Morriah on Disappointing the Dad of ‘Survivor 43’ and Not Believing Gabler

Survivor is back for season 43. The Baka Tribe struggled in the premiere and had to lose a castaway. Morriah Young was the first person sent home. Showbiz Cheat Sheet interviewed the content creator on Sept. 22, 2022 over Zoom. Here is what she had to say about being cast out by her quickly-formed women’s alliance.

[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for the Survivor 43 premiere.] 

Morriah thought Gabler tried to trick her on ‘Survivor 43’

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Q: What were the conversations like after Mike ‘Gabler’ Gabler tried to fall on his sword publicly and then walked it back?

Morriah: There wasn’t really any conversations about that because I just think that we all were genuinely confused. Like when Gabler told, like when he came back to camp, and he’s talking about not playing his idol and playing the shot in the dark.

My initial reaction was like, ‘OK, either Gabler is a wild card, or he is just duping us.’ Like, I just didn’t believe it. I think there’s no way he’s not playing his idol. And so there wasn’t really conversations about it because Elie was like, ‘OK, let’s put a pin in that and do the fire.’ And then we immediately got around the campfire, started working on that.

Q: Gabler didn’t make anything solid with Elisabeth ‘Elie’ Scott like you did with the Girls Alliance. Do you think it was a mistake seeing that she sacrificed an ally for him?

Morriah: No, I don’t. I think she–I think for her game and for the choice she made, she thought she was doing the best thing for her in that moment. I don’t know if she views it as a mistake or if she views it as still the right choice. But for me, I’m like, if you think that this is the best thing for your game, then stand behind that and do it. And I don’t have any ill will toward her for that.

Morriah’s reaction to being voted out over perceived weakness

Morriah Young poses on the beach in a rainbow striped dress for 'Survivor 43'.
Morriah Young from ‘Survivor’ Season 43 | Robert Voets/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

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Q: Some fans pointed out Jeanine Zheng seemed weaker since she struggled to get under the log and, therefore, should’ve been the target. What do you make of that?

Morriah: Yeah, I don’t view anyone on our tribe as the weakest or the strongest. For me in life, I don’t think there is a weakness or a strongest. I think that everyone has their own strengths and everyone has their own weaknesses. And I think it depends on the challenge.

I think that there are some challenges where brute strength is really needed. And so in that case, Sami [Layadi] might be the strongest in that moment. And other cases that might be a challenge where it’s a brain teaser and so smarts might be the strongest person in that moment. And so, I think it really depends on what the challenge is. I think in that particular challenge, everyone truly did give it their all and we didn’t pull out with the win. But I still felt like we won because we still gave it everything that we had.

Q: Were you surprised that Elie was a big force in your name being thrown out there for that first vote?

Morriah: Yeah, I didn’t initially know that that was happening when, when I was there, I had a small gut feeling before tribal. But for me, I was just like, I believe in this woman’s alliance. I really want to see the woman stick it out.

I really want to work with Sami. And I thought that it was the smartest choice. I’m like, this is the smartest choice for all of us. Like, if we stick together. Women, we have three, and Sami wants to come, that’s four back. Like, we, we got this.

So I just wanted to believe in that. And I didn’t want to be a paranoid player once I got the tribal council and there was like a moment where there was a shift in tribal council. I had a gut feeling, and I started to know that it was me, but I didn’t know who it was, who was throwing my name under the bus, or who had initiated the strike against me.

Q: What was that shift that had your senses tingling?

Morriah: I think the shift was when I was giving my little sermon about positivity and keeping the tribe uplifted. I think that I kind of was having a different mindset than the rest of the tribe. I think I went into Tribal Council still trying to ride the Kumbaya train that we all were on. Like guys like, ‘We can do this, let’s keep up the positivity. Like the next challenge. We got this.’

And I think at that point, everyone else wanted to start playing a more cutthroat game. And I just think that I took a little bit longer to hop off the Kumbaya tribe and the train was already going and they’re, like ‘The door is closed in Morriah!’ And so I think that that was the shift. And that’s kind of when I got the gut feeling that it was me.

Morriah on Jeff Probst’s reaction to her positivity

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Q: You were talking about how you guys were winners because of all the effort you put in and Jeff [Probst] was not having that, I think. What was going through your mind when he was pushing back?

Morriah: I was like, ‘Jeff no!’ Because I feel like Jeff–like you, just when you’re there, you just want to impress Jeff. You just want to impress Jeff. He’s like, you’re–he’s like a dad, you know, this father figure. Like the, the father of Survivor. And I just kind of felt like, ‘Oh, my God, in this moment, Jeff is so disappointed in me.’

But, I mean, I’ve been watching Survivor my whole life and growing up, so I know that Jeff does hate that type of stuff. But I was like, I’m not going to back away from my truth. I’m going to speak my truth, even if it is Jeff and even though I love him. But the moment was definitely feeling like I was, I was just disappointing the dad of Survivor for a moment.

Q: Why was your target Owen [Knight]?

Morriah: My target was Owen because he was just my default vote. Right? I had this woman’s alliance that I really wanted to stick it out. I really wanted to work with Jeanine and Elie. I thought it was in all of our best interests. And I also felt like a women’s alliance wasn’t just something that was smart, but it was something that the world needed. I’m like, the world needs to see women sticking it out together and getting far in the end and just knocking off the guys. Like that’s something that is not only smart and strategic, but it’s something that the world needs to see and will be a beautiful moment.

So I definitely wasn’t going to flip on my women and then I really wanted to work with Sami because we just vibe together. We have the same energy levels and then a lot of our challenges that were physical. He was pulling it out. He was doing what he needed to do, carrying the boxes in that opening challenge, hoisting us up on the ladder. So I thought that Sami was our strength and we also vibed well. So with those with those three, with Sami, Jeanine, they were my core alliance.

And then Gabler went on that trip and he came back with an idol. And I’m like, ‘There’s no way in h double hockey sticks that I’m writing Gabler’s name down for him to pop out an idol and for all of the votes that we cast against him to then not count and whoever he chooses goes home.’ I didn’t not want to give Gabler that power, and I didn’t want to write his name down, in case he decided to write my name down. And so the only person left that was the smartest move for me and the best thing for my game was to vote for Owen because he wasn’t a part of my alliance and he did not have an advantage.

Q: You talked about really wanting to stick together what the women’s alliance. Women alliances like it’s always a toss-up on whether they’ll actually stick together. Did you have any question or any doubt, maybe like wanting to make a backup plan in case or you did have that positive outlook and like no I’m riding this out?

Morriah: No, I didn’t have a backup plan because I was like, it’s just too early. And I wanted to make sure that people knew I was being genuine. And I didn’t want to be seen as messy. I didn’t want to be seen as paranoid or scrambling, because it takes one moment for somebody to see you make an alliance with someone else, and then they lose your trust and then the other person lose their trust.

And then you’re you’re caught, you know, with two people, two alliances who don’t trust you. So what’s the point of having a bunch of different alliances, you know, if there’s no trust with either? And so I really did believe my women when we made that pact. And I was just like, this is the time to do it, ladies, let’s do it. So I did believe in it. And then I also did believe in Sami because me and Sami were really close on the island. So I thought that we were going to be a tight four.

Q: You said you played like it was your first time when you needed to play, like it was your second. Can you explain that a little bit?

Morriah: Yeah, I think there were a small couple of things that I could have done, and sometimes I have these fantasies of what I could have did in final Tribal Council. Like even once I felt that shift in tribal and I got the gut feeling that it was me. I am sometimes have dreams where I’m just like, I get to the booth and I played my shot in the dark. And then I come back and I sit down and I’m pulling the scroll out of my overalls and I’m like, ‘Jeff, here you go.’ And Jeff unrolls it and it says, safe is like risk like that.

People normally take their second time because they have nothing to lose. They played the game before, but instead I’m just like, I had this gut feeling, but I chose to play with my heart instead. I said, ‘But no, I’m going to trust my women and I’m going to trust Sami because we made this loyalty pact and it is what we said it’s going to be.’

And I think if I played like it was my second time, I would have listened to my gut in the moment, reacted, maybe played my shot in the dark. Or maybe even blew up Tribal Council. I’m like, ‘Jeff, let’s just do a live tribal. The ladies are working together. Owen’s, going home.’ You know, could have been it just would have been like, OK, it’s all out on the table. And so just small things like that. Once I had that gut feeling during Tribal, if it was my second time, I think I could have done something in the final moments to possibly save myself.

Morriah reacts to Sami lying about his age

Q: Watching back, you got to see that Sami was lying about his age. Did you have any inkling or were you like really surprised when we saw that?

Morriah: Yes and no, because like for me, when I connected with Sam, the other guy, he’s like, he’s like a kid. I didn’t know he was a kid, but his energy levels were just really, you know, childlike, but in the best way possible.

There was so much energy, there was so much joy. But on the flip side, I’m so childlike at times too. So I’m just like, OK, cool. Like, this is somebody I hang out with in real life. Like, we both, you know, want to have the best parts in life and be energetic and stuff. And so I didn’t, you know, think that he was lying about his age at all. But when it was revealed, I was like, this totally makes sense. Like, I get I get it now.

Q: Well you don’t well, I’m, I’m assuming you don’t know spoilers since you were out of the game after that. Do you think he’s going to be able to keep up with the lie of being 22 or that might–?

Morriah: I don’t know. We’ll just have to see. I don’t know.

Q: When you left, was there anyone that stuck with you that you were still, like, rooting for that you hope made it through?

Morriah: All of Baka. Like I left genuinely wanting to see the rest of my tribe do well. Like I didn’t, like, leave damning them all to hell. Like I truly left and my initial feeling was just, oh, my God, I’m going to miss them. Like, I was really sad and devastated that my game was over. But I didn’t leave angry. I left like, I want to be laying on the sand, looking at the stars tonight with y’all. Why would you get rid of me? Like that was my feeling.

And so I truly left not only feeling really sad that I’m going to miss them. But also feeling proud, like, OK, you guys did your thing, you voted me out, you did what you had to do. Keep going, you know, win the next challenge like you’re here. You made it onto the show. You made it through first tribal. You did something that I wasn’t able to do, so keep going. So that’s kind of how I left feeling.

Her ‘Survivor’ wakeup call as a fan

Q: I’m not sure how long you’ve been a fan of Survivor, but actually being in the experience, was there anything that was like so unexpected to you?

Morriah: Not really. I’ve been a fan of Survivor my entire life, been watching since I was a kid, and I don’t think anything was unexpected or surprising. I think the one thing that I struggle with the most was probably the bathroom.

Like, I knew that there wouldn’t be a porta potty off camera. But I kind of was hoping that there would be one. So I would say that it wasn’t a surprise, but just like a hope that got crushed instantly, like, no, you’re going to go in the trees or the ocean. And that was kind of like the wakeup call for me. Like, wow, like this is going to be tough. And so no surprises. I expected the heat. I expected the crazy challenges. I expected the hunger. I expected having to use the restroom in the ocean and in the trees, but was hoping that I wouldn’t have to

Q: I thought you looked great at the Tribal Council and I was thinking I would still have mud in my hair. Like, what did you do?

Morriah: You exfoliate with the sand. Let me tell you now in all the future players, you get this sand in the palm of your hands. You, you scrub it out, you, you scrub it out. You, you scrub it out. That’s what, it was the sand. It definitely–I don’t know if there are any current products on the shelf that has sand in them, but I’d be really curious to know, like if I were to use sand in my everyday life if it would have the same effects, because I definitely was glowing out there between the sun and the sand. It was, it was strong skin on it.

What Morriah would do differently next time on ‘Survivor’

Q: Any stray thoughts about the other tribes? You got to learn everything about them basically from watching the show.

Morriah: I think we have the cool a** cast. We have such a super cool cast. Every tribe has awesome people. On Coco in the opening maroon. When James [Jones] is like, He’s from Philly, oh my God, I so badly want to say ‘Philly in the house!’ Like I just want to say. me too, Philly! So like I immediately was like rooting for my Philly people on Coco because it’s like we’re from the tri-state area. Let’s go.

So that was really cool. And then on the Vesi tribe, it was just like, Nneka [Ejere]! With that Black girl magic! And then I’m also seeing a Noel [Lambert] and I’m like, You better represent, you better come through for our folks with this disability and show ’em. Like, I was just really proud and impressed with the, with the casting this season. And I think we had a really, really good group of folks and not just the group of folks, but like awesome, extraordinary human beings who had amazing stories.

Q: Yeah, I just listened to Rob Has a Podcast and they brought up how if you were there with the other Philly people, we probably would have a very different outcome for that first vote.

Morriah: So yeah, definitely. I definitely think we would have linked up like we would have had to.

Q: The last question I have for you is, yeah, if you did it again, anything you would do differently?

Morriah: I think, well, listen, listening to my gut more, definitely listening to my gut more. And I do think that I took risks, but I think I could have maybe taken bigger risks. So definitely listening to my gut more and taking bigger risks. But I’m going to manifest it and say instead of if I’m going to play again, like I don’t know who I need to talk to.

We’re going to make it happen. We’re getting ready to get a prayer mat out. We’re getting ready to go to church. We’re gonna pray it up. We’re going to hope for it, and we’re going to see what happens. But if–I–when I do play again, it’ll definitely be listening to my gut more, I think is the biggest thing I have to change.