'Survivor's Jessica Johnston on Showmance With Cole: 'Why Can't I Find Love AND Money?' (Exclusive)


The Louisville, Kentucky, native ended up with neither after being blindsided on Wednesday night's episode.

Just as quickly as she proclaimed herself the "Queen Bee" of Survivor, Jessica Johnston got the boot. 

The blonde beauty had it all (intellect, athleticism and personality), and seemingly was going to get it all (the check for $1 million and a boyfriend), before being blindsided on Wednesday night's episode of Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers -- the first vote after the merge. 

"I was overly confident," Jessica told ET over the phone on Thursday. "I'm really embarrassed that I [called myself a Queen Bee], because I think that anybody who has watched the game, they eye rolled. I mean, I eye rolled when I saw that. I was like, 'You're an idiot! What is wrong with you?'"

The Louisville, Kentucky, native was so blindsided that she was still recovering from her elimination -- and soothing her shock with pizza for breakfast and ice cream for lunch. 

"It's just a lot of feelings, and I cried when I watched it, because I remember the feeling I felt when I saw my name on the ballot. That was the first time that I was like, 'Oh, whoa. Oh god. I am part of this blindside.' I had no idea," she explained. "It's really unfortunate and embarrassing to admit."

"Walking into the merge, I knew I had Dr. Mike, Cole and myself. Like, none of us were going anywhere. I knew I had Desi and I knew I had Cole. I knew that Ben was slightly defected because I knew how much he favored Chrissy. However, I had hoped that I had built enough confidence in him that he would have sided with me. [Lauren] obviously made a better decision for her game, which was going with the majority. It hurt, but I give [Lauren and Ben] both a hand clap for the decision they made," Jessica admitted. "My problem was my judgment was so clouded, because all I did was pick up Cole's trash at the merge." 

Jessica and Cole's showmance at first seemed like something out of a fairy tale (if fairy tales were set in Fiji, with a bunch of Americans who haven't showered in weeks fighting for $1 million) -- but took a turn as Cole proved he couldn't keep a secret, or jive with the rest of the group. Still, Jessica, who openly discussed her virginity and lack of relationship experience, continued to play with Cole, and declared that she wanted a date after her elimination. 


"How I got on Survivor was literally luck... so I'm thinking, 'Why not? Why can't I find love and money? Why can't this happen to me? It's happened before. Why can't this be my story?'" she confessed. "Then it became very apparent. 'OK, no. This isn't real love. People who love each other do not steal peanut butter from each other, nor do they lie!' Like, that's not what love is. That's not what my parents taught me." 

"But then, what do you do when you realize that you have entangled yourself in this relationship? I love how people are like, 'Kick him to the curb!' Hello, what curb? There is no curb to be tossed to!" she continued. "Like, there was no escape for me. But you know what? Bottom line is, he did not write my name down at the merge, so I did something right." 

According to Jessica, she and Cole have met up "multiple times" off the island -- but are "definitely in the friend zone." 

"He doesn't have secrets. He doesn't have a kid or anything. He's totally clean," she announced. "I just have to point that out. He's OK." 


So Jessica didn't find love or money on Survivor, but that doesn't mean she's not willing to try again.

"I try not to own things. I don't like to be tied down, but I own a dog. And I love her. I would sell her [to go back on Survivor]," she said. "There's a lot of good people who love Bichons, and I would be like, 'Yeah, take my dog. I have to go on Survivor.'" 

"I would have to do everything differently," she continued, adding that one piece of advice she got before entering the game was "don't align with a good-looking guy." "I literally cannot even stop myself. Obviously, that did not work out for me." 

"I think I realized playing this game how strong I am. I don't need to follow anybody. I don't need a villain. I'm going to be the villain," Jessica said with a laugh. "If I play again, I'm going to be Joe. Get ready, Survivor." 

Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.