Exclusive: Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff talks about 'Survivor: Nicaragua'
By Reality TV World staff, 09/16/2010
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff went into Survivor: Nicaragua worried her chatty nature was going to quickly become her undoing.
However despite heeding her husband's advice and making a deliberate effort to be quiet, she still was unanimously voted out of Survivor: Nicaragua during Wednesday night's premiere of the 21st season of the CBS reality competition -- a result that she now, ironically, blames on having been too quiet.
On Thursday the 48-year-old goat rancher from Fromberg, MT talked to Reality TV World about her Survivor: Nicaragua experience -- including why she believes being too quiet was her downfall, what she thought about her fellow Espada tribemates, who made all the tribe's decisions at the game's first Immunity Challenge, who had already quickly allied with whom, and why she feels her husband was "technically" wrong.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode showed you saying you believed you didn't develop a bond with too many of your tribemates -- why do you think that was?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: Because I wasn't myself, and that's my own fault. I didn't talk very much -- I talked to people here and there, but I didn't talk as whole group and I should have done that.
And I should have tooted my own horn -- I should have said, "I've done this," "I've done that" -- just to make them know what I'm capable of doing. Even though to me, doing that kind of stuff is just talk, it doesn't mean it's true. So I don't tend to talk about myself or toot my own horn, I think you see it as I go.
But if I had done that I might still be there.
Reality TV World: We saw that [Marty Piombo] disagreed with it, but do you think most of your tribe bought Jimmy Johnson's claim that his background makes him the perfect person to not vote out and take to the end?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: No, I think they ate up having him on the show. At the time, everyone loved having him there, because he was like a famous person and they enjoyed it. But I don't think they bought that.
A lot of people commented that they didn't buy it. I mean not only Marty, so did [James "Jimmy T" Tarantino] -- I saw him at TV say that.
Reality TV World: Yeah, Jimmy T actually seemed to have an immediate issue with Jimmy Johnson. What were your thoughts about Jimmy T?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: I like Jimmy T, I like him a lot. I think that he is not understood, he says things and people misinterpret the way he says it, or how it comes across is misinterpreted.
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I don't think people interpret him correctly.
Reality TV World: Besides your own alliance with [Holly Hoffman], were you aware of any other alliances while you were out there?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: The alliances started immediately! And my alliance with Holly was that initial alliance, and I knew that we were not really in an alliance anymore. (laughs)
I mean it was clear to me that she was changing, and it was clear to me that people were having alliances immediately on the beach -- it wasn't just she and I.
Reality TV World: So who were you aware of while you out there?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: Oh, [Yve Rojas] and Marty. [Jill Behm] and Marty, and Yve. There were several alliances going on, definitely.
Reality TV World: Yeah, they showed that scene where Marty, Holly, Jill, and Yve, I think, were kind of all talking about who they were going to vote out...
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: It was Marty, Holly, Jill, Yve and Jimmy J!
Reality TV World: Okay -- so do you think that's kind of an alliance?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: Um, no. To tell you the truth I would say that was a new alliance formed, yes.
Reality TV World: How did you guys determine who was actually going to do the puzzle during the Immunity Challenge?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: Jimmy J decided that.
Reality TV World: It seemed kind of odd that Jimmy Johnson didn't end up on the puzzle team with you if he really felt that you and himself were the tribe's two weakest members.
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: Right, isn't that interesting. (laughs)
But then you have to ask the question --- what did he mean by weak? Did he mean strength or mental? I think he meant weak, but -- I think he thought that he was stronger than any of the other girls that were out there, obviously.
I mean he wanted to pick someone he thought was a strong leader to do the puzzle, to be the leader. And nobody should interrupt that leadership, and he felt that Jill was a strong leader, so he had her be a leader for the puzzle. And then he felt [Jane Bright], myself and Yve were weak.
Reality TV World: So everyone else just deferred to his judgement?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: Everybody just said he's making the decisions, period.
Reality TV World: Wow.
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: Yeah. And it someone was quick to say -- like Holly said, "I'm going to do the water" he said "Okay, you do the water." She said "I want to do the water" so he said "Okay, do it."
Reality TV World: Based upon the little bit we saw on TV last night, it looked like if they were going for physical weakness, there were several other women who could have gotten that label besides yourself....
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: Oh, absolutely!
Reality TV World: Why do you think they seemed to zero in on you, was it the social angle?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: Yes, because I did not toot my own horn, I didn't say what I was capable of doing. See, I thought people would be more knowledgeable and judge people by watching rather than [just what they were told.]
I mean you could tell them anything, it doesn't mean it was true. And to me, you watch what people do and judge them by what they say and not what they do, and I didn't see a lot of that going on.
I mean there was positive -- there were a lot of positive comments to each other, I think. Because people wanted to be liked, people were positive. But I don't think it was an honest positive, you know what I'm saying?
They were just trying to be liked and do the social part. The truth of the matter was it wasn't necessarily what they were thinking.
Reality TV World: Jill was the only woman who didn't raise hand when [Survivor host Jeff Probst] asked who thought they might be in danger of going home at Tribal Council...
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: That's because she knew she wasn't in danger.
Reality TV World: Why do you think that was?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: Because she was in with the boys.
Reality TV World: So that alliance you were talking about before, it includes all the boys?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: No, she was just in with the guys. She had a good in with Marty, she had a good in with Jimmy Johnson -- they really had a good in. Even with [Dan Lembo].
[Tyrone Davis] was kind of in the outskirts, he really just stayed -- he was like what I wanted to me, kind of laid back and, you know, just go[ing] with the flow. He would talk here and there, but...
Jill actually [also] had an in with Yve, and you know I spoke to the girls immediately after Holly wanted the alliance about having a girls team -- a girls alliance. Because I thought we would really fare well with the girls alliance because of the fact that, you know I liked Jimmy T, I would have liked him to be on an alliance with us.
But, I said if he's not going to be on an alliance with us, why wouldn't we have an all-girls alliance -- because you have two older people here where are Jimmy J and Daniel [and] now you have strong Tyrone, strong Marty and strong Jimmy T.
I'm not saying the other two are weak, but they were the oldest ones and it's harder to stay -- when you're starving and you're hungry and you're in the elements, it's harder for an older person, usually, to stay out there.
Reality TV World: Any what happened to that talk, it didn't go anywhere?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: Oh well, Yve wanted a guy on the team -- which she already had Marty in an alliance, right off the bat. So you have to get everyone to agree with that.
Jane was in, Holly was okay with anything, it seemed like she would have gone any way in the very beginning -- and Jane really liked that idea and felt girls were doing most of the work any ways. (laughs)
Because the shelter took so long and there was so much debate about what should be done -- we had to take it apart and [redo it] and take it apart and [redo it again]. Girls could have done that in one day. (laughs)
Reality TV World: Last night's episode only showed the younger tribe getting a hidden Immunity Idol clue, did your tribe get one?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: You know what, if we got one I didn't know about it! But I wouldn't be surprised. When I saw that they got a clue I said to myself, "Oh my gosh, I bet we did too and I didn't even know it!"
And I would have to guess it's the person who kept going to the water all the time [that got it].
Reality TV World: And who was that?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: A lot of times Jill kept going to the water.
Reality TV World: I've been told we're about out of time, so can you tell me how you were cast on the show? Was it your first time applying?
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: Absolutely it was my first time, and I loved every minute of it.
My husband asked me to tape the show when he was deployed to Afghanistan and when I started taping it I started watching it, because I was in the military and I did a lot of hours and I was always busy and never watched too much TV.
And I started watching it as I was taping it for him and I said, "Oh my god, I've got to do this, I can do this, this is great! This sounds so fun and so much like me, because I'm so competitive."
And so my husband and I, when he got back, I told him I started watching it all the time and I said, "You know what, when I retire I'm doing that." And then I retired and the show came on in December and said "put your application in" so I got online and the application was due January 4th.
So I said to my husband, "Oh my god, look how soon this is and it says two people in the same household can't be in it, so do you want to be on Survivor?"
And he said "Yeah, I'd like to be!" So I said, "Well, then you better apply, because I'm applying, so I don't want you to say I applied and then you couldn't do it, so I'm telling you know, you got to apply!"
So he said, "Well, I don't wait until the last minute so you might as well just do it." So I did it, I got selected [and] I was in shock and he was in shock!
It was quite the experience, just the selection process alone.
Reality TV World: I guess he was right though, about being voted off first.
Wendy DeSmidt-Kohloff: You want to know what's funny about that, he said I would be voted off first if I talked a lot. I didn't talk a lot, so technically he wasn't right because I did what he said and had I not done what he said I bet I'd still be there!
He was devastated last night, by the way, he was in shock. I should have gotten it on picture!