Exclusive: Alina Wilson discusses her 'Survivor: Nicaragua' experience
By Reality TV World staff, 11/04/2010
Alina Wilson thought she may have received a fresh start in Survivor: Nicaragua when the game's Espada and La Flor tribes merged on Day 19.
However that belief turned out to be wrong when she discovered her outsider status had followed her into the competition's new merged Libertad tribe -- resulting in the 23-year-old art student from Downey, CA becoming the ninth Survivor: Nicaragua castaway voted out of the game on Night 22.
On Thursday, Alina talked to Reality TV World about her Survivor: Nicaragua experience -- including whether she was surprised Marty Piombo wasn't booted, what he thought of his Tribal Council comments about Jill Bright, and why she didn't "tattletale" on tribal thief NaOnka Mixon.
Reality TV World: You had obviously campaigned hard before Tribal Council. Did you go into Tribal Council thinking you had been successful and Marty would be voted out or did you know you were going to be going home?
Alina Wilson: I wasn't naive, but I was optimistic. I was very optimistic about the fact that I had done my best, and I knew that there was a possibility that I had done enough.
That being said, I also knew that it was very possible that I was going to head home, but then when Marty opened his big mouth and went on this whole tirade against Jane who was wearing immunity, I thought to myself, "Wow! This is really, really great! This could totally work in my benefit."
But now watching the episode I realize he was saved solely because of [Matthew "Sash" Lenahan].
Reality TV World: You were also pretty aggressive at Tribal Council, it seemed. So was that because at that point things were looking in your favor and [it was] an excellent opportunity for you?
Alina Wilson: Yeah, definitely. Like I said, I obviously had two outcomes, either Marty was going home or I'm going home. Either way, I wanted to make my case. I wanted to make it in such a way I wasn't going to dig a grave like I thought Marty had.
So I was vocal but when I spoke I said what I needed to say, I made sure it was only what I needed to say and not anything extra. So, I plead my case, I tried to convince them that I was very valuable, especially because I had no alliance, and that I could be used.
So I'm happy and I'm not, you know, wishing that I said this or said that. I think I said what they needed to say and they made their decision. And it didn't work out for me.
Reality TV World: Were you aware that Marty had made that hidden Immunity Idol deal with Sash?
Alina Wilson: Um, I vaguely remember and I think that somebody had mentioned it to me. Nobody came up to me and said, "Okay, this is the reason that Marty won't go home." Somebody mentioned it to me and I believe it was Jane, so I had that in mind and that to me meant there was some sort of alliance between the two of them, and that kind of scared me.
So, when I was talking to everyone else about the numbers that I needed, we came up with the fact that we had enough numbers and it didn't matter it we got Sash and [Brenda Lowe's] vote.
Now if everyone else was thinking strategically that would have been the perfect moment to take power out of Sash and Brenda's hands, because if everyone else had voted against what they were voting, they would have been sitting there stunned like, "Oh my god, they all made a decision without us!"
And you know, it would've been perfect; it would've been so brilliant to watch. But like I said, it didn't turn out that way and that's too bad.
Reality TV World: Sash's original deal with Marty was that he would give him the hidden Immunity Idol back before Tribal Council, not just that he wouldn't vote him off at the Tribal Council. Do you know if he actually did give it back?
Alina Wilson: It didn't show, and I don't know, I actually don't know if he gave it to him, and it seemed like he made an agreement with him to give it to him only in the case that everyone was going to vote for him and then he could use it.
I don't know. It was kind of a bizarre deal and I don't know how Marty got himself into it.
Reality TV World: Last night's show had also made it look like you had initially really believed your Espada tribe would stay together there after the merge. Was that really the case or was it just the editing?
Alina Wilson: The editing kind of made me look like a fool; it made me look like I was just talking to myself and everyone was just looking at me like I was crazy. But literally the truth was we were talking about this for days.
We had been anticipating a merge and talking to each other like, "Hey let's keep ourselves strong. Let's take the power out of Brenda and Sash and Marty's hands. Let's get rid of a power player over there right away."
We all were very much agreeing on things -- [Ben "Benry" Henry] and [Chase Rice] and NaOnka, [Holly Hoffman] also.
I mean everybody was kind of talking about it, so no, I wasn't that naive where I was sitting there talking to myself and thinking that everybody was with me.
We had all been talking about it, and they were very very convincing and good at lying to me so there was a reason why I believed it.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode also showed you saying that you had believed that Marty and [Jill Behm] had been running things over at La Flor -- which seemed pretty odd given you'd had firsthand experience with Brenda and Sash, and [Tyrone Davis] had been the first person La Flor had voted out after the swap. Did you really believe Marty and Jill had been running things and if so, why was that?
Alina Wilson: The thing was when we were over at Espada we didn't really know much of what was going on except we would see people getting voted out and they were watching us and [when] we realized that Jill was had been voted off we were all very shocked.
Every one of us thought that Brenda was working with Marty and Jill. For some reason, we thought that they were going to all come together. I guess the reason was that we looked at Marty and Jill as very strong people. They looked strong to us. I mean I had never met Jill, but I knew she was strong and that she was going to be strategic.
So, we just all assumed that was what was going on, because everyone [else over there] was kind of -- they didn't seem like strong strategic players.
Like [Kelly Shinn] and [Jud "Fabio" Birza] -- they seemed to just kind of be coasting along. So what we did was we logically thought of all the strong players and we thought they were playing together.
Reality TV World: You acted surprised when NaOnka first told you that Brenda and her allies were "gunning" for you. Was that actually the case?
Alina Wilson: It was a surprise to me not that Brenda was gunning for me but that everyone else like Benry and Chase and Holly and [Dan Lembo] were gunning for me.
She included that in the conversation and I was shocked by that, because like I said, we had been talking for days about keeping our strong fixed and working together, so I was legitimately shocked.
I was very like, um, and you know, on a strategic level, I was thinking to myself, "Why? It makes no sense. I have no alliance. I have no numbers. Why don't you just pick up an extra number by keeping me there? And you know, try to split up some sort of alliance."
That to me would've made more sense, so yeah, I was shocked and was like that doesn't even make sense. Why would everyone be gunning for me when I'm like the easiest person to get rid of?
Reality TV World: You seemed to end up on the outside pretty much from the beginning when you allied with [Kelly Bruno] and [Shannon Elkins] -- why do you think that was?
Alina Wilson: Man, it's hard to say but um, it's just the lines were drawn and were never shifted.
Everyone -- when we voted with Shannon, like literally it was set in stone and it was irreversible, which I don't agree with because when you play Survivor you play day by day.
You gotta be like from day to day you change your strategy, you change everything that you're doing, and that's how I was playing, but everyone else had written in stone that Alina and Kelly B. and everybody who goes with Shannon needs to go home.
So it really stuck with me, and I'd try to shake it, I tried to move things around and then instead of actually being successful, I was given the name of "schemer," and you know, that I'm "grimy" because I was trying to do things and play day by day.
So yeah, it bit me in the butt that I sided with Shannon.
Reality TV World: How did you find out NaOnka had stolen all the food and supplies? Last night's episode was kind of unclear and suddenly just showed her sharing the food with you and you expressing surprise about what had happened.
Alina Wilson: Yeah, so I was walking on the beach and everyone else was kind of doing their own thing, and I was walking on the beach by myself, and NaOnka walked up to me and then we had the conversation where she told me that everyone was against me.
So there I was in a state of shock like, "Oh god, this is horrible, everyone that was talking to me lied!" Because you know I had just found that out. And she was like, just come with me, just come with me!
I didn't know where we were going and we walked into the back of the woods and she showed me the rice. The whole thing about the flour was something that I had no idea that she even buried it. But she walked me way into the back of the woods and she had the stash back there.
So I was back there with her and I'm thinking like, "Why?" Like I said it to her, "I can't believe you stole all this stuff, like you're crazy -- this doesn't make any sense!"
And at that moment I had to analyze okay I have a couple of options: Do I go be a tattletale and make myself look even worse -- like no one can trust me because I go [tell everyone else] whatever -- or do I just stay here and try to build something with NaOnka? At least she was being honest with me, at least she was opening up to me. So I thought to myself, okay, I'm going to try to build something here with NaOnka.
If I had known that she had the idol, maybe I would have asked her for it. I didn't know at that point. But yeah, at that moment I was totally lost, totally confused, and didn't know what to do -- so I just enjoyed a couple pieces of fruit while I thought about it.
Reality TV World: So what made you later decide not to tell everyone what she had done? Because getting everyone to turn against her and vote her out instead [of you] seemed like it probably would have been your best chance of staying.
Alina Wilson: You know, this is what I was thinking. I wanted the entire situation to target her, but the way I figured it was if I went back to camp, and I said, "Hey guys NaOnka stole everything, and NaOnka has a whole stash in the back of the woods," they would have all been like, "Thank you for telling us" and be mad at NaOnka but at the same time, it wouldn't have helped my situation.
I was doomed either way. It probably would have made me look even worse because you know, they all wanted NaOnka to stay around, so anyone who makes NaOnka look bad -- which would be me if I outed her -- that would have made me look even worse.
Reality TV World: But didn't it seem like keeping her secret would basically make you guilty by association once the info came out? Because that's kind of what seemed to happen -- there was even a part where NaOnka appeared to tell everyone you'd been with her when she took the bowls.
Alina Wilson: Yeah, I know. It was hard -- that was the one thing that was hard for me to watch, because it was edited in such a way where it was like I was guilty by association because I was there, but at the same time, I wasn't guilty in the sense that it was my idea.
But, at the same time, that whole situation made me so uncomfortable while I was there. It was so not me -- so not my personality -- that I was fine taking the blame, because it just didn't feel right anyway that I was okay with being like alright, it wasn't right on my part.
But at the same time, I was in such a weird position that I didn't know where to go, I didn't know how to use it to my advantage, because I knew she would somehow get away with it.
Reality TV World: Did anyone initially believe her claim that she didn't take it? Because the episode made it look like only Fabio was the one who was really pressing her about it.
Alina Wilson: This went on all day long. A lot of people were looking at me because they knew I knew I was on the chopping block, and a lot of people looked at me and thought I was the guilty one. They thought that I was the one who stole everything.
And I sat around all day just pissed, like god, I just wanted to yell it out at the top of my lungs that NaOnka took it just so that it would take the blame off me.
So yeah, a lot of people were pointing the fingers at me, a lot of people were pointing fingers at her. And once Holly brought up the fact that she saw her take the flour, pretty much everybody knew it was NaOnka. But then she was lying through her teeth, and even then everybody knew it was her.
So that's why I went and I tried to convince her, "Hey, everybody already knows it's you, who cares, just tell them!"
Reality TV World: But even after that you still didn't try and make her the [Tribal Council vote] target, or at least that's the way it looked like. Why was that?
Alina Wilson: It felt like she was the target. It really felt like she was the target. And especially when Marty called her out with, "Why are you lying during you apology" when she said "I was trying to ration the flour" or whatever she came up with.
So at that moment I was sitting there in the corner [saying], "Yes, she's totally the target! This turned out fine!"
But yet again, she got away with it. So she was definitely the target, in my eyes. I thought it had worked out, I thought she was the target.
The way that I had dealt with it was I didn't out her, I'd convinced her to out herself.
So when she outed herself I was like, "Perfect! Sealed and it's done, everybody is going to want to get rid of her!" Because not only did she lie to every single person's face, she stole everything then lied about it while she was apologizing for it.
All of it was like the recipe for disaster to go home on Survivor and it didn't work out that way, it was so bizarre!
Reality TV World: Well, that's what I'm saying. I guess you must have realized she wasn't going to be the target [after all], because you did -- after that -- still seem to continue targeting Marty instead of her, correct?
Alina Wilson: Yeah. Like I said, in my position of power -- which was very, very little -- the only person I could bring up was Marty. Because at least with Marty I had numbers behind my back.
If someone had come up to me like, "Here, let's get rid of NaOnka," I'm all with it. But for me to bring her up is the same as me being the tattletale. I wasn't in the position of power to do that.
Reality TV World: Okay... I'm being told we need to wrap it up, so how were you cast on Survivor? How did you end up on the show?
Alina Wilson: Well I am a huge fan of Survivor, I've pretty much watched it religiously since Vanuatu (aired in 2004). And I applied, got a phone call, and after that it was a lot of tough work and a lot of interviewing but it was good news after that.
So I was really happy to be cast and I was a big, big fan so it was awesome to actually get that call. Like, "Hey, you're going on Survivor! It was great."