‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Katrina Interview; ‘I Knew I Was Going Home’

“Survivor” is back on Global! Each week ET Canada will be interviewing the latest castaway voted off the island.

It’s every “Survivor” player’s worst nightmare. The dreaded first boot. You apply for the show, sometimes waiting years to hear a callback, then spend months going through the arduous casting process, numerous interviews and medical exams, and finally fly out to a tropical island to begin what is hopefully a 39-day adventure. Then just like that, your torch is snuffed before you’ve even had time to introduce yourself.

That was the fate that befell Katrina Radke who became the first castaway voted out of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers” last night. Divided into three tribes based on the positive traits most commonly associated with them by others, Katrina, a former Olympic swimmer, was placed on the Heroes tribe. On paper, the Heroes tribe, which also includes an NFL player and an ex-Marine, looked to be a strong group and a force to be reckoned with in the challenges. But at camp, the tribe was fraught with in-fighting and paranoia based around Hidden Immunity Idol suspicions and potential power couples.

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Katrina, for her part, was absent for most of the chaos, in fact, the Minnesota native was absent for the majority of the episode. Even though being the first eliminated is a cursed position, the person leaving on Day 3 usually has a significant portion of the premiere dedicated to their story and downfall. That wasn’t the case for Katrina, who never got to tell her side of the narrative, even “Survivor: Palau”‘s first boot Wanda Shirk had a more memorable exit. All we learned about Katrina was that she was on the outs of the tribe alongside Chrissy for being the older women on the tribe.

After the Heroes tribe lost the first Immunity Challenge of the season, Katrina’s head was firmly on the chopping block, but it seemed like she had options. Alan’s paranoia about potential power couple Ashley and JP and their phantom idol was painting a target on not only their back but his own. Then, her fellow “Mom Squad” member Chrissy was gifted a Super Idol from Ryan on the Hustlers tribe, and it appeared the Olympian was offered a hail mary. Unfortunately, when it came to Tribal Council, despite the flying accusations, the entire tribe wrote down Katrina’s name, sending her home in a 5-1 vote.

It was an episode of muddled alliances and misdirection, as not even Katrina’s supposed ally Chrissy voted alongside her nor did she play the idol on her behalf. ET Canada caught up with Katrina to get her thoughts on what happened, her pre-game preparation, whether she has contempt for Chrissy not playing her idol, and if she would have done anything differently.

What was it like being at home watching the episode playback?

We had a big party here in Excelsior, Minnesota and if you really want to know the truth I was most concerned about the fact we had 150 people showing up to a room that only held 100, so I was really worried about the fire code [laughs]. So that was the biggest thing going through my mind. And I really wanted to make sure the audio worked, so just things like that were more of a concern than the actual show at the moment. Then when the show came on it was obviously fun to hear the music and see what they show. There’s so much footage that goes on, and so in my head, I knew certain things, and I was curious if they’d show or not and obviously there’s so much that’s not seen, but it’s interesting. I’m sure they have so much they have to try and squeeze in.

What was your favorite moment being out there?

My favorite moment was just honestly being at our tribe, sat on the ocean; I loved the scene, I loved the view, I loved the smell of the ocean, the waves, the wind. All of it.

What do you think was your downfall in the end?

I don’t really think I had a big downfall. I was being myself and was with a bunch of people who weren’t willing to be themselves, and so it’s pretty hard to fit in. I feel good with how I played. I don’t feel I would go back and like change anything specifically that would really stand out.

How did you prepare for the show?

I watched videos on how to start fire and did that. I watched videos on how to cut up bamboo to make it more springy for like a mattress type feeling, which is not really a mattress, but you know. Then we have a little hill in our backyard that leads down to the lake, and I ran up that a lot just to get my glutes in shape. And I started doing a little bit more running than I normally would do. But I’m in very good physical shape, so I wasn’t too worried about all that. I did watch [previous] seasons… I’ve watched enough seasons. I think it’s easy to strategise ahead of time, but in the end, I think the biggest thing is just being able to be present and in the flow of things because obviously they throw so many twists and turns at you that you never know what’s going to happen.

Before tribal council, it seemed like the vote was up in the air, but in the end, the vote came back 5-1 against yourself. Were you expecting that result?

Oh yeah, I knew I was going home. The day before [tribal council] I had this confessional, and this was before we even lost the challenge and I said ‘I’m going home tomorrow’. It was almost like a voice spoke to me. And I was so calm about it, and yet my ego really wanted to win the game. It was kind of a weird thing to even describe but I think I had a higher knowing about it all. And ironically we lose the challenge and I just sort of knew that I was going to be going home. I feel like I really had a higher calling and purpose to be there in Fiji, on “Survivor”. Not just so much for the “Survivor” game itself but the post-game with the people that come off was actually really awe-inspiring to be part of that and helping them feel good with who they are regardless of their outcome because some people get really upset by it.

Did you know Chrissy had the idol? And do you hold any contempt towards her for not playing it on you?

No, I have no contempt for her, she’s doing what she thought she needed for herself. We didn’t really have an alliance like it showed, so no I would not have expected her to play it for me. If she was my best buddy for twenty days and all of a sudden she didn’t [play the idol], then I’d be mad yeah [laughs].

How did you try to connect with the other tribemates and did you make stronger bonds than what we maybe saw?

Oh gosh yes. I had connections with each person individually and had some good conversations with each of them. And at some point, I had talked to each of them about working together. You know, when you’re only in the game for three days so much is still not even created, and some people were just not ready to really go into all of that, they really just wanted to wait and feel. And so, you know, I was hopeful I was going to have one or two people that I could work with right away, but I felt like the people I was really connected to pre-game were not in my tribe. So I thought ‘oh gosh who am I actually going to pick here to work with’.

Alan approached you about potentially voting out Ashley because he was paranoid about her and JP having an idol. Where did the paranoia come from? And was there other idol talk at camp?

I don’t know where [Alan’s] paranoia came from on that. And idol talk at camp… JP and I at one point we were out looking for the idol together. But no I don’t think there was really much talk about the idol, I know Chrissy at one point she kind of poo-pooed the whole idea of even looking for the idol, like as if we don’t really need idols in the game. Ironically she ends up getting one later.

And how would you have done things differently, if at all?

I don’t really know if I would have done anything much differently. I think things could have been so different. Let’s go back and play the same exact game with the same exact people and it could be a different outcome. You know, because we were all working and things were flipping around. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of tape or whatever that’s not seen of all the times people did try to work together to try and figure out who might be going home.

“Survivor” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Global.

With files from Tyler Ward.

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