Kim Spradlin: I wanted to share 'Survivor' blindsides responsibility with Chelsea and Sabrina
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/23/2012
Kim Spradlin claimed Survivor: One World's $1 million grand prize during the live portion of last Sunday night's finale broadcast on CBS from New York City.
Kim, a 29-year-old bridal shop owner from San Antonio, TX, beat Chelsea Meissner, a 26-year-old in medical sales from Charleston, SC, and Sabrina Thompson, a 33-year-old high school teacher from Brooklyn, NY, in the season's final jury voting results, which Survivor host Jeff Probst revealed live during the broadcast.
Kim received all but two votes, as Sabrina received two votes from Troy "Troyzan" Robertson and Leif Manson. During Survivor: One World's live reunion show following the finale episode, Jeff also revealed that Kim would receive $100,000 as the winner of the season's "Player of the Season" home viewer vote in addition to her million-dollar prize.
During a conference call with reporters last week, Kim talked to Reality TV World about her Survivor: One World experience and victory. Click here to read what she had to say.
Below is the concluding portion of Kim's call with reporters -- including how convinced she was that she might not win the game before her victory was announced, how much she credited her big win to her loyal alliance of women if at all, whether she ever got really close to dumping Chelsea, and in what ways she believed the game might've been different had Colton Cumbie not been medically evacuated.
How much do you credit that alliance you formed on Day 1 with Chelsea and Sabrina for getting you as far as you've made it?
Kim Spradlin: You know, I think that was definitely important. That was one of the options the whole way through the entire game and I definitely had other plans that I think could've sat me in the Final 3, like with [Alicia Rosa] and [Christina Cha], but I think having that loyalty that we had was hugely important.
Do you think staying true to them all the way through the game until the end helped your popularity with the jury too? Because maybe they understood you formed a strong pact on Day 1 and therefore weren't being disloyal to other castaways.
Kim Spradlin: Obviously the impression I got from the jury at that final Tribal Council is that they may have been more offended if I had acted like I was super loyal to Sabrina and Chelsea versus saying I had played the best game possible. I think that almost would have annoyed them at that point versus just saying, "I took it all the way."
What made you think that maybe Chelsea or Sabrina had won Survivor: One World instead of you before you were revealed to be the winner?
Kim Spradlin: Oh gosh, I think paranoia just sets in and you start thinking about it and you're like, "Oh well Troy and [Jonas Otsuji] -- and if [Greg "Tarzan" Smith] does, then Leif does." You just start to add it up and I thought pretty sure in my mind that there was a good chance Sabrina could win that thing. So that was a huge relief [that] night.
What was your thought process of bringing Chelsea to the end considering she could've been a threat and you were entertaining other ideas? How did you make that decision in the end and was there ever a point you were truly close to going in a different direction?
Kim Spradlin: Yeah, absolutely. First of all, I just want to clarify I'm so not saying that I would've won no matter what. I was just saying that if the jury wasn't bitter, I probably would have, and if they were, I was probably going to lose no matter what. So I just thought I'd rather sit there with Chelsea and I thought she'd be the one to win if I didn't win, and I felt better about that than anyone else.
Yeah, I definitely entertained the idea of taking Chelsea out a lot and I think as it got closer to the end, I just started to feel like I would rather sit there with Chelsea and Sarbina and share the responsibility of every vote with me versus Alicia and Christina, who were kind of this whole other pact, you know what I mean?
I just brought in this whole other option, so I thought it would be better since they made those decisions with me. I thought it would be better to own the decisions and sit with the people who also blindsided everyone.
What prepared you for the pressure and struggle in the game? What was your mindset while playing and how did you maintain your composure?
Kim Spradlin: Well, I watched the show for so long. It's like, I'm such a huge fan of the game and I think of the game and like the game and I've watched so many people play it.
It just seemed really important to me to be able to go out there, make great relationships and connections with people, and then never forget that you're playing a game and you're trying to win. So that's what I was trying [to do] when I was out there. And yeah, I'm pretty calm in my normal everyday life. I like to think about things in a level-headed way, so I think that really helps a little bit.
Was there one highlight you'll always remember from yourSurvivor experience?
Kim Spradlin: Oh, there's so many cool moments. For me, the moment I was probably most touched throughout the entire experience was that final Tribal Council.
To finally here the voices of the people I had been looking at for so many weeks who were so pissed -- to hear them get up and say, "Well played" -- that was such a relief to see that they were not only going to hand someone a million dollars but that these people were actually going to forgive me and that it was all going to be alright, because you get really caught up in it when you're out there.
How did it feel to not only win Survivorbut also be named the Sprint "Fan Favorite" and earn an additional $100,000?
Kim Spradlin: Honestly, it feels awesome. That was like beyond my wildest dreams. I never even thought that was an option. I didn't picture myself in the running for that, so that was like sheer shock to be totally honest. I think there's a teeny bit of guilt associated with it, to be totally honest. You're kind of like, "Oh it's awesome," but I would've been just as happy to see it go to someone else, like Chelsea.
Which players were you most concerned about getting their votes when you ran through all the possibilities in your mind leading up to the live finale?
Kim Spradlin: So I knew that Troy and Leif had voted for Sabrina and I knew that [Kat Edorsson] and Alicia had voted for me.
And I thought that [Jay Byars] and [Mike Jefferson] and Christina had voted for me. I was unsure of where Tarzan had voted, and I was unsure of where Jonas had voted. So it was one of the things where I thought it could very quickly turn into a five-four Sabrina vote, and I was pretty nervous.
At what point in the game were you most worried? Were you ever really questioning a decision you had made or anything like that?
Kim Spradlin: Honestly, I mean, throughout the whole thing, I kind of just kept thinking, "Wow, this is going really well." (Laughs) I think honestly, my most concerned moment is walking into that final Tribal Council, because I'm thinking -- I'm feeling like I don't even have that great of a shot. I was looking at the jury's faces and they looked pretty pissed. I was kind of picturing them...
Was there ever a time you were close to playing the hidden Immunity Idol?
Kim Spradlin: I'm trying to think. There really wasn't, honestly. That first -- I think after I got over the emotional response when Jay first told me that Troy was trying to vote me out, and I realized that it didn't matter whether Troy played the idol and Jay got votes or Troy got votes and Jay got a couple -- it was going to be okay, because they didn't have enough numbers to take me out.
That was kind of a panicky moment for me where I really had to think that through before doing something stupid.
Do you have any immediate plans when it comes to what you'd like to do with the money you won?
Kim Spradlin: Honestly, short-term, just going back -- I have these bridesmaids dresses [for my] shop in Texas -- and being able to put some money into those and spruce things up -- there's some things I've been wanting to do there. And then long-term, this has been such a cool experience.
It makes me want to be open to doing lots of other things and this has always been a dream of mine. So I think, I don't know! I think long-term, I'm excited to have some money in my bank account. I've never really experienced that -- so traveling, being generous with it, we'll see.
How was your strategy different earlier in the game before the merge, especially when Colton was around? Was it more difficult with Colton in the game?
Kim Spradlin: No, it's so crazy thinking about before the merge. There were so many people there! (Laughs) But yeah, Colton, I think everybody was a little nervous with Colton because he was so vocal and so dramatic. It was like, you just did not want Colton -- you didn't really want to be on his radar, you know?
So I think with Colton, I just wanted Colton to feel like I was an ally of his and that we'd be good and if anything ended up with a tribe switch or a merge and he was a part of it, then I wanted him to feel like it was he and I till the end.
How much of a threat was Alicia given she was with Tarzan? Did you really feel that when you were out there?
Kim Spradlin: Yeah, I do think Alicia had a decent shot at getting a few jury votes. She was kind of a little bit of an underdog in the game. I think a lot of people didn't see her as a strategist or playing very well and towards the end of the game, I think she was actually giving me a run for her money and was trying to pull some things off. So, yeah.
Looking back, what do you think your biggest move was? Was it getting Troyzan out?
Kim Spradlin: I think the biggest move was just deciding -- or making the decision to go with the girls instead of with the guys and then trusting that that would all fall into place. I feel like, with the Troy thing, that was just very tense and uncomfortable and that was a matter of time, hopefully. I feel like all the girls united and came together and were like, "Yay! Let's get Troy."
So I feel like the bigger moves were actually getting Jonas and Mike out, because up until that point, it was kind of unsure where we were going. Those were the ones who were really key to make sure everyone was calm and voting where they were supposed to vote. After that, it was kind of just all hell broke loose when Troy thought he was going if we could get him out.
What did you end up doing with the hidden Immunity Idol you had?
Kim Spradlin: You know what? I actually gave that hidden Immunity Idol to Troy as soon as I got back to Ponderosa.
Why did you decide to do that?
Kim Spradlin: Troy and I -- I kind of always hated the way that [played] out for Troy. I know he's a huge fan of the game and that there were some things he didn't get to do that he wanted to do. I thought that it would mean a lot to him to have it as a momento. I just know how much he loves Survivor, so.
How difficult and stressful was the jury questioning?
Kim Spradlin: It was awful, but honestly, it ended up being so much better than I planned in my mind because I was thinking worst case scenario. So when they came out and were at least being a tiny bit diplomatic about it and it wasn't like, "Hey, we hate you. You're the scum of the earth," I was just relieved.
How have your family and friends reacted to your Survivor victory?
Kim Spradlin: They're so excited. I mean, I've tried so carefully to make sure that people were not expecting me to win or thinking that I was going to win, so I think everyone has been really surprised.
What's your relationship with Kat like now? Is it still in tact and are you two still close?
Kim Spradlin: Definitely, yeah. I'm a big Kat fan. I'm so proud of Kat. I think she did an awesome job and she's a totally different person today than the person that I met out there. I think she's grown up more than anyone and has taken more from this -- she has an awesome perspective and she's really fun to be around. She's just a very cool person. I love her a lot.
You said earlier you wanted Colton to feel comfortable going into the merge, so you obviously made plans well in advance. What would you have ultimately done with Colton had he not been medically evacuated? Was that someone you'd genuinely want sitting next to you at the end because a lot of castaways didn't like him and such?
Kim Spradlin: Honestly, it's so hard to play that out. I don't think I would've wanted to sit there with Colton at the end -- not because I didn't think I could beat him -- but mostly for his unpredictability factor, you know what I mean?
I feel like Colton is one of those people, unlike Chelsea and Sabrina, that towards the end, he might've said, "Oh man, Kim's gotta go if I don't win that last Immunity Challenge." And so I think in that sense, I just never really trusted him that way. I never felt that solid. He's a level-headed -- and I knew he was a player! He went out to win, so.
Did you do anything to try to keep Troyzan and Michael from talking to each other at camp after you planted a seed in Troyzan's head that Michael wanted him out and was playing against him, or did they just dislike each other so much that a conversation wouldn't have been started regardless?
Kim Spradlin: Yeah, if you had been around and could feel the tension between Troy and Mike, I think that whole thing makes a ton more sense. They were not big fans of each other. They had some stuff going on since Day 1, so that was me just kind of playing into something that was already [happening].
If you got to playSurvivor again, would you go in and try to execute a similar strategy or would you change things up?
Kim Spradlin: Well first of all, [I'd be] surprised if anyone wants to see me play again. I was a little bit boring. (Laughs) But yeah. I would definitely play again and I don't know. I don't know what I would do.
I think I would probably play really differently, honestly. I don't know how you can go back and play the same game, so I have no idea. That sounds so overwhelming in me even thinking about it today. I'm glad I'm not leaving tomorrow.
Above is the concluding portion of Kim's call with reporters. Click here to read what Kim had to tell Reality TV World.