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You’re on a tribe with a guy that yells at crabs, does weird accents, and is constantly screaming…and you’re the weird one?
I spoke with Simone Nguyen the morning after she was eliminated to get to the bottom of this mystery. I also had a chance to ask her about the tribe dynamics, the Ryan/Devon bromance, and her superhero alter ego…
Gordon Holmes: Alright, I hate to start this off on an awful, awkward question…
Simone Nguyen: OK, lay it on me.
Holmes: So, you’re on this tribe with a dude that does weird accents and is yelling at crabs…
Holmes: And you’re the weird one?! How does that happen?
Nguyen: Oh my God! The yellow tribe, love them, don’t want to ever say anything bad about them. But Patrick is one of the weirdest people I have ever met in my life! Everyone had lied about their background. Lauren lied about being a fisherman, she said she was a contractor. Ali said she never went to college. Devon said he never went to college. Ryan said he dropped out of college. Here I am, I’m hiding nothing. I’m not going to let people think I’m sneaky so I didn’t lie about my background. I went to Colombia, I live in New York, I don’t know how to drive. I’ve never been camping. And I’m thinking, “Oh no! Oh no! Too open! Reel it back!” So now, somehow Patrick is the one that fits in! So yeah, I’m the weirdo. Can’t help it.
Holmes: I thought it was impressive that all of this was new to you, but you watched videos, and when it came time to step up and gut the fish, you made it happen.
Nguyen: I appreciate that. It was tough preparing. It didn’t occur to me that I should go camping before going out there. I thought, “Beginners luck, I’ll figure it out.” But, I’d read the Boy Scout manual. I knew exactly what was going to terrify me. But I had a blast. I knew I had to work hard around camp, I had to volunteer for whatever I could do. Whenever there’s work on “Survivor,” just do it.
Holmes: Ali and Patrick seemed to have some familiarity with each other before the game.
Nguyen: They went to college together. They had the same friend group, I don’t think that they were best friends. I think they just knew each other. But they’re really different people, so it’s not a friendship that you would expect. Ali is this serious, diligent, thoughtful, beautiful goddess of a woman and Patrick is a goofball and he owns it. I suspected nothing.
Holmes: Ryan and Devon seem like opposites as well. Did you know that they were partnering up?
Nguyen: I thought that sending Patrick home was my only chance to stay, but I thought that Ryan was the biggest threat right out of the gate. He’ll tell a joke, like a generic pun, and everybody laughs. Everybody is so enthralled by this short, adorable man. That person terrifies me. I can’t do a thing like that. And I felt like Ryan had Devon and Patrick in his pocket. And then you didn’t get to see it, but I witnessed the most intimate conversation between Ryan and Lauren when they were bonding over the fact that they have different types of bodies. Lauren’s a bigger girl, Ryan’s a smaller guy. How do you compete with that? They’re bonding over something they’ve had to deal with their entire lives. I didn’t have an experience that could compare. You can see yourself not fitting in as much. Ryan had a lot of control in the beginning, and kudos to him for finding the super idol.
Holmes: Don’t knock generic puns. I make my living off of those.
Nguyen: Oh my God! I love a pun. That’s why I was so scared. I have a really weird sense of humor, which is another reason why I didn’t fit in. So, Ali’s hair…you saw like three hairstyles last night. She looks really great. She would say, “Oh, my hair is a little nappy.” And Ryan would lie down and say, “I’m about to take a little nappy.” And I would die. If I wasn’t on the floor, I’d be on the floor. The fact that I was laughing that hard scared me, I should have been more aware.
Holmes: Tell me more about Lauren. She seemed very concerned that she wasn’t going to fit in because of her age.
Nguyen: I actually really liked Lauren and wanted to work with her. But, we’re so different it’s almost impenetrable. She had once voiced that, “Y’all are a bunch of kids.” I can’t do an impression of her.
Holmes: You don’t have to.
Nguyen: She’d say she feels like an old lady. And my boyfriend is a little bit older than her. So, in trying to comfort her I said, “Don’t worry about it, I haven’t dated someone younger than you in years.” And of course everybody’s’ heads turned and I thought, “No! That’s not what I wanted to say!” So, I was the weird one. But, I didn’t care that she was older. She seemed like somebody who was really hard working. She didn’t stop for a minute. I wish she had liked me more.
Holmes: You mentioned the super idol, was anyone looking for other idols?
Nguyen: Patrick was looking all day, every day. Wakes up in the morning, doesn’t help with the fire. We all know he’s out looking for the idol. Patrick goes looking for the idol in front of us. I catch Patrick looking for the idol. He says, “I’m looking for the idol. What are you doing?” I’d say, “I guess I’m gathering firewood unless you want me to come look with you.” Then he’d say, “Yeah, come look with me.” This is not a thing that I was trying to do with my life. So, that was Patrick.
Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Ryan.
Nguyen: Skinny Ryan. I know he’s not supposed to be the skinny Ryan on the show, but he’s way skinnier.
Holmes: The skinniest Ryan.
Nguyen: That’s a good one.
Nguyen: Redhead, ginger…
Nguyen: Hair goals, a beautiful Grecian model…she’s not Grecian, but…she looks so good. It was insane.
Nguyen: Fisherwoman with a question mark. We had all bought into the fact that she was a contractor because we weren’t eating a lot of fish those first couple of days.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Devon.
Nguyen: Did you see those abs?
Holmes: I did.
Nguyen: Do you know about the phenomenon called “Island Hotness?”
Holmes: I do.
Nguyen: It is 100% real. It is so nice to look at when you’re far from home. So, thank you Devon for that.
Holmes: Simone, you don’t think I cover this show for Jeff Probst, or the palm trees, or the challenges, do you?
Nguyen: It has to be the island hotness. In pre-game, there were gratuitous amounts of hotness. I’d look around and be giggling like a fiend. This is amazing, life is wonderful, “Survivor” is a gift.
Holmes: Last night you shared with us your super power.
Nguyen: Oh God!
Holmes: Do you have a superhero alter ego?
Nguyen: You know what? Nobody wants to go with the obvious, which is “The Aqua Dumper.” But you want to be known for something. I’m going to let the fans on Reddit come up with that one for me.
Holmes: That is a dangerous proposition. So, you’re weird, but you’re brave.
Nguyen: I certainly felt brave when I was doing my business in the ocean. But I also felt brave going out there. It was my first time out of the country, the first time camping, the first time doing so many things. I really felt like, “This is my time! If I’m going to go, I’m going to go hard!” I had a great time.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes