Jefferson, 30, was the latest contestant to be booted from the 24th season of the hit show. He lost 14 pounds in 22 days and had to tangle with the thickest beard he's ever grown.
"You go into the game knowing that your time will come," Jefferson said in a phone interview with The Herald Thursday. "It is what it is and I did the best I could."
Set on a white sand beach in Samoa, the show started airing in February with 18 contestants. Jefferson was the eighth person to get voted out. He made it far enough to remain in the tropics to serve as one of the game's judges.
Once he was out of the running for the $1 million prize, Jefferson lived in relative luxury at another camp, called Ponderosa, where food was abundant, the bed was soft and he was able to take his first hot shower in more than three weeks.
"I learned a little more about myself," Jefferson said, reflecting on his experience. He used to fantasize about living on an island without modern conveniences. "I would play 'Survivor' again, but I would never want to be stranded on an island."
For Jefferson, it came down to allegiances. Despite being a strong contestant, up to the physical demands of the show, Jefferson couldn't win support to stay.
Jefferson's exit came after the tribes merged. They initially were split by gender, a curveball Jefferson didn't expect.
"We kind of had to adapt," he said.
On Wednesday's episode, player Troy Robertson was wooed into an allegiance with Kim Spradlin.
Robertson was the "one guy who never wanted to talk to me out there," Jefferson said. "He kind of ruined it."
Filming for this season ended months ago and Jefferson has re-acclimated.
Still, he's basking in his new found fame. He can't go out to places like Starbucks without being stopped for an autograph or a photo with adoring fans.
"It's fun to know there are 'Survivor' fans, and it's really easy to make someone's day," he said.
Being on "Survivor" has been a dream come true for the Marysville native and 2000 graduate of Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
He'd auditioned a couple of times prior to being picked for this season. Now, he's not sure what comes next.
"It's hard to say," he said. "I'm sure there's something coming, I'm just not sure what it is yet."
Until the next time he's tapped for a role on national television, there is something closer to home he's hankering for.
"Maybe Marysville will give me the key to the city," he said.
Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch "Survivor: One World"
"Survivor: One World" continues Wednesday evenings on CBS. Watch previous episodes and lots of extra, behind-the-scene footage at www.cbs.com/shows/survivor.
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