Exclusive: Kelly Bruno discusses her 'Survivor: Nicaragua' experience
By Reality TV World staff, 10/21/2010
Kelly Bruno's Survivor: Nicaragua chances appeared to take a turn for the better when a tribal swap resulted in her La Flor tribe adding several former Espada tribe members that could potentially take her place as the tribe's outsider.
However unbeknownst to Kelly, her fellow remaining original Espada members decided she was still their preferred vote target when the tribe was forced to vote a member off as part of a Day 15 twist in which both tribes had to attend Tribal Council -- resulting in Kelly becoming the sixth Survivor: Nicaragua castaway voted out of the game.
On Thursday, the 26-year-old medical student from Durham, NC and fellow bootee Yve Rojas -- who was subsequently booted by La Flor during Wednesday night's special double-elimination episode -- talked to Reality TV World about their Survivor: Nicaragua experiences.
Below is Kelly's portion of the joint interview in which she explains whether her tribemates' move really surprised her, why she believes her tribe may have decided not to take former Espada member Marty Piombo and his hidden Immunity Idol out of the game instead, and shares her thoughts about NaOnka Mixon's controversial decision to intentionally shove the amputee to the ground in order to claim a hidden Immunity Idol clue.
Reality TV World: Based what was shown on last night's episode, you seemed really surprised to be the one that was voted off, was that actually the case?
Kelly Bruno: Absolutely. As you saw last night, the impression I was under was that we were going to be voting three for Jane and three for Marty, and then I figured [Jill Behm] and Marty would do whatever -- I figured they were going to vote [Jane Bright] too. So I think I was surprised by all of it.
I had a small inclination from the beginning, a gut feeling going into Tribal Council. Something didn't feel right. But up until then, I was pretty confident that they were telling me the truth. I clearly had too much faith in my tribe.
Reality TV World: So did you still think that Marty was going to be the one going home when [Survivor host Jeff Probst] revealed the tie and the tribe did the re-vote?
Kelly Bruno: You know, again, I didn't feel good about it, when we did the re-vote. Because obviously three people felt strongly to be targeting me. But yeah, I did actually expect it to be Marty.
He hadn't played the idol and therefore this was a good chance to get him out because he hadn't used it, and he was just as much a threat if not more of a threat, I think, than I was.
Reality TV World: Had you been expecting him to play the idol, personally?
Kelly Bruno: After the discussion during Tribal Council, I absolutely did! [Brenda Lowe] made it very clear that she didn't like the way that he came into our camp and kind of flashed his idol around and tried to take over the leadership.
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So I thought there was enough tension between them that, you know, I was kind of safe. I felt like I was kind of a non-event. I certainly would have played the idol if I had had one and have been in his shoes.
But, yeah, he made the right move I guess.
Reality TV World: Why do you think he didn't [play it], any thoughts or ideas?
Kelly Bruno: You know, I really don't have any. I have a feeling he just had a gut feeling that he wasn't going home. For whatever reason you can sense, I think, the way people look at you, the way people interact with you, during and before Tribal Council.
And so I think he was pretty confident at that point, I guess, that he was safe.
Reality TV World: The premiere episode had shown you being concerned about how your tribe would react to your artificial leg from the standpoint of how you'd be able to perform physically. But did you ever envision that their biggest concern would end up being that it would make you unbeatable in a final jury vote scenario?
Kelly Bruno: (laughs)
Absolutely not. I went in thinking I was going to have to prove myself at every challenge and pretty much took that attitude and worked my butt off around camp collecting firewood and trying to kind of make sure that people knew that I wasn't going after the sympathy vote because it was clear that they thought I was going to.
And then all of the sudden it kind of seems like I went to the other end of the spectrum where they were worried I was too strong a competitor and therefore could potentially win the while thing.
So, I kind of was competitive to a fault I guess.
Reality TV World: Yeah, Survivor juries have historically never really been big on awarding the prize to who supposedly "needs the money more" or other so-called sympathy vote scenarios, so do you think their concerns were valid?
Kelly Bruno: Well they were the ones voting, so I guess I was a little surprised -- that would have to be their sentiment then, that I deserved some kind of sympathy vote, because they were the ones voting. It's not like public votes, you know?
Reality TV World: Sure.
Kelly Bruno: It's different when somebody else is [doing] the voting. It was their decision, and so I was a little surprised they kept playing it up.
I was like, "Well then don't vote for me, it's up to you guys, it's not up to me."
Reality TV World: (laughs)
"You'll be [the ones] on the jury."
Kelly Bruno: Yeah, yeah. So I think I was a little surprised by that.
Just the concern with it. It really was a big deal throughout my time on the show, and I don't know what their obsession with that was. I was no different, I was no stronger or weaker than anyone else out there.
Reality TV World: From watching at home, it seemed like a pretty dumb move for the original La Flor folks to not vote Marty and his Immunity Idol out of his game on the re-vote when he no longer had a chance to play it and save himself. But what are your thoughts on that -- do you have any insight on what Brenda and [Matthew "Sash" Lenahan] might have been thinking?
Kelly Bruno: I can only imagine that they figured that because they were so strong -- I mean there were so many of them -- that they could just vote Jill and Marty again next time and do it again. They'd still have the numbers and could split the vote later.
And they were concerned with me being on the jury. They wanted to get me out pre-jury, I think, because I probably wouldn't vote for any of them.
Reality TV World: That incident with NaOnka in which she knocked you over to get the hidden Immunity Idol clue has been one of the season's most controversial moments so far. What's your own take on it?
Kelly Bruno: I mean I think it was uncalled for and unnecessary. My desire was to actually be [less dramatic] about it and not give away the fact that there was a clue in there and potentially share it.
I tried to catch her eye a couple of times and that was clearly not her plan.
It angered me. It angered me to watch it, I'm very pissed off about it. I just don't think she handled it well and it was unfortunate that it just tore our tribe apart like it did.