Exclusive: Amanda Kimmel talks about 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'
By Reality TV World staff, 04/30/2010
Despite being on the losing side of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains' first post-merge Tribal Council, things seemed to be looking up for former Heroes tribe member Amanda Kimmel when former Villains outcast Sandra Diaz-Twine agreed to join the Heroes and give them a 5-4 vote advantage at the competition's next Tribal Council.
However everything fell apart for the former Survivor: China and Survivor: Micronesia castaway when Russell Hantz also managed to persuade former Heroes tribe member Candice Woodcock to defect to Villains alliance, resulting in Sandra calling off her own defection and Amanda being voted out of the game via a 6-3 vote.
On Friday, the two-time Survivor runner-up talked to Reality TV World about her Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains experience -- including whether she knew Candice had decided to betray her, why she gave up her claim a clue to the game's latest hidden Immunity Idol to Danielle DiLorenzo so easily, why she believes Candice decided to flip, and what part of the game she feels was a little unfair.
Reality TV World: There seemed to be a lot of last-minute scrambling right before Tribal Council and it was unclear how much of that where you actually aware of. You seemed to be missing during that conversation where Sandra told [Colby Donaldson] and [Rupert Boneham] that Candice had told Russell the entire plan and they basically defended her and suggested Sandra was being paranoid. So did you know any of that and go into Tribal Council worried Candice was turning on you, or did the vote come as a complete surprise to you?
Amanda Kimmel: No, I knew. I was probably talking to Candice at that point, or someone. I was running around just like everyone else was, trying to get Sandra on our side and just trying to make sure everyone was okay.
It was kind of like a tug-of-war with Candice, between me and Russell. Like Russell would talk to Candice and then I would pull her back, making sure she was okay and telling her it was the best strategy for both of us if she and Sandra voted with us.
And I honestly going into Tribal, I didn't know if was Candice's fault that we didn't have the votes, I thought it was Sandra's. So that's the only thing that surprised me.
Reality TV World: So what do you mean, do you mean you thought Candice had voted with you?
Amanda Kimmel: No, I knew Candice and Sandra were going to vote together but I thought Sandra was the one that said "I don't want to vote with the Heroes."
Reality TV World: Oh, so you thought Sandra had refused Candice and not the other way around, basically?
Reality TV World: [Based on what was shown], Rupert and Colby didn't seem to think there was any big issue with Candice having gone and told Russell everything, so were they were unaware that she was considering betraying them?
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Amanda Kimmel: I actually really don't know that, you'd have to ask them. I don't know what they knew or didn't know about that.
Reality TV World: But you were aware of it, obviously?
Reality TV World: Did Candice ever tell you guys that Russell was actually the one that had the hidden Immunity Idol?
Amanda Kimmel: Um... I can't remember. I don't think so. Maybe she did. I can't really remember.
Reality TV World: I understand Colby was a huge wuss and seemed completely indifferent about the whole thing somehow, but why did you seem to give up so easy on the idol clue -- did you ever at least suggest you guys at least compromise and all read it together or anything like that?
Amanda Kimmel: Yeah. There was a lot said that wasn't shown on TV. But the thing is there was no way I was going to be able to pull it out and read it without Danielle grabbing it, so I needed Colby's assistance which he was reluctant to give. (laughs)
The whole thing was kind of -- Colby made me feel bad about taking it from Danielle and I regret obviously giving it back to her but at the time I was just really shocked he wasn't going to help me.
Reality TV World: After you guys got back to camp, none of the Heroes seemed to try and follow Danielle as she looked for the idol. Was that actually the case or did it just come across that way on last night's show?
Amanda Kimmel: Um... no... yeah, I think Rupert was trying to follow her. We had some plan with that which wasn't shown. But they all went off, I remember [Parvati Shallow], Danielle and Russell scattering about and going different directions.
I don't remember what we had planned, actually. I know we had Rupert on it because he was kind of the forest dweller -- like he knew his way around better than anybody. So I think we kind of put Rupert in charge of that.
Reality TV World: You mentioned you had been going back and forth with Candice as far as between Russell and yourself, so did she ever explain to you why she felt that being the fifth or sixth member of the villains alliance was "the only" choice she had and was somehow better than being, at worst, the fourth of fifth member of the Heroes alliance?
Amanda Kimmel: I was really surprised because Candice and I had a rocky relationship at the beginning -- you know, she tried to get [James Clement] out which pissed me off, and I kind of didn't like her at the beginning. But then when it was [just] the five of us, Candice and I got really close.
We pretty much hung out the entire time and I was really surprised that she didn't feel like she was closer in the alliance than obviously she thought. Because we were pretty tight and I did trust her. So I don't really know.
Reality TV World: Are you saying that she basically felt that Rupert, Colby and yourself had become such a tight three that even if she got to the Final 4 she still would have had no chance?
Amanda Kimmel: Well that's what she would have had to have thought, what else would she have thought?
Reality TV World: I don't know, that's why I'm asking the question. (laughs)
Amanda Kimmel: Yeah, well, she would have had to have thought that or else why would she flip?
Reality TV World: Well, the other thing that had come up was Russell's claim to Candice that he might decide to throw aware his month-long Villains alliance and decide to take a Hero all the way to the Final 3 instead, meaning her. Did she ever mention that to you as part of your discussions with her?
Amanda Kimmel: He discussed that with everybody. He discussed that with me, he discussed that with everybody. So she probably bought it. Russell said that to everybody.
Reality TV World: So Candice wasn't the only one he had been trying to get to flip?
Reality TV World: What was the Heroes' plan for last week's first post-merge Tribal Council where [James "JT" Thomas] ended up going home? If Parvati hadn't played her idols you still would have been tied 5-5, so had you been thinking Sandra was going to flip on the re-vote or how was that supposed to have worked out in the Heroes favor?
Amanda Kimmel: You're asking why we voted the way we voted last Tribal Council?
Reality TV World: Well, if the idols hadn't come out you would have been tied 5-5, correct?
Reality TV World: So how did you see that ending in your favor -- were you expecting Sandra would have flipped on the re-vote, or if things had gone according to plan how was that supposed to have worked out for you?
Amanda Kimmel: Well we knew an idol was going to be played. So yeah, if there had been some kind of a re-vote, Rupert had let everyone know that he was tight with Sandra so she was definitely on our minds.
Reality TV World: You had seemed to be the only Hero that thought JT's plan to give Russell an idol might be a bad idea. Was there one particular reason that you had been skeptical of the plan?
Amanda Kimmel: Well because we didn't know him. Like we had never seen his season, we didn't know who he was. It was just crazy to trust somebody we have never even said "Hi" to before. And I was upset that JT had showed Candice the idol, because it was just me and him that knew about it and I felt like I could have controlled the situation a little bit easier.
You know, it's hard to convince a whole tribe not to do something, but if it was just JT I feel like I could have convinced him not to do it.
Reality TV World: So you were never really on-board with the plan, you were just kind of outvoted?
Amanda Kimmel: No, and I talked to him about it and everyone thought it was a good idea so it was kind of like you have to go with the majority.
Reality TV World: There's been a lot of talk this season about how Russell got to play again without anyone knowing anything about him. Do you think he would have had any chance of making it this far if you guys had actually gotten to see his Samoa season before Heroes vs. Villains was filmed?
And I thought that was a little unfair because he was the only one that nobody knew about, and you know, had an advantage.
Reality TV World: The big criticism about your Survivorgameplay over your seasons -- and I guess deciding to give up the idol clue would be this season's big example -- is that you seem to kind of break down mentally during the game's final days. Do you think that's a valid criticism, and if so why do you think that is -- do you think viewers just underestimate the mental toll the game conditions take on you after being out there a month or more?
Amanda Kimmel: Yeah, for sure. If you're just a fan watching you'll never understand what's really involved in playing the game. Like it's a mental challenge, and especially this time. It wasn't a physical challenge this time it was all mental and strategic.
You're playing the game 24/7 in your head and you have to make different scenarios in your head all the time. Like if this happens this is what I'll do and if this happens then this is what I'll do. It's exhausting.