Some Survivor eliminations are more painful to watch than others.
Alecia Holden, a 24-year-old real estate agent from Dallas, was inexplicably put on the “Brawn” tribe of Survivor: Kaoh Rong. It didn’t go well.
Holden never quite fit in with the rest of her tribe. From the start, she was on the outs with former NBA star Scot Pollard and Michigan bounty hunter Kyle Jason. The clashes grew increasingly personal – and viewers have taken to social media to blast Pollard and Jason for actions they thought were misogynstic and disrespectful.
But Holden tells PEOPLE that she is far from a victim in the tribe dynamic – although you shouldn’t expect her to invite her former tribemates over for dinner.
So you never really fit into the Brawn tribe. Was it always hopeless?
You know, nothing is ever completely hopeless, because the game can change. But from day one, I was completely stereotyped. Jason even said, “We want Blondie out.” That was because I wasn’t a physical player.
Did you feel like you were the weakest player on your tribe?
I wasn’t as physically strong as them, but that’s not weak. Weak is not having fire or fresh water. They went into the shelter to sleep while I started a fire. They quit, and I sat in the sun for five hours. That’s not completely weak. I helped our tribe get the stuff we needed.
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Camp life seemed very unpleasant for you. Was it?
They were rude to me; I don’t think they were good role models at all. I don’t think they ever gave me a chance in the game, or they were ever going to, no matter what I had done. A lot of what they said was behind my back; it wasn’t always to my face.
They’ve gotten some blowback on social media for being misogynists. Do you agree with that?
I think they definitely don’t have respect for women. It was an ego thing. They had the numbers, so they could treat people however they wanted. And yes, they didn’t respect women.
Jason said, ‘I have two daughters.’ Right there: Do you want your daughters to see how you’re treating women? That’s a terrible role model and example to portray for your daughters.
I mean, Scot’s 15 years older than me, so if he’s going to treat me that way on national television, that’s on him.
Have you made your peace with them?
I don’t plan on ever talking to them again.
So was the problem because you were on the Brawn tribe? If you had been on another tribe, would it have gone better?
I might have gone further had I been on the Beauty tribe. But I did the best that I could with the situation that I had. I know if I had made the swap, I would have gone really far.
Tell me how you fought back against the guys on your tribe.
There was a lot of me fighting back – more than you saw. After the first challenge, Cydney had rotten fruit, and I went over and fed it to Jason and Scot because they had been so mean to me. That was sort of funny.
So is there a lesson in your experience?I hope the lesson is to never be scared of someone because they’re bigger than you. A lot of people are intimidated, and I wasn’t. In the first couple of episodes, they bullied me in the interviews but they never said it to my face. I didn’t know what they were saying about me. But once they started saying it to my face, I confronted the problem. I wasn’t going to let people talk to me like that, no matter how big they were. The lesson I hope people take from it is this: If people bully you, don’t be afraid to confront them.
Me and Scot were like David and Goliath out there, but I still got in his face because that’s how I felt.
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Did we miss anything positive in camp?
Um [very long pause]. Um. Jason lost our chicken. That was funny. Darnell had to get it. But that’s about it. Jason was like, “I’m a badass. I catch the bad guys.” And I was like, “You can’t even catch a chicken!”
Anything else we missed?
There was a clip that they cut out where Jason went crazy, lost his temper, started screaming like a crazy person. He couldn’t get fire. I asked if he wanted help, and he got mad and threw the coconut and flint. It was a complete outburst. You didn’t see that.
So if you had to do it all over again, how could you have changed your fate?
If i could go back, I would have made an alliance with Darnell and Jennifer, and we would focus on Jason and Scot. But I would love, love, love, love to go back and play again someday – and maybe have a second chance.
Survivor: Kaoh Rong airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on CBS.