Survivor: Worlds Apart eliminated Nina Poersch during the third episode of the CBS reality competition's 30th season on Wednesday night.
Nina, a 51-year-old hearing advocate from Palmdale, CA, was voted out of her No Collar tribe, called the "Nargarote" tribe, on Night 8 at the season's third Tribal Council session.
Nina's tribemates thought she was a weak player and had trouble getting along with her. Nina seemed to feel they purposely excluded her simply because she's deaf. Her tribe insisted that wasn't the case. In the end, Nina and Hali Ford voted for Will. Jenn Brown, Joe Anglim and Will Sims II voted for Nina.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Nina talked about her Survivor experience and elimination. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: Were you blindsided when your tribe voted you off? Were you fairly convinced Will would be going instead of you?
Nina Poersch: No, I was not blindsided at all. I knew it was going to be me.
Reality TV World: Jenn and Hali were shown having a conversation about voting Will out before Tribal, which Hali tried to do. But Jenn voted for you in the end with Joe. Do you think that was planned -- to split the votes in case either you or Will had an idol -- or do you think Jenn chose to side with Joe without Hali knowing?
Nina Poersch: No, that's exactly what they did. They don't show it, but I spent eight days out there looking for an idol. They thought last Tribal Council I had an idol, and I continued to let them think that it was possible I had an idol. They thought I had an idol and so that's why they split the vote.
Reality TV World: So since you knew you didn't have an idol, did you think anyone else did?
Nina Poersch: No, I did not have one and I was almost 100% sure no one else had one either.
Reality TV World: You revealed at the end of Tribal Council that you were actually a White Collar worker before, that you had managed a lot of money and worked in budget planning for 44 years. Do you think everyone had their mind made up about who they were going to vote for by that point, or do you think that news swayed them and played any role their decision to vote you off?
Nina Poersch: I believe they already had their mind made up that they were going to vote me out. I think they had their mind made up that they were going to vote me out even before they voted me out. Last Tribal Council, you can see that Will actually was supposed to vote for me.
They were going to have it be a three-way tie, seeing if I had an idol. They were going to try to flush out an idol if I had it. If I didn't, they were going to do a re-vote and then vote me out at that point. But that's not how it played out.
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So, they already had it in their minds that they were going to vote me out regardless. So, I don't think that anything I said at Tribal was going to change their mind. I mean, I gave it my best shot. I gave it my best shot before we went to Tribal to convince them to keep me and not Will. I told them I would be loyal. I told Joe I would always be loyal if he wanted to bring me into his alliance, and he chose not to do that.
Reality TV World: What do you think would make you more of a No Collar player? It seemed like your tribemates wanted you to prove you were No Collar by eating a lizard, which you refused, and that's it. But that seems a little silly to me.
Nina Poersch: I did not eat a lizard. Let me tell you why I did not eat a lizard. I had had lizards as pets and I don't eat my pets. So, I've had, at one point, 30 tarantulas living in my house. I've had snakes, lizards and all that stuff.
So that stuff doesn't bother me but I'm not going to eat them. Now, if it were a challenge, then I would. But just to sit around camp and eat a two-inch long lizard was, you know -- no, I'm not going to do that.
I don't think that was the turning point of why they were going to vote me out just because I wouldn't eat a lizard. I think even at that point, they were already saying that's what they were going to do if we didn't win the challenge.
Reality TV World: Right, but the tribe complained you weren't No Collar enough for them and they wanted you to try harder to fit in. So I'm just wondering what they think would make you more No Collar, like what else you could possibly do.
Nina Poersch: Honestly, I'm not real sure. I tried in the beginning to blend in with them. I tried being social with them. There were several times I approached each of them and asked if I could help them do what they were doing whether it was working on the shelter or working on a crab trap or anything like that.
And I was always turned away. It was always, "No, Nina, I don't need any help. No, I don't need any help. Why don't you just go and collect firewood?" So it was really tough. It was tough trying to be one of them when they weren't even -- when I extended the olive branch and they weren't taking it.
Reality TV World: Joe admitted it was a mistake not to utilize you in the Immunity Challenge, but if he had, do you think you would've won or at least come in second place? And if so, do you think the No Collar tribe was even missing a strong guy like Vince in the challenges? Your tribe was worried about that when considering whether or not to vote him out before.
Nina Poersch: We absolutely would have come in at least second place, if not first, had they let me help them plug holes. That was probably one of the stupidest decisions ever made, was to leave me out of that.
Reality TV World: Before Vince got eliminated, you told Will about how Vince was worried about his health and whether he might be a physical liability to the tribe. Did you realize at the time you could be swaying Will's mind to flip on you guys and join the other alliance? And if so, did you regret saying that and was it just kind of a slip?
Nina Poersch: At the time, no. I did not even realize that saying that was going to make Will flip out. So do I regret it? I do regret it, you know? I was honestly talking to Will, it was a very long conversation that we had, and I was talking to him at that point as a friend because he was exhausted and he was sitting around and he looked exhausted. And he said he was exhausted.
As a friend part and the fact that he was in my alliance, I needed him to be strong and I needed him to appear strong. I didn't want him to be voted out either.
So, it was more of a pep talk to him, and say, "Come on Will, you know, get it together. Let's get strong. Let's be strong. Let's not sit around and look like we're exhausted or say we're exhausted or anything like that." But yeah, when I said it, it was kind of a split-up. And yeah, I do regret it.
Reality TV World: Do you think Will's decision to vote out Vince made any sense in terms of benefiting his own personal game? He seemed to think so, but his decision seemed to put him right at the bottom of Joe's alliance and he also made waves by changing his vote on them to get Vince out instead of you.
Nina Poersch: Well, you know, at that point, I had absolutely no clue that Will was working both sides. Vince, nor him, even told me that! So when he made the vote against Vince at that point, I was shocked! I mean, I turned around and said, "Did you vote for Vince?" And at that point, I thought, "Oh, okay, I get it. What I said is probably what made you flip."
I had no clue he was supposed to be voting for me because he had an alliance also with the other three. I had no clue. So, as far as his game and did I think it was a good decision, well, I didn't think it was a good decision.
Because at that point, I realized, "Okay, he must have something going on with those other four and now he's at the bottom of a four-core alliance." Had he stuck with us, he would've been somewhere one, two, or three. He would've been up a rung. And so, yeah, I kind of thought it was a bad decision on his part. He voted more with emotions than logic.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Nina's exclusive interview.