Survivor: Nicaragua – Brenda’s Exit Interview

Debra Yeo
The Toronto Star

Brenda Lowe had at least one shocking thing to say about her experience on Survivor: Nicaragua … NaOnka is nice.

No, she says she means it. Brenda

I asked the 27-year-old paddleboard company owner whether she felt genuinely close to NaOnka or hanging out with her was just part of Brenda’s strategy.

“No, I genuiniely did. What people don’t see is that, believe it or not, this is a shocker, she is actually a nice girl. She’s sweet and she’s kind and she’s funny, and I know all about her life and her past, and I felt like we were girlfriends, the way I was girlfriends with Kelly Purple. I thought that that’s the way that it was out there.

“I really did trust her, I really did, really really did trust her to the point where I was like, there’s no way this girl would vote for me.”


But, of course, we all know that NaOnka did vote to have her friend’s torch snuffed. And that Brenda voted for Na, calling her “my real true enemy.”

But on Tuesday, she said there were no hard feelings. Really.

She thinks the turning point for Na came in an exchange we didn’t see on TV, when their mutual ally Sash was off ziplining and eating with the other guys for winning a reward challenge.

“I did sort of talk to NaOnka … and I was like, ‘Look we might not be able to trust Sash depending on what he says after he comes back from this challenge.’ She looks at me and she’s like ‘Really?’ And I’m like ‘Yeah, really, we gotta be prepared to take him out if we have to’ and she’s like ‘Wow.’

“Luckily Sash came back very trustworthy and I said, ‘Listen Na, forget about what I said, we can trust him.’ And she’s like, it was already too late, she went and told Sash, and she was already starting to get paranoid about me thinking too much and thinking about even taking out Sash, our friend.”

Nor does she blame NaOnka, she says, even though in the end Na and Sash took our their friend Brenda.

“I mean she’s playing a tough game. Everyone is playing a game whether we see it or not. And they must be playing a better game, because they’re there and I’m not, so I think that says something about them. I just underestimated most everybody out there, I think.”

When it comes to her other formerly staunch ally, Sash, Brenda believes he must have been in another alliance unseen by her and the TV audience. Otherwise, why would he have put himself at risk by allowing her to be voted off?

“These people are trying to target you by targeting me,” she says she told Sash.

“I was like why? Why? Sash is smart, why would he allow this to happen? But it has to be that he has other alliances, it just has to be like that.”

We also talked about the whole issue of scrambling, a word Brenda said she hates. She was ribbed by Jeff Probst at tribal council for not “scrambling” to save herself.

“There was a reason why I didn’t scramble and this is why. It was frustrating to watch the whole episode. It’s like, there’s a reason why, Jeff. You can’t expain it right then and there, but my strategy for staying in the game was going to the people who had incentive to save me, which was Chase and Sash.

“And Sash more than anybody because he had the idol and I could have used it for him to save me really. And I was trying to show them, ‘Look, I’m loyal to you. I’m not talking to Benry, I’m not talking to Fabio, I’m not talking to Holly and Jane, I’m talking to you and you only.’ …

“So if I was go scrambling it would have killed it, they would have seen can’t trust Brenda, what is she telling these people, and not having a big enough incentive to save me.”

There’s one other thing Brenda would like to set the record straight on: the impression that she’s arrogant.

“I definitely see it when they only show certain soundbites and if you see a guy who’s as sweet as Chase and me saying not the nicest things about him, um, yeah you definitely see it and a lot of people might not understand my personality or the way that I looked at it.

“This is a game, if I feel confident I’m gonna feel confident, that’s just the way I am. Some people like it and some people don’t like it. I really hate arrogance and it’s a little upsetting that I came across that way to anybody.”

Playing Survivor was a dream come true, said the former Miami Dolphins cheerleader and beauty pageant winner, who counts paddleboarding, mountain biking and swimming among her hobbies.

“I’m a competitor. I love physical things. I love playing games. I make competitions out of who can run fastest to that mailbox … So for the ultimate game like Survivor and having to do the challenges and plus having to do alliances and all that, plus c’mon the prize is a million dollars.

“It was a no-brainer and, like I tell people, I would have done Survivor for free.”

The bad part, as other castmates have complained, was the lack of sleep.

“The sleeping, it just drives you nuts. You’re exhausted and then to have rain that doesn’t stop and you’re freezing cold and everyone around you is miserable. The energy in the air is depressing. And that is the worst.”

Still, if she got the chance she’d do it again in a heartbeat.

I learned, I saw and felt and lived the mistakes, and know what I would do a lot differently, so yeah, I would love that second chance.”