Exclusive: Katie Hanson talks about her 'Survivor: Philippines' experience (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/25/2012
Katie Hanson was eliminated from Survivor: Philippines' Kalabaw tribe during Wednesday night's sixth episode of the CBS reality series' 25th edition.
Katie, a 22-year-old former Miss Delaware from Newark, NJ, was blindsided and voted out of her tribe at the season's sixth Tribal Council -- which was also the second elimination vote for Kalabaw -- after she had performed poorly in a series of physical challenges and led her tribemates to believe she was a weak player.
In an exclusive interview on Thursday, Katie talked to Reality TV World about her Survivor: Philippines experience -- including whether she was really blindsided after all, whether she talked about getting rid of Jonathan with the other guys in her tribe only once like the show had suggested, how she responded to Jeff Kent calling her "worthless," and whether they were really as bad off as they seemed once they had decided to give up all their remaining rice.
Below is the first half of Katie's interview. Check back with Reality TV World on Friday for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: In your final words, you were shown saying you'd been blindsided -- was that actually the case? Because based on the fact you'd raised your hand when Survivor host Jeff Probst asked at the beginning of Tribal, you'd seemed to be worried you were in danger.
Katie Hanson: I think that once I had walked into the camp, and I didn't even ask or probe or anything, and [Jonathan Penner] said, "Oh, it's [Denise Stapley]!" It was just like, "Obviously it's not Denise." So that actually gave me a little bit of a clue that, "Okay, something's up. It could be me."
And Jeff was acting funny when I talked to him about what that was all about, and it was pretty clear. But I mean, I took that information and I tried my best to try to convince my tribemates, like, "What are you doing? This is our time to get rid of him. He's got the idol! Do you really think you want to go in with him to the merge? This makes zero sense."
Reality TV World: So you were sure Jonathan had the hidden Immunity Idol then, it sounds like?
Katie Hanson: Oh yeah, everyone knew he had the idol. He made it pretty clear, but... yeah. So I was trying to plant a seed in their heads, like, "Okay, go this route," and it was kind of believable. And even watching the episode and their thoughts, it seemed like it took them awhile to make their decision.
And so, it was pretty much up in the air. I knew it could be me and I knew it could be him, and I thought that I did my best to convince them. But in the end, it ended up being me, unfortunately.
Reality TV World: Those scenes from after the Immunity Challenge loss but before you went to Tribal Council seemed a little confusing last night. Because for starters, people noticed that your earrings seemed to kind of come and go during that conversation in which you were trying to convince Jeff and Carter Williams to vote Jonathan off. (Laughs)
Katie Hanson: Right.
Reality TV World: So it sounds like there were at least a couple of different conversations that were going on there at camp and the producers did some editing magic and spliced a couple of different conversations into one. Could you talk about that a little bit? Was it the case where you had multiple conversations with them about it or how did that whole process unfold?
Katie Hanson: There were several conversations that I had with them and with Denise, but I mean for the most part, it was like, "Alright, well how are you feeling?" But it was like I couldn't read through them.
And yeah, I felt like I got a general consensus, like, "Alright, it's Penner." But I remember how they acted with Denise with ["Dawson" Sarah Dawson] leaving, and they were kind of, I guess in a way, giving me the same response that they would give her.
So like I said, I had an idea that it was me, but I can't go out without a fight. I had some time to get over it, but it definitely hurt! Because we all got along and there was no drama. And blindsiding, I don't know, it slices you even further, you know? They did what they had to do and they furthered themselves, so I guess it was a smart decision on their end.
Reality TV World: Jeff Kent was shown telling Carter you were "worthless." What's your reaction to that? Because I know you were shown admitting you weren't that great in the challenges, but he seemed to be suggesting you also weren't pulling your share around camp or something like that.
Katie Hanson: Well I mean, as far as now, okay, we have no food. So who's going to get the food? The guys are. So it's like, "Alright, so I sit back here while you guys fish." I mean, I guess in a sense, I really didn't help them out as much as they would probably want me to because I don't know -- I don't go fishing. (Laughs) That's not what I do.
So I mean, in his eyes, I don't think he meant it as mean as it came out. I just think that he had a valid point. I mean, who's going to be better in a challenge, me or Denise? Denise is. And of course the guys are going to be better than me.
And you know, the ability to go catch food -- they're going to be better at it than I am. It's like, at this point, I'm basically the last original female on the tribe. And it's like, alright, well, in his eyes, it was time for me to go.
Reality TV World: So it sounds like you did have some conversations with Denise about voting for Jonathan as well? The reason I'm asking is because last night's episode really didn't seem to show yourself or really anyone else talking with Denise about whom she was going to vote for.
Katie Hanson: I talked with Denise several times about getting Jonathan. But as soon as she came into our tribe, he was the main one that once she said, "Yeah, I'm with the ladies' alliance" -- before [Dana Lambert] got sick -- I was like, "Hey, this is who we should target to get out of here." And she totally agreed because she knows how dangerous he is.
But at the same time, it's like, who's Denise really going to side with? She's not going to side with me. I mean, what alliance do I have now? They're all gone. So Denise did a smart move. She did what would make her go a little bit further in this game. So I can't knock her at all for her decision.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode showed you complaining that Jonathan immediately came up to you after the challenge and told you to vote for Denise, like you had just mentioned, but what they showed on TV last night was kind of the opposite of that. The episode showed you walking up to the shelter and asking Jonathan whom the guys were voting for, and then he replied, "Denise." So I'm guessing the conversation you're referring to is another one viewers didn't get to see during the broadcast?
Katie Hanson: Um, I don't believe that I even asked anything. I think that I just walked up and he said, "It's Denise."
Reality TV World: What were your own thoughts on the rice deal when Jonathan proposed it at the Reward Challenge -- were you really in favor of it, or did you just not want to speak up and ruffle feathers?
Katie Hanson: Well, everyone spoke up. They just chose not to put that on television, but I thought it was a great idea at the time because who doesn't want sandwiches and brownies and all this good stuff when we've been out there starving? And I think we all acted on impulse and not really thinking about what it could mean if we do get rid of the rice.
So in my opinion, during that moment, it was the best idea ever. Afterwards, and digestion set in, and we're starting to get hungry again, yeah, maybe it wasn't the best decision.
So I kind of have two sides on that. But you know, sitting back and watching it at home, I'm glad we did it! Because I got my letter, I got a good meal -- I mean, I didn't have to starve too bad because I was out like right afterwards. (Laughs) So, it's alright!
Reality TV World: It looked like obviously there was more food at the Reward Challenge than you guys could have eaten in one sitting. Did there end up being any food left over, and if so, were you guys able to take any of it back to camp at all?
Katie Hanson: There was food left over, and everyone ate their own sub. But because my stomach shrunk, I could only eat half of the damn footlong! So I was so upset! But yeah, no, you couldn't take any of the reward back with you, and that stinks.
Because if that was the case, I think we would've been set. I don't think we would've been as starving as we were. And it's kind of sad, but trust me when I tell you, we tried to fit everything in our stomachs. But when you've been out there and you've been starving, they shrink up on you.
Reality TV World: So once you guys didn't have rice, what else did you have left to eat until you were finally able to catch some fish? Like was there at least clams, snails, coconuts, or bananas -- any of those edible roots? What were you left with?
Katie Hanson: Well there's always coconuts, and coconut is not my friend. (Laughs) It's called "coconut butt," and that's what coconut does to me. Actually, the smell of it makes me sick. Ugh. But of course, if I don't have anything else, that's always an option. So yup, we did munch down on some coconuts. We had used up our clams. They were very tasty.
And then towards the end of my stay there, we were collecting hermit crabs, which is the stupidest idea I think I've ever heard of in my life. But whatever. And then we were also collecting snails, which I did not indulge in, because we had to go to Tribal. So, I don't know if they did, but.
Above is the first half of Katie's interview. Check back with Reality TV World on Friday for the concluding portion.