Exclusive: Val Collins talks 'Survivor: San Juan del Sur -- Blood vs. Water' (Part 1)
By Reality TV World staff, 10/02/2014
Survivor: San Juan del Sur -- Blood vs. Water eliminated Val Collins during Wednesday night's second episode of the CBS reality competition's 29th season.
Val Collins, a 35-year-old police officer from Foxboro, MA, was voted out of her Coyopa tribe on Day 6 at the season's second Tribal Council session. Val tried to save herself by bluffing that she had found two hidden Immunity Idols, but the tribe voted for her anyway seemingly because they believed she was the weakest player in their tribe.
Val's husband, Jeremy Collins, still remains in the game after spending a few days on Exile Island. He is currently competing with the opposing Hunahpu tribe.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Val talked about her Survivor experience and what led to her vote-off. Below is the first half. Please check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: Had you gone into Tribal expecting to be the one to be voted off? How had you expected Tribal to play out?
Val Collins: I mean, I was expecting to be voted off right from the beginning. I actually thought I'd be voted off when [Nadiya Anderson] got voted off. But I knew that, at that time, both of our names were -- I knew that my name was up in the air when they were talking about who to vote out.
They actually -- I had heard and told Nadiya and the other girls, like, "Somebody hasn't been here. Somebody hasn't helped make the shelter." So they had my name right up on the list, you know? I was a pretty easy target after not being there for a couple days.
Reality TV World: John Rocker told you the original plan was Baylor Wilson and the five guys were going to split their six votes between yourself and Baylor, and then you would play the idol you didn't have and Baylor would go home. And your plan, I guess, was to have Jaclyn Schultz and yourself vote for Baylor to make it 5-3 on the first vote and eliminate that whole tie-breaker. But the vote ended up being a 4-4 tie. So what happened? Who do you think voted for you that was supposed to vote for Baylor?
Val Collins: I think that initially it might have been [Dale Wentworth]. I think that Dale might've been the one that flipped. I wasn't sure at first. I wasn't sure how much [Josh Canfield] was -- I mean, Josh was a flipper before, and I knew that he was not confident completely in his position with the guys.
So, but the thing is, I knew that John, I knew that they weren't confident in John. It was really obvious when John and I walked off and John had asked to speak to me, Josh noticed that right away, because John and I never really walked off together.
So initially, I thought that it was maybe Dale. Because during Tribal, I was calling out Baylor and had gone a little bit back and forth with Dale, but I think Josh was so uneasy and didn't trust John, that he was probably the one that flipped.
Reality TV World: Had you been expecting them to vote for you instead of Baylor on the re-vote once it got to that point. If so, why?
Val Collins: I didn't really expect that they would -- I didn't really think -- after the re-vote, I wasn't really sure that they would go for me. I knew that everybody was so paranoid about the fact that I could possibly have an idol, and I think some of them also were thinking that, if anything, John and I would possibly be working together and working with [Jeremy Collins] and [Julie McGee].
And then at some point, it could've come together where we would be working with [Keith Nale] and [Wes Nale], you know, if the firefighter thing worked out. So, I think that either way, I was a target for even longer in the game -- if they were even thinking that far ahead strategy-wise.
But that's what my angle was, that I was trying to think about reasons why people would want to keep me and why people would want to vote me out, excluding just being in Exile.
There was a strong possibility that even Jeremy going to Exile with John that there was a connection. So far, both of us had been in Exile and I was the only person, outside of John, that would've had a connection to the other tribe, you know? I had a big connection with the other tribe too.
Reality TV World: You came up with this idea that you had not just one, but two, idols that you had found.
Val Collins: (Laughs)
Reality TV World: I can see lying and trying to convince them you had found one hidden Immunity Idol, but I would think the idea of trying to convince them of two would be a much harder sell. What made you decide to try to go for something so ambitious and did you have any detailed explanation of how you would've managed to find two idols in six days?
Val Collins: I know, (laughs) it was ridiculous, but you've got to understand, like, especially on Blood vs. Water, you don't have everybody that's like a full-out gamer, you know, strategically forSurvivor.
I mean, John should've known that I didn't have the idol and he still thought I had it. He was still believing that it was a possibility. They might've been a little skeptical, but Exile hasn't been on the show for what -- seven seasons or so?
I mean, some of those kids are 20-years-old, you know, 22-years-old. They had no clue. You saw that Keith didn't think that when I didn't show him the clue, he didn't realize at that time that the clue could've been used for both tribes. John didn't realize that I didn't have the idol. I mean, I wasn't necessarily dealing with people that were so completely on their game.
So if I was going to go off with some lie-strategy and kind of blow it up, knowing that I was a target, this was actually the group that I could've pulled it off with if any, because it wasn't allSurvivor gamer-people. There were a couple people -- and because our tribe was so paranoid, it was more like follow-the-leader -- not necessarily like anyone was like, "There's no way that could be possible," you know?
Reality TV World: But John went to Exile Island and he saw he only got one clue to one idol. So John of all people, I thought, would've been extremely skeptical of the idea that somehow you found two idols, especially since he came back to camp himself and found one. We didn't see him asking you any details or expressing a lot of skepticism about that. What happened there? Did he ask you much of anything?
Val Collins: No, he didn't at all. In fact, he actually said that he looked for idols on Exile. So, I mean, that's the thing. It wasn't like this was a tribe or necessarily a cast where everybody knew what happened. And it's also -- it wasn't like, you know, Survivor, a lot of things are fresh in your mind from seasons previous.
Exile has kind of been around for a while. It was a twist. And we really did think there was going to be Redemption Island when we got there, so we were surprised. So, I mean, everybody was not completely sure about what else could be thrown our way. You saw with [Tony Vlachos] had a different idol that could be used AFTER the vote. You just don't know.
And you're expecting that these producers are creative beings and they're going to throw you loopholes and, I think losing so many challenges, everybody was paranoid and nobody wanted to discount that something else could be out there that they didn't know about -- especially people that weren't like lifelong fans.
Reality TV World: We saw how John came up with his plan to save you that involved using the idol he thought you had. Did you ever consider just being honest with him and telling him you didn't really have an idol so he'd come up with another plan? Or maybe you could've said, "Let's come up with a different plan so I don't have to play my idol just yet." It just didn't seem like a great plan.
Val Collins: Yeah I know. (Laughs) And I did say that to him! I said, "I really don't want to use it because if I use it, they're just going to flush me out. And if I flush it out, they're just going to try to vote me out the next time."
And his, kind of, reasoning was, again, he was paranoid after coming back from Exile, so he didn't want to make it completely obvious that he was trying to work with me. And I didn't buy that. I thought that he was still trying to play me more -- as you could see -- than he was really trying to play the guys.
So, I wasn't sure if I told him I didn't have it, if it would've just went completely against me. The way he was explaining it to me, if somebody didn't flip, it would've been 5-3 against Baylor. And that's what I kept questioning, was, "Well, there's no reason for me to use it if you're telling me that there's a certain amount of guys that are going to split the vote with me and Jaclyn. It's still going to be 5-3 against Baylor."
So he was telling me one thing but it didn't add up. So I wasn't going to give him any more information. I was like, "If he actually pulls this off, then I'll know he's the one running -- he's the leader of the guys." And at that point, I didn't know who was really running the show.
They were happy that Dale got fire, but Josh was flipping, and John is now coming to me and kind of making it obvious that he's coming to me. So why would you do that if you're actually trying to have some secret alliance, you know?
It wasn't adding up, the things that he was saying. I think that he did want to help me but not break his alliance with the men, and that was his game and I don't blame him for that. But I didn't trust it.
Please check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Val's interview.