‘Survivor: Second Chance’ Kimmi: ‘I Never Did What (Jeff Varner) Said I Did’


"Survivor: Second Chance" (CBS)

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Name:  Kimmi Kappenberg
Season: “Survivor: The Australian Outback”
Finish: Twelfth Place
Why You Should Remember Her: Kimmi accidentally let Tina Wesson know that a member of her tribe had previous votes against him. That tribe member was Jeff Varner.

Gordon Holmes: What’re you up to these days?
Kimmi Kappenberg: I live in the woodlands outside of Houston and I’m a waitress at a high-end seafood restaurant.
Holmes: And it’s almost been fifteen years since we saw you last.
Kappenberg: October will be fifteen years.
Holmes: What is it like to be a part of, what was back then a cultural phenomenon, and then to get that call a decade and a half later?
Kappenberg: I was just so super excited when I got the phone call. I’ve always wanted and hoped and wondered if I ever would. And now, things in my personal life are calm and in order. I’ve relocated, I was a free-spirited twenty-something the last time I played and now I’m 42. I’m a mom of two little boys. This was a good time. Everything is aligned.
Holmes: Are they old enough to appreciate Mom’s big adventure?
Kappenberg: The boys are six and eight, so they appreciate it. We watch “Survivor” together and they’ve seen my season. Or part of my season anyway. They always knew that I ate a worm. They’ve seen pictures. They liked it. They got a kick because now they understand. But, they told me not to eat anymore worms.
Holmes: I don’t think that excuse will fly with Probst.
Kappenberg: (Laughs) Sorry, guys.

Holmes: You mentioned the worm eating, and there’s a picture of you showing that you had eaten it that is one of those iconic “Survivor” moments. I can clearly envision it now. And this was during what I think was the most viewed season of “Survivor” ever.
Kappenberg: I would walk red carpets and I’d be in these nice fancy gowns and photographers would be like, “Give us the worm face!”
Holmes: (Laughs)
Kappenberg:  Even now if you cruise the internet there are all these pictures of me looking nice and clean, sticking out my tongue.
Holmes: It’s either that or they’ll stick an Alicia (Calaway) finger in your face.
Kappenberg: (Laughs) Right.

Holmes:  When you were announced as a possible returnee, I tried to think of what you would be remembered for…and I kept coming back to that fight with Alicia, the worm, and your incident with Varner. Have you two patched that up or is there still friction?
Kappenberg: The whole thing with Jeff was so long ago. I never did what he said I did with the whole saying whose name it was.
Holmes: The story we were led to believe is that you told Tina (Wesson) that Jeff had a vote against him.
Kappenberg: Back then, a tie breaker was broken by previous votes. So, when we were doing the Butch Cassidy challenge up on the cliff where we had to jump in the water that was after Debb (Eaton) had been voted out. And she said, “Debb’s gone, who did she vote for?” And Jeff says that I said him. I wasn’t even there for any of this conversation. They need to get some B-roll tapes and watch it.
Holmes: They might, if the “Worlds Apart” reunion taught us anything, it’s that Probst is willing to go back and watch raw footage.
Kappenberg: Exactly! Bring out the raw footage. But, Jeff and I both lived in New York at the time. We’d been to many social events. So, everything was put to bed. And throughout the years we’ll Facebook message, a few phone calls. I haven’t talked to him in forever. But, I think that all of this stuff is just resurfacing. But, if I have to use Jeff to get farther in the game, I will.

Holmes: Have you gotten involved in any pre-game alliance building?
Kappenberg: There were all of these web things going on with Twitter. And I don’t know how to Twitter. I had a friend who was Twittering for me. The Culpeppers, I guess there was a Culpepper alliance. A bunch of people from their season…they were flying people to their house. Watch out for the Culpepper alliance.
Holmes: Brad Culpepper is clearly going to own this season.
Kappenberg: (Laughs) But I’m not friends with a lot of these other castmates on social media. Now a lot of us are friends…my friend count has gone up by 1,000 people. It’s insane. I don’t have any alliances because you only had a couple of weeks. And what’s the point of making an alliance before the game if you don’t know who’s going to be on your team? The only person that I actually know out here is Varner. I can’t even remember half of the people. I didn’t have time to go back and watch 30 seasons of “Survivor.”

Holmes: But you’re familiar with all the new twists and gimmicks and whatnot?
Kappenberg: Oh yeah, I start off every season. I want to see who’s playing. I DVR it. Or put it On Demand.
Holmes: Yes!
Kappenberg: But by the end, I’m not watching anymore. That’s what happens when you have little kids. You get trumped by their shows.
Holmes: So, never have kids?
Kappenberg: (Laughs) “SpongeBob” always beats out “Survivor.”

Holmes: People have a preconceived notions about you based on your time in Australia. How can you use those to your advantage?
Kappenberg: I’m a hard worker. Even Rodger (Bingham) said “Kimmi is probably the hardest worker out here.” And that hasn’t changed. I’m not going to be a martyr about it. My mentality is I need to get the job done. Being a single mom, that’s like a lot of people.

Holmes: You’re all gathered over on that porch. Are you seeing anyone trying to communicate?
Kappenberg: We’re all going stir crazy is what’s going on. This is like day eleven of not being able to talk to people. This is…ridiculous. But, you can see people that are sitting next to each other. But, we have the handlers breathing down our throats. You have people who roll their eyes at different things. Every once in a while someone will wink or nod or something. But you can’t do anything because you’re being hawked all the time. If someone sneezes and you say “bless you” you get shushed.
Holmes: Is anyone winking or nodding at you?
Kappenberg: (Laughs) Well..sometimes when I pass by Varner he says, “What’s up, (expletive deleted).” (Laughs) He’ll say, “Your (expletive deleted) are huge!” “Your (expletive deleted) are huge!”
Holmes: You should be like, “Yeah Jeff, I’m aware.”
Kappenberg: (Laughs) They breast fed for five years consecutively. I’ve got this. But yeah, there have been a couple of winks, smiles, nods. But they’re doing it to everybody.
Holmes: You’ve got to be careful with those “Survivor” nicknames. They stick.

Holmes: We’ve got four people from Cagayan, three people from San Juan del Sur. Is that a concern?
Kappenberg: That doesn’t worry me. We don’t know how they’re breaking down the tribes. You can’t even sit there and worry about stuff like that. I don’t even know who the four people are. Let’s see; Spencer and Kass were on a season together…I don’t know who the other people were with them. For all we know we could be starting with four different tribes. We could have three tribes…two tribes.
Holmes: Twenty tribes!
Kappenberg: This is twenty tribes right now! There will be no more of that nonsense.

Holmes: If there is a twist, any guesses as to what it might be?
Kappenberg: It wouldn’t surprise me if they took a little bit from every season. If you had challenges from every season. I think it’s going to be a combination of everything.
Holmes: Like a “Survivor” paella.
Kappenberg: A potpourri. But yeah, something from every season. Or more specifically, something from every one of our seasons.

Holmes: Alright, we’re going to play “Align or Malign.” In my hand I have nineteen cards featuring your competitors. You’ll go through them and tell me who you’ll align with and who you’ll malign. Trick is, you only get eight aligns.

Kappenberg: Stephen…malign. I just don’t think he’s that strong of a player.

Kappenberg: Tasha…malign. I don’t know much about her game.

Kappenberg: Peih-Gee…malign. She’s just not looking that strong to me right now.

Kappenberg: Woo…malign. I think he’s too easily manipulated by other people.

Kappenberg: Spencer…malign. He’s too easily manipulated too. He’d be too wishy-washy.

Kappenberg: Jeremy…malign. Only because he’d be number nine on my aligns.

Kappenberg: Shirin…I have to malign with her because I can’t. I just can’t with her. I’ve outgrown that phase. There’s some of me and my over-excitedness that I had when I was younger. I don’t think there’s been enough time for her to grow since her last game.

Kappenberg: Kelley…malign. I don’t know if I could trust her.

Kappenberg: Kass…malign. She’s a big manipulator and a snake in the grass.

Kappenberg: Ciera…malign. She voted out her own mother.

Kappenberg: Keith…coming in I thought I would align with him. But, I don’t think I’d align with him now. I think he looks tired.

Kappenberg: Joe…align. I think he’s learned a lot in the game. I think he’ll be loyal.

Kappenberg: Monica…I would definitely align with. I think I could be a big sister to her. I think most of the girls I would have that kind of relationship with.

Kappenberg: Terry…align. I feel like I could trust him. We’re older and more mature and we’ll get work done. We have families that we’re working for.

Kappenberg: Andrew….align. He’s a strong player. He has core family values.

Kappenberg: Vytas…align. Another self-sufficient man. There won’t be a lot of drama.

Kappenberg: I would align with Jeff because he’s a comfortable face. We’re familiar. And I think both of us could push each other. And Jeff’s here trying to better things for him and his mom just like I’m trying to better things for me and my boys.

Kappenberg: Kelly Wiglesworth, I would align. She’s a classic player. An older girl who’s strong. She’d be good to go with.

Kappenberg: And Abi-Maria…I would align with. Just because I think she’s got a good spirit. If you’re going to be out here with people you might as well be here with someone you have a connection with.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Survivor: Second Chance” will kick off with a special 90-minute premiere on Wednesday, September 23rd at 8 p.m. ET.

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