Exclusive: 'Survivor: Nicaragua' quitter Kelly Shinn finally speaks
By Reality TV World staff, 12/03/2010
While viewers hadn't seen much of her on the show, Kelly "Purple Kelly" Shinn's Survivor: Nicaragua experience seemed to be going pretty well during the competition's first 26 days.
However, things fell apart for the seldom-seen 20-year-old nursing student from Mesa, AZ on Day 27 when allies Matthew "Sash" Lenahan, Chase Rice and NaOnka Mixon fractured their five-person alliance and voted Brenda Lowe out of the game -- leading to a shocking Day 28 decision in which she and NaOnka controversially decided to quit the game after determining they could no longer handle the elements and lack of food.
On Thursday, Kelly and NaOnka talked to Reality TV World about their Survivor: Nicaragua experiences and decisions to become quitters. Below is Kelly's portion on the interview. Click here to read NaOnka's portion.
Reality TV World: Can you explain why you quit? Because I know the episode showed you talking about how you couldn't handle the elements and lack of food, but a lot of viewers are still struggling on how you could make it so far and then decide to pack it in with so little game left.
Kelly Shinn: Okay, it was the elements, it was the food, and most of all it was me just being physically ill. I was just drained and sick and that was what ultimately pushed me to the end.
[Ben "Benry" Henry] said it only rained for four or five hours or whatever -- okay, that might have been that morning -- but it also rained, you know this is going way back, but the first three nights we were there it rained consistently the whole night from when it got dark until right before the sun came up.
So, I mean, we don't have watches. I don't know how long that is. But that's probably a good 10 hours that it was raining, and so, for him to say it was only raining four to five hours at that certain moment, it was kind of ridiculous.
NaOnka Mixon: And we didn't have a watch -- a watch or something.
Reality TV World: There's been speculation on whether you guys fed off of each other on the quitting decision, so from your perspective Kelly, which one of you two was the first one to talk about quitting and do you think the fact that there was someone else out there with the same thoughts played any role in your decision to quit?
Kelly Shinn: I think Benry was trying to play, "Oh I'm going to do what I can to make them quit" -- hey, he has no affect on us. He hasn't. We've gotten into tiffs -- Benry and I have gotten into tiffs previous to my last day out there, and he has never had an affect on me.
Reality TV World: I don't mean Benry, I'm referring to the fact that [NaOnka Mixon] was considering to quit. Basically, do you think you would have gone through with quitting if NaOnka wasn't already doing the same thing?
Kelly Shinn: Oh, right! I would have. We did not feed off of each other. We spent the morning together and then the rest of the day was spent separated at the challenge, and at [the] reward [movie outing], and the rest of the evening. So, we were really only together that morning.
I'm not sure really which one of us necessarily brought it up first, but we were not feeding off of each other towards that. It was the most miserable day and so being out there, it was completely understandable that there were two people in hardly any clothes that couldn't deal with this any longer.
Reality TV World: You said you were completely surprised but [Brenda Lowe]'s vote off but there had seemed to be an awful lot of talk about it around camp beforehand. So, why were you so surprised?
Kelly Shinn: About who?
Reality TV World: About Brenda being voted off.
Kelly Shinn: Oh, I was surprised at how it went down. Going into Tribal Council, I knew that she was going to be the one to leave. I knew people were going to vote for her. I didn't know the extent of it.
I didn't know she was -- I didn't know that every single vote was going to be for Brenda. And because I felt close with her the entire time in Nicaragua, I just continued to be myself, and I didn't want to stab her in the back.
I'm not like that in real life. I didn't wanna really betray her and turn around just for the purpose of the alliance and do that, because I knew no matter what, I would be -- I would be fine. I still had people that had my back and people I could go to for an alliance. I just didn't expect it to be every single vote for Brenda.
Reality TV World: During that interview, I think you had also boasted that Brenda's vote off had been the first time in 28 days that you has been "left in the dark," which kind of seemed funny because viewers barely seemed to know who you were on the show. Do you still feel you had been a key part in everything going on out there? Because the show obviously really didn't make it look like that.
Kelly Shinn: Well, you know, of course not everything. There are plenty of things I had no idea about -- a minority alliance, like that whole thing, I had no idea about that until I started watching it on TV. There are other things I see going on that I had no idea.
But I think it's like that for every single one of us. There are things we see now like, oh my gosh, I had no idea that that was going on. There was not one person that was involved in every single plan.
So, I don't think I was really completely out of the dark, I think, for the voting of Brenda thinking every single person, all these alliances come together, and want one person out -- that was what was shocking for me.
And that's why I felt so out of the dark when there were still people telling me, oh no, we'll vote for someone else, we won't vote for Brenda.
Reality TV World: You had talked about how Brenda's departure had left you on the bottom of the totem pole of any alliance you would have formed at that point. Just out of curiosity, where do you think you were in the totem pole of the old alliance with Brenda, [Matthew "Sash" Lenahan], [Chase Rice], and NaOnka?
Kelly Shinn: Well, I definitely don't feel like I was on the bottom of it, I think I was, you know I didn't have the hidden Immunity Idol, NaOnka and Sash had it.
So, I want to say I was right below them because I was never a threat. And you look at Chase who is physically built and strong, and you could look at him as a threat. And I know that we talked about that when we were out there [that] maybe Chase should go.
He can win these challenges, and Brenda is definitely a threat -- she proved it from after being out in Nicaragua playing the game for five minutes, and already had the Medallion of Power -- so me being, me acting not to be a threat, that put me a lot higher up than most people think.