Posts Tagged ‘naonka mixon’

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: ‘Purple’ Kelly Shinn & NaOnka Mixon

December 2, 2010

Thousands of people send videos to CBS casting every year in the hopes of being invited to play “Survivor.” At best, only 40 people a year will get to live that dream. So, you can imagine how frustrated fans can be when someone gets out there quits.

What could frustrate them more? Two people quitting in the same night.

That exact situation happened last night when NaOnka Mixon and “Purple” Kelly Shinn both threw in the towel after 28 days in the wilderness. I spoke with both of the castaways the following morning to discuss how unforgiving the environment really was, why NaOnka didn’t forfeit her reward, and how they were treated by the other jury members after their exit.

Gordon Holmes: NaOnka, I think there’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that you were this season’s villain. However, some people who get slapped with the “Villain” tag will blame it on an unfavorable edit. Do you think you were portrayed fairly?
NaOnka Mixon:
(Laughs) Seeing how I played the game, I think I was portrayed pretty fair. Pretty fair. I was a (expletive deleted). I had no certain way of how I was going to play the game, I had no idea that I was going to be such a (expletive deleted). I’m not like that in real life, but I think it was pretty fair.
Gordon: I was shocked, because I thought you were delightful when we met in Nicaragua.
NaOnka: Aww…
Kelly Shinn: Uh…you were wrong. (Laughs)
NaOnka: (Laughs)

Gordon: Alright Kelly, I’m not going to be like the “Survivor” editors, I’m actually going to spend some time with you.
You know, I’ve already had more air time with this interview than I had on the show!
Gordon: Well then do us a favor, let us know what you were actually doing during your 28 days on the show.
Kelly: Gosh, I was doing what everyone else was doing. I was secretly conniving with people in my alliance. I was starving, I was enjoying my one seashell of rice a day. They didn’t show anything. There was time I’d go fishing with Jane. I’d do all the things around camp, I’d collect firewood, try to keep the fire going. I’d go collect crabs. I got very good at crab hunting, but nobody would ever know that.

Gordon: Now NaOnka, you’re a P.E. teacher in your regular life. Has your appearance on “Survivor” affected your career at all?
This might upset a lot of people, but…nope! It sure has not. Actually, I’ve been getting requests to do more schools.
Gordon: Really?
NaOnka: And it’s pretty ironic because I thought it was going to hit me really hard. The only thing that was weird was that somehow my place of work hit the Internet. The location, the address, everything. So, I started getting a lot of hate mail at my job. They started emailing my boss. People were actually coming to my job. It was crazy. I needed security to start walking me to my car. I think people need to understand that this is a game, this is not real life. The way we play this game has nothing to do with our lives, we were trying to survive in Nicaragua.

Gordon: Kelly, both of you cited the weather as the main reason for quitting the game. Could you help me understand how hard it is to live under those conditions?
Gosh, endless nights without being dry. There was one point I don’t think my hair was dry for two weeks. It was just constantly wet. It was just impossible. It was so windy. And having just a little bit of rice a day, just a little tablespoon of rice, really gets to you. It sounds so easy to say, but when you’re stuck in the rain and there are constant drips, I think it could really make someone go crazy. You get dizzy, you’re blacking out. I ended up getting parasites. And that is what people don’t understand. There is way more to it than what you see on television. And I would say that if anyone is offended, they need to spend a few nights in the rain. And put them in a little yellow dress!
Gordon: I don’t know how good I’d look in a yellow dress. But it is easy to make those kinds of comments from my couch.
NaOnka: (Laughs) Sandals too, you’ve got to throw that in there too.

Gordon: NaOnka, after last night’s reward challenge, you were given the opportunity to trade your reward for a tarp and rice for the camp. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t sacrifice that for your friends Chase and Holly when you were leaving the game that night anyways.
I had already made up my mind that I was going home. And my team just won, so I’m going to eat, grub with some people that I really enjoy. I gave my idol to Chase, and now I can party. Holly stepped down, I thought that was a good strategic move for her. I was officially out of the game at this point, so I don’t care who’s going to be eating, what they’re going to be sleeping underneath. I did not care. So, I think that it was brilliant of me. Why should I step down if I’m already going to lose the game?
Gordon: But you were going to eat later that night anyways, you could’ve let Holly go on the reward.
NaOnka: I wish they would have shown more of Mama Holly, because that’s just the type of (expletive deleted) that she would do. But at that point, her giving me the eye, like that (expletive deleted) is (expletive deleted) up. I didn’t care what nobody thought. I’ve already checked out. I was just being NaOnka. I’m never going to change. And if I’m going to leave the game, I’m going to leave the game with a win. I do not regret doing that. I left with popcorn, candy, and a hot dog.
Gordon: And the movie (“Gulliver’s Travels”) was good?
NaOnka: The movie was excellente!

Gordon: Kelly, a lot of  fans, a lot of our commenters, even former “Survivor” players have said that quitters shouldn’t be allowed to be a part of the jury, quitters shouldn’t be allowed to attend the reunion, and quitters should have to forfeit any prize money. How do you respond to that?
You know, it’s hard to say that, but a lot of the people saying those things are people who haven’t gone through what we went through.
Gordon: Even former Survivors?
Kelly: Oh, they are?
NaOnka: I want to step in on that.
Gordon: Go ahead.
NaOnka: Because I have met some former Survivors and I think they’re awesome, I think they’re great, but if they’re not winners, then they’re just like the people that we competed against. They know how the elements are, they know how hard the game is. And a lot of Survivors are still bitter about their season. Well Purple Kelly and I made it pretty damn far. So the people who say that are just bitter. And you still haven’t said who said that.
Gordon: I’m sorry. I saw it from a few people, but off the top of my head I know Eliza Orlins said it over Twitter.
NaOnka: Did she win?
Gordon: No, but she did last 37 days in “Survivor: Vanuatu.”
NaOnka: See, there’s my point. So, if you didn’t win, there’s nothing that you can say that can hurt Purple Kelly and I. Because this (expletive deleted) is hard, and you have to really dig deep. You can dig so deep that there is nothing left.  So, if you did not win and last those 39 days you ain’t gotta tell us (expletive deleted) because we played hard.
Kelly: I think what’s most important to me is I talked to a lot of people on the Nicaragua season, and they know what I went through, and they support me.

Gordon: NaOnka, last night you said you could have won. Who could you have beaten in the finals?
She would’ve gone with me, and I would’ve won the million dollars.
NaOnka: (Laughs) I think Purple Kelly was a threat. But I would’ve just run with whoever lasted. It wouldn’t have mattered who would’ve been there, it would have been all about my speech.

Gordon: What was the reaction when you arrived at Ponderosa (where eliminated jury members wait between Tribal Councils) from the other jury members?
Well, of course dramatic Alina, she was a ghost. She disappeared on us. Marty and Brenda, although they were pissed, they still stood there and greeted us. Purple Kelly and me didn’t get along with Alina on the island because she was part of the other alliance. I played her like a flute.
Gordon: A gym teacher can play a flute?
NaOnka: (Laughs) I played her like a flute!


‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview – Marty Piombo

November 11, 2010

Marty Piombo was my guy.

In the pre-game interviews I’d pegged Marty as someone who was smart, strategic, and a student of the game. And for once, I’d called it correctly. He was all of those things. Unfortunately his admitted arrogance, a feud with Jane, and a poorly timed tribe swap combined to earn him an eleventh-place finish.

I spoke with Marty the morning after his elimination and touched on important topics such as what set Jane off, the origins of his clash with NaOnka, and the real reasons he went after Jimmy Johnson.

Quick Note: Have you voted for the “Survivor” Hall of Fame yet? If you don’t, the players you hate are probably going to win. Vote early, vote often.

Marty Piombo: Gordon, good morning!
Gordon Holmes:
Good morning, Marty. How are you?
Marty: It’s the day after, what do you think?
Gordon: You probably feel the same way I do. I’m in a bad mood because you were my pick.
Marty: Ah…man. As you can imagine my head’s been spinning, but I still hold strong on everything. I played a bold game and a game that may have made me not well liked and on the chopping block. But I played a fun game and I wanted to be memorable and I wanted to win. And I didn’t play a game that jeopardizes that. It was an amazing experience.
Gordon: I don’t know if you remember this, but there was a point before the game where you were being interviewed by the side of a swimming pool. When you were sitting there, a couple of pasty reporters were splashing around and debating the upcoming season. It was then and there that I said, “Marty is my guy. I think he’s going to go all the way.”
Marty: Well, I appreciate that. I know every contestant has their fair share of people that want them to go far, but I hoped that when the season was over no matter how far I went, that at the reunion when I came out that nobody would say, “Hey, who’s that guy?” I doubt that’ll happen with me.

Gordon: Let’s talk about your feud with Jane. I talked to Jill about this and she said that she couldn’t think of an inciting incident that turned Jane against you two. What do you think set her off?
You know, I really have thought about this long and hard, and I don’t really get it. If you go back and look at the game, I never really said anything nasty about anybody. She doesn’t understand the definition of “slander” because it means false or defamatory. And, none of that was what I was doing. I exposed her as a legitimate threat in the game, and I will tell you this, within five minutes of starting the game, Jane’s statement to me was, “My husband just died, I need the money. Please don’t vote me off.” And that really turned me off personally. I’ve had more tragedy and loss in my life than Jane and Chase combined, and I chose not to bring that into the game. And combined with that statement and that she combined with Wendy Jo and Jimmy T. right away, they were just red flags that this is someone who was erratic and was making bad decisions. I didn’t think that she was someone that I’d want to have along with me. She probably sensed that and took it very, very personally and turned it around that way. It’s kind of inexplicable to me that it turned into that kind of hatred, and then she made the tasteless remarks regarding my children last night on national TV. That just goes to show you who she is.
Gordon: I wanted to run a strategy by you. When you end up in a heated feud like the one we saw with you and Jane, would it ever be possible to say, “This is crazy. It’s putting a target on both of our backs. Let’s work together and get our respective alliances to work for us.”?
Marty: We were very aware from the beginning that Jane was having issues. And I went and tried to make good with Jane on a number of occasions, tried to give her props, went into the jungle with her, helped her fish one day, helped her orchestrate one of her little fish dances in front of everybody. I really tried to make some inroads with her. But there were deep, deep issues with her. I really don’t know what it was. I would say that in retrospect it was much less about doing something with her, if I could do something else in the game, I’d try to come back to Holly and really work with her. I think I could have possibly made a wedge there.
Gordon: All that fish choreography didn’t help.
Marty: This is on the lighter side, but the toughest part of “Survivor,” worse than the lack of food, the lack of sleep, the conditions there, but it was frankly having to listen to Jane’s cackling laughter. I’ve got to tell you, this woman…the flatulence? Twenty four, seven….I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. That drove me crazier than all of the other things I mentioned to you. But you’ve got to give credit where credit’s due, she got farther than I did. I’m not bitter, my hat’s off to her.

Gordon: I spoke with Alina last week, and she seemed to think there was an air of arrogance about you. Is that something you were aware of during your time out there?
I think in the game I probably did have an air of arrogance. I think it’s kind of funny because if you go back before the game started, Alina in particular, I must have a very strong presence or something, because the game had not started and we had not opened our mouths once, and one of the first clips she says, “There’s that guy with the gray hair, I hate him, I hope he gets voted off first.” And that’s Alina speaking and I’ve never opened my mouth. (Laughs) I don’t know how you get there, but that’s part of the game. But yes, arrogant? Probably in the game. I don’t know how I can say no to that.

Gordon: Now, you were instrumental in booting Jimmy Johnson out of the game. This was a strategy I disagreed with. If I were in the game I’d be happy to keep him around as a figurehead while I played the good follower. Could you take me through your thought process on why you decided that Jimmy had to go?
Absolutely. And first off, and this isn’t kissing anybody’s butt, Jimmy Johnson is a class act. He’s a great guy and I had a great time with him. If Jimmy had ever come up to me and said, “Marty, I want to align with you,” or “Let’s work on something together,” I would have been all over it. We could have gone pretty far together. But the two things that made Jimmy dangerous were that he said, “I will not have alliances in this game.” And that to me, strategically, was extremely dangerous. Theoretically that means you’re not in my alliance, and if you’re not in my alliance you could be cooking up something with someone else. So, from a very practical perspective I couldn’t count on him to be riding with me. And I’d already begun to see Jane and Holly making strong connections with him, and I could see him roping Tyrone in too. If he was open to playing with me I would have loved to have played in his shadow. I wasn’t into being the top dog or the leader. I wanted to have control, but control in the sense of having numbers only. Leadership is a silly thing in this game, not something you want to necessarily have at all. What you want to have is control and those numbers.

Gordon: Last night at Tribal, you and NaOnka really got into it…which was awesome. But, it was a little out of the blue as we hadn’t seen you two butt heads before. Was that the first time, or were there moments we missed?
I was very vocal, as was Danny, because we’re a little more old school, in regards to her stealing. And then her kind of B.S. confession to us, it started off with a lie by saying that she’d stolen all of these things to help us. I wasn’t ready to sit back and listen to that crap. So, I was pretty vocal about that.
Gordon: What do you think set her off at Tribal Council?
Marty: I really, truly think that the thing you’re seeing there is that they told NaOnka that we were trying to bluff and that we were voting her off and she was, as Jeff Probst had said in his blog, that she’s more or less a child. And that’s how she reacted, “Hey, this guy tried to vote me out and get me to play my idol,” so she just took a bunch of shots. I never really had any conversations with her. I had one conversation with NaOnka  and that was about her stealing the food and it wasn’t so much the act of doing it, it was that she did it with no strategy and no purpose and that it achieved nothing in the game. And in the end when it was edited it’d be something she wasn’t proud of when her family and friends were watching it, that they wouldn’t think highly of it.

Gordon: Did you know that Sash and Brenda were going to be voting for you heading into Tribal?
When I came off that Tribal, in my mind I was convinced that it was Brenda. And after watching it last night, I realized that the plan I had with taking Sash wasn’t as good as the plan he had with taking different people to the end. He looked at the situations, and my situation involved Sash and Brenda having to say goodbye to some pretty strong alliances and then throw in their lot with me, Benry, Danny, and Fabio. I’m sure that made them nervous and it was less predictable than riding with this motley crew that’s left now.

Gordon: We’re currently in the process of electing members into the “Survivor” Hall of Fame. I know you and your wife have been fans for a while. Who would you pick as the five best players of all time?
I get a lot of heat for this, but I really like Boston Rob. And there are elements of the following guy that I don’t like, but I don’t see how you can’t have Russell Hantz in there. I really like Tom Westman, Ozzy (Lusth)…and Richard Hatch.

Gordon: I like to keep things light here, and I hate to end this on a tough question, but we have to wrap it up so…what was going on with your hair out there?
Marty: (Laughs) My hair has been my trademark. It’s defined my game. It’s kind of crazy, kind of bold, kind of out there. And I think it was a distinguishing mark that came to me on its own.

Follow Gordon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute “Survivor” scoop: @gordonholmes


‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Episode 4 Recap: Lead, Follow, or Whine About It

October 6, 2010

Last Week: Benry completed ten passes to lead La Flor to victory, NaOnka nailed Kelly B. with an illegal chop block, and Marty pulled a quarterback sneak that sent Jimmy Johnson to the showers.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here are the tribes as they currently stand…

The La Flor Tribe aka The Young Tribe (wearing yellow)

•    Alina – 23, Art Student
•    Benry – 24, Club Promoter
•    Brenda – 27, Paddleboard Company Owner
•    Chase – 24, Race Car Jackman/Country Singer
•    Fabio – 21, Student
•    Kelly B. – 26, Medical Student
•    Kelly S. – 20, Nursing Student
•    NaOnka – 27, P.E. Teacher
•    Sash – 30, Real Estate Broker

The Espada Tribe aka The Older Tribe (wearing blue)

•    Dan – 63, Real Estate Executive
•    Holly – 44, Swim Coach
•    Jane – 56, Dog Trainer
•    Jill – 43, E.R. Doctor
•    Jimmy T. – 48, Commercial Fisherman
•    Marty – 48, Technology Executive
•    Tyrone – 42, Fire Captain
•    Yve – 41, Homemaker

We meet up with the elders after Tribal Council. The rain is falling and everyone looks miserable. This doesn’t stop Jimmy T. from using some football analogies to explain why they were right to get rid of Jimmy J. It also doesn’t stop him from butchering Tom Petty’s “An American Girl” and annoying the rest of the tribe.

Marty lets us know that all you need to do is give Jimmy T. enough rope and he’ll hang himself. If this is true, I’m taking up a collection right now to buy Jimmy T. enough rope.

Note: Did you know “Survivor” wasn’t going in three-day increments anymore? You learn something new every day.

The following morning, the “Survivor” foreshadowing crew shows how rocky and tumultuous the Nicaraguan sea has become. Surely, rough times are ahead for the seventeen remaining Survivors.

Dan is having a rough time as his sneakers are starting to fall apart. He also says if they get any hungrier they’ll have to eat his foot. Smart strategy as I doubt he could get much slower in challenges.

Meanwhile on “Kid Nation,” (oh wait, that’s La Flor’s camp) NaOnka has made her first smart move of the season and has given Brenda the clue so she can decipher it. Brenda, again proving that my pre-game impression of her was totally off base, figures out the clue and uncovers the idol. NaOnka hides the idol in her sock…which is actually Fabio’s sock. So…maybe the idol is technically his?

NaOnka also threatens to throw Kelly B.’s prosthetic leg into the fire. Jaison Robinson is still bitter that Russell Hantz burned his socks, imagine if Russell had burned his whole leg.

Kelly B. and Alina go looking for the idol on their own. NaOnka knows their search will be fruitless, but decides to mess with them anyways. NaOnka confronts the duo and starts talking trash. Her goal in all of this is apparently to get Kelly B. to quit so she won’t become a member of the jury. She may also be trying to get Kelly B.’s lunch money.

That night we meet up with Espada as they’re having a team meeting. Marty introduces an action item that nominates Tyrone as the team leader at challenges. Shockingly, Jimmy T. has a problem with this.

Quick Aside: Marty’s hair is awesome. It’s like no two hairs go in the same direction.

In a confessional, Jimmy T. tells us how easygoing he is. He then proves how easygoing he is by calling Marty a “preppy, little b—h.”

The following morning we see a very depressing sight as the howler monkeys are calling out…and there’s no Jimmy J. to respond to them. Sad.

Reward and Immunity Challenge: One person from each tribe will be calling out directions while the rest of the tribe is blindfolded. The blindfolded players will have to retrieve 10 items and return them to the tribe’s mat. Once the team has all 10 items, they’ll have to send a pair of blindfolded players out to find a set of keys. Those keys will unlock a chest. First team to unlock their chest and return it to the mat wins immunity and three groups of items from Sears.

Sears: Life. Well Spent.

The Sears items include tools, a tarp, fishing kits, and an XBox 360.

I may have made that last item up.

Medallion of Power Advantage:
If the MoP is used, La Flor will start with two items on their mat. La Flor elects to use the mystical power of the MoP.

Dan will sit out for Espada while the two Kellys will sit out for La Flor. (Aww…that’s one Kelly short of my favorite Woody Boyd song.)

Three “Survivor” points for whoever gets that reference.

Note: “Survivor” points have no cash value.

Brenda will be the caller for La Flor, Tyrone will be the caller for Espada.

True to form with all “Survivor” blindfold challenges, there are some spectacular wipeouts. Fabio and Marty in particular find themselves eating Nicaraguan soil.

The challenge starts off, and La Flor jumps out to a huge lead. Tyrone is getting very frustrated as it seems like Jimmy T. isn’t listening to him. Brenda must be doing something right, because the youngsters retrieve all of their items well ahead of Espada. After that, Chase and Sash seem to have little trouble retrieving the keys and their tribe’s chest. La Flor wins immunity and reward. They choose the fishing gear, a tarp, and kitchen supplies.

During the post-game wrap up, Jimmy T. again complains about not being used enough in the challenges. How Tyrone doesn’t stand up and smack him upside the head, I’ll never know.

Back at La Flor, Chase discovers a hidden immunity clue in the tackle box. He decides to share it with Brenda because he trusts her. She obviously trusts him so much that he has no clue that it has already been found. She eventually fesses up and tells Chase that NaOnka has the idol.

Politicking around Espada centers around Jimmy T. vs. Dan. Holly, Tyrone, and Jane both want Dan to go home. They like him, but worry that he’s a weak link in challenges. Jill wants Dan to go home too, but Marty argues that Dan is their swing vote.

Meanwhile, Jimmy T. is making the case that he isn’t getting enough play in the immunity challenges…again. Yve humors him but lets us know that she wouldn’t coddle her kids as much as she just coddled Jimmy T. Oh…mom burn!

That night at Tribal Council, Tyrone tells JPro that he thinks their immunity challenge plan worked out well. Probst immediately calls him on this.  Oh…3-time Emmy-winning host burn!

Dan tells us that his knee won’t allow him to perform in the mud. Probst points out that they’re currently in a rainforest. Man, JPro is on fire tonight.

Jimmy T. argues that the tribe should mix things up. Shockingly, his idea of mixing it up involves putting him in charge of an immunity challenge. Marty tells Probst that he isn’t interested in having Jimmy T. lead a challenge.

Holly actually has Jimmy T.’s back and thinks he deserves a chance. Too bad Holly hasn’t been super high on this season’s sanity scale.

Probst asks Jimmy T. if he’s willing to take a non-leadership role. Jimmy T. looks like he’s about to cry, but eventually agrees to fall in line.

Voting Time: Holly votes for Dan (and apologizes for sinking his shoes), Dan votes for Jimmy T., Jimmy T. votes for Dan, Marty votes for Jimmy T., and the rest of the votes are lost to the magic of editing.

Probsty does his tallying thing and returns. Three votes for Dan, four votes for Jimmy T., and the fourth person voted out of “Survivor: Nicaragua” is…Jimmy T.

Verdict: OK, Jimmy T. got onto the show by winning the Sears Put Me on “Survivor” Contest (that’s probably not the official name). So obviously, he’s got to be a big fan of the show. That being said, how did he not know his annoying ways were going to lead to a quick dismissal? And while we’re on this topic, Jimmy T. won that contest because he got his entire town to vote for him. So, he must be a popular guy. Why didn’t that translate into “Survivor”? Or, is it possible his town voted for him because they knew it would get him out of town for a few months?

As far as the show goes, this episode was pretty dull. The “Hurricane NaOnka” we were promised in the preview was barely a tropical depression. And are we ever going to see separate reward challenges again?

Who’s Going to Win?
Brenda’s a machine. She has a strong alliance, she has NaOnka and Chase’s full trust, she can decipher immunity clues, she led La Flor to an immunity victory, she looks awesome in a yellow bikini…

Power Rankings Results: Coach and Randy Bailey win another round. They had Jimmy T. in spot sixteen while I had him in spot fifteen. The current score is now Team Dragon Slayer 46, Team Truth Seeker 37.

Follow me on Twitter for breaking “Survivor” news: @gordonholmes

What Do You Think? Would you have voted for Dan or Jimmy T.? Has NaOnka gone too far with her bullying? What affect do you think next week’s tribe swap will have on the game?

%d bloggers like this: