Preying on the weak is easy. Taking down the strong is a whole other story.
On the Wednesday, December 8, episode of Survivor, Sunday Burquest sought to eliminate one of the game’s remaining threats while Hannah Shapiro chose a safer route. Claiming that Burquest was a goat swiftly slipping through the cracks and into the final three, Shapiro insisted the Gen X–er had to go.
“I wasn’t happy about it, but it was not a surprise to me because she basically said that right to me during the game,” Burquest, 45, tells Us Weekly. “As the game went on, she was getting a little bit more confident and condescending with some of us because she felt like she was making a lot of moves that were to her credit. She felt that she could point a finger and that label in my direction. I mean, we’re fine now, but it wasn’t fun to hear it, for sure.”
The Otsego, Minnesota–based youth pastor explains her game to Us.
Us Weekly: Hannah accused you of floating by. What do you think your biggest move in the game was?
Sunday Burquest: I was making decisions with people and it wasn’t always shown in the edit. My biggest move was throwing out Ken [McNickle]’s name and getting David [Wright] to waste his idol on him. That was the biggest one and the most visible. That idol got wasted. We ended up going to rocks and I didn’t leave. I didn’t have to flip on my alliance. Had he played it for Hannah, Zeke [Smith] would have gone home and we would have been down in numbers from that vote on.
Us: Going into tribal, what did you think the result was going to be?
SB: I thought Jay [Starrett]’s idol was going to get flushed and Dave was going to go home. I did have an idea that it could possibly be me, but in my mind that was so dumb. Why would you take out me when you’ve got Jay? You’ve got David. You’ve got Adam [Klein] still in the game. I kept justifying to myself that there was no way that was going to happen because it’s a dumb move. I had spent significant time with Adam and Hannah on the beach deciding how the votes were going to go. That all changed literally, I guess, as I’m told, minutes before tribal.
Us: When did you realize it was going to be you?
SB: When the first vote came up with my name, I knew it because there shouldn’t have been a random vote for me. So if there was one, there had to be more. The minute the first one came up, I was like, “Oh, crap!”
Us: Looking back on this season, what do you think was the dumbest move made?
SB: Well, there’s two of them. I would say David wasting his idol on Ken, and then — this sounds bad — but really voting me out. I wasn’t a threat. Why take me out when you have these threats still sitting there?
Us: Who do you think is the biggest threat?
SB: David. He’s very smart and very calculating. I felt like we waited way too long in the game to get rid of him. By the time it had got to that point, he had built too tight of relationships.
Us: If you could pick anyone who has played this season besides yourself to win, who would you want it to be?
SB: I would say Jay. I feel like Jay’s done a really good job navigating when he didn’t have an alliance. He’s gutsy and he’s really likable. He’s my favorite.
Us: What was the hardest part about playing the game?
SB: Just the emotional and mental aspect of never, ever, ever being able to let your guard down and never being able to rest mentally. You had to always pay attention to every eye roll, every tone. And that just got exhausting. I’m not a paranoid person, so for me to have to worry about two people talking, it wore on me.
Us: Once the game was over and you went back to reality, was it hard to get back into your routine?
SB: Totally! It took me almost a month. It felt like Survivor was so big in my mind and all I could do was replay it all the time. It was hard to adjust back to normal eating, normal sleeping, doing dishes, doing laundry. It was a tough adjustment. Then to mentally not be thinking the way you think in the game. You’re not worried about every single person talking or who is saying what in real life — hopefully!
Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X airs on CBS Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
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