'Survivor: Blood vs. Water': Candice Cody Talks Brad Culpepper, Redemption Island and Wasted Idol Clues

The three-time competitor got voted out on day one but continued to survive on Redemption Island until being beaten by her husband and her nemesis.
Candice Cody

Candice Cody never even got a chance to be part of a tribe, but she still made an impact on Survivor: Blood vs. Water.

After being voted out on day one, the three-time competitor landed on Redemption Island, where week after week she dominated the duels -- and also began calling out Brad Culpepper for what she perceived as his backstabbing and deceit. In last week's episode, she was joined on Redemption Island by husband John Cody, and then Brad in this week's installment.

But her time on Survivor came to an end in Wednesday night's episode as Candice was defeated by her husband and her nemesis.

"It was so sad," she tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I really wish I could have won that challenge."

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On Thursday, Candice also talked to THR about why she was the first voted out, what she thinks about Monica Culpepper's decision to burn two clues to the hidden immunity idol and what strategy she had discussed with John before the game began.

Why do you think they targeted you right out of the gate?

With returning players, they're savvy and such an easy vote. I showed up less than 24 hours before the game started, but these people had been sitting at Ponderosa for four or five days just staring at each other, counting the numbers, figuring out who they were going to work with. I came in at the last second, with no explanation to the other players as to why I'm there or how I got there [RC Saint-Amour and her father, Craig, were originally supposed to take part in this season -- and even traveled all the way to the Philippines -- but were pulled by Survivor doctors just before the game started due to her father's high blood pressure. John and Candice took their spots]. I didn't barely even got a chance to say hello to people, and then they had the chance to vote someone out. If I'm the other players, it's an easy vote. And I thought it would be OK coming late if I had the normal three days [before going] to tribal council. In three days, I could tell people what happened, make friends, get involved, but with 30 seconds and no explanation, it was rough.

You were very candid about your feelings for Brad Culpepper. Do you still harbor resentment toward him?

In the game of Survivor, I think the Culpeppers are dead to me. In real life, they are nice people. I have no hard feelings in real life. But in a game for $1 million, if you vote me out and vote my husband out, it's on. We're not friends anymore.

It got really tense at Redemption Island.

Brad is on Survivor for a reason. He's got a big personality, he talks nonstop all the time -- you literally cannot get him to be quiet. If you're talking and running your mouth all the time, you're bound to say something offensive or get on somebody's nerves. It's such a sensitive social game, any wrong step can get you voted out. I think that people were tired of listening to him, and they wanted to be able to have their voices heard. That's annoying to people who haven't had a chance to play or talk on the tribe. Marissa [Peterson] told me she felt like she wanted to be able to do the fire and go fishing and do the survival aspect, and she wasn't really allowed to do that. It wasn't part of Brad's plan. That's where the animosity came from. I definitely stirred the pot on purpose. I tried to get Marissa to talk about Brad in the duel while John was still in the game. I didn't want to ruin [John's] game by talking bad about Brad or anyone. But once Brad voted John out, it was on. I tried to see if I could do some damage and get him out of the game -- whether it worked or whether he'd already shot himself in the foot, who knows? There are things you can do from Redemption Island to influence the game, and I did what I could. I didn't mean to be personal or to hurt anyone's feelings, but I wanted him gone, and I did whatever I could to get him gone.

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What was your first reaction when Brad showed up at Redemption Island?

I think you saw my first reaction. "Hallelujah, somebody has been listening to me." He had a distinctive voice, and before he said, "It's Brad," I woke up and thought, "Oh my gosh, it's Brad. Thank God." Then I started backtracking in my mind. I got what I wished for, but he is also a tough challenge competitor. John and I had our work cut out for us. I was nervous, but I was happy because at least he was going to have to go through both John and myself to get back into the game. Who better out there to beat him than us? It was kind of what we wanted -- to be able to go head to head.

What do you make of Monica's decision to burn two clues to the hidden immunity idol?

It's hard to judge because you never know what's going on at her tribe. Maybe they had already talked about it and said, "We don't want that; don't give it to me." But at the same time, if you can find the idol, it's so public, you gotta play it that first time and make a power play and get rid of it. It's always a risky move in the game not to take power when it's offered to you. But there are pros and cons. She could have brought it to the tribe and decided as a group what they wanted to do with it. If they decided they didn't want it, they could have thrown it into the ocean. But she didn't give the tribe the opportunity. I don't think it was a terrible move; I think it was a plus-minus.

Would you play Survivor again if asked?

You can't say no to Survivor. It's in your blood. It's been part of my life for seven years. When I met John, Cook Islands was about to air, and now he's been a part of it. I don't think any reasonable person in the world can say no if asked to play a game for $1 million. It's crazy and fun and challenging. I love it.