“Survivor” Castaway Molly – “I’m Honestly OK with Being Known As the Girl That Was Spit on by a Clam

“Survivor: Island of the Idols” (CBS)

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Gordon Holmes: Molly, thank you so much for inviting me to the cool kids’ table for this interview.

Molly Byman: (Laughs)

Holmes: Usually I’m stuck with the theater kids, so I really appreciate it.

Byman: This is a trial run.

Holmes: And what day do we wear pink?

Byman: Never. We wear black. (Laughs)

Holmes: Jamal was under the impression that your little trio with Jack was doing a good job keeping things under the radar. That obviously wasn’t the case. How much time were you three spending together?

Byman: They showed us hanging out together a lot, but we spent so much time in a larger group that I didn’t think I was hanging out with them too much. I felt like I was with other people as well. It was a surprise to me at how quickly people jumped onto us being this thing, this power trio. The three of us had very similar mindsets, so we were very relaxed. We were not paranoid and everyone else bonded over their paranoia. That’s what put us out, rather than this superior bond. I don’t think any of us would have said that.

Holmes: When the blindside first happened did you think, “I bet that damn clam that spit on me is behind this.”

Byman: (Laughs) That clam moment will be my introduction for life. When I saw the first vote, I was obviously extremely blindsided, but I knew I was out. There was no talk of me. So, when you see that, it wasn’t like, somebody was spiteful. I knew they had gotten together and done this. This is crazy.

Holmes: Did you have any clue that Lauren was behind it?

Byman: There’s been some disagreement as to who really plotted my fall from grace. I think Kellee and Janet also were a part of that. Looking back on it, it doesn’t surprise me. I thought I was staying under the radar by not talking a lot of strategy, but that actually made people, especially the women, more wary of me.

Holmes: So, Noura accused you of excluding her, but then she goes on to say she’s been excluded all of her life. I feel like that tells me more about Noura than it does about you.

Byman: Thank you. (Laughs) I appreciate that a lot.

Holmes: But what can you do about that when you’re in this game and someone’s accusing you of being mean and ostracizing her, but the way she treats people is why you’re not so keen to work with her?

Byman: Watching the episode, it kind of speaks for itself. I don’t think the majority of the tribe got rid of me because they didn’t like me or because I was this mean girl. I think I made strong connections with everyone and have a lot of friends in the cast. I was organizing games and activities, we were joking. I don’t think I was being exclusive. I think what you’re saying is apparent, it’s tricky with someone like that. Some people are going to want to work with her because they can get her in their pocket. She doesn’t seem to know much about “Survivor.” She’s going to get on people’s nerves. There are people who are going to think she’s an asset, and that’s what Jason did. In my mind, that’s a liability. It seemed so obvious to me that she was going to be someone I didn’t want to spend 39 days with, and I could never trust her. And, I didn’t know she had these horrible feelings about me at all.  I didn’t realize I had done something that was so offensive.

Holmes: Did something happen to Jamal’s eye? It looked very puffy in a few of the scenes.

Byman: Something definitely happened. I think he got a bug bite on it. That is true.

Holmes: Jason seemed like he was still on the outs due to looking for idols on day one. Was he just an easy name to have out there? Was he not liked around camp? Why did that tag stay on him for six days?

Byman: At Tribal when he stood up and was like, “I don’t have an idol,” it irritated me. I thought, “That’s dumb, you’re doing this for TV.” He wasn’t on the outs after day three. In his head he had to get through the first vote to solidify things, and he didn’t feel comfortable until I was gone. But, I don’t think he was on the outs after the first day or two. He was magnificent in going around and apologizing and connecting with every single person. I think he did what was Noura wasn’t able to do or didn’t know how to do. I think every person after having those conversations wanted to work with Jason. I know I wanted to work with Jason.

Holmes: Let’s do some word association. We’ll start with Janet.

Byman: I love Janet. She is a fighter.

Holmes: Jack?

Byman: Thoughtful.

Holmes: Jason?

Byman: He is present.

Holmes: Kellee?

Byman: Rational.

Holmes: Tommy?

Byman: Tommy is a teacher.

Holmes: Jamal?

Byman: Confident.

Holmes: Lauren?

Byman: Emphatic.

Holmes: Dan?

Byman: Gregarious.

Holmes: And let’s finish with Noura.

Byman: Noura is Noura. (Laughs)

Holmes: There was some unwanted touching from Dan in the early days, were you guys able to work all of that out?

Byman: We didn’t really work together, and I’ve talked to Dan since. I’m not a touchy person, I’m also not used to being around older men who are touchy like that. It was surprising. It made me not want to be in an alliance with him. I kind of separated myself from him. I didn’t want to tie my game to his at all. He means well. He’s a good person. He texted me after the episode and apologized again. I think this can be a cool conversation going forward and a learning experience about what happens when you feel uncomfortable and how to speak up for yourself. And how to not be defensive when someone says something that could imply that you did something wrong. I think it was well handled. I think “Survivor” did a good job showing it.

Holmes: I feel like in society we’re doing a better job of communicating things like that. Not a great job, mind you…

Byman: Yes.

Holmes: But a better job. But when you’re on “Survivor,” and you’re worried about the tiniest things painting you in a bad light or putting a target on your back, it must’ve been extra frustrating to have to deal with that.

Byman: Right, and he was in a position of power. He was providing a lot of food, he was funny and chatting around camp. He’s a very warm person. My feet were super prune-y after the rain  and he gave me a foot massage and let me wear his socks that he had worn once. It is hard. You feel this way, but it’s a game where you’re voting people out. It reminds me of when you feel uncomfortable at work you’re afraid to speak out because there’s someone in power. Jobs are on the line and you don’t want to cause a problem when you can maybe just skirt around. So yeah, it’s interesting to see those things play out in a competitive environment.

Holmes: Well, I’m glad you guys were able to make peace.

Holmes: So, right now we think your “Survivor” legacy is going to be, “Molly…the girl who was spit on by a clam.”

Byman: (Laughs) Yes.

Holmes: Is there something we didn’t see that would make a better legacy?

Byman: I’m honestly OK with being known as the girl that was spit on by a clam. In the six days I was out there I was so happy to be out there. I loved it, I was engaged in the moments. I was getting to know people. I gave it my all in the challenges. And the clam scene represents what was so wonderful with my experience. I had this goofy, funny moment that I never would have had before. I was also unaware of the level of paranoia that was around me. I thought we were all getting along. When Lauren said something about, “She has that effect on all of us.” That was something I didn’t realize about myself. In those six days I wanted to play, but I was being myself and trying to be friendly and excited and I think the clam captures that.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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