'Survivor's' Katie Collins: 'It was worth the risk' to draw rocks at Tribal Council
Are you glad you went on "Survivor"? Was it harder than you thought it would be?
"You know, my mom did a really good job of setting me up for the show. She told me it was gonna be the hardest thing you ever do. You're gonna starve, it's gonna be emotionally draining. She didn't sugar-coat anything. I knew going in that it was going to be difficult. But the hardest part was building friendships with your castmates. You get really close to these people but you're also playing against them. That sort of emotional strife was harder than I expected."
Let's talk about Redemption Island -- it seemed like you were just completely done for once you dropped the key.
"That was difficult because that second key ring, it was dropped in the sand and with the stick pole that I made, I kept pushing it underneath the length of the podium and it was hard to leverage it back up. I knew once it was wedged underneath the podium, I was done."
It seemed as though your mom would have had to quit at that point in order to not beat you.
"Right. I was so far behind. I think she was still in her head going through the motions of, 'OK, do I actually go through with this?' She knew that I was done, so she probably didn't have to compete as much as she normally would if it were close. At that point, she's like, 'Oh no, I have to walk through this gate.' I didn't expect her to turn her head and ask me for permission, that was a sweet moment between us. ... It's something we shared together and I took away a lot from it."
Did the experience strengthen your relationship?
"Oh, yes. ... It definitely strengthened us. We've gone on these amazing adventures and come back stronger. This is just another notch on our relationship belt, this trumping anything else we've ever done in our lives. It was a great gift for us."
There were a few small mentions on the show about love connections -- are you seeing anybody from "Survivor"?
"No, I'm not seeing anybody from the show. Vytas being really the only single one, I think that there were some hopefuls. Of course my mom wanting grandbabies and there have been love connections on the show before, but I'm not seeing anyone from the show. I'm obviously really good friends with everybody. I'm single and that's -- yeah. That's that."
We had people tweeting about Tribal Council, when Hayden saw you and was all, "Woo woo" with his 1000-watt smile.
"I didn't even know he said that! When we're sitting there, you can't really hear if someone's talking quietly. I was watching last night and I'm friends with Kat and I don't want her to think that there's anything there. I think a little elbow grease and some spit shine ... to have a shower and put on a little makeup does wonders. It definitely was a funny moment between Hayden and Ciera and myself. I was flattered."
Who do you think is in the strongest position in the game right now?
"Wow. Right now? I'm going to say Tyson. He has the Idol. But you also have Monica, who's been a challenge beast. I mean, their alliance is really strong and I think that Ciera is in a position where she can kind of maybe find the cracks. Just because Tyson has the Idol, though, I think right now he has a good position."
How about that Tribal Council where you drew rocks -- that was crazy.
"I still go through it in my head, 'What if? What if Tyson draws the white rock?' and then me and Hayden and Ciera can knock out Monica and Gerv and get to the final three.
"It was worth the risk at Tribal. ... we thought if it comes down to drawing rocks, there's a good chance that Tyson will draw the white one. That would've made for a great Tribal. It still did, that was pretty amazing. Luck was not on my side. I have a personal disdain for white rocks now. And rightfully so. [ laughs]."
At this point, were you rooting for anyone in particular -- besides your mom, of course.
"Uh, that's hard. Of course my mom. I still have love for Ciera, we became really close in the beginning of the show. When that bro-alliance started picking off the girls, me and Ciera banded together. ... I think if my mom were not to win, Ciera would be my next pick. I think that up until now she's played a really great game. She's hung in there."
Finally, if you hadn't heard, Tina and Katie experienced a family tragedy last week when Tina's son and Katie's brother Taylor was killed in a car accident. Katie says the "Survivor" finale will be a nice bit of sunshine during this hard time.
"It'll be nice to have mom out here in California and go to the finale and have a light at the end of the tunnel after last week. You guys have been so supportive and gracious," says Katie.
"Survivor" comes to a close Sunday, Dec. 15 with the two-hour finale and live reunion special, airing at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.