‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: Kristina Kell

The first Tribal Council of a new season is usually a pretty relaxed affair. Generally it’s a unanimous vote to get rid of the one person who doesn’t fit in.

Not this season.

After Federal Agent Phillip’s meltdown revealed Kristina Kell’s plan to get rid of “Survivor” Hall of Famer Boston Rob, the 46-year-old law student was never able to recover. She was able to hang around for a few more Tribal Councils, but couldn’t make inroads into Boston Rob’s solid alliance.

I spoke with Kristina the morning after she was eliminated from “Survivor: Redemption Island” to find out her thoughts on Boston Rob’s game play, who she’s rooting for now, and the truth about Secret Agent Man Phillip.

Gordon Holmes: I am so sorry.
Kristina Kell:
(Laughs) Not as sorry as I am, I can tell you.
Gordon: Every season I pick my favorite to go all the way, and every season they get eliminated. This season it was you. So, if you’re looking for someone to blame, blame me.
Kristina: Well, you have good taste. That’s all I have to say.
Gordon: That’s true, but it doesn’t help you much.
Kristina: It was tough, I went head-to-head with a four-time “Survivor” champion. He’s no slouch.
Gordon: Oh, Boston Rob is no champion.
Kristina: In a way he is. He got to the end of All-Stars in a very smart way. He plays well, really well. I think he’s a champion of sorts. The guy’s good.
Gordon: I’d agree with that. He seems to be playing on a different level than what’s left at Ometepe.
Kristina: Even watching last night’s episode, Ometepe’s level of play is really low. Take Andrea out of that mix because she has half a brain, but Natalie and Ashley and Grant, Rob looks really good compared to them  because they bring nothing to the table as far as the game goes. All they’re doing is laying around and following Rob. That’s what I was up against. Rob was helpful and Rob was great, but I knew what I was up against. I’ve studied the show. He was dangerous, and I wanted him out.

Gordon: Was there ever any chance that you could have gotten into that alliance and worked from the inside to get him, or were you shut out?
From day one I was kind of shut out.

Gordon: Is that why you felt the need to make that big move early on with the immunity idol?
I had an idol and I felt like I was targeted from the very beginning. I had 20 years on all of those girls, except for Fran, who I really related to. But Rob wouldn’t really look at me, or talk to me, or address me, or include me in anything from that first afternoon we got there. He was so tight with Grant and the girls right away. He wasn’t very nice to me at all. He didn’t want anything to do with me.
Gordon: What’s an example of him not being nice to you?
Kristina: He wouldn’t look me in the eye, he wouldn’t include me, he wouldn’t even speak to me. He didn’t have one conversation with me. And I tried talking to him and relating to him and he was not open to that with me at all. And it started from the second we got on that beach and I started looking through the stuff. He came over and he’s like, “I know what you’re doing.” And then he started helping me and we started looking for the idol together. And we couldn’t find it. And that was like the last conversation we had.
Gordon: Did you have any clue that he had found the idol the second time around?
Kristina: I knew somebody had a clue. I went up to them and I said, “There’s probably an idol in play.” Rob kind of made a gesture, he lunged forward and his arms went out and he said, “Somebody has an idol? How do you know?!” And at the time I remember thinking that was a strong reaction. But now when I look at it, it’s kind of the same thing your little kid does when you accuse him of taking two cookies instead of one. So, I had a feeling that he might have it, but I couldn’t prove it.

Gordon: If you had to explain Phillip to someone using just one of your Phillip experiences, what would that experience be?
I can’t think of just one thing, because everything that he said or did was ridiculous. There’s something wrong with him, I mean clinically wrong with him. He’s paranoid, he’s delusional. I’m kind of surprised he got on the show at all. I’ve never encountered a person that’s so loony in my entire life. The first night we were there he slithers next to me in the shelter and he puts his arm around my chest and he puts his head against my neck and like spoons me. I stiffened up like a cement slab. I got up and said I had to go to the bathroom, and went out into the rain and got completely wet just so I wouldn’t have to be next to him. And when I came back I went to the other side of the shelter because I didn’t want him next to me. There’s something really wrong with him.

Gordon: Alright, let’s do some word association. We’ll start with…Andrea.
Gordon: Phillip?
Kristina: Delusional.
Gordon: Natalie?
Kristina: Useless.
Gordon: Ashley?
Kristina: Princess.
Gordon: Phillip’s pink panties?
Kristina: (laughs) idiotic.
Gordon: And let’s finish this up with Boston Rob.
Kristina: Tactical.

Gordon: We didn’t get to see very much of you at Redemption Island last night. How’s Matt been holding up?
When I got to Redemption Island there was a rainstorm and everything I had was soaking wet. Matt was in that little hut. There’s about eight bamboo poles that Matt is sleeping on, hardly enough for one person. And I get there and Matt, who is the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet, sweet, kind, just a really good egg. And I’m wet, and I’m sad and Matt helps me peel off my wet clothes and he puts his arm around me and covers me with the blanket, leaving himself exposed. I had to compete against this guy, but at the same time I was so rooting for him. He took care of me.

Gordon: Sorry again for jinxing you.
(Laughs) I wish I’d had a better tribe. Playing against Boston Rob was unlucky. And the girls I was with and Grant, I include Grant in the group of girls, was a bummer because they were a bunch of Boston Rob followers without brains. It was really tough to play “Survivor,” a game I’ve waited a decade to play with a bunch of Rob zombies. It was really frustrating.
Gordon: I promise if they send you back I will pick someone else.
Kristina: (Laughs) No! I want you to pick me.
Gordon: I will jinx you and you will lose and I can’t have that on my head.

Any questions? Any comments? Our commenting system is down for the time being, but feel free to drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes or chat with fellow “Survivor” fans at the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Facebook page.

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