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Exclusive: Kristina Kell talks about 'Survivor: Redemption Island'


By Reality TV World staff, 03/17/2011 

Kristina Kell's Survivor: Redemption Island experience didn't last nearly as long as the long-time Survivor fan had been hoping when her tribemates voted her out of the Ometepe tribe on Night 11.

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But thanks to this season's new game-changing Redemption Island twist, she got a chance to earn the right to eventually return to the game by competing in duel challenges against the game's other voted-off castaways. However Kristina's first duel didn't go any better than her prior Survivor: Redemption Island experience and she was permanently eliminated from the game during Wednesday night's broadcast.

On Thursday, Kristina talked to Reality TV World about her Survivor: Redemption Island experience -- including what happened during her Redemption Island duel, whether she really wanted "Boston" Rob Mariano out of the game as badly as it appeared, and her true opinion of ally and "former special agent" Phillip Sheppard.

Reality TV World: What was your reaction when Matt Elrod decided to ask Rob why he had voted him out of the tribe in the middle of the duel?

Kristina Kell: Well, the duel itself was a little longer than you guys saw. It wasn't really right in the middle of the duel, but if Matt wanted to have a little conversation and then in my mind, I'm always thinking, 'Great. You guys can sit down and have tea and have a conversation and I'm going to keep working on this puzzle over here.' You know, try not to leave Survivor. (laughs)

But the thing is, Matt's feelings were really hurt because he was such a loyal [Rob Mariano] follower and then for him to get voted out blindsided like that really hurt his feelings. So, I think that he just really wanted to understand the break up, like, 'Oh you got me.' He wanted to know what was going on.

So, not too surprising, but if you want to talk that's fine with me.

Reality TV World: Were you surprised to hear [Krista Klumpp] and [Stephanie Valencia] announce they were willing to flip on their tribe, and what was your reaction?

Kristina Kell: Well yeah, of course I was surprised because I'm not privy to the alliances on the other side and I had seen [Russell Hantz] go home the day before that, but I didn't know who he was aligned to. So, to see them say, 'Yeah, well we'd look good in yellow' -- which by the way was a great line -- was a surprise to me.

But the fact that there were divisions on the tribe or people on the wrong side of the numbers, that was not a surprise to me, because of course I was experiencing the same thing on my tribe.

It could have been the other way around maybe I would have done the same thing, but I don't know, depends. But yeah, I mean, interesting info -- I should say "intel," as [Phillip Sheppard] would say -- but not something that was unexpected completely.

Reality TV World: Matt had been living on Redemption Island by himself for almost a week by the time you got there.  How did he seem to be holding up -- did he seem about ready to start talking to a Wilson volleyball like Tom Hanks' Castaway character or did he appear to be doing okay?

Kristina Kell: I think that was a little overwhelming, but he had a lot of time to think as anyone would if you're by yourself about what happened. He made a little house for himself -- a little home for himself there -- and we worked on the structure. It wasn't really that rain proof. I can attest to that. But while he had been there he had some nice good night sleep and got to really contemplate what was going on.

I felt like I kind of got thrown into that mix and then we had the duel next morning, so it was a little bit abrupt. But Matt was doing okay. Matt's an amazing, amazing guy. I really, really like him.

He's grounded, he's smart. He's a kind man, and he's not one of those people -- he has a really great faith but he's not one of those people that shoves it down your throat or talks about it.

I had no idea to the extent that he was religious like that, I think, which is awesome, because more power to you. When other people shove it down people's throats it gets annoying.

But he had a lot of.. inner strength that what he believed in he could fall back on and I think it's a good thing for him. I think it helped him there. Good for him. Good for him.

Reality TV World: The show made it look like you were obsessed with making Rob the first person voted out of your tribe and [Francesca Hogi] reiterated that idea when I talked to her a couple of weeks ago.  Do you feel that was actually the case, and if so why was that -- did you feel he was not bringing a lot to the tribe or did you just not consider that important?

Kristina Kell: I did want Rob out and I wanted Rob out because I'm an avid Survivor fan. I've seen the show for 10 years and I've seen Rob play, and he's a smart player. He was labeled a "villain" for a reason.

He's a great, smart player -- especially this season, he looks even better than he normally does because he's being compared to a bunch of people who actually have like zero game play and are just followers.

But, I did want Rob out and Francesca made the arguments for [Natalie Tenerelli], and I agreed with her. Natalie was also someone that would have been a great person to go out too...

But yeah, Rob or Natalie, I thought, would be a good person to get out early on and Rob was contributing to the tribe. He built shelters before, he was good at puzzles, and that was great.

But you know, people have been playing Survivor and getting through Survivor for 10 years.  [And] most of the time, without Boston Rob telling them what to do, how to do it, how high to jump, what to say, and they've done just fine.

So, I wanted either Rob or Natalie out kind of early on. They had numbers. They had strength. He was the leader. That was the obvious target.

Reality TV World: The numbers part of your plan was the part that didn't really seem to make sense from watching it at home. Francesca pointed that out to you -- that even if you had managed to vote Rob off, you still would have only been an alliance of three people in a tribe of eight people.

Kristina Kell: Yeah, but what you don't understand is that [Andrea Boehlke] was wobbly. I was talking to Andrea a lot and she had some of the same thoughts I did. She was just too scared to make a move.

So with Andrea, Francesca, myself, and crazy Phil, we could have did something. We could do damage. Andrea was on the fence and Phil was in the looney-bin, and so it was tough.

Reality TV World: It seemed pretty clear from the beginning that Francesca and Phillip were probably going to be tribal outsiders of sorts, so what made you choose to ally with them? It seems like you did approach some other people first, at least Andrea?

Kristina Kell: Well, you know, your choice of words are interesting, because I didn't choose to ally with them. I kind of had no choice. We got there and the three young girls went after Rob and Grant was a fan of Rob too, and they just -- both guys got really tight really fast -- I just didn't have an opening. I just couldn't get in that group.

I couldn't go -- whatever Rob said, whatever he did. They just followed him and did whatever he said. I was stuck with the people I had and I kept trying to get my foot in the door. I kept trying to convince Andrea.

I kept trying to talk to people, but it was just tough on the numbers. There was no way on God's great earth I would choose to ally with Phil. Not over anything. I absolutely had no choice. I mean, I had no choice. I would have picked anyone on Earth over Phil.

Reality TV World: During your first Tribal Council, Phillip seemed to actually only have an issue with Francesca initially and only seemed to begin going after you after you decided to jump in and try and defend her.  What made you decide to jump to her defense? Because that seemed to be the type of situation -- especially given it was just Day 3 -- where most folks would just [strategically] keep shut and not make themselves a target instead.

Kristina Kell: Yeah, I mean, here's the thing, Phil was just such a fat liar at that Tribal Council and he was just so disgusting and he was panning on Francesca. It just wasn't fair, and it was just -- I just maybe wanted to expose Phil as the liar he was, because that's exactly what he did -- I like Francesca. She's a good girl. She's a smart, nice girl.

It wasn't fair for her to have to defend herself against Phil, when Phil was supposed to be allied with us without me standing up and saying, 'Hey look, that's not what happened at all. Phil's a fat liar and Francesca's telling the truth.' I didn't really have an impact much on things at that point. My ship had already started to sail.

Reality TV World: Do you think you still had any chance once Francesca got voted out or did you feel you were pretty much cooked? Because last week's episode showed you putting all your faith in Phillip suddenly being able to convince Rob to change his mind and let you into his alliance, which kind of seemed like a pretty desperate move. (laughs)

Kristina Kell: Yeah, I didn't put an ounce of faith in Phillip. It was again, just out of necessity, and anything can happen in Survivor. They could mix up the teams, they can -- a million things could happen -- so I knew I was in trouble.

I knew I was in trouble, I knew I had to scramble and I knew I had to do some stuff, but they can do anything. It's a crazy game. So, I knew that there was some hope for me in some ways, but I knew I was in trouble. '

So, yeah, right from the beginning I was on the wrong side of the numbers, and all I did from that moment on was just try to get my numbers right and scramble and try to shift things up -- change things around -- get Andrea. I talked to Matt for like an hour one day and he was kind of on the fence too about the whole Rob thing.

So, yeah, it was just -- I don't know -- it was a tough mix of people to start in with, because the girls just blindly followed Rob and did whatever he said. Even the ones that were maybe willing to hear or listen to some kind of other path were [only] Andrea and Matt. They were fervent. They just couldn't make the big move. They couldn't do anything. They couldn't.

Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor, how did you end up on the show?

Kristina Kell: I sent in a tape about eight years ago -- nine years ago -- went through the review process and then was cut. Then in June, I was just driving down the street and I got this call from casting saying, 'Hey, we might -- would you maybe like to come try out? We saved your file.'

So, I waited eight years. I waited 10 years to get on Survivor, but you never know what could happen.



(Photo credit CBS)


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