Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water kicked things off with a blindside on Wednesday's premiere, when Nadiya Anderson — one half ofAmazing Race alums The Twinnies — was unexpectedly ousted by her tribe.
Along with her twin sister Natalie, Nadiya competed on The Amazing Racetwice. In Season 21, the love-'em-or-hate-'em Sri Lankan pair came in 4th place, and in the 2014 All-Star season they were the first team to go home.
With Nadiya's tribemates aware of her (at times ruthless) approach to reality competitions, they decided to eliminate her as a threat at the first chance they got.
"It was just such a shock to me that this Amazing Race stuff haunted me so much," Nadiya tells TVGuide.com. "I got eliminated for something that had nothing to do with Survivor, and that sucks."
Read our full Q&A with Nadiya to get her take on the "bromance" that formed almost immediately at their camp, and how Natalie will react upon learning that her sister was the first person voted off the island.
So, how shocked were you at that Tribal Council?
Nadiya: Totally shocked. I had no idea. If I had any idea, I would have probably pulled something out to [try to] stay. Because there's plenty of reasons I could have come up with that I needed to be there. But I just didn't think so early on people would be scheming. And especially on a losing tribe, when it's obvious you want to keep strong players around. When I was sitting at Tribal Council next to Jaclyn and Baylor, I thought I was pretty safe at that point.
Can you take a little comfort in the fact that the other tribe members voted you out only because they saw you as a threat?
Nadiya: That's comforting in the fact that at least I don't suck, and at least I'm not a frail bitch. But what sucks is that it was totally out of my control. Being on Amazing Race kind of sealed my fate on being [the sole] Survivor, something that I just had no control of. So, that sucked. It's good because at least they recognized that I'm a strong player. But it sucks that I couldn't do anything about it.
Going forward, how difficult of a time does Natalie have without you?
Nadiya: The emotions will be totally mixed for Natalie. First she's going to feel guilty that I'm not there and she's still in the game. So there's the guilt factor that, you know, we came out here to do this together and then I'm not there. Then she's going to kind of feel like, f---, everybody else has a freakin' loved one out here and Natalie's out there solo-dolo, riding it out with all these other couples. And then she's going to get really mad. I know she's going to be crazy and so upset at my tribe for eliminating me, and she's going to need someone to target this anger to. Coyopa's going to get Natalie's rage. So, I know it's going to be a huge roller coaster of emotions for Natalie. I felt super guilty about leaving her. ... We are known as the Twinnies and now Twinnies became just twin, singular. Natalie's going to be so freakin' pissed off that I'm not there.
You talked a little bit at Tribal Council about how different Survivor was from The Amazing Race. Can you explain more?
Nadiya: It's really hard to compare, because people think, oh, it's a competition game for a million dollars, and somebody gets eliminated every episode. But other than that, there's absolutely no similarities. With Amazing Race, me and Natalie, our first season we were able to just race, and you don't really have to give two sh--- about what anybody else is doing or how anybody else feels about you, and Survivor is totally the opposite. It's more important what other people think about you than almost your own game. It's crazy. And then on top of that, the elements, and the fact that Amazing Raceis a partner game. No matter what me and Natalie were going through, we had each other to talk sh-- about people, to laugh and be sad and everything together. That was the biggest difference for me going in, was not having Natalie around.
Jeff Probst said he had no idea who you guys were when you got cast. Did you get a sense that some of the other players knew you fromAmazing Race? Did you try to hide your experience?
Nadiya: We totally were trying to hide it from the start. All our pregame interviews, we were not trying to bring up Amazing Race, because we stand out anyway. We're two brown girls and we're twins. It's not like we're low-key people anyway. We didn't need Amazing Race talk hovering around camp. And then once we were kind of outed for being on Amazing Race, yeah, people came up to me.
How did you get outed?
Nadiya: Dale actually told me he's a superfan of Amazing Race and he had applied to be on Amazing Race. There were some fans and then obviously Dale talked to everybody else. He's obviously jealous that he didn't get onAmazing Race. He was being a total hater, and the young kids are so gullible and they're so easily influenced that it worked.
What was your strategy going into Survivor? Were you going to rely on a social game or your strength in challenges to make it to the end?
Nadiya: Going in, I knew in terms of physical strength I was going to be light years ahead of all the other girls. On camp the first couple of days, Val was not there, but compared to Baylor and Jaclyn, I was so much better as a player on camp that I didn't really have to work on being a better physical player. That just came naturally. But what I wanted to go in doing was align with a couple guys and a couple girls. But then what happened was, it became such a bromance on camp. Once Dale made fire and once Wes andAlec knew about John being a Major League Baseball player, it was literally like a fraternity on camp. So we had to go with this all-girl alliance, which I needed Josh for for a numbers game, which is where the whole "Josh being one of the girls" [started] — not that he is a girl, but he's on the girl alliance. So, things changed. I didn't want an all-girl alliance because sometimes it's tricky, but that's the route we had to go because it was such a bromance around camp.
Have you gotten some backlash for your comments about Josh being "one of the girls"?
Nadiya: I'm getting so much feedback about the whole gay thing and the whole girlfriend thing. It's crazy to me. It didn't really affect me directly, because Josh ended up voting for Baylor. ... Obviously if I knew Josh felt some type of way about being categorized into a girls alliance, then I wouldn't have done it, but the relationship me and Josh had was totally different than the relationship that he had with the boys. When he was with me, we were totally besties and, like, girlfriends. I was like, "Hey, boo!" Obviously I'm not homophobic and it's weird to me that people are like, "Oh my God, you're so homophobic because you called a gay guy a girl." That's crazy to me.
If you and Natalie had both made it to the merge, do you think you would have been able to vote her out if you needed to? Had you discussed this beforehand?
Nadiya: If I had made it to merge and if Natalie would have been there for me, I feel like we would have been such a threat together as the Twinnies that we would have had to make a decision about one of us maybe sacrificing ourselves for the other one to go further. But we had not discussed about, "Oh, Natalie, I would vote you off" or Natalie saying, "Nadiya, I would vote you off." We were going to just ride it out and see what would happen. If push came to shove, obviously we would do it because we know it's a game, and obviously we get over things really fast. But even if Natalie would have blindsided me or I had blindsided her, we wouldn't hold grudges. But we had not talked about it.
You told us earlier this year that you and Natalie had planned to start a Crossfit gym in Sri Lanka. Is that still happening?
Nadiya: We were actually going to go this year, but we put it on hold because of Survivor. We were like, oh my God, let's win the money, then we'll go do this Crossfit thing. Everybody has to go to the finale in December obviously, but we're going ahead and starting the Crossfit anyway. Regardless of what happens on Survivor, we're going to be starting it in January in Sri Lanka. We're going back home.
Maybe Natalie will have a million dollars to put towards it?
Nadiya: Fingers crossed!
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS.
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