The first person voted out of the tribe tells PEOPLE what went wrong

By Steve Helling
Updated February 26, 2015 07:40 PM
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

So Kim’s Survivor ride was a bumpy one.

She and her sister were selected to be part of the cast of Survivor: San Juan Del Sur. But at the last minute, a medical issue arose that kept her sister from competing.

Producers liked Kim, so they cast her to be part of Survivor: Worlds Apart

But her elation turned to horror when she was the first contestant voted out of the game.

Kim is a self-described ‘Type A’ personality. (In one of her first confessionals, the 31-year-old retail buyer confessed that she has reduced all her employees to tears at some point.) Her aggressiveness and gameplay rubbed her tribe the wrong way, and they voted her out on Day 3 with a 4-2 vote.

Kim tells PEOPLE what went wrong – and what she should have done differently.

Before we talk about your game, let me ask: Are you the boss from hell?
(Laughs) That wasn’t a lie. I’m very tough and expect the best out of everyone. I’m trying to break them down to build them up. So yes, there have been times where I’ve made everyone I worked with cry.

(Laughs) But I have two sides to me. I’m competitive, driven and demanding. But I’m also a social person who enjoys people. I can be relatable. I can be softer!

So which were you on the island?
I think I played both ways. I was trying to figure out how to play aggressively and yet have people like me.

You had a few things going against you.
I did! I was on a tribe of people who really, really know how to play Survivor, which made things tougher. I think I might have done better on another tribe.

You volunteered to join Joaquin in making a decision for the tribe. Why did you do that? Why?
Okay, I realize that there are rules that you don’t break in Survivor, which includes making aggressive moves at the beginning. But I thought, ‘Joaquin is going to be the leader, and he’s going to have an advantage when I shouldn’t have an advantage.’ My hand sort of raised itself!

So was it a mistake to stand out just minutes into the game?
I should have tried to see myself the way other people were seeing me. Max was calling Joaquin and me the ‘prom king and queen.’ So now we were a pair, set apart from everyone else. That wasn’t the best decision.

You and Joaquin were given a choice to deceive the tribe, or to be honest and get more food. You seemed torn.
I was! I didn’t realize that Joaquin had seen less Survivor than I have. So he wanted to take the advantage, which ultimately hurt us.

What should you have done?
We should have chosen ‘deceive’ and then brought the clue back and shared it with the tribe. It’s the only way people would have believed us.

So you lied to the tribe and got caught. Did that seal your fate?
I think there were other factors at play. Shirin and Carolyn were physically weaker than me, so they teamed up against me. That was smart.

Now, let’s clear something else up. Your tribe had a choice of puzzles with 5, 10 or 50 pieces. You chose 50. Why?
Jeff kept saying it was an easy puzzle, just bigger. So we thought it was going to have the numbers 1 through 50, and we’d just have to put them in order. We’ve seen that on previous seasons of Survivor. But it wasn’t that easy!

Yeah, that puzzle seemed like it could be difficult.
Some of the pieces looked a lot alike. We’re trying to read something in a font with a lot of similar letters. It was tougher than Jeff said. And Shirin had trouble and had to be swapped out. It was just the wrong choice.

So you’ve become a member of the first boot club. Do you still love the game?
I’m still a big fan of Survivor. I got to be part of a new family! I was unlucky, but that’s Survivor. As crushing as it was to be out first, I’m so glad I did it!