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Survivor’s Mari Takahashi: Millennials Tiptoed Around Camp After Power Couple Hooked Up

If the shelter’s a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’. That was the lesson on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X’s episode Wednesday, September 28 after Taylor Lee Stocker and Jessica “Figgy” Figueroa formed an alliance — as lovers.

The power couple made out at camp, drove a wedge between their fellow Vanua tribemates and yet still managed to come out of tribal council alive. But their days may be limited, Mari Takahashi, the second castaway voted off, exclusively tells Us Weekly.

“It’s not smart,” the pro gamer, 31, says of coupling up. “It gives you security but it also paints a giant target on your back. You can’t have a power couple on your tribe and just assume that they’re not going to be voting the same way. That’s two votes that are solid.”

Mari Takahashi Survivor Millenials
Mari Takahashi on ‘Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen. X.’

Related: PHOTOS: Failed Reality TV Romances

Of course, as a true millennial, Takahashi can’t blame the genetically blessed duo for hooking up. “I can’t knock love. Love happens when it happens, most of the time when you least expect it,” she admits. “But it’s easy to be on the outside and point fingers, like, ‘Where is your head?’ I see both sides.”

The L.A. resident and ballet instructor talks gameplay with Us.

Us Weekly: Was it uncomfortable at camp seeing Figgy and Taylor make out?

Mari Takahashi: It made us tiptoe around. They were making out and we were like, “Oh, sorry! Just coming through with some firewood.” I think we all revert into different phases of our lives on that island. I was a dodgy 14-year-old that was scared to offend the cool kids. I’m like, “Sorry, just coming through. Don’t mind me.” Psychologically, it was really interesting to see me revert back. In my own life, I’ve got my s–t together. But when you’re stripped of everything that belongs to you, you’re left raw.

Jessica Figueroa Taylor Stocker
Jessica Figueroa and Taylor Stocker on ‘Survivor: Millenials vs. Gen X.’

Us: Would you say it was like high school?

MT: So high school! Just the fact that it was so blatantly clear that there was a popular group. They really saw themselves that way, too. We all saw it that way so clearly within a few days. I think that paints a bigger picture of what we are as a society. We’re really good at compartmentalizing everything, including people: “You’re like this, so you’re in this category.”

Related: PHOTOS: Biggest Reality TV Villains Ever!

Us: Would you have preferred to be on the Gen X tribe?

MT: I love this generation and I love being a part of it. I was really proud to be on the millennial tribe, to be honest with you. I’m on the older side of the millennials. I grew up on VHS and no internet, so I understand both sides. The child of the ’90s really has an advantage in that sense. I danced for 27 years, so I have a traditional, very rigid ballet background that I know is in line with Gen X and their values that you have to earn your stripes. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that I didn’t get to the merge because I thought I could have gotten along with those Gen Xers!

Survivor: Millenials vs. Gen X
Will Wahl, Adam Klein, Taylor Stocker, Jessica Figueroa, Justin Starrett, Michaela Bradshaw, Hannah Shapiro, Ezekiel/Zeke Smith and Mari Takahashi (from left) on ‘Survivor: Millenials vs. Gen X.’

Us: You were plotting to send Figgy home. Did you have any inkling you were on the chopping block?

MT: Absolutely. That paranoia absolutely exists. No one can go into tribal completely confident unless you have an immunity idol. Gosh, would that have been a great play! But, I wasn’t confident. At the same time, I was so naive. I didn’t think my name would be put down on paper.

Related: PHOTOS: Biggest Reality TV Meltdowns of All Time

Us: Michelle Schubert and Hannah Shapiro were whispering at tribal. You said it was probably about butts or puppies. Were those common topics back at camp?

MT: The reason why you’ll never see any of the clips from what we talked about at camp is because most of it was inappropriate! To the point where producers were like, “You can’t talk about vaginas. This is all unairable.” We talked movies to vaginas. Regardless of what happened in the Survivor world, we really got each other. We had great conversations about our hopes and dreams. It was beautiful.

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Us: At this point in the game, who is the biggest threat?

MT: Zeke [Smith] is a threat because he’s so lovable. Zeke, like David [Wright], they’re both really lovable characters. They’re charming, and that can be really dangerous.

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X airs on CBS Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET. 

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