by Ghost Island.
"It was kind of my demise. I don't really love that island anymore. I don't think I can ever go back to Ghost Island. I mean, there were spiders like, as big as my hands, crawling around me at night," she said, before revealing the most difficult part of her last days on Survivor.
"It was really hard to let go of [my hopes to win]," she confessed. "In my heart, I felt like I had failed [my kids], and failed my mom, because I didn't get to the loved ones visit, and that failure and disappointment was really hard to come to grips with."
Now that she's out of the game, however, Stephanie has her eye on Kellyn to win, saying that she and Bradley are definitely a "power couple," but it's Kellyn who is pulling the strings.
"I think Kellyn is very underrated. Bradley's getting all the credit, but really, I think Kellyn is running the show," Stephanie said. "Kellyn is so smart, she's using Bradley as a shield, because Bradley's social game kind of sucks. She's using him as a great shield, and she's calling the shots. And she's very, very likable in person. Kellyn and I became very close out there, so watch out!"