The 29-year-old motorcycle repairer had a personality-filled online bio, an easy engagement with the camera and an adorable knit-cap that appeared to resemble Shamu.
Unfortunately, a misjudged fall in the season's opening Immunity Challenge left Kourtney heading off for X-rays that revealed either a broken wrist or arm. Either way, you don't return to "Survivor" with broken bones and the "One World" women were spared a difficult Tribal Council decision in Wednesday's (Feb.15) season opener.
Chatting with Kourtney after her exit only confirmed my suspicion that, attitude-wise, she'd have been a true asset to this "Survivor" season if not for that unfortunate landing posture. In the interview, we discuss the injury, her quirky hat and whether being on the outside of an instant alliance concerned her.
[Note: Kourtney and I didn't go into detail on her health, but based on her conversation on Rob Cesternino's podcast
, I'm sending nothing but good vibes in her general direction.]
Click through for the full exit interview...
HitFix: First off, how's the arm?
HitFix: What has the rehab process been like?
Kourtney: Long and... just long. And frustrating. But I think I'm over-the-hump and it's all downhill from... Well, I don't know. It sounds weird to say "It's all downhill from here," but it's getting better.
HitFix: You presumably came back from Samoa with a cast, right?
HitFix: How were you able to cover up what happened and keep it a secret?
Kourtney: I wore a hoodie and just stuck it in my hoodie. It was difficult, but I just kinda stayed under the radar for a while and people would ask me and I'd be like, "Oh, yeah, well, whatever..." I hate lying to people, but I'm really good at avoiding coming up with any explanation.
HitFix: You didn't have a single story that you told people?
Kourtney: It was always different and then I started having fun with people and I was just like, "Yeah, well, you know... I was chasing this bad guy and I was hanging down from a helicopter and we were chasing this van on the freeway and I jumped on the roof and this-and-that happened and I rolled off and I just landed the wrong way." So it just got really, really crazy and people stopped asking me. The more outlandish my stories got, the less people asked me about it.
HitFix: Let's talk a bit about that Immunity Challenge. Had you guys been coached beforehand on the safest way to fall?
HitFix: And Jeff Probst was down at the bottom yelling advice. Could you guys hear him?
Kourtney: No. Not really. Everyone's screaming and yelling and your adrenaline's going and you think you're doing one thing, when actually... Obviously, when I saw myself on TV, my body wasn't doing at all what I thought it was doing, hence the broken arm.
HitFix: Did you know immediately that something very, very bad had happened?
Kourtney: I wouldn't say "very, very bad." I would just say "very bad." I'd never had a broken arm, but I grew up with nothing but boys and I was the punching bag, so you would always hear all sorts of little cracks and bings and stuff and I thought, "Oh, maybe something popped." I don't know what I thought, but I just assumed it wasn't as bad as it was. It's funny, because I broke my arm when I landed on the net and when the net billowed, it was at its lowest point, I grabbed onto the rope at the wrong spot and it just absorbed the impact and snapped it. I was not worried about jumping into the net. I thought that would be the fun part. I was worried about how I would roll down the net. That ended up coming more naturally to me than jumping onto the net. It wasn't until I got to the bottom of the net that I looked at my hand and I thought, "Oh s***. That's not supposed to be dangling that way." So I kinda knew.
HitFix: Obviously everybody responds to pain in different ways. Are you the sort of person who was immediately begging to be sent back into the game? Or were you like, "OK. This is too bad. I can't do anything with this."?
Kourtney: Well, I obviously tried to continue on with the challenge even though my wrist was broken, so I think that displays a little bit of... I dunno... eagerness? But I hear that the first three or five days [on "Survivor"] are the hardest and your body's adjusting and you're not eating as much and it's really hot and I think that, combined with the building teams, once we got to the top and the sun was beating down on me... I remember when I climbed up the ladder and I saw the balance beam, the first thing I thought was, "Oh good. I don't have to use my hand for this." And then, looking back now, I'm thinking that's the most ridiculous thought ever. I actually tried to put my arm, to put my hand back into place, because it wouldn't work. So by then, I was standing there and waiting and I just started getting dizzier, because the pain started growing. I guess I was in so much pain that it started making me nauseated and that's the reason that I sat down and I said, "I tried to do it, but I can't do it."
So I sat down and I said, "I'm done," because I knew I'd faint if I kept standing up. So that's when I sat up against the post.
HitFix: That sounds mighty unpleasant.
Kourtney: It was! It was! And they wanted to carry me down and I said, "F*** that, I'm climbing down." There was no way anybody was gonna carry me down in a dress, down that ladder. There's no way. I was not squirrel shotting anybody. It's national television!
HitFix: How have been responded last night and today to seeing what happened to you?
Kourtney: I was curious, so I went to some of the forums. For every one hater that I have, there are 10 or 15 lovers out there. I was very surprised, both before the first game and after the first episode. I was expecting some hate to go flying and a couple people had some really nasty things to say, but for the most part, a lot of people were supportive. A lot of people came out of the woodwork and sent me private messages or tweets saying, "We're so sorry!" and "We were rooting for you from Day 1" and blah blah blah, so I wasn't expecting such positive feedback at all. I was very grateful for that.
HitFix: I haven't seen any negative feedback. What are people saying negatively about you for not coming back with a broken arm?
Kourtney: It was funny, because I've read through some of the forums and I don't respond to the forums, because they're people having a conversation about the contestants and I'm not a part of that, but a girl actually directly sent me a message and said I was an idiot and she was like, "Jeff told you how to fall and told you what to do with your arms and you didn't. You deserved to break it, you idiot." Or something like that. And I was like, "Oh my God." So I'm just trying to ignore stuff like that, because clearly they don't know what they're talking about. And, like I said, for every one person who says a nasty thing, there are a multitude of people saying really wonderful, positive things. So that's just what I'm going to focus on. There's no point. I don't even want to focus on the positive things. I just want to let things happen as they do and if somebody contacts me and says something nice to me, I'll reciprocate, but they're not going to get any information out of me, I'll put it that way.
HitFix: Were you surprised that the Men opted to take the win rather than continuing the challenge? Or is that what you would have expected?
Kourtney: I think judging by the physical condition that everyone was in, I wasn't surprised that the dudes took the win, but the way I understood it, and I could have been wrong, but when I heard that they took the win, I was under the impression that if they took the win, then the Girls would still have to vote someone out and that would have been a cool twist, but that didn't happen. But then another side of me, I kinda felt like, "Well that's just the easy way out." They just took the easy way out, but it's not like they played with integrity from the very get-go. We were grabbin' all of these supplies from the truck and they were taking the supplies from us and then they were making us give them a chicken. They were just trying to take from us what they could, so it didn't surprise me that they would take the win.
HitFix: Let's go back to the very beginning on the beach. First of all, let's talk about the hat: Is that Shamu or something else?
Kourtney: It's not Shamu, but it is an Orca. When my son was born, my husband and I used to come up with these funny designs, so we tried to knit every animal under the sun that we could think of and I would just knit these hats for people and for my son and I kinda made this little business out of it. And my son's favorite one was the whale and that's the one that I ended up selling the most of, so when I was going on the show, he was like, "Mommy, take the Orca hat! Take the Orca hat!" I did what I could and I begged wardrobe, like, "Please, let me take it! It would mean so much. My son wants me to wear it and it's his favorite hat." They were kind enough to allow that and I was really excited about that. That was for him.
HitFix: Did the hat play into how you hoped people would view you when you got out there, first-impression-wise?
Kourtney: Yeah. I mean... The guys took a liking to me right away. The girls -- well, when I found out it was gonna be Girls vs. Boys, I was like "Oh crap..." -- but people always think a certain thing about me and then they're completely knocked off-guard. Like, OK. Here's a good example: When I first meet people, they think I'm like super-innocent and I think it's because I look younger than I am and I kinda have this air about me? I don't know. It's hard to see yourself outside of yourself. But people always tell me, "You're not as innocent as I thought you were," because I'm a big pervert. So I knew they have this idea. Or I didn't know what they were going to think, but I just wanted to throw them off and once they got to know me... It's funny, because after talking to the contestants after-the-fact and we all sorta have this camaraderie now that the game's over, a lot of them have personally contacted me and said, like, "We really wish you would have stayed in the game... I had no idea you were this crazy." So that just further proves my point that people have a certain idea of who I am and then that throws them off. A girl who's gonna show up on the island in a dress and a whale hat? You're not gonna expect her to be a motorcycle mechanic. You're not gonna expect anything that is what I actually really am.
HitFix: We saw on Wednesday's show that there was that alliance of the five "strong" girls that formed on the first walk to camp. Had you realized that alliance had formed and that you weren't part of it?
Kourtney: Absolutely. Immediately. I heard a lot of whispering and there was a lot of eye-contact. I think that not enough can be said about eye contact and body language, whether you're seeing it or not, with how you see everything panning out. I saw that immediately and I know that some of the girls connected because they're kinda loud-mouthes and kinda crass and they're all from similar areas -- Even though I'm from Texas, but no one asked where I was from -- and it was very easy to see that. I was OK with that in the beginning, because anything can happen in a game. Everything's subject to change. I mean, hell, I broke my arm. No one was expecting that to happen. So I wasn't letting the alliance deter me, because I knew that somebody might make somebody pissed off or whatever. Who knows? Most alliances that start in the beginning don't typically last. They constantly fluctuate, so I wasn't too preoccupied with that. I was just worried about getting to camp and setting up shop.
HitFix: As a last question: Say you don't break your arm. What was the game you were planning to play that was going to win you the million?
Kourtney: That's a good question. If I hadn't broken my arm, I would have really had to... From what I saw, when I left, my plan is that I needed to connect with Kim and Chelsea better than I had. I felt solid with Monica and I felt solid with Christina and Nina. I was really hopeful that the guys would lose that challenge, because that would buy us some time. Basically I just needed to hang on until the Merge or until they decided to mix things up a bit. Who knows? I didn't know what was gonna happen. I kinda felt like I was gonna have to scramble until the Merge. I know that that sounds like a pathetic strategy, but Girls vs. Boys for me was not the most promising situation.
Say tuned for more exit interviews throughout the "Survivor: One World" season.
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