‘Survivor’ Castaway Val – “I Think Josh Was More of a Mess”

'Survivor: San Juan del Sur' (CBS)

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How can things go so drastically different for two spouses on “Survivor”?

Jeremy started the dominant alliance on his tribe, received an immunity idol clue, and has yet to lose a challenge.

Meanwhile, Val’s game started with losing a challenge. She then missed an opportunity to start a cross-tribe alliance, got in with the losing alliance at Coyopa, and didn’t work with John Rocker when the opportunity presented itself. And to top things off, her fib about having two idols led to her being the second person voted out of the game.

I spoke with Val the morning after her elimination and had a chance to ask her about missed opportunities, bragging rights, and who’s really running the show at Coyopa…

Gordon Holmes: You were on Exile with Keith for quite a while. Why didn’t you attempt to make an alliance with him and Wes?
Val Collins: When I decided not to share the clue with Keith, it was because I wasn’t sure at that time if Keith was bitter about being sent to Exile. I didn’t know he was a firefighter at that time. I was in the mindset that I could share it with him, but then the more that I knew that Keith didn’t really understand that the clue could be used for both of us…he wasn’t that confident in his ability to work with Jeremy. So, I wasn’t going to put Jeremy in a position for Keith not to share.
Holmes: Did you and Keith discuss working together at all or were you just getting bad vibes?
Collins: We discussed Keith’s thought process on the game. I was trying to figure out who was the gamer and it was more Wes that knew “Survivor.” So, Keith didn’t have a strategy going back and he wasn’t 100% on Jeremy. He kept saying, “I don’t know about Jeremy.” He asked me why I thought Jeremy had sent him there. He seemed very apprehensive about trusting Jeremy.

Holmes: Did you recognize John Rocker?
Collins: Yes, immediately.
Holmes: When he returned from Exile he told you he was working with Jeremy. Did you believe him?
Collins: I didn’t 100% believe him, no.
Holmes: When he pitched the idea of him working with you while Jeremy worked with Julie, did you consider coming clean to him about your double-idol ruse?
Collins: I did consider working with him. All of the girls’ names had been thrown out. And he had told them to steer away from someone else. If you’re working with me, why would you say something like that? You should have been all for someone else going out. He wasn’t 100% with me. He was paranoid about his own game. He was worried about being the athlete that got voted out first. There was never any talk of, “We can share it. We can work with each other.”

Holmes: You had to square off against your husband in a challenge. Was it hard to focus or do you two compete often?
Collins: It was heated. We always have this battle of the badges because, you know, police and fire. It’s all in fun. So, I was really disappointed that I didn’t beat him. But, it was emotional for both of us. You mentally want to win, but you don’t want to win because that means you’re sending your loved one to Exile.
Holmes: Have your police buddies given you grief for losing to a firefighter?
Collins: Oh…everybody. (Laughs) “Jeremy smoked you in that challenge. You looked so old.” It’s a whole lot of trash talking.
Holmes: Does Jeremy talk trash about it, or is he smarter than that?
Collins: Jeremy’s better than that. I wouldn’t be so good. He hasn’t rubbed it in my face that much and he really can’t because he’s getting grief for crying.

Holmes: What was the vibe like at Coyopa beach when you were finally able to leave Exile?
Collins: I was initially approached by the girls. They welcomed me in. Josh was kind of in the group with us. Our tribe was a mess. They were very paranoid. We had lost both challenges, they didn’t have fire. I had fire at Exile and they didn’t. So, it was a little bit more of an alienation. They struggled and I had a fire. They had bonded over the trials they had gone through.

Holmes: Word association time. We’ll start with Alec.
Collins: Bro.
Holmes: Nadiya?
Collins: Hilarious.
Holmes: Rocker?
Collins: Good guy.
Holmes: Jaclyn.
Collins: Loyal.
Holmes: Dale?
Collins: A dad. Know it all.
Holmes: Wes?
Collins: Aloof.
Holmes: Baylor?
Collins: Annoying.
Holmes: Josh?
Collins: Flipper.
Holmes: And we’ll finish with that guy Jeremy.
Collins: Great guy.

Holmes: Let’s jump back into that. You said “Good guy” for John Rocker. “Survivor” has taken some heat for casting him due to his controversial comments. What’s the other side of that? Why’s he a good guy?
Collins: John was one of the guys that welcomed me back. I think you saw he tried to do the right thing. I think that he was paranoid about his own position. He was wondering if he was going to be on the block after Exile. I’m not excusing the things he said, but on “Survivor” he was funny. He was helpful. For him being older than the group, he jumped in and kind of vibed with everyone.

Holmes: Josh seems to be involved with everything going on at Coyopa. Did you know that when you were out there?
Collins: I think Josh was more of a mess. It’s coming across like he had all this game, but he didn’t. Josh’s reasoning on voting for Baylor? That’s wasn’t strategy. I swear he must’ve gotten confused about what they were doing. He told me that he thought he was the lowest man in the group. I don’t think he was. He was paranoid, his insecurities about Nadiya saying he was one of the girls. It wasn’t homophobic, she was saying that he was with us, not that he was a girlfriend.

Holmes: What do your daughters think of mom’s adventure?
Collins: They think it was great. They do vocalize who they don’t like on the show. I let them know it was a game. Like, I told them throwing Baylor under the bus was me trying to take the heat off of me. She was the easiest target.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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