Trying time and time again to crack the rock-solid alliances George has formed, Nina made a desperate plea for Gerry and Matt to wake up to their fate in the game. But, it continued to fall on deaf ears and Nina was voted out, with George betraying Liz once again.
When Nina first played Australian Survivor in last year’s Blood V Water, all eyes were on the daughter of franchise icon Sandra Diaz-Twine to live up to her mum’s whopping legacy. But after fracturing her foot during a reward challenge, Nina was unceremoniously taken out of the game to prevent further injury.
Coming back to the game there were clear parallels to her mum who, on the beaches of Samoa in 2010, won US Survivor: Heroes vs Villains. Returning to those same beaches, Nina said she “absolutely felt the pressure” of her mum’s legacy.
“But I also thought to myself, I’m here to create my own legacy and how can I do that if all I’m thinking about is somebody else,” she told 10 Play. “I love my mother, I am who I am and had this opportunity because of her, but I can’t let that weigh me down because I have 23 other people I need to worry about, right?”
In the early days of the game, Nina sat comfortably with the OG Heroes as they won a string of immunity challenges. “Too comfortable,” she laughed, “we had multiple chats amongst the Heroes tribe about what we wanted to do and what we wanted to happen, but we also weren’t trying to go to challenges and lose so it’s like — well I guess we won again, put that on the back burner, we’ll talk about that later.”
Reaching merge, Nina initially felt like her majority alliance had the remaining players on borrowed time, but with Hayley and Gerry flipping to the Vigilantes in the first vote, that was quickly flipped on its head and Nina found herself playing from the bottom for the rest of the game.
“It was a reality check but it kind of felt good,” she admitted. “Every night I could sit there and think what did I do right today, what did I do wrong and how can I fix it?
“It was a little frustrating how closed off the Vigilantes were but, because I kept on and kept on, I was able to get those olive branches from none other than George,” she continued.
As the numbers dwindled and they reached the pointy-end of the game, Nina kept trying to show people like Gerry, Matt and Liz how dangerous George was, and how he was eclipsing their games.
“But there’s always a bigger threat coming along, or George switching up the narrative that’s making people more skittish about another individual, which is why he’s doing so well,” Nina explained. “I’m sitting there like, how do you not see this?”
Deciding to be more upfront in what would become her final tribal council, Nina laid it all on the line, explaining how she perceived George to be dictating to Gerry and Matt, echoing Simon’s controversial comments calling them ‘Pawns’ in the game.
“I needed to make them nervous, I needed to get them to really make this decision now, before I went home. But when I said it and looked at the jury and then I looked back at my tribe I [was like[ holy crap, I said something that was probably just a bit too good,” Nina said.
“I was trying to give them insight, that was my intention. Of course, hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have said it but it felt right in the moment… Let me give them the perspective and, of course, looking at the jury they’re shaking their heads in agreement. Like, how do you guys still not understand?
“All you can do is try, and that’s what I did.”
Heading into tribal council Nina said she genuinely felt like her time was up in the game, but added, “I might as well go out letting them know the truth”. Having tried to swing Matt and Gerry multiple times, each time she’d pitch to them they’d say they were open to working with her or hearing out her plan.
“Then they go play around with George and you’re like, they’re not down. They don’t even entertain it for more than two seconds,” she said. “Liz was the only one open to it so, you know what? I’m just going to say my piece and go have a burger,” she laughed.
“When Simon gave his answer about the pawns, you could see Gerry physically twitch and I think, even if he was considering [a vote against George] — which I should ask him — that comment made him upset and then go right back to George.
“I don’t know what the thought process was from him or Matt, because they acknowledge he’s a threat. They know! He’s literally saying, ‘This guy’s teaching me everything’, wouldn’t you want that person gone?! But I guess not.”
As the votes were read, Nina finally got the opportunity to have her torch snuffed for the first time, joking that it was just another thing to tick off her Survivor bucket list.
And her time in the franchise is hopefully just getting started, as Nina admitted she’s ready to get out there and play again.
“When we talk about my mum’s legacy it started on the American version and is now in the Australian version — and who knows what’s next for her.
“Mine started on the Australian version, so the American version needs to hurry up and reach out! Give me a call, because I’m dying to go out there.”
Australian Survivor: Heroes V Villains airs Sunday - Monday at 7.30 on Network 10 and 10 Play on demand