Michelle Chase: “I kind of want to be seen as a mousy, skinny girl who isn’t very strong”

Michelle Chase is many things: a boxer, a DJ, a music producer, and a charity founder. She was the last person I talked to that Saturday, and I was her last interview; perhaps because of that, she was very low-energy, although not in the same way as Jacquie. She was pleasant to talk to, but didn’t really stand out.

Michelle’s love for DJing led her to work on film music, because that didn’t require expensive equipment, and most recently she did post-production music on Hancock. Michelle also founded a charity, Knockouts for Girls, and she expressed her irritation with the way Parvati Shallow–who’s involved with the charity and works with Michelle’s charity business partner on a reality show project–mentioned it on Survivor “because she wanted to make herself look good,” Michelle said. Despite the “millions of dollars worth” of publicity that mention generated, Michelle said, “It’s my baby. She was out here doing Survivor when I was working 90-hour weeks to found that charity.”

She lives in Los Angeles, and was recruited while working out on the Santa Monica stairs. Michelle watched season one, and “bits and pieces of other seasons,” but said she’d only do Survivor or female Contender because she’s an mixed martial arts boxer, and is considering going professional. “If I can use Survivor to sell tickets,” she said she’d like to go pro, but only if she can make $100,000 a fight.

From the ages of 7 to 12, she did triathlons with her dad–until he remarried someone who’s “literally crazy” and that woman’s “stepbrats stole him,” Michelle said. She and her father reconnected on her 24th birthday this past March, the first time they’d spoken in years, and now Michelle is looking forward to his wife watching her on TV. “I want her to see me on the show. It’d totally tear her apart. I can’t wait. Of course, it could be a downfall if I don’t do well, which is not going to happen,” Michelle said.

Despite her athleticism, her strategy in the game is to hold back and not be seen as a physical threat. “I kind of want to be seen as a mousy, skinny girl who isn’t very strong and doesn’t eat a lot and can be beat,” she said. To prepare for that, Michelle told me she’d “been practicing starving,” going “all day without eating” and working out.

Amusingly, Michelle said she doesn’t want to be like Corinne, who had been “exercising in front of everybody” at pre-Ponderosa. “I call her Jerri number two … she’s walking around with the 48 Laws of Power,” a book Michelle says she’s read but that is stupid to read in front of everyone else, and thus Michelle said Corinne “has a huge target on her back, I think, and the game hasn’t even started yet.”

As to her game, Michelle said her biggest challenge comes from within. “I tend to defend myself too much. If I feel threatened or attacked, I’ll attack right back. This tactic will definitely hurt me in this game, so I definitely want to play up the victim card a bit more,” Michelle said. “I don’t want to lash out. What happens more than not is I end up looking like the jerk, when if I would have just shut up, the other person would have looked like the jerk. So that’s one of my personal goals is to learn to keep my mouth shut when I need to and not say more than is necessary, because I talk a lot.”

Hear Michelle talk about why she’s drawn to boxing and starving herself in preparation for the game:

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.