‘Survivor’ Castaway Interviews – Kelly Bruno and Yve Rojas

Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles, warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up in strings…those are a few of my favorite things.

What don’t I like? Tribe swaps.

Why? Because they make tribal strength way less important. In China the Zhan Hu tribe threw a challenge in order to get rid of one of their strongest players, while two seasons later in Gabon, the new Kota tribe had no problem sending their strongest player to the jury. What it boils down to is it doesn’t matter if your side loses because there’s fodder from the other tribe to eliminate.

At this rate, Dan could pick up an extra million to buy himself a few extra Ferraris. Poor Yve.

Kelly’s story is a little different. She’s had a target on her back since day one. Well, maybe not on her back. At the end of the day, she was the victim of an alliance that may have been thinking way too far ahead.

Note: I spoke to both of the castaways at the same time. However, since they didn’t share many of the same experiences, it was tough to include them both in the same questions. So, I split the questions up and what we get instead are two mini interviews. The crime in all of this is there wasn’t time for word association. I know, it hurts my heart too.

Kelly Bruno’s Interview:

Gordon Holmes: Kelly, why were you so mean to NaOnka?
Kelly Bruno:
(Laughs) I wish I knew! I’m still trying to figure that out. I think early on I didn’t like her attitude toward me, so I didn’t respond to her the way the other players did. I didn’t give her as much reinforcement and I think she took that very personally. I also think she came in thinking she was going to be a physical force on the team for the females and found that I was a little stronger than she expected. I think that didn’t sit well with her, because at one point she did offer to carry me on her back.
Gordon: Wow. How do you respond to something like that?
Kelly: I obviously didn’t respond agreeably to that because I didn’t need that. I didn’t want to be a charity case and that’s exactly how she was pitching that to me. So, we didn’t start off on the right foot and the rest was history.
Gordon: How well did your prosthetic leg hold up to the Nicaraguan wilderness?
Kelly: There were no problems with my prosthetic leg. It wasn’t a factor really. The only difficulty was keeping it clean. The environment was not conducive to silicone which is what my liner is made out of. It’d attract a lot of sand. It was some added stress, but I really feel like I could have gone the full 39 days and not have a problem with it.
Gordon: You performed very well in the Hay Mate challenge. How did it feel to show your tribe mates that you could really go?
Kelly: It was funny because they didn’t show that it took a while to decide who should sit out of that challenge. Na thought it should be me. And I was very adamant that I wanted to prove myself. So, I didn’t offer to sit out because I knew it was my chance to show them what I was capable of.

Gordon: Brenda seems to be calling the shots at La Florida. What was your relationship like with her?
Kelly:
Before the tribe swap it was pretty distant. We didn’t really communicate at all. It was a very separate and very divided tribe. It was me and Alina, and Benry would try to go back and forth, and Fabio. So, I didn’t really interact with Brenda. After the tribe swap I didn’t have anyone left that I was close with. Fabio…was Fabio and he kind of did his own thing. So, at that point I thought Brenda was my best shot at getting back in with that group. But I was unaware that Sash was as involved as he was with running things behind the scenes. I didn’t trust Brenda, but I didn’t really have a choice.

Gordon: You were in attendance for the awesome Sash vs. Shannon showdown in the second episode. What was going through your mind during that whole blow up.
Kelly:
A lot of us sitting there were just happy that the spotlight wasn’t on us. There was a lot of bad blood, and I was kind of part of it. Sash had come up to me and told me that Shannon told other people that I was going to be the second to go. And this was early in the game where you’re just starting to get to know people. It was kind of hard to know what was the truth and what wasn’t. So, I confronted Shannon and Alina and said, “This is what I’ve heard. If I’m in your alliance, I’m in your alliance, no (expletive deleted).” And I told Shannon not to say anything to Sash, and he did. And this kind of started this whole tense relationship between the two of them. And at Tribal Council when Shannon realized he was probably going to be voted out, he laid it all out there and said, “Look, I’ve never lied to anyone.” And he hadn’t. He’d been very honest and true to what he’d said. He was just trying to defend himself.

Gordon: Does it mean a lot to you to have a chance to be a role model for kids who are disabled?
Kelly:
Yeah, absolutely. I think I’ve been lucky to have a lot of support in my life from my parents. It’s nice to be able to give that back to other people who may have not had that support and show them what’s possible. I think a lot of people don’t even realize that since I’ve dealt with being an amputee my entire life that I’ve tested the boundaries of what you can do and there really aren’t any. I think what I wanted to do was get to the final three, but part of it too was the process and the journey of showing what disabled people are capable of. You don’t have to look at them and assume that you have to have pity on them and pat them on the head because that’s usually not the case.

Gordon: So, who am I supposed to root for now?
Kelly:
After I went out I was cheering for Alina because she’d been in my alliance. I was also rooting for Fabio, but after watching this last episode knowing he voted for me, it’s hard to continue rooting for him. But he’s the most carefree person out there and he’s fun to be around. He was always making light of the situation and you have to appreciate that.

Yve Rojas’s Interview:

Gordon Holmes: Now Yve, we didn’t get to see very much of you on the show.  What moves were you making that we didn’t see?
Yve Rojas:
Well out of the gate I aligned with Marty. You could see in the first episode that we had our whole conversation about joining forces. From there I brought in Jill. I don’t know why you didn’t see much of me, but I was definitely playing the game and was real comfortable with what was happening on the original Espada tribe.

Gordon: Did you have a chance to pair up with the younger people after the tribe swap, or did they completely shut you out?
Yve:
Immediately after arriving back at camp, Chase made a beeline for me as well as NaOnka. And I knew where each of them stood and where the thoughts were on Alina and Benry at that point. I had a strong relationship with Chase, so it was a surprise when things changed at Tribal Council. I may have hesitated in nurturing those relationships. But hindsight is 20/20. Holly was right on it. Kind of like in life in general, you shouldn’t hesitate. I was confident I was going in the right direction, but apparently I wasn’t.

Gordon: I spoke with Tyrone last week and Jimmy T. the week before that. During the word association portion, they had a few derogatory things to say about you, with Jimmy T. saying you have a lot of baggage and Tyrone saying you hate men.  We never saw anything like that on the show. Why do you think they’d say those things?
Yve:
That’s a good question. I was reading those comments. And I adore men, I love men.
Gordon: As you should, as we can be adorable.
Yve: (Laughs) Yeah! Men are adorable. When I was out there in the game it was never my intent to discuss my personal life or my personal relationships. And when I was politely refraining from that or they were getting more inquisitive, they misinterpreted that as “I don’t like men” instead of “I’m here to play a game and my personal life is nobody’s business.” I thought they were both respectable, very nice gentlemen and I was kind of surprised by their comments regarding me. I was shocked and disappointed by their comments.

Gordon: If I remember correctly you have two young daughters?
Yve:
Yes.
Gordon: What did they think of watching their mommy on “Survivor”?
Yve: They did enjoy watching it. My Helayna thought I was the first one voted out, so she’s been ecstatic watching me make it to seventh. My younger daughter, Savannah broke down in tears watching and was so heartbroken that I was voted out. One is older and looked at it as a fun adventure and the younger one wanted me to win.
Gordon: She wanted the million bucks, didn’t she?
Yve: (Laughs) She wanted it about half as much as I wanted it. I wanted to stay in the game though, it was more about going deeper in the game than the money.

Gordon: Who are you pulling for now that you’re out of the game?
Yve:
For me, I definitely want someone in the older tribe to win. And in spite of Holly’s turning on me, I was thinking Holly till the end. And I’d like to see Marty. And I highly respect what Jane did out there. I told her I’d never write her name down unless it was for the winner, and  I really meant that.

Follow Gordon on Twitter for Breaking “Survivor” News and It’ll Brighten His Day: @gordonholmes

What Do You Think: How do you feel about tribe swaps? Would Kelly have gotten sympathy votes from a jury? Can Espada afford to keep Dan around? Post your comments below.

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