'Survivor: One World' castaway Kourtney Moon talks injury and game
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/17/2012
Survivor: One World's all-female Salani tribe eliminated Kourtney Moon, a 29-year-old motorcycle repairwoman from Austin, TX, from their tribe during Wednesday night's premiere of the CBS reality series' 24th edition.
Rather than being voted out at the season's first Tribal Council session, Kourtney was automatically eliminated due to a broken wrist injury that occurred during the Immunity Challenge and left her physically unable to compete any further in the game.
During a Thursday conference call with the press, Kourtney talked to Reality TV World about her Survivor: One World experience -- including -- whether she was aware of the alliances being formed in her Salani tribe, why she wasn't surprised that Sabrina Thompson gave the hidden Immunity Idol to Colton Cumbie, and what led her to believe castaway Christina Cha had a big target on her back.
Reality TV World: Were you aware of that five-person alliance that Alicia Rosa, Kim Spradlin, Chelsea Meissner, Sabrina, and Kat Edorsson had formed?
Kourtney Moon: Yeah, not to the extent that it had. I didn't see it unfold the way that it did, but by the time we got to camp, I had sensed it. Like I was telling someone else, it was all in the body language, all in the eye contact and it was very transparent the way it all happened. So, I think that's another reason why the women that I ended up forming an ["underdog"] alliance with fell into place so easily.
Reality TV World: Did you have any idea that Sabrina had found the hidden Immunity Idol and given it to Colton while you were out there or did you only learn that afterwards?
Kourtney Moon: No, I learned that she had given it to Colton afterwards, but I knew that she found something because instead of helping out around camp, all she did was look for the immunity idol all day everyday. So, I assumed she found something by then.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised that Colton was her choice?
Kourtney Moon: No, because he got along well with those girls. They all spoke the same language and it didn't surprise me at all. I didn't think it was the greatest of moves, but no, it didn't surprise me at all.
Reality TV World: So if you had found the hidden Immunity Idol, do you think you would have held onto it at least a little bit longer and get a better idea of who to give it to?
Kourtney Moon: I would have held onto it as long as I could have. I mean, Day 2, Day 3 -- that's just way too soon to do any of that, so yeah. I would have held onto it.
Reality TV World: When the show began, Survivor host Jeff Probst asked you where you thought you fit in with the women and you said "nowhere," which was obviously a very honest answer but it seemed potentially harmful game-wise. In hindsight, do you regret that at all or do you think that may not have been the best decision? If that was actually true, do you believe you might be the first person out even if you hadn't been injured?
Kourtney Moon: No, because I didn't come off as harsh as some of the other girls did and I think it would have and did work to my advantage, because immediately right away, the girls were ready to get rid of Christina. And I think by saying that, honestly, I don't think it was a detriment at all because the girls did warm up to me.
And a lot of it wasn't shown. I mean, they couldn't air everything that happened in that three-day period, but I felt pretty comfortable where I was at that point in the game and I was hoping that we'd win the challenge so we wouldn't lose a number -- which would have been Christina.
Reality TV World: What made you think Christina would be the target? Who had been saying it and what were the reasons?
Kourtney Moon: I had overheard conversations and a couple of them were confirmed. I had actually been asked if I would do it too. Maybe there was some big plot to get rid of me, but I think again -- which wasn't really shown in the first episode -- but I was a really hard worker around camp and I think the girls kind of got used to that.
Reality TV World: It seemed like you didn't have that great a time while you were out there for those three days. So was there any part of you at all that was almost a little bit relieved to be medically eliminated?
Kourtney Moon: No, I don't know why it seemed like I didn't have a good time. I actually -- I mean, a couple of girls kind of rubbed me the wrong way, but that was a huge exception here.
Everyone says the first five days is kind of the hard part and then it kind of hits a plateau, so I think I was just adjusting. But I loved being out there. The social game, I needed to get my bearings, but it was so early on and I really wasn't worried. I was actually having fun with it.
Reality TV World: I want to talk to you about the chicken controversy. For starters, viewers are wondering why you guys seemed to stop at catching only two chickens when there seemed to be at least four of them running around out there. What was the logic there? You'd think you would at least want to capture them all before they wandered away even if you weren't going to eat them immediately.
Kourtney Moon: Well, as far as catching the chickens goes, that was not my department. So I was surprised that we caught them so early on. The boys had the coop, so the girls were keeping them in burlap sacks but they were saying to get rid of them or find a better way to house them.
So I think that's one of the reasons why we ended up killing one. But I don't know. The boys had the coop and once we had a few, we had them in the burlap sack and we couldn't make a little house -- a housing that would secure them. We were feeling bad and the girls were like, "Let's just hold off." And the guys -- if we had used their coop -- we would have had to give them all our chickens.
Reality TV World: So the guys just didn't have the motivation to try and go catch the other two on their own [instead of asking for one of yours]?
Kourtney Moon: No, no, no. The guys didn't. They tried a few times but Chelsea was a rock star when it came to that.
Also during the call, Kourtney told the media what really went down with her injury, what she has sadly been struggling with physically besides the broken bones in her wrist, whether she was glad to miss out on the drama of the season's first Tribal Council session, who she saw rising as Salani's leaders while she was on the show, and whether the two tribes were really as divided as they seemed during Monday night's episode.
How comfortable were you in the Survivor atmosphere at first?
Kourtney Moon: Pretty awkward -- In fact, the whole experience was pretty awkward.
Was there ever a real possibility of you ever getting back into the game?
Kourtney Moon: No, I knew it was broken from the very moment I rolled off that net and tried to pull my hand back onto my arm. It wasn't going anywhere.
Were you actually glad you got to miss out on Tribal Council considering how some of the girls bickered and threw each other under the bus?
Kourtney Moon: Actually, I was really looking forward to going to Tribal Council. I was really looking forward to kind of vent and tell some of the girls about how I really felt about them.
Were you able to form any alliances while you were there?
Kourtney Moon: Yeah, I was in the underdog alliance at the moment, but I had a pretty good solid bond with [Monica Culpepper] and I was confident in Christina. But you know, that was it.
What did you take away from the experience?
Kourtney Moon: I met some amazing people, both contestants and crew members.
Were you ever concerned there would be any returning castaways this season such as Russell Hantz?
Kourtney Moon: I actually didn't think there were going to be any past contestants. I just had a feeling even though I think there was enough room for that to happen. I think it happened too many -- I just did have a feeling.
I was more afraid of a Redemption Island, because I didn't want to deal with Redemption Island. But [men vs. women] being the twist, it took a minute to register. And then, I was pissed off because they had a better section of the island than we did.
Was it accurate that the tribes were pretty divided although you guys were on the same beach?
Kourtney Moon: Yeah, I think everybody went in there with the mentality of "this is my tribe and that is your tribe" and that just sort of stuck. I think everyone was on that page and I think maybe the ones that weren't were maybe a couple of the girls that wanted to milk what they could out of the boys.
Do you think you still would have been the first one out of the game if you hadn't gotten hurt? Because it seemed like it would have been difficult to get Christina out.
Kourtney Moon: I was, no, I don't think I would have been out. Actually, it was pretty confirmed that Christina was going to be out if we lost the challenge, so Monica and I stayed up kind of late that night trying to figure out what we were going to do to keep Christina from going out that night or on Night 2.
How is your wrist doing now?
Kourtney Moon: It's doing a lot better, but I'm still working on building up its strength and going through the motions.
Have you been doing any physical therapy since the show?
Kourtney Moon: Well, I had it in a cast for awhile, but yeah, since then, we've been waiting for some paperwork. We have some paperwork to go through and then I got onto doing physical therapy as soon as I could.
Could you talk about the process of what happened immediately after you got injured during the challenge? How long did it take the medics to figure out what was wrong and what needed to be done?
Kourtney Moon: Once they did the X-Ray. It took awhile to get from camp to any sort of civilization. So once we got there, I had to wait quite a bit before I could even see somebody to establish that my bones were broken. And once they saw that my bones were broken, that's when it was confirmed that I couldn't go back into the game.
And to be honest, I had no sense of time, really, when we were in the game. So coming back slowly back into the real world of things -- it was a pretty rough transition -- even just after three days. I had no idea what time it was. I didn't want to see a telephone. It was weird.
Do you have any regrets from being on the show or even from just going on the show to begin with?
Kourtney Moon: I don't think I have any regrets. I would've handled a few things a little bit differently before I left home, but I think overall, I was supposed to do that. Like all of those things that were supposed to happen happened exactly the way that they were supposed to happen. My only regret would be my not recognizing that and I think I have, so I'm pretty happy about everything.
Did you notice if there was starting to be a leader on your Salani tribe or someone trying to fill that position?
Kourtney Moon: Yes and no. I had my assumptions, but it wasn't very clear yet.
Who did you assume were becoming leaders on your tribe?
Kourtney Moon: I kind of felt like both Sabrina and Kim had the potential to be puppetmasters, but I wasn't quite sure about that yet. I needed more time out there.
Kourtney Moon: It was my very first. To be honest, I had never watchedSurvivor prior to this experience and I guess you could say I was recruited. I did eventually have to fill out an application and submit a video.
Do you think your wrist injury will affect your job of repairing motorcycles at all?
Kourtney Moon: It already really has. It was kind of a chain of events -- a domino effect. I came back with my wrist, I tried to work and it was excruciating at first. I couldn't even degrease an engine, so I knew I had to go through some intensive physical therapy and then around the same time, my boss had hired on a new apprentice to sort of take my place while I was gone, and then he was robbed on top of that.
So she was in a harder situation than I was, and so I told them, "Look, I'm going to be out of commission anyway. You guys are doing really well. She has my hours," so it was kind of a mutual thing.
And that kind of helped me see that I want to keep working on motorcycles more as something I enjoy to do, like a hobby. And sometimes when you're working in a motorcycle garage, you're working on everybody else's bikes instead of your own, and it's kind of sad.
What was the hardest thing you had to deal with in terms of camp life throughout those first three days?
Kourtney Moon: Dealing with the women -- camp life was awesome. I can't say enough about camp life. That was my favorite part of it.
What were your thoughts about Alicia?
Kourtney Moon: She, oh gosh, she really rubbed me the wrong way when I was out there. I can't lie. She really did.
Would you compete on Survivor again if you were asked to come back as a returning player?
Kourtney Moon: I think I would. I would be more reluctant if it was a girls versus boys competition. So I am curious if I was in more of a traditional Survivor setting, I can't say that I wouldn't do it.
Do you mind talking about what other medical issues you have recently discovered and the status of your health now?
Kourtney Moon: Yeah, I had to get emergency surgery this week. They found a tumor in my abdomen and they had to remove a few things, so it was a pretty traumatic experience. My dad's in Afghanistan right now and my mom doesn't live in Austin, so I was in the hospital the first couple nights pretty much alone getting all of this information.
I'm definitely afraid of having my blood drawn, so that was like a huge ordeal in itself. So, I went through all these tests and I had some suspicion that something wasn't right and sure enough, in the CAT scan and a sonogram, they had found this like grapefruit-size tumor on my ovary and my worst case scenario was that it was completely devouring my reproductive system and I would like to have a baby again.
So, that was a big thing for obvious reasons. I was hoping that it wasn't terminal or something crazy like that. But it was not benign, so I'm waiting back on some test results. But my surgeon is really optimistic that it's not going to be a big problem... I wish it was another broken arm. I've just been staring at this hospital wall. It's a good change of pace when people aren't visiting.
If the roles were reversed and the women had won the Immunity Challenge on the technicality of one of the male castaways getting hurt, would your tribe have taken the win or resumed playing to try and be fair?
Kourtney Moon: We absolutely would have taken the win. I know -- I think I noticed some of the girls thought it was kind of chicken sh-t that the guys took the win, but I mean, come on. Everyone was exhausted. Everyone was tired. It was a really hard challenge and we hadn't even gotten through half of it. It was an easy win and I think everybody would have done it.
Is there anything you'd like to share about your gameplay that viewers didn't get to see?
Kourtney Moon: Well, I did find a little clip online that wasn't in the first episode. I was very happy to see that they had put it out there. The girls all wanted to eat chicken that second night before the challenge, but nobody wanted to actually kill it. So, I stepped up to the plate and did it. I'm not Chelsea. I'm not a country girl. I'm a city girl, and so that was...
I remember when I was a kid I got my hands on Faces of Death and I remember the farmer hacking off the chicken's head. And I said, "Okay boys. Give me the axe." And I did that, so I didn't see that on the episode last night.
So I was pretty bummed out about that, and then I wove so many palm fronds from both tribes, and there really wasn't much footage about that either. So I would like to say that I worked my butt off to try to make tribe alliances as comfortable as possible. I was kind of bummed out that didn't get displayed in the first episode.
Without meaning any offense by this, why did the girls seem to have more trouble jumping into the net the proper or correct way after the instructions were given and the men didn't seem to have any problems?
Kourtney Moon: Yeah, that's a rough question. I think everyone was just a little unclear on how to jump into the net. I think it just wasn't as clear and concise as it seemed to the audience. Let's just leave it at that.
Was there any instruction given before the Immunity Challenge actually started?
Kourtney Moon: Yeah, yeah. There was... My understanding was to put my feet out to go butt first. Another understanding of mine was if you were to grab onto the net to kind of help yourself from bouncing too much, that could save time.
My main concern was to save time and I did not want my knees to come back up and hit me in the face, which is why I jumped the way that I did. I can honestly say I never heard anyone say anything about pulling my hands into my chest, but then again, we were all pretty excited and our adrenaline was going, so that could have easily been something I didn't hear.
Did you hear Jeff Probst say those specific instructions of holding your hands into your chest while you were standing there waiting for the challenge to begin?
Kourtney Moon: No, I did not.
When you came home and people saw that you had a cast, what was the reaction of your family and friends?
Kourtney Moon: (Laughs) Well, when I immediately hurt myself, of course they had to contact my closest loved ones. So, they were prepared for it. My dad saw me and is still kind of in shock with the whole thing.
I had not told my ex-husband, so when I went to pick up my son, they were both just -- their eyes were wide open, "What happened?! What happened?!" They were both convinced that I had been attacked by a shark. So, yeah, that was about it.
Was your husband and son convinced you had been bitten by a shark all the way up to last night's episode?
Kourtney Moon: No, no, no. My son was. I've been still trying to maintain that story with my son, but of course my ex-husband only believed it for about a split second. I even brought a shark tooth necklace back and said, "Look! When the doctor was sewing my arm back on, this is what he found!" So then I gave him the shark tooth and he almost pooped his pants. "I cant believe it!"
Matt Quinlan's personality came across very arrogant. Did you pick up on that at all? What were your impressions of him while you were on the show?
Kourtney Moon: Honestly, I stayed away from the men as much as I could. My interactions with Matt though were always very pleasant and I was actually surprised to see what I saw last night, because my impression of his was always a very good one. I always thought he was just like a human Ken doll.
But beyond that, he was never that way towards me. So, I guess I didn't interact with him as much as the other girls did.
When you first got on the beach, you told Jeff you didn't think you'd end up fitting in with the other women. Did that end up playing out the way you had anticipated for the three days you were there?
Kourtney Moon: Yes. I was relieved to have bonded with the women that I did bond with in the way that I did. That was a very pleasant surprise, but the way it turned out with the majority of the younger girls, I pretty much assumed that. That's just the way it's always been.
Out of everyone left in the game, who do you think doesn't stand a chance to win and why?
Kourtney Moon: I would say Colton because he's going to exhaust his resources if he doesn't fit in with the guys.