Corinne Kaplan: “I just want the money”

Corinne Kaplan is smart, articulate, occasionally funny, and unapologetically awful. When we talked, she was pretty much already angry at everything: Africa (she said it looked just like Florida, where she grew up and went to school), the production (because they didn’t fly her first class), and her accommodations (she got food poisoning the day before, and complained about her bed). She said things like “I get irritated very easily” and “I’m not into people, especially strangers.”

Why, then, is she even there? Casting producers recruited her and convinced her to be on the show, rather than the other way around, and she said that “is important to know, because I never would have auditioned. I am not a fan of the show, being that I’m not a fan of reality TV in general. See, I’m totally prissy, [this is] not something you would normally find me doing.” She actually actively fought the casting producers, saying she had a much better chance of winning The Bachelor. But one thing convinced her to do this show: the money.

She kept returning to the idea of being there for the money but never said why she wanted it, and when I pressed her, she just said, “I want it to have more money.” Later, she finally elaborated: “I would do a lot of random things I can’t do now. Like, I would have loved to have gotten laser hair removal on my entire body before this, but I couldn’t. Things like that. Just like whatever; stupid things in life that are too expensive.”

Despite being there only for the cash, she recognizes that winning won’t change her life. “I would still have to work, because let’s face it, after taxes, it’s not a million.” And she said “not one penny of it will be going to any kind of charitable organization, that’s for sure.”

As someone who’s never watched the show until she was cast, Corinne cited Parvati (surprise!) as her role model. “That’s exactly the kind of game I would play,” she said. Her strategy also consists of “play[ing] the role of somebody that’s entertaining. … It’s going to be really boring out there, so I think somebody who lightens the mood is really good.” She says she’ll be empathetic towards others, although, hysterically, she struggled to come up with the word: “you’re empaz-, em, em, empa, why can’t, empathy, like…”

She also plans “to be good at challenges so I’m an asset to the team so people will want to keep me. And I’m going to try and not have my behavior be very irritating. … I think I’m fairly likable. My only downfall is that I’m just mean by nature.” Somewhat surprisingly, she actually prepared for the physical parts of the game. “I did all kinds of training–I hiked with weighted backpacks,” she said, although she also admitted she’s never spent a single night in her life sleeping outside.

If it’s not already obvious, she plans to get rid of the nice people first. “I would vote them off because they get along with everybody because they’re really nice and pleasant to be around. Those are threats,” she said. She’s not worried how she’ll be perceived or about her behavior. “Nobody gives a shit about reality show stars anyway, and if all of America hates me, that’s just idiotic,” she said. “If I win a million because I’m a total bitch, then you should applaud that.

Corrinne is funny, saying that keeping track of her lies “without alcohol, I don’t see why that’d be a problem,” and revealing that she initially intended to pretend that she was an Alaskan crab rights activist who planned to use the money to make a documentary that was the opposite of Deadliest Catch called “Fuck You Fishermen.”

At one point, Corinne insisted, “I have no moral compass.” The most damning illustration has to do with her (now former) job as a pharmaceutical sales rep, where she said she knowingly sold drugs to physicicans that she knew would kill people. “Selling drugs is a lie. I sold drugs that I knew damn well–I sold Vioxx for Merck before it got taken off the market for killing people. I knew damn well it was dangerous; I went around telling them to write it. There’s a lot of serious lying I’ve done in my life,” she said.

That’s okay, Corinne told me, because “I’m doing a job. For me, in that case, Merck told me to go out and sell drug even though I had hesitation about it. It’s not for me to say. … Don’t listen to me. Read your fucking journals. Why the fuck are you listening to your rep? Just because I’m pretty? You think I know more about the drug? No.”

Likewise, for Corinne, being on Survivor Gabon “is work; I’m trying to make a million dollars. It really doesn’t matter. I hope everyone gets injured; I don’t care. Just not me.”

Hear Corinne talk about wanting the money, the type of person she is, her problems with production, and selling a drug she knew would kill people:

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.