updated 04/29/2014 AT 6:15 PM ET
•originally published 04/30/2014 AT 11:15 AM ET
In the end, he was just too nice.
Jeremiah Wood was voted off Survivor: Cagayan on Day 28 after finding himself down in numbers. When Jefra Bland told him that she wouldn’t work with him, Wood accepted the inevitable rather than causing a scene – a move he now regrets.
The 34-year-old model from Dobson, N.C., tells PEOPLE where he went wrong – and why he let his looks go before going on the show.
Jeremiah, in your words, what happened?
It was as simple as this: I just didn’t have the numbers.
But the last episode made it look like you might convince Jefra to flip. Was that the case?
Yeah, pretty much what you saw is what happened. We flipped her, but then Trish flipped her back.
Jefra came to you and said she wasn’t going to work with you. You were like, ‘Okay, that’s all right. Thanks for telling me.’ Why weren’t you more aggressive?
That was a big mistake. I kick myself over that. I think I played a good game up to that. I should have done something big; made up a big lie or really confronted her. But she did it in front of everybody.
Jefra seems like the type of person who hates conflict. You basically gave her the okay to vote against you, without feeling bad about it.
She’s an absolute sweetheart. If we had been by ourselves, I would have pleaded with her and told her where she was messing up. But when she was in front of everyone, I knew it was going to be tough. If I had confronted her, she would have started to cry in front of everyone, and then there would have been even a bigger target on me.
Let her cry! It’s Survivor!
[Laughs] I know, but I really didn’t want to be mean about it. She had made her decision, and it sealed my fate.