Exclusive: 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur -- Blood vs. Water' castoff Wes Nale talks (Part 1)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/01/2014
Survivor: San Juan del Sur -- Blood vs. Water's merged Huyopa tribe eliminated Wes Nale during Wednesday night's tenth episode of the CBS reality competition's 29th season.
Wes, a 23-year-old firefighter from Shreveport, LA, was voted out of his Huyopa tribe on Night 26 at the season's ninth Tribal Council session.
Wes was voted out of the game because although the majority of votes had been cast for Jon Misch and Keith Nale, both Keith and Jon had played their hidden Immunity Idols and so Wes was left with two significant votes and ultimately a snuffed torch. Wes' dad Keith is still in the game.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Monday, Wes talked about his Survivor experience. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: You seemed blindsided that Jon Misch had a hidden Immunity Idol when he decided to play it. Was that really the case?
Wes Nale: No, not at all. I knew he had one. I told everybody at camp he had one. Because I had two extra clues to the idol over at Exile and I went straight to the spot it said, and it was gone. Somebody had dug it up, so I knew he had it because [Jeremy Collins] wouldn't have walked out with it.
So, I told everybody he had it and we were just going to hope, you know, make him feel safe without playing it. Me, [Reed Kelly], [Alec Christy], and Keith were going to make him feel safe, that he's going to be safe tonight and him not play it. And, he ends up playing it!
Reality TV World: You and your dad shared an idol between you, which I'd assume is the reason why you dropped out of the Immunity Challenge to eat chicken wings. Had you and Keith discussed how you planned to use the idol in case things came down to that at Tribal Council? Were you convinced your dad was definitely going to give the idol to you if he ever opted to play it?
Wes Nale: Um, you know, we talked about it and it was probably going to be a toss-up. If he played it, one of us was going to play it, and one of us is going to go home. So, yeah, it was just going to be a toss-up and a spur-of-the-moment decision on who was going to use it or not if Jon did play an idol.
Reality TV World: It was clear that once Jon played his hidden Immunity Idol, either you or Keith was going home. You just said it was a toss-up between you and your dad over who should use the idol, but some viewers are wondering why Keith even bothered to play the idol at all. Why not save it for one of you -- the person who sticks around after the vote -- to use at a later date?
Wes Nale: If Keith would've done that, he would've gone home because he had three votes and I only had two. But yeah, we talked about it. I mean, I told him, I said, "If you play it and save yourself, they're not going to think of you as much of a challenge threat as I am. So, you might have a longer shot to go [further] in the game."
Because if I would've gotten saved, I might've been the next to go if I didn't win immunity -- just because I would've felt like they would've thought I was stronger in the challenges and [Keith] wasn't a threat at the time. So, we talked about that.
And we talked about if we didn't play an idol, and I kept it with me, he would've went home and I would've still been in the game with the idol. So, we had a bunch of toss-ups and scenarios we could've done, but it was a split-moment decision and that's what we ended up doing.
Reality TV World: Looking back on that Individual Immunity Challenge and knowing how long Reed lasted, do you think you could've won if you kept with it?
Wes Nale: I definitely feel like I would've, definitely, given him a run for his money. I mean, Jon dropped out after seven minutes because he said he was hurting. And [Missy Payne] dropped out... and I got down to an hour and was running towards the [chicken] wings, so I didn't feel like I was in as bad of shape as all of them hurting-wise and what not.
But food took over and that's all that I could think about. I felt like it was a million-dollar decision to get some damn wings, but I feel like I definitely would've given Reed a run for his money for it.
Reality TV World: Were you worried about how the castaways might perceive your decision to drop out of the challenge since no one was really safe? Were you aware at the time quitting the challenge might persuade people you had an idol? Did that cross your mind?
Wes Nale: Yeah it did...
Reality TV World: But you just needed those chicken wings? (Laughs)
Wes Nale: Yeah. I was really wanting them damn wings and I figured, you know, they might think I have an idol for dropping out, but then again, they might think it was because all I was talking about was food.
I was trying to make it clear by making comments and stuff like, "I'm so hungry! I just want food! Even if I do go home, there's nothing that can stop me from getting this hearty food." I tried to make it seem like I didn't have an idol, but I wasn't worried about it at the time.
Reality TV World: Do you think things would've unfolded differently had Natalie Anderson won Individual Immunity instead of Reed?
Wes Nale: Yeah, I definitely think that it would make a difference because I could've -- since Reed went through my dad's bag -- acted like I still held a grudge against Reed. Because Reed went through the backpack, we could've gotten out Reed, maybe, and that should've been the case. But you never know.
Reality TV World: Speaking of Reed, what kind of relationship did you and Keith really have with him out there? Did you feel you could trust him 100% or were you skeptical he was trying to play both sides? Because in one instance, he gave up his Reward for Missy, which you might've seen as a red flag in terms of what his motives were.
Wes Nale: Yeah, it did. But he was just acting like he was on their side because he already had a plan to get out Jon supposedly. But still, he went through my dad's bag, so I felt like we could trust him before all that happened. And then, that did happen, and I felt like that wouldn't have been a good thing. I don't know really.
Reality TV World: Why do you think Jon, Reed, Jaclyn Schultz, and Alec decided to send you to Exile Island after the Reward Challenge? Do you think that ultimately hurt your game in any way and what was your experience like over there?
Wes Nale: I felt like Jon made that decision because he had a plan to get me out, because if I would've went, I felt like I would've been the one to be able to find the idol. And I had a feeling that he already had it in mind to try to get me out, because he would've known that I would come back knowing that he has an idol -- because I didn't find it.
And that was his plan all along, so I felt like he was the one that said something about it. And I hadn't gone yet. So he probably made that point in saying that I hadn't gone to Exile yet, "So he probably needs to go before anybody else."
Reality TV World: Jeremy told me that he tried to start up a firefighters alliance with you and Keith but you guys just weren't having it. Why weren't you interested in that possibility at the time, and in hindsight, now that you've gotten to watch the show, do you think things would've played out differently if you did team up with Jeremy? If so, how?
Wes Nale: Yeah, it might have. It definitely might have because I felt like he tried to get an alliance started with Keith before and the original Hunahpu, but once my dad threw him under the bus -- which I didn't know until I watched. I mean, my dad told me a little bit about it, but I didn't know the whole picture until I watched it.
I knew that Jeremy probably wouldn't trust us fully after we got together since my dad, Keith, already did that to him. I felt like he wouldn't have trusted us fully if I would've said, "Yeah, we're with you!" I feel like we would've been close to going maybe next or whatever the picking order is. I'd be at the bottom of his alliance.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Wes' exclusive interview.