The former Miss Delaware, 22, tells PEOPLE what went wrong – and why she feels Jeff Probst had it out for her.
You were voted off in part because you were weak in challenges.
I wasn’t the most athletic person out there; I totally admit that. But they showed my failure again and again, and glossed over others. In one challenge, I had trouble running up a hill, which cost us time. But [former baseball player] Jeff Kent couldn’t chop through wood, which also cost us time. Jeff Probst just hammered me a million times about my challenge performance, but let’s face it – I wasn’t the only one to slow us down.
So why did Jeff focus on you?
I’m not sure why he had it out for me, but he really seemed to focus on what I did wrong. He would say, “Katie’s really slowing everyone down,” which I’m not saying wasn’t true, but I wasn’t the only one. I think it sort of influenced other people’s opinion of me.
So is that why you were voted out?
It was game over as soon as Dana left. She was in my alliance. She was a strong asset in challenges. Once she was gone, we lost our numbers. And Survivor is a numbers game.
That was bad luck for your alliance when Dana went home.
It goes to show that Survivor has an element of luck. You don’t know what hand you’re going to be dealt. Anyone can win, because there’s so much luck involved.
Your tribe, Kalabaw, made a deal with the Tandang Tribe. You trade all your rice supply for a one-time feast. Good move?
Bad move! In the moment, it sounded good. The idea of being in a dry place was attractive. But in retrospect, it was a dumb move because we suddenly had no food. Our rice was our guaranteed source of energy.
But at least you got the feast.
Even though we gorged ourselves at the reward, it went right through us. Now that our energy was gone, we had nothing to replace it with.
So the other tribe out-thought you.
The only person who was really in tune and thinking was [returning player] Mike Skupin. He made a smart move – to starve us out.
This season seems more difficult than some previous seasons.
The conditions were terrible. It doesn’t show this, but because of all the rain, our shelter started to grow black mold. I developed a terrible cough. Think that pageant girls are girly, that they can’t survive? I wanted to show that pageant girls can do well, and it’s a shame that it didn’t work out.
So did you know that you would be voted out?
I was pretty sure it was going to be me. I thought that if the tribe really used their minds, they could have gotten rid of a dangerous threat and the idol at the same time. But it didn’t work out that way.
But once you’re out, you get food!
Production gave me cookies and apples when I was voted out. I got really sick. My body didn’t want food. I just wanted a cheeseburger, but my body wouldn’t have been able to handle it. I gorged on Twix bars, and oh my God, that was a big fail on my part. I paid for that dearly.
If you were to play again, how would you do it differently?
Oh, I would do it 100 percent again. It was such an incredible experience. I would go in smarter. I put on weight beforehand to keep from getting hungry, but I was out of shape. I should have been fitter. That’s why retuning players are so dangerous: They know what to expect. I didn’t. But I had a great time!