'Survivor' 's Morgan McLeod: 'I'm Not a Mean Girl'

The ousted contestant owns up to saying things she regrets

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS

There’s a contestant like Morgan McLeod on every season of Survivor. Young and pretty, they make snarky comments about the older – and less attractive – female contestants. (One of McLeod’s gems: “If everyone could choose to be cute or ugly, most would pick cute.”)

But McLeod, a 22-year-old student and former NFL cheerleader from San Jose, California, wants to stress that she’s not as she appeared on Survivor: Cagayan.

“I’m not a mean girl,” she says with a laugh. “I’m not who you think I am.”

Let’s address the elephant in the room. You said some pretty harsh things about the older contestants, especially Kass.
I did, and I own that. I said it in the heat of the moment. I was upset. I shouldn’t have been so harsh and I shouldn’t have said it to all of America. It’s amazing what you say when you are hungry and tired!

You directed a lot of venom towards Kass, who flipped on her tribe.
I was mad. Before she flipped, we were cool. She told a bunch of crazy stories that I thought were hilarious. When she turned on us, I said some things I really shouldn’t have. I don’t think I’m better than everyone else. That’s not who I am.

Is there anything that you stand by saying?
I don’t regret saying that people would choose to be cute. I believe that’s true, that people would [laughs]. But I could have phrased it better.

You also got the ‘lazy edit’ this season.
I don’t think I was as lazy as it was portrayed. We girls – Alexis, Jefra and I – got used to being taken care of. The guys did the hard labor. We appreciated it. It’s interesting that I was called lazy but the other girls weren’t. We were all the same.

Did you help look for the immunity idol for your tribe?
For hours! One thing you didn’t see: while we were looking, Tasha and I approached LJ and tried to get him and Jefra to come over to our side. I told him that he could be the alpha male. He was like, ‘Nope, I’m good.’ Also, Tony kept coming over and telling us to stop looking for the idol. He was a little misogynistic there, like, ‘you girls can just go sit down.’ But we kept looking.

You just looked like you weren’t having fun out there.
We had a lot of fun. You don’t get to see how we interact when we’re not talking about strategy. Tasha and I are both former NFL cheerleaders so we bonded over that. We had a kick line and a lot of dancing. I love her.

Strategically, the tribe should have voted her out. She’s a threat out there!
Tasha is just dynamite. She’s such a fun person, good in challenges and very strategic. She gets overlooked out there, and she knows how to take advantage of that. They should have voted her out instead of me, because she’s just so good with people. But when we were down in numbers, she went to Tony and asked him to keep her around – and he did! He’s playing a good game, but that was a dumb move!

Who else is playing a good game?
Tony is. And Trish is doing awesome. A lot of people like her and trust her. She has a lot of strategy behind her. I knew she had some when I was on the island, but I’m blown away with how well she’s doing.

And what about Kass?
I’m not thrilled with her, of course. She ruined my game and the games of a bunch of other people. But I don t dislike or hate anyone. It’s a game! Life goes on.

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