Posts Tagged ‘nina poersch’

‘Survivor’ Castaway Nina: “I Don’t Use My Hearing as a Crutch”

March 12, 2015

"Survivor: Worlds Apart" (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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“I think Nina is overwhelmed and it doesn’t have anything to do with her hearing. She’s quite capable and a strong woman. I think sometimes you get out here and it becomes too real and you realize you’re not going home. I’m going to be eating bugs and sleeping with snakes. I think Nina probably already wants to go home.” – Jeff Probst

Well, Jeff was right that Nina would be an early exit, but she definitely didn’t want to go home.

I spoke with the latest castaway and asked about Probst’s assessment, how her disability affected her tribe life, whether or not Hali and Jenn were acting like bullies, and Joe’s odd challenge strategy…

Watch Every Episode of “Survivor: Worlds Apart”

Gordon Holmes: Do you think you would’ve done better if you were a bigger St. Louis Cardinals fan?
Nina Poersch: (Laughs) I don’t think so, Gordon. Believe me, I have already caught flak for that.
Holmes: Well, that was just a little more flak for you.

Holmes: OK, how did the Cochlear Implant perform out there?
Poersch: It performed very well. It performed as well out there as it does in my real life. Anyone who has it is going to have a little bit harder time communicating because it’s not 100% the same as normal hearing.
Holmes: Were Hali and Jenn being bullies?
Poersch: I’m not sure I’d say “bullies,” I don’t know. I think for both of them they really didn’t know how to react to someone who had a disability. Coupled with the fact that I’m thirty years older than them and maybe they couldn’t get that out of their head. Including me would be like including their mothers. When I was out there I didn’t feel like I was being bullied, I just felt like they were being mean. Not understanding. When you’re young and you haven’t dealt with someone with a disability, I guess it was tough for them.
Holmes: Jenn said last night, “We get it, you’re deaf…stop using it as an excuse.”
Poersch: I don’t use my hearing as a crutch. I’ve never, ever once told any of them I can’t do something because I can’t hear. All I did was ask them to look at me when they talk so I can hear them and watch their lips. And a lot of them struggled with that. And that gameplay is what you do when you get to the individual game. In the beginning it’s a tribe. You need to have everybody feel like they’re an important member of the tribe. That’s how you win challenges. You start making someone feel like an outsider? The emotions start to take a toll. It’s tough to be out there and think nobody wants to keep you around.

Holmes: It seemed like you, Will, and Vince had a solid plan to have the kids split the vote. Then it looked like Will flipped when he learned that Vince was worried about his challenge abilities.
Poersch: Vince asked me to talk to Will about it.  We had a long conversation. There was a lot that wasn’t shown. When it got to talking about his health and stuff, it got to a level where I was trying to be a friend. “Will, you need to not look like you’re struggling and don’t talk about being exhausted so much.” And the reason I talked to him about it is because he was in my alliance and I needed him in my alliance. I didn’t want Will to be voted out. In a way I was nervous that Vince might vote him out.
Holmes: Did you ever go to Joe, Hali, and Jenn after that vote and tell them how close they’d come to having Will betray them?
Poersch: Yeah. I did. I told them straight out that I would be much more loyal than Will. And as far as the physical part, I could swim better than Will and felt like I was stronger. I just felt like I had a better chance at helping them win challenges than Will along with the loyalty part.

Holmes: Jeff Probst didn’t think you’d do well with the elements out there. Was he right?
Poersch: I was having no problem with the elements. I’m not sure where he got that from. I’m an avid hiker. I go out all the time. I run, at one point in my life we had 30 tarantulas living in my house. I had friends that didn’t want to come over. I’m into all those creepy crawly things. We had snakes, scorpions, lizards, which is why I wouldn’t eat the lizard. I don’t eat my pets. If there’d been a gross food challenge I would’ve eaten a lizard. So no, the elements don’t bother me at all.

Holmes: Tell me about Joe’s challenge plan last night.
Poersch: When we first got on the beach, Joe asked me if I would be able to do the challenges. He was like, “You can’t hear. What if we have a calling challenge?” And I said, “Joe, I’ll be the caller.” And he said, “What if we’re yelling and you can’t hear us?” I said, “Joe, I can do that challenge. I have every confidence.” So, right off the bat he planted the seed that he was holding it against me.
Holmes: How did he pitch the strategy to have you basically not do anything?
Poersch: He looked at what we were going to do and he said, “Nina, we’ll put water in the bucket and you wait for us to come. You’re going to help us lift the bucket over.” And when they got to me and we had hardly any water, I knew I needed to help plug holes. When I said, “Let me help.” Him and Jenn were like, “No, no. Just go.” If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t even listen to them. I’d plug holes.

Holmes: Let’s do some word association. We’ll start with Vince.
Poersch: Loving.
Holmes: Will?
Poersch: Nurturing.
Holmes: Joe?
Poersch: Cocky.
Holmes: Jenn?
Poersch: Loud.
Holmes: Hali?
Poersch: Neutral. Because she was really hard for me to figure out.

Holmes:  Have you heard from people in the hearing impaired community who were inspired by your time on the show?
Poersch: I have so many stories. They’re inspired and they’re going to go out and do things that they didn’t think they could do or they were afraid to do. Watching me on TV has made them want to do it. I had one dad tell me that his nine-year-old daughter has always wanted to do “Survivor.” And after she saw me on TV she said, “I can do ‘Survivor!’” I don’t think you should let anything hold you back. And one of the things I took away from the experience is I don’t care what other people think about me. This is who I am.
Holmes: So, no matter how much I try to pressure you into being a Cardinals fan, it’s not going to happen.
Poersch: (Laughs) I’m not a baseball fan, but if I had to pick my favorite baseball team it would definitely be the Cardinals.
Holmes: I’ll take it!
Poersch: (Laughs)

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

‘Survivor’ No Collar Nina – “Sometimes You Have to Destroy Relationships to Win”

February 16, 2015

'Survivor: Worlds Apart' (CBS)

NOTE: is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Worlds Apart” scoop! I delved deep into the Nicaraguan wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of stuff including behind-the-scenes tidbits, pre-game interviews with the cast, insights from “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, a look at the first Tribal Council, and much more. I’ll be cranking out this goodness daily in the weeks leading up to the premiere, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.

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Name: Nina Poersch
Age: 51
Current Residence: Palmdale, California
Occupation: Hearing Advocate

Gordon Holmes: You are a huge “Survivor” fan.
Nina Poersch: Huge! I used to have “Survivor” parties with my girlfriends. You bring a dish, but it has to be rice. And her dish has to be beans.
Holmes: What’s it like to sit on a beach in Nicaragua in the days before the game?
Poersch: It’s very exciting…very surreal. I still don’t believe it. I think I’ll believe it for real as soon as I get out there and start playing. But, I’ve watched every season since the first, but don’t ask me a lot of questions about it, because I can’t remember.
Holmes: I won’t, I don’t have that kind of memory either.

Holmes: And you used to live in St. Louis.
Poersch: Yes.
Holmes: But you’re not a Cardinals fan.
Poersch: I should be, but I can’t watch baseball. It’s so boring.
Holmes: Booo…
Poersch: It’s like, is someone ever going to hit the ball and not catch it?
Holmes: This interview is not going well.
Poersch: (Laughs)
Holmes: And you’re into violent, full-contact rugby.
Poersch: I know. Rugby is an awesome sport. It never has timeout. It just goes and it never stops.

Holmes: You’re hearing impaired.
Poersch: I’m deaf. I have a Cochlear Implant, so I wear these little things on my ears and they’re speech processors. They have little microphones. Your sound goes in the microphone, travels up this cord, the magnet attaches to my head that communicates with the computer chip that’s inside my head. And there’s an electrode that goes into your cochlea and that’s what shoots off all of the…I don’t know what they’re called…
Holmes: You were doing an awesome job up until there.
Poersch: (Laughs) Well, it shoots off all of that stuff so I can hear.
Holmes: That’s amazing. I read your bio last night.  I knew there was a deaf person in this cast. I picked you up at the holding tent. We talked the whole way over here. And just now I’m realizing you’re the player with the Cochlear Implant. How long have you been deaf?
Poersch: I didn’t lose my hearing until seven years ago. That’s why my speech is fine. I was only deaf for six months before I got the implant.
Holmes: And what made you lose your hearing?
Poersch: They really don’t know. They call it unexplainable hearing loss. Nobody in my family has lost their hearing. I personally think it was from taking too many over-the-counter pain meds. There was a study that came out that said prolonged use of over-the-counter pain meds in your twenties, by the time you’re  in your forties you have a 90-something-percent chance of losing your hearing. And that was me, I had rebound headaches, which no doctor ever told me that‘s what it was. But I was taking over-the-counter pain meds at least five days a week and more than two a day. So, when I run across young people, I try to educate them. Because losing your hearing is not something you want to go through.
Holmes: Can you take the Cochlear Implant into the game?
Poersch: Yes. I talked to the doctor that’s going to be seeing us before the challenges. And we’ve worked out a thing for me in case I have water challenges or anything like that. These are running off of disposable batteries, and then I have a little container that takes the moisture out of my processor at night. I take them off at night and stick them in there. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to play.
Holmes: There was a deaf contestant in “Amazon.”
Poersch: I can’t read lips. So, the only way I can understand people is to hear them.
Holmes: Are you going to let your tribemates know?
Poersch: Yes, I have to. It’s so hot I’m going to have to wear my hair in a ponytail. They’re going to see this. Before challenges, they just came up with this rubber sleeve, so it can be submerged completely in the water. So, I have to put that on. And really, it’s just too hard to hide so I might as well tell them.
Holmes: Are there any issues when many people talk at the same time?
Poersch: Yes, it’s difficult for me to hear.

Holmes: As far as the game goes, do you have any issues lying?
Poersch: I’m ready to lie. My mom said to me, “You’re going to have to lie and stuff, just don’t be nasty about it. Don’t be a nasty person.” I know I’ll have to lie, that’s not my nature. But, I want to win that million dollars. It’s lying, but really it’s gameplay. When you play poker you don’t show your hand. It’s going to be tough because people build relationships. Sometimes you have to destroy relationships to win the game. Hopefully those people will realize it’s just a game. If somebody did it to me, I would say, “It’s just a game. You got me.”

Holmes: Do the kids know about mom’s big adventure?
Poersch: They do. My older son is excited, he said, “Whatever you do, don’t let anyone beat you down.”
Holmes: What show does he think you’re going on that allows beatdowns?
Poersch: (Laughs) Verbally.
Holmes: That does happen.
Poersch: He knows me, I’m kindhearted. So, I have to make sure I have that tough skin. I was bullied as a young person. You grew up in St. Louis.
Holmes: Oh, I was definitely bullied in St. Louis.
Poersch: If you’re different than anyone else, then people made fun of you. But, I’ve always stood up for myself. I see myself being tough out there. Whether or not that happens, we’ll have to wait and see.

Holmes: Any first impressions of these folks?
Poersch: They all look like they’re probably nice. There’s one person I’m not too sure about. I don’t think I’d get along with her, but she’s a lot younger than me. So, we wouldn’t have a whole lot in common. I’ve been trying to guess what they do for a living. There might be someone who might be in the military. Just the way he carries himself. There was one guy who laid on the table and took up the entire table so nobody could sit at it. I hope he’s not on my tribe. There are some eccentric people, and those are the kinds I love. I love people who are different. The cast seems a little young. That seems a little intimidating. Hopefully they won’t do a lot of asking ages. I’m not going to lie about it.
Holmes: Doesn’t seem worth it.
Poersch: Right.
Holmes: Some lies are worth it.
Poersch: Exactly. But then I’d have to lie about how old my kids are. It’d be too much to keep track of. If I say my kid is thirty and I’ve already said I’m forty, they’ll be like. “What?!”
Holmes: I was a preteen mom.
Poersch: (Laughs) I had him when I was ten! The problem with all these young kids is that I am kind of bossy.
Holmes: That doesn’t play well.
Poersch: Yeah, and I do like things done a certain way.
Holmes: Can you pull back on that?
Poersch: I’m will probably pull back because that’s the kind of stuff that will get me voted out.

Holmes: Any experience roughing it?
Poersch: Not really. I camped when I was a little kid. But, as a young adult we camped in a tent and I’d only do it for one night because I wanted to take a shower. But, my husband and I hike.  We hike two or three weekends a month. We don’t overnight hike. I’ve hiked the six tallest peaks in Southern California. We’re trying to train for Mount Whitney. We wanted to do that this summer, but I’m here instead.

Holmes: Any worries about sun, lack of food, lack of sleep?
Poersch: It’s going to be mental. I’m not sure how I’ll do with the lack of food other than to deal with it. I looked over the list of things we can eat. Hopefully we’ll have enough coconuts and bananas. I really don’t eat a lot anyway. I’m a little freaked out over the water situation. My granddaughter told me, “You know grandma, you can eat termites.”
Holmes: She’s not wrong.
Poersch: (Laughs) She’s not. But where in the world did she learn that?
Holmes: I’d be proud of her.
Poersch: I am.
Holmes: Have you been practicing making fire?
Poersch: I can totally make fire with flint. It took me maybe two and a half weeks to finally make fire. I made it the day before I left.

Holmes: If you could align with any past Survivor, who would it be?
Poersch: You want to align with the winners because they got to the end, but then you don’t want a winner because you want to win. So, you want a second-place person…oh gosh…I wouldn’t mind aligning with Mike Skupin because I think I can beat him. And I can’t stand people who ride coattails. Like Sandra? I don’t care who you vote out as long as it isn’t me? I hated that. It drove me insane. I know she won twice, but I hated that gameplay. Although…I think if I was out there I’d think, “I don’t care who they vote out as long as it isn’t me.” (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs) Hypocrite!
Poersch: (Laughs) And I hate that gameplay!
Holmes: A winning strategy isn’t necessarily a noble strategy.
Poersch: Right.

Holmes: If there is a twist, what do you think it’ll be?
Poersch: I have no guesses. I’m one of those people that doesn’t think about what a twist might be. I don’t try to figure out the end of a book. I know there’s going to be a twist…it’s season thirty.
Holmes: Maybe…who knows?
Poersch: Maybe there is no twist. Maybe it’s old school “Survivor.”

Holmes: You have a husband at home.
Poersch: I have a husband.
Holmes: Does that take flirting off the table?
Poersch: Flirting is totally not a part of my game at all. I’ve never been a flirt at any part of my life. I’ve been married for 23 years. And, we’re completely happily married. I couldn’t ask for a better husband.
Holmes: Um…he doesn’t watch “Survivor,” so I’d argue that you could ask for a slightly better husband.
Poersch: (Laughs) That’s true. He’ll start watching. But he gets up at four in the morning to go to work, so he doesn’t watch a lot of nighttime TV. But he’ll definitely watch now.
Holmes: He’d better.

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 8 pm ET on CBS.

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