Survivor is a game of numbers, and contestant Nina Acosta was in the minority. After the women’s tribe lost their second immunity challenge Wednesday, Acosta was sent home to Clovis, Calif., despite her efforts to break up the Salani tribe’s alliance and eliminate her tribemate Kat. The retired Los Angeles police officer spoke to PEOPLE Thursday about her elimination, the injuries and lacerations she sustained during the first challenge and whether she the remaining women have any chance of redeeming themselves this season.
Did you know you were going home before tribal council?
I felt there was a possibility I wouldn’t go home. I was prepared to leave because the talk around camp was that it would be me but it was weird because there was really never a reason given. It should have been Kat.
So why do you think it was you?
I didn’t expect to be on the outside of an alliance so fast. I didn’t expect that at all. I was completely taken aback when they aligned the tribes [as] men versus women.
Why did Monica vote against Christina and not you or Kat?
It was strategy on Monica’s part. She made a huge pitch to keep me and I knew for a fact she wasn’t going to vote for me. As far as Christina goes, I don’t think she betrayed Christina. I think she felt that if she voted for Kat she would alienate herself from the alliance of five.
What did you think of Sabrina as a tribe leader?
I did not know that Sabrina was our chosen leader until tribal council. I don’t know where I was during that conversation but I was not privy to anyone telling me that they voted Sabrina our leader. It made sense to me because she’s pretty outspoken, levelheaded and because she was part of the alliance of five. It didn’t help me at all and I didn’t have any opinion because I wasn’t in the alliance of five.
You said you did not know what happened to your face but it looked pretty beat up after the first challenge.
My stepson played that in slow motion for me several times now and I think I was trying to get off the net as fast as I could. I was already trying to get off before I even landed. At first it stung, and then my face started to swell. It hurt really bad but I wasn’t going to say anything and there was no way I was going home, but boy it looked bad. It looked worse than it felt though.
It seemed to heal quickly.
The saltwater is amazing. I remember as a kid I scraped my face [at the beach] and I washed it in saltwater and it healed right up.
Do the women have what it takes to make a comeback this season?
One of two things is going to have to change. Either the women are going to have to get it together and start working as a team or the men are going to have to have some pretty bad luck and lose a few challenges. But I think the women are in trouble.