[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched the premiere of Survivor: Worlds Apart.]
Someone’s got to be the first to go. But the pain cut extra deep for the person voted out of Survivor: Worlds Apart because she had also been kicked out of Survivor: San Juan del Sur…before that season even began! Of course, So Kim can only blame herself for this time after that ridiculous “Neutral” lie she fed the rest of her White Collar tribe. We caught with the ousted contestant to find out how it all went wrong, and she told us all about the things we didn’t see on TV.
EW: It’s got to be hard because Jeff Probst is always saying how you have to play big to win this game, but a lot of times when you do that you get voted out early as well.
SO KIM: That’s true. And what you can’t expect is the people that you are playing with, and I had some of the savviest players that have probably ever been cast, so that’s what I was up against. So I tried to play big, and unfortunately it just didn’t work out in my case.
Let’s go back to that fateful moment where you and Joaquin had this choice to either be honest and bring back a big back of beans to your tribe, or to deceive and bring back a small bag, but get a clue to the location of the hidden immunity idol.
You’re forgetting, there was a neutral choice as well.
Ah, of course, the neutral choice! We’ll get to that in a minute, but you seemed a bit hesitant to go for the clue and that Joaquin was really pushing for it.
Absolutely. You can tell I was hesitant, but it was edited and I was actually much more hesitant. I actually tried to convince him for a little while that that wasn’t the best choice. And I hemmed and hawed. And what I didn’t realize at that moment just five minutes into the game is that Joaquin didn’t really understand the game. I knew the game much better than him and I really should have gone with my gut. That’s one of the things Jeff always says—listen to your instincts. You’ll fail when you don’t. And my instincts at that moment told me it wasn’t the right move. It was too early in the game. But you get out there and you’re so excited and want to make these big decisions and there’s an idol out there for you. My impulses took over.
Who came up with that absolute terrible lie about you all selecting a neutral option because you were worried you would be penalized for taking the honest option, which makes absolutely zero sense whatsoever?
I wish I didn’t have to own up to it, but it was me. It comes across as a pretty, pretty lame lie—I’ll own up to that fully. But you’re in that moment and have to come up with something, and the only thing we could come up with in thirty seconds was neutral. That’s all I could come up with in that moment.
Your other option would have been to agree with Joaquin to go for the clue, but then sell him out and tell everyone the truth once you got back to camp and said he insisted on it.
You’re right, I could have. What they also didn’t show was Joaquin and I talking about it many, many times. And what I realized about him was by the time we had committed to this lie, he didn’t understand the game and I knew he would be in my pocket and have my back no matter what. What they also don’t show is I also thought I had a very strong alliance with Shirin—or Shayleen, as I called her multiple times. I actually thought the three of us were going to work very well together. I actually told Shirin about the clue, so you don’t see any of that. It wasn’t like we came back and didn’t tell anyone about it and just got caught. We actually choose to tell a couple of people about it. That just didn’t get shown on the episode.
Why so aggressive about trying to get rid of Carolyn instead of seeing what the rest of the tribe was thinking?
I knew that the three girls were going to be on the outs. If we lost that first challenge, we knew that it was going to be one of the girls. And the three guys brought up that they wanted to be a in a four-person alliance with me and the three gentlemen. So Shirin seemed to be on the outs but I had promised Shirin I would work with her. I placated her a lot. I kept telling her we had her back. So it was really more of me being loyal to her for my alliance—or what I thought was my alliance with her. But after she did not do well in the challenge there was a lot of paranoia and things started to switch up after that.
Did you know Carolyn had found the idol?
I had no idea. I was completely shocked. We assumed she wasn’t looking for the idol at all so she must have found it fairly quickly and at a point when we had not looked as hard as we thought. So yes, that was a complete surprise and Tyler was the only person who knew going into Tribal.
I was out there for last season and when I get to Nicaragua they showed me who the contestants were going to be, but then when it came time for the interview day you were gone due to a medical issue with your sister, I believe. What was it like having to go home before the game even started then, but then get back on for season 30?
What an unfortunate situation. Yes, I was out there for season 29 with my sister. We were getting ready to play, we were in pre-game, and unfortunately something happened with Doo. She had to take care of something back home and there was nothing we could do so we had to get pulled. She’s fine now and I was fortunate enough to be asked back for season 30, and come back. I have to think I’m probably the unluckiest player to have ever been on Survivor because Francesca may have been voted out twice first, but I played back-to-back and on average played one-and-a-half-days! So I’m sitting here going, “Is this for real? Is this a joke?” So Survivor has been a very surreal experience for me. I think I would have done well on season 29. It is what it is. It was a great experience.
To see an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode, click on the video player below. Also make sure to check out Dalton’s recap for the premiere, as well as our weekly Q&A with Jeff Probst. And for more ‘Survivor’ scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.