'Survivor 46's Tiffany Nicole Ervin Reveals Q Refused to Let People Swap Rewards with Liz (2024)

Survivor 46 is here! Every week, Parade.com's Mike Bloom will bring you interviews with the castaway most recently voted off of the island.

"I don't know why people just don't know how to shut the [expletive] up. Why do you feel that when you get an advantage or an idol that you have to tell somebody? Time and time again, Survivor history has proven to us that revealing your advantages is a poor decision for gaining trust. All they're gonna do is use that as a bargaining chip to gain trust with somebody else. Shut your ass up!"

When Tiffany Nicole Ervinsaid this to me out in Fiji two days before Survivor 46began, she had no idea how pivotal this concept would be to her 19 days on the island. The artist's painting of a game started drab and bleak, though she thrived in the misery of Yanu with both an idol and her two tightest allies Q Burdetteand Kenzie Petty. Unfortunately, all three of those assets contributed to her eventual downfall. In the postmerge, the Yanu trio broke up, and information about Tiffany's idol leaked out. That served as plenty of ammunition for a speedingMaria Shrime Gonzalezto T-Bone Tiff, bringing together allies and enemies alike to stunningly send her out, idol in pocket.

Tiffany has always prided herself on her initiative and confidence, something that got her to become a successful artist just because someone told her she couldn't. So it was only natural she hit the beach running. She quickly clicked into a majority alliance, and happily found the first idol of the season. Though she was giddy to go to Tribal Council to unlock it, it's definitely a case of being careful what you wish for. The Yanu tribe was in freefall the whole premerge. But despite living with no fire a record number of days, Tiffany was comfortable. She, Kenzie, and Q had set up a clear hierarchy in the tribe. And she used her time facing the vote to pull off some unique moves, like giving Jess Chonga fake idol to make sure she didn't play her Shot in the Dark.

The canvas brightened at the merge, as Tiffany walked in with an idol and the tightest trio in the game. But Yanu cracks began to show as she grew frustrated at Q's domineering approach to votes. Little did she know, though, that Q was using said approach to go after Tiffany herself, turning on her for going after the "plus one" alliance and revealing to Maria she had an idol. The game changed on Day 16, as Q, feeling bad at how many games he sent into a tizzy, offered to go home. The tribe was thrown into chaos, and in the midst of the confused whispers, Tiffany found out Q had told everyone about her idol. The two instantly turned from best friends to worst enemies in the game, barely speaking to each other except when bickering at challenges or Tribal Council. Tiffany couldn't even find a Yanu respite in Kenzie, as she was already looking to turn on her "number one" to make a big move. And though Kenzie eventually relented, Maria did not take her foot off the gas. What Tiffany saw as a straightforward Q vote after an irate Liz Wilcoxtore into him for not picking her on reward, Maria saw as an opportunity. She brought together the Sigas, Q, and Liz to craft the biggest blindside of the season, yet again sending someone out with an idol.

Now out of the game, Tiffany talks with Parade.com about ???

Related: Read our Survivor 46 pre-game interview with Tiffany Nicole Ervin

We obviously have to start with your blindside. You had declared before Tribal Council you weren't going to play your idol. But Jeff does point out that the way you were all talking seemed eerily similar to the Hunter boot. Were you feeling the same way at all?

Okay, so going into any Tribal, especially with an idol in your oacket, I know it's a 50/50 chance that me not playing this is a terrible decision. But I was taking a risk! [Laughs.] I'm a gambling girl. I'm a risk taker. That's why I'm on the game of Survivor in the first place. But I think there was a lot more that went into that decision than just me trying to skate by, because me and a couple other people had had conversations out there about possible plans to do things the following week with my idol.

For example, a lot of people didn't see how cool me and Charlie were out there, because a lot of it doesn't get shown on camera. But Charlie had brought up the idea to me about possibly blindsiding Maria with the idol. So I'm like, "Okay, that could be a thing. Maybe we use this opportunity to get rid of Q and then make some big moves." So for me, I knew it was a big risk. But also it would be a big reward if we pulled it off the next week. But ultimately, I can't blame Charlie. He decided to actually be a good ally and go along with Maria, even though I still can't understand why she wanted me out. But that's another question for another day. But also, people were really fed up with Q. So I was like, "Are we finally going to do this? How long can you guys front?" But I think the reality of the situation was that nobody was afraid of Q. They were just like, "Yeah, he's getting on our nerves. But we think we can beat them. So we'll keep him around."

With a 5-3 vote against you, I imagine your head was spinning as to who voted you out. Were you surprised when you found out who it was?

To be honest, I don't think I was super surprised by who wrote my name down. I think maybe Ben, but not even then because I knew he was gunning for me. Maria obviously was pressed the whole time. Charlie is Maria's number one. And Liz, at that point, had kind of just been going with whatever the majority was doing. Venus, I'm not surprised that she didn't vote for me. That wasn't a shock. And Kenzie's vote wasn't a shock for me either. Because up until that point, I still didn't even know that Kenzie had even tried to get me out. That was a total shock for me. I didn't even know that. So, when I saw the votes, I'm like, "Okay, this makes sense."

I mean you would have a reason to be confused, given that Liz voted to keep Q a day after she tore into him after not getting picked for the reward. What was your reaction to that meltdown? Did you, Kenzie, or Maria think about volunteering your spot to give it to her?

That did happen! They just didn't show it. Both Maria and Kenzie tried to give up their spot for Liz. And Q said, "No. I chose who I chose."

Wait. Q said no?!

Yes. He said, "Nobody's giving up their spot. We're going to Applebee's. I don't want Liz to come. [Laughs.]I was intentional about my choices. And nobody's giving up their spot." I'm surprised they didn't show that. That happened. I didn't try to give up my spot because I was hungry, and I was going no matter what. Also, I did feel in that moment that me and Q needed to chat because we hadn't spoken in two days. But people tried to give up their spots. He just wasn't with it.

Well let's talk about what happened with you and Q. Because I can't think of a relationship that turned from new one allies to rivals more intensely than yours. To start, talk to me about how that dynamic developed, and how it turned south when you hit the merge, to the point where Charlie tells you that Q told him about your idol.

So I think things started going south when we got to the merge, and I started playing my own game. It's my own opinion, but I think Q thought that when we got to the merge, he was gonna set this nice comfy six up and I was just gonna go along whatever he told me to do. He was gonna tell me to vote here and I would do it. And then when we got to the merge, and he saw me building my own relationships and making my own choices, he wasn't really happy with that. And I think that's where things started going south. And he's like, "Okay, wait a minute. I'm not in control."

I think he felt a lot more in control and at the top of the pack on Yanu, because there wasn't that many of us in there. The options were slim on who to get rid of. And it was a complete shock to me when Charlie told me about that. Because up until that point, despite the fact that Q and I had gone back and forth many times, it definitely felt like almost like a familial back and forth. You have your disagreements, I have my disagreements. We don't necessarily see eye to eye, but we come together, we talk about it, we figure it out, we move forward. When I found out that he had backstabbed me at that point, with so many people left in the game, I'm like, "Okay, this man has lost his mind. You just blew up our perfect positioning on the tribe for no reason."

To that point, you two seemed to refuse to engage with one another, except for at challenges and Tribal Council when you would get into arguments. I know that after that Episode 2 challenge, you had talked about having to tamp down your emotional reaction to losing to avoid being perceived a certain way by the others. It was clear you were feeling hurt and angry by what Q did. But were you trying to manage that similar idea of managing your emotions while there's still a game to be played?

It definitely came to my mind. But it also felt a little bit different in those moments where I was going back and forth with Q. Because when I had that emotional moment in the beginning of the game, I felt like I was frustrated. But I didn't feel like it was that warranted because it was a competition. We were all trying, we were all going through the same thing. But when me and Q had our disagreements, I felt like it was almost a duty of mine to speak up because I felt like I had been done wrong. And there was really no reason for it. And then on top of that, it was like, "You're not about to talk to me any kind of way. I don't care what goes on in your real life. But we were allies. We don't have to work together. But you're gonna respect me out here on this island. And I'm gonna make it known that you stay in your life, I stay in mine. But when you cross over into mine, you're going to hear my thoughts on the matter."

So let's talk about the third point in the Yanu triangle in Kenzie. How did you build your dynamic, which continued, to your earlier point, through your boot?

Man, it was so crazy. First of all, I just don't understand why what everybody's obsession was with just like stabbing me in the back. It was like a badge of honor, like "Who's gonna get Tiffany first?" The whole time, I'm trying to be like a good ally, and work with y'all. But it was crazy. And up until that point, it was interesting for me because I felt like there were several points in the game where I kind of saved Kenzie, especially in the beginning.

When we were on Yanu, basically, everybody wanted Kenzie out except me. And I think my voice was loud enough. And my relationships on Yanu were strong enough that I'm like, "Okay, I know y'all want Kenzie out. But that's not the best decision." And Kenzie and I also built what I thought was a very real bond out there. So I'm like, "Okay, we went through the trenches together. We're about to go out here. We're gonna kill it. And we're gonna move our way through the merge up until the point where we can't move together anymore." But it seemed like the backstabbing came so prematurely. I was like, "Okay are y'all even thinking about our positioning on the tribe? Are y'all thinking strategy? Or you're kind of just moving off the vibe here?"

To that point, Kenzie said last night that you two were going to take each other out at some point, it's just a matter of who got who first. Were you planning to take out Kenzie soon had you survived that night?

I had no plans to take Kenzie out soon. Also, and this is not even me trying to sound co*cky or anything like that, I was confident in the game I played. And there wasn't really any fear in my heart about sitting next to Kenzie if it came down to us and the final Tribal Council, because I'm like, "I feel like I could win against this girl." There were things that I could say about my game that she just simply could not say about hers. And I guess I wasn't as scared of her as she was of me.

You had spoken the past couple of episodes about wanting to get rid of the idol because it put a target on you. When did that mentality change to wanting to keep it for future plans? And, if you had survived the vote, what were you setting up your endgame to be?

So here's the thing. I did not know how badly everybody was on my back until I watched the episodes. So me out there. I thought I had runway to move forward. Me watching it back. I'm like, "Oh, y'all was thirsty to get me out!" So maybe I didn't have as much runway as I thought, whether I use that idol or not. Now, I definitely have plans on how to move forward. And I saw a path to the end, a very clear one. But looking back, I'm like, "Oh, yeah, y'all was just ready to snake me at the first opportunity y'all got." So maybe my threat level was a lot bigger out there than I thought it was. But I definitely thought I had a path to the end.

What was that path. Who did you want to sit next to the most?

So if I had to choose like my ideal path, I would have got Q out that Tribal. And then I would have went back. Assuming that I still have my idol, we could use that to break up that Charlie/Maria thing. And I think if we had wiped off the board, it would have been a Yanu/Nami split. Even if we decided to keep Ben, I felt like if I sit next to Ben, if I sit next to Liz, if I sit next to Venus, if I sit next to Kenzie, I think I have a pretty good shot at pleading my case against any of those people. But as long as I took Charlie and Maria off the board before we got to the end, I had really good working relationships with almost everybody out there. So I think I could have I could have convinced people to take me to that. Either that or I could have took myself there.

Well, you got one hell of a final meal out there. You got to go to the Sanctuary to have Applebee's. But you also had to deal with, as you put it, Q's "apology tour" to try to save himself. And it was also in the wake of Liz's outburst after not getting picked. So what was your experience like?

Well, I'll say this, I enjoyed my time at the Sanctuary very much. I mean, if there's a night there's a way to spend your last night on the island, I'm glad it was that. We had a blast. But I will say that it was a little bit more than just me being annoyed with Q and being fake during us sharing a meal together. Because while I did have those conversations with Kenzie and Maria, I also did have like a very real conversation with Q out there.

We actually talked about not necessarily working together again. Because for me, I knew I could not trust him. But we were able to kind of work through some of our issues. We kind of broke down why our personalities class so much. Q apologized for like some of the things he did out there on the island to me. So I kind of wished that moment between Q and I had gotten shown. But I didn't realize that the words that I was saying or the conversations I was having with Maria and maybe even Kenzie weren't landing the way. Because I thought I was actually really working with these people. But instead they were just counting down the moments until they come back at me.

When we talked in the preseason, and I asked you for a Survivorhot take, you said, "I don't know why people just don't know how to shut the [expletive] up." And we saw you choose to tell Kenzie and Q about your idol, which is one reason why you're talking with me today. How do you look back on that take now that you've played the game?

Okay, so I have mixed thoughts on that. Now that I have actually been out there and played the game. I will say this. If you are on the couch and you have opinions about how the game of Survivor should be played, mind your damn business. Because you don't know [expletive] until you get out there on that island. [Until] you are faced with a real situation that you have to make like a split second decision on. Because I think if I had been given just a proper straight-up idol, it would have been easier for me to just kind of keep it a secret. But I think for me in that moment, the thing that was the most difficult was that it was a Beware Advantage. And it was a Beware Advantage that caused me to lose my vote. So in that moment, not only do I need people behind me, because they're gonna find out about this one way or another, whether or not I tell them. Because God forbid I hadn't gotten the idol. Now I go to Tribal, I don't have a vote. And if I keep that information from my two closest allies, they're going to find out when I don't cast the vote. And now I look sneaky.

On the flip side of it, they did kind of provide that buffer time for me to go out and be solving this puzzle and running around the island to find this thing fifteen minutes before we left for Tribal Council. Had I not told them, maybe Q wouldn't have been so willing to provide that shield. At one point, he took everybody to the well and had like this random conversation to distract people while I ran to the other island to find the key to get the I don't have the box. So it's a little different when you're faced with obstacles that will either impede you or help you in that moment. My allies helped me. Now, should I have been more strategic about the way I managed that after they found out about it? But I don't think there was a path where I could have avoided telling them that wouldn't have automatically put a target on my back.

Next, check out our interview with Hunter McKnight, who was voted out in Survivor 46 Episode 9.

'Survivor 46's Tiffany Nicole Ervin Reveals Q Refused to Let People Swap Rewards with Liz (2024)
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