Exclusive: Simone Nguyen talks 'Survivor' -- Devon Pinto saved my life, but I wish he had saved my game!
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/05/2017
Simone Nguyen was voted out of the Hustlers tribe during the second episode of Survivor's 35th season called Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers on CBS.
Simone, a 25-year-old diversity advocate from Worcester, MA who currently resides in New York, NY, was voted out of the "Yawa" tribe through a unanimous vote on Day 6 after the tribe finished in last place at the second Immunity Challenge of the season.
Simone cast her vote, however, for Patrick Bolton, a 24-year-old small business owner from Lanett, AL who currently resides in Auburn, AL.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Simone talked about her short-lived Survivor experience. Below is a portion of what she had to say. Check back with us soon for more.
Reality TV World: You seemed to know after the Immunity Challenge that you were on the chopping block -- hence your plan to put a target on Patrick's back. But you said in your final words you were blindsided, so was that really the case?
Simone Nguyen: Okay, so, walking in, I thought there was like a 50/50 chance, but I knew I was on the outside. I was trying to connect with people, I was trying to blend in, I was trying to keep my head down. But it was tough out there, because there's nowhere to hide in a tribe of six.
So I knew, even from the day before, that I was kind of on the outs of the tribe, but I was like, "Alright, Immunity Challenge time! It's time to pull it out. Let's do it! Let's work this puzzle," like, "Let's contribute in a meaningful way."
And I wasn't able to do it, and I was just like, "Okay, well the only other person who sticks out as much as I do is Patrick, so I've got to throw him under the bus. Handsome guy; he's tons of fun. I love hanging out with him, but man, he is loud -- very, very loud."
Reality TV World: How confident were you that you had convinced some or all of your fellow castaways to vote off Patrick? Whom did you think was working with you heading into Tribal Council? Ali, I'm assuming?
Simone Nguyen: Well, I knew, like, whether it was me or him -- it was 50/50 -- that Ali would be the one to make the decision for that day. Because she had control over basically, like, Lauren, and then she was the one who was the strongest female. So she was connecting the most with the guys.
And so I was like, "If Ali has already made her decision, I can kind of tell she's running the tribe." Her and Ryan, I think, were the only two people who were universally liked. Like, she's that type of person whom you just want to hang out with. So I was just like... "If I'm saved in this game, it is by the grace of Ali."
And she was, like, the only one. But I definitely felt, like, "Okay, I'm not going to make any waves in Tribal because even if there's like a 10 percent chance that it's not me, I have to stick to it. I just have to trust this person."
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This was my first time at Tribal, so I had no idea what to say and what's going on. I wish I had lasted just a couple more -- honestly, I wish I had made it to the end, but you know, you can't predict these things. I still had a blast!
Reality TV World: When it became time to vote, how confident were you feeling that you might stay? Because from a viewer's perspective, it seemed like Patrick was going home, especially after he slipped that little comment about trusting "most" of your tribe rather than "all" of your tribe.
Simone Nguyen: Okay, so you don't even know Patrick! You don't even know the tip of the iceberg with Patrick. Patrick is one of the most, like, crazy -- well, not crazy! He's not crazy.
He's one of the most outspoken and one of the loudest people whom I've ever met in my life, like, howling in the middle of the night and dancing with crabs. I think you saw just a little bit of it.
But for me, I was just like, "Oh my God, I can't believe I'm the one on the outs, because this guy is so weird! He's picking a fight with everybody!" And so, I really felt like, "Alright, let's let this happen. Let's try to figure this out. Please, let's vote out Patrick! Please!" But it didn't happen -- so you've got to give it up to Patrick -- although it seemed like it. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Your tribe seemed to view you as the weakest link, like Devon was shown saying that, for example, after the Immunity Challenge. What are your thoughts on that? Is there any part of you that believes it's a fair assessment or no?
Simone Nguyen: So, "weakest link" I think is a loaded term, but if we break it down, right, I wasn't the person who was doing the least at camp. That was Ryan, right? Because Ryan, he had such good social control of the game, like, he was making everybody laugh and cracking jokes 100 percent of the time.
So, he didn't need to work as much as I did, so I actually did a ton of the work around camp to that extent. But there was also a scene that wasn't shown during the marooning, where I almost died and Devon had to save my life! Like, thank you very much Devon! I don't exaggerate when I say he saved my life.
I'm standing here today by the grace of God and the safety swimmers and Devon. Because I jumped off the boat at the marooning, and I was like, "No! What have I gotten myself into?!" It was just so much fun.
Reality TV World: Were you actually drowning?
Simone Nguyen: I wasn't drowning, but I was definitely -- I was in boots. I was in thigh-high boots, like, very good bug cover, but yeah, thigh-high boots. And I was, like, flopping. I was floundering!
I was just trying to make it. I was trying to paddle. I was just trying to make it out there [to the beach] and do okay! But you know, it is what it is. Devon saved my life, but I wish he had saved my life in the game.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for more from our exclusive Survivor interview with Simone.