NaOnka reveals real-life impact of her actions; Kelly says why they didn’t quit immediately

Survivor Nicaragua‘s quitters got even more attention as they did the rounds with the media yesterday, though their interviews provide some insight into the quitting-focused episode and its aftermath. NaOnka Mixon says her behavior hasn’t affected her real life, while Kelly Shinn basically admits that producers wouldn’t let the two women just leave the game when they announced they wanted to quit.

First, NaOnka seemed like a different person at Ponderosa, and in her interview with Fancast, she is remarkably self-aware, saying she got a fair edit: “Seeing how I played the game, I think I was portrayed pretty fair. Pretty fair. I was a (expletive deleted). I had no certain way of how I was going to play the game, I had no idea that I was going to be such a (expletive deleted). I’m not like that in real life, but I think it was pretty fair.”

(Tangent: The way some media organizations delete expletives to protect us from words is so insulting. If someone says a word in an interview with a journalist that’s worthy of publishing, the word is worthy of including so we know what the frack they said.)

NaOnka says that her behavior hasn’t affected her work with kids, except that people have been stalking her at work. “It sure has not. Actually, I’ve been getting requests to do more schools,” she told Fancast. “I thought it was going to hit me really hard. The only thing that was weird was that somehow my place of work hit the Internet. The location, the address, everything. So, I started getting a lot of hate mail at my job. They started emailing my boss. People were actually coming to my job. It was crazy. I needed security to start walking me to my car. I think people need to understand that this is a game, this is not real life. The way we play this game has nothing to do with our lives, we were trying to survive in Nicaragua.”

Meanwhile, Reality TV World’s interview is fascinating, because the site asks NaOnka repeatedly why she didn’t just leave the game that morning, when she says she decided to quit; or before the reward challenge; or after the reward challenge. NaOnka plays dumb–perhaps it’s one of those production secrets they were told not to discuss–but eventually, Kelly gives up the real answer: “I think it’s like we didn’t have a choice. Going to Tribal Council was just how it was.”

NaOnka also says “I can’t answer that” when asked how she was cast; in other words, she was recruited and told not to talk about being recruited.

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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.