Survivor: Redemption Island castaway Krista Klumpp technically lasted until Episode 6, but many would say her fate was sealed weeks ago when ally (and series villain) Russell Hantz was booted from the game. Despite her close (and ultimately fatal) ties to Russell and her early paranoia about playing with him, Krista says she has no regrets about aligning with one of the competition's most infamous players. The 25-year-old pharmaceutical rep also talked with TVGuide.com about her close bond to Matt Elrod (and the impending drama that came with it), the real reason she thinks she was voted out before Stephanie [Valencia] and the tribe member she thinks already blew their best shot at the grand prize.
Were you confident going into the duel on Redemption Island?
Krista Klumpp: I had a good day and a half on Redemption Island to gather my thoughts and go through a therapy of sorts of getting away from my tribe members who weren't the most pleasant people. Doing that, I was hoping to kind of regroup and redirect my focus on staying in the game. Meeting someone like Matt and all of his substance, listening to him and what he has done to stay strong — I took all that in... Going into the duel, I was focused and I was ready to beat him. It came down to the last second. I was really upset because I felt like I was perfectly capable of going back into the game.
It sounds like Redemption Island helped make your time on Survivor a more positive experience?
Krista: It's like they realized that people going out of the game need a step before they hit the bottom, and it's true. Going to Redemption Island made my experience so much better. One, you saw where I was able to get my luxury item [the Bible]. Two, I got to talk to someone like Matt, who is an amazing person and we had a lot of the same views... Without that, I'd probably still be pretty bitter about how it ended, but at this point, I'm very thankful. I couldn't be happier with how I went out.
Andrea [Boehlke] felt betrayed that you and Matt had bonded and that you gave Matt your Bible. What did you think when you saw her reaction on TV?
Krista: The thing is that I don't know Andrea. I didn't get a chance to meet her so it's hard for me to gauge what her thought process is on that. But just watching it makes sense. She had a connection with Matt. She was aligning with Matt. She felt trust with Matt. She saw the trust and the bond that Matt and I had over our faith and our time at Redemption Island and maybe she's looking at that as, "Maybe he can bond with anyone" or maybe she's thinking that what she felt wasn't accurate. I'm not sure ... I felt that too. It was quite awkward.
Why do you think you were voted out and sent to Redemption Island rather than Stephanie, who some would argue played a bigger role in the challenge loss?
Krista: I think that they could not blame her for that. They looked at her as stepping up to be the leader, and I think they really admired that because I did too... I think maybe when it just came down to it; they just decided to take her over me because she's going to be stronger in challenges. I don't know if they had a rhyme or a reason. They were just tossing the coin up, heads or tails, and it landed on me. They may have other things to say, but I do really think that that's what it happened. It was easy for them.
The biggest change in the game for you came when Russell was voted out. Did you and Stephanie ever have hope that you could join the alliance of six?
Krista: I don't think in that alliance that there was ever an option. Mike [Chiesl] will sit there and try and say I was abrasive and that I didn't try to build trust or start a conversation. I had many conversations — the most boring conversations I've ever had. I can tell you all the stories they told me about their lives, so it's not that I didn't have the conversation or build the trust, Stephanie and I did. We thought, "We've got to show that we're still in the game and we're strong — stronger than some of the others in that six," but it just wasn't a factor to them. They made up their minds. They wanted to stay comfortable and that's what they did.
Why do you think you decided to align with Russell and Stephanie and not the other, bigger alliance on your tribe?
Krista: My worry from the beginning was that Russell is going to be ready to get me out because he's going to see me and think [Survivor: Samoa winner] Natalie [White]. So I was paranoid from the beginning about Russell. I was talking with some of the others about what their thoughts were and what I got from the very beginning was that everyone was excited to have his expertise on our tribe. So I thought, "Well, great. I'm definitely going first." So when Russell came to me, just talking to me and getting to know me, I think he was more on the side of: "This is going to be someone who is like Natalie, which is great because I got to the end with Natalie." So I thought that was wonderful ... Russell aligning with Stephanie and I at the beginning — it wasn't really that big of an alignment at first. It was always game talk, and when I talked to any of the other six, it was just about them and their lives. I felt like there was no strategic talk, but maybe that's just how they were acting towards me. With that, I was fully into the alliance with Stephanie and Russell, and I didn't feel like there were really any other options.
Do you regret aligning with Russell now?
Krista: If I would have been on the other tribe, I feel like I may have reconsidered my alliance with Russell more. But I didn't have that connection with any of those six [on my tribe]. Maybe it was an age thing. Maybe it was their paranoia that they had from the beginning with Russell. I don't regret going with Russell. I got to play the game with one of the best ... We three were all very strong and strategic. It was a strong alliance. It was a good alliance. If Julie [Wolfe] would have made her decision in the beginning and found the courage to stand up and vote with us, I really believe we would have all made it to the end and Julie probably would have won.