After a tribal swap in which the Goliath Tribe and the David Tribe became three new tribes, the new Vuku tribe voted out Natalia, a 25-year-old industrial engineer from Irvine, CA, on Night 11 at the third Tribal Council session of the Survivor season. Natalia became the fifth castaway to exit the game.
Given the original Goliath members had the numbers on Vuku, the initial -- and obvious -- targets were original David Tribe members Davie Rickenbacker, a 30-year-old social media manager who currently resides in Atlanta, GA, and Elizabeth Olson, a 31-year-old kitchen staffer who currently resides in Longview, TX.
Alec Merlino, however, flipped on Natalia and her close ally, Kara Kay, by blindsiding Goliath and taking out one of their own. Natalia was upset she didn't turn on Alec when she noticed a shift in his behavior.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Thursday, Natalia talked about her Survivor experience. Below is a portion of what she had to say.
Reality TV World: Jeremy Crawford told me last week Angelina Keeley spearheaded his vote off only because he was talking about the fact she might be in a showmance with John Hennigan. Did you personally believe Angelina and John were in a showmance?
Natalia Azoqa: Honestly, I think that all questions related to Angelina and Jeremy -- I think talking to them two is going to be your best bet. I really don't want to talk on the subject.
I will only say that my vote to get Jeremy out and not [Natalie Cole] was purely based on my relationship with Angelina and, knowing that if I wanted to move forward in the game with her and other people, they'd have to know that they have my trust and I'm not going to play based on emotions.
So even though I made it clear I wanted Natalie out, I wanted to show them that, regardless of how I feel towards someone, if it's best for the tribe to vote someone else out -- like if my core alliance is telling me they want to vote this person out -- I want them to know they have my vote. So I was thinking about my game, and that's what happened.
Reality TV World: Jeremy told me the women were running the show on the Goliath tribe when he was still in the game. Would you say that's accurate, and did you girls actually form an all-female alliance?
Natalia Azoqa: We talked on it. [Alison Raybould] had brought it up; Natalie had brought it up. I was just so focused on me, Kara and Angelina that, to be honest with you, we had a very strong connection.
And we were talking to Alison because we wanted her to think she was in an alliance with us of all girls, but you don't really have us talking with Alison, and that's because, in my head, I didn't trust her. And maybe, I don't know, I wish I did trust her.
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So that would've been another good person just to have, but I just had a really strong bond with Angelina and Kara really early on, and that was my core alliance, and I think it was very easy to tell. Jeremy was right; we were very strong.
And was Jeremy whispering in Alec's ear that he needs to get rid of the girls because they are strong? Maybe. That could have been my downfall.
Reality TV World: I know your tribe had issues with Natalie, but she did insist she would stay "Goliath strong" come a swap and the eventual merge. Did you believe her?
Natalia Azoqa: There's a conversation I had with Natalie before voting Jeremy out, and I came to her and told her point blank, "What is the reasoning for me to not put your name down?"
And she said, "I want you to know -- regardless of any kind of beef we've had or however you're feeling towards me -- I am Goliath strong, and I will continue staying that way. I want you to know I will never falter on that."
And the way that she said it to me, I knew she was telling the truth, and I had to go with it. And I told her too, I said, "Listen, I'm going to put my trust in you, but I want you to know, like, if we get to a swap and me and you are on the same tribe, you better not f-ck with me."
Because that was the one thing I was scared of. And just her face -- that's what I'm telling you about reading people. It's like asking those point blank questions, you can really tell by someone's answer and the look on their face if they're being truthful or not.
And Natalie was very much being truthful; you see it when she's on the other tribe. She was talking about being Goliath strong and how she didn't want to interact with the Davids.
So obviously she was telling the truth, and I'm happy to know that when I read people, I feel like I'm very on track with what they're thinking. If I ever get to play again, I'll just know that I do really have to trust my instincts more.
Reality TV World: What are your thoughts about the new "Idol Nullifier" twist that was introduced?
Natalia Azoqa: I'm very interested to see how it's going to work out. I wish I had it! (Laughs) Yeah, it's just cool. I'm interested and excited.
I think sometimes twists in the game can rub people the wrong way, like viewers don't want to see all these hidden gems that they bring out, but I think it's fun! I think it's fun to see how people play with these advantages that they find. So who knows how [Carl Boudreaux] is going to play that nullifier.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor? Was this your first time applying? How did you end up on this season?
Natalia Azoqa: Yeah, I applied two years ago and I got a call back almost immediately, in like the next day or two days. Actually, my video didn't even upload correctly. I had no idea. I was told my video didn't upload and they would like to see a video but they liked my bio.
My bio was just very descriptive and I never actually made it to final casting that year, and they just said to me they didn't think it was the right time. But they called me back for this season, and I just knew when I sat in that room with [Jeff Probst] and the producers, I knew I did it.
I knew I made a good first impression. I was just very happy with how everything went down, because I had seen Jeff at [an event], and I think that that was really what motivated me to apply.
And having that thing to talk to him about when you first walk in that room, it's just so important. It's important to just not be so dull, and I just thought it was a good day.