Exclusive: Jill Behm talks about her 'Survivor: Nicaragua' ouster
By Reality TV World staff, 10/29/2010
Jill Behm was able to dodge a bullet when she won individual immunity following a tribal swap that left her as an outsider on Survivor: Nicaragua's La Flor tribe.
However her luck ran out at the tribe's next Tribal Council session -- resulting in the 43-year-old ER doctor from Erie, PA becoming the eighth Survivor: Nicaragua castaway voted out of the game on Night 18.
On Thursday, Jill talked to Reality TV World about her Survivor: Nicaragua experience -- including whether she knew ally Marty Piombo had given his hidden Immunity Idol to rival Matthew "Sash" Lenahan, why she allied with Marty, and what she thinks about Jane Bright's claims that Jill and Marty mistreated her during the competition.
Reality TV World: So were you surprised to be the one voted off? Had you been expecting Marty to be eliminated?
Jill Behm: No, I knew I was being voted off, because initially Marty came to me and told me what was going to go down. And Sash too also came over to clarify and just say that he was sorry.
He even said he was in favor of kind of keeping Marty and I around, because he was bonded more to us maybe than -- ah, maybe not. Well, anyway, yeah, I knew I was going home.
Reality TV World: So you knew the whole thing where Marty had given Sash the idol and all that -- they'd told you?
Jill Behm: Well actually Marty had come up and asked me what I thought about it. And I said, "I mean your hands are tied. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. At least maybe giving them the idol shows them that you're a team player and maybe it will buy you another three days in the game. You know, keeps you alive out here."
So no, we actually talked about the best way to handle it. (laughs)
Reality TV World: So you were on board with it -- you were in favor of what he ended up doing then?
Jill Behm: Well, he didn't have a lot of options. I mean there were no good ones.
If he used it, he definitely paints a big target on his back for the next time they lose. But if he doesn't use it, it's like maybe they think, "You know. Maybe they give it back to you like you said or maybe [think] 'Marty's a good guy, we can trust him more than Jane.' I dunno, at least you might have a shot that way."
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So there was no good option there.
Reality TV World: But obviously there was upside for you [personally] if he gave it up, right? So selfishly, wouldn't it have been in your own best interests to urge him to give it up [and then hope they vote him off]? (laughs)
Jill Behm: Yeah, I guess in theory there was a possibility that they would get him to give it up and then vote him out. That's a possibility.
I didn't really think they would do that, and they didn't, so it worked out okay for him I suppose.
Reality TV World: What made you decide to ally with Marty to begin with?
Jill Behm: You know, I don't know. Marty -- this was something that really wasn't shown -- [but] when we were sitting on the beach shortly after the Medallion of Power competition -- like the very, very first hour of the very first day -- Marty, [Yve Rojas] and I were standing there and we just kind of looked at each other said "the three of us" and said "good" and that's all there was to it.
Because we had like this instantaneous bond because our kids are similar ages and we're of similar ages and it was like a super-tight bond from Day 1.
And I'll tell you something about our alliance, it wasn't a flippy alliance. There was nobody backing out of it or backstabbing at you. Even when it came down to last night Marty said, "I am not going to vote for Jill."
And he wouldn't have, I don't think. And I know Yve would have been loyal to us.
It was a really solid alliance.
Reality TV World: Nobody else ever really seemed to realize it, but "Marty's idol" really should have been your idol, since you were the one that figured out the clue and told it to him. What made you decide to share such an important thing with him?
Jill Behm: Well that was a calculated risk. I mean don't forget, our clue was a little different than in some cases where someone would find a clue by themselves and they could open it at their leisure, look through it.
Our clue was pretty much found by the whole tribe and it was stuck to a tree with a knife and everybody was looking at it. And as soon as that thing went up, I don't know if the [cameras] were able to capture it, but people were just running around frantically digging everywhere. So there was kind of a mass panic at camp about the idol.
And when I looked at the clue, it was so easy to me -- it was just instantaneously popped in my head -- [so I thought], "Oh my gosh, someone else is going to find this, we got to get there now!"
So I knew that if we found it everyone would probably know about it just because everyone was running around camp looking for [it] and they'd kind of see digging and figure it out, see where it was.
And so I figured if Marty had the idol then I will have access to it if we ever need it to further our alliance, but he's the one who has it so if they ever decide to go after somebody it would be him that they go after.
Now, obviously that decision was a poor one...
Reality TV World: It didn't seem like you would ever actually get to the position where he would be willing to give it up...
Jill Behm: Oh, he was! They didn't show it [but] we talked about using it to save [Dan Lembo] when [James "Jimmy T" Tarantino] went home, if push came to shove. But [Tyrone Davis] came over with us and voted so we didn't need it.
No, Marty was definitely going to use it to the good of us, it's just that by the time we got to using it for the good of us it was just he and I and there was nothing we could do. It was pretty powerless at that point.
Reality TV World: So your belief was that if you had asked him for it, he would have given it back to you?
Jill Behm: Um, I don't know. I didn't think to do that. Someone else asked me that [but] I don't know what he would have done about it, to be honest.
Reality TV World: Well what about like in last week's episode. You won immunity, so it ended up being a moot point, but if you hadn't won immunity was asking him to give it to you before that Tribal Council an idea you would have considered?
Jill Behm: Yes, if we thought for some reason that I was going to go home and we could use it to keep ourselves in the game one more time. He definitely would have given it to me [in that case].
But at the time last night, him giving it to me does not help Jill and Marty, because Marty would go home. And then he keeping it has me go home.
Reality TV World: So you think, really, that he would have [given it to you] if it helped "Jill and Marty" and not if it only helped Jill, basically?
Jill Behm: I do, I do think that.
Reality TV World: What was your strategy while on Survivor? Because it initially looked like you were going to be a strong player but then you told Marty about the idol and -- at least based upon what was shown -- basically seemed to turn into a sidekick that just went along with whatever he wanted after that.
Jill Behm: Well, again, there's a lot that wasn't shown.
Marty and I were -- and I've seen a lot of this online, where people were [saying], "Oh Jill is pulling the strings behind Marty" or "Marty is in the driver's seat" and they're kind of debating which one of us is controlling the other and it really wasn't like that.
It was a 50/50 partnership. Marty and I were completely allied and completely 100% loyal to each other. So when we had a problem or strategy we'd meet together and we'd work it out.
So there were times when I got my way, like when I told him to tell Espada we found the idol. Because at that point nobody knows it, but Jimmy T knew that we had it through some other circumstances, so I figured he was going to tell everybody. So Marty did that on my advice.
And then there are other times -- like when he voted out Jimmy Johnson ahead of Dan and I looked at that and I was like, "Well, only five or six people make it to the merge [and] we're nine strong [so] three or four people have to go. What order do I care that they go in?"
"If Marty wants Dan before Jimmy J, it will be the other one next week. I don't care."
So I didn't fight him on the small stuff, but Marty's just kind of loud and, you know, he's kind of snarky and wild in his confessionals and stuff. He's just a different personality.
I'm sure I look like a sidekick but, I don't know, you'll have to ask him.
It was a pretty even partnership in the trenches, as it were.
Reality TV World: Okay, but I guess one thing that still seems to be coming across [in your comments] now is that you guys hadn't seemed to consider the possibility that there could be a tribal swap -- [you seemed to believe] that once you got your alliance set, you were good until the merge, if I understood what you were said just right now again [correctly].
So had you really not considered that, even though Survivor's had tribal swaps on a lot of prior seasons?
Jill Behm: You know what the stupid thing is, that we did. Because I told Marty -- this is another thing that wasn't shown on camera -- but I told him, the day after he got the idol, I said, "Hey listen, there might be a tribal swap. So every time you leave camp from now on I want you to put that in your pocket."
And he was like, "Oh, that's a good idea!" And actually the day of the [unintelligible] we had to hang it on the tree.
Normally you have the idol hidden on yourself because you're keeping it secret, but ours was out -- so the actually day of the swap, we were getting ready to leave camp and he didn't have it and I said, "Hey the idol!"
And he's like, "Oh no!" And he ran over and got it and they didn't show that.
So, you know, the stupid thing was, my biggest mistake is, obviously I should have kept the idol for myself because it would have furthered Jill's cause in the game.
So that's a game-ending decision just like fumbling around the goal line in the fourth quarter, you can't recover from that sometimes.
Then No. 2, I knew there was going to be tribe swap and in the back of my mind I thought maybe we could land on our feet, and I should have kept Jane and [Holly Hoffman] closer.
Because that tribe swap was the worst sort of luck for us, because we ended up on the tribe that was 5-3, versus 4-4, and we ended up with somebody that wasn't in our alliance. Had we gone over there with Yve, had we gone over there with Danny -- anybody but Jane just about.
Or had we had [Alina Wilson] to work with over there, who was on the outs, you know.
We really had rotten luck in that switch.
Reality TV World: So Jane obviously felt Marty and yourself had disrespected her or ignored her or whatever it was before the swap. Looking back, do you agree or disagree with that, or maybe just think you underestimated her somehow?
Jill Behm: (laughs)
I'm not sure what she's saying there, honestly. Because Jane had some minor medical stuff -- I mean just minor that I kind of helped her out with -- and Jane is the victim of her own poor alliance-making.
I mean, she got on-board with Jimmy T and [Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff] early and the tribe voted them out. So all of the sudden, she was on the outs and for some reason, she said that we treated her badly when we really didn't do anything but look to our own interests.
Jane never once came to us and said, "I'm with you guys, I want to throw in with you." So I think she is, I don't know. You can see the kind of person she is, she's sneaking off and she's deceiving people.
She flipped on us, she's sneaking food. That's, I think, the kind of person that she is. So I would... hmm. I don't think Marty and I ignored her, I think that's the kind of person she is.
Reality TV World: While you were out there, did you think[Brenda Lowe]was in charge or Sash was in charge, or was it pretty equal? What was your impression?
Jill Behm: My impression of them was very much like Marty and I without the friendship. I think that they are business partners...
Reality TV World: "Without the friendship?"
Jill Behm: Yeah, out there they did not ally because they were great friends, like Marty and I did. I mean obviously we weren't great friends from Day 1, but we allied because we had a good feeling and we just continued to bond and become closer the entire time we were out there.
Both Marty, Yve and I. And then it ended up being he and I because she didn't come [over] on the swap.
Brenda and Sash are more like business partners, but I get the feeling with the same thing. Like they talk about which one should go, Jill or Marty, and they reach the same conclusion and do what's best for Sash and Brenda.
Actually, when you look at Brenda she very much mirrors myself because we have similar games in that we've tied up with intelligent male that's running the show. She saw the immunity clue and essentially gave hers to [NaOnka Mixon] -- hopefully her result will turn out better than mine. (laughs)
But we have oddly parallel games.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor? How did you end up on the show?
Jill Behm: I'm a huge Survivor fan! I've been applying since 2002 [when] I got my first semi-final interview and I've been sort of periodically, since that time, looked at through the years. And this was the year that they decided they wanted to cast me!