On Sunday night, in a devastating twist, Nina’s time in the game was cut short when she sustained an avulsion fracture during a Reward Challenge. Unfortunately, due to the severity of the injury, there was no way she could continue in the game.
“You can actually see, the moment Jonathan tells me ‘you’re done’, when it sinks in,” Nina told 10 play over the phone.
“Because of course, I had this feeling like who competes in a moon boot? That doesn’t happen, but when he actually says it, it hits you and there’s this rush of emotions,” she added.
Hungry, confused, angry, tired and holding onto a sliver of hope that her time in the game wouldn’t be over, as Jonathan explained that she needed to recover back in the real world, players from both tribes were clearly emotional as they all learned of Nina’s fate.
“Shay comes over and hugs me, everybody’s rubbing my back and I’m just like oh my god, I love this love and affection I’m getting from everybody but it just makes you cry even more,” Nina said. “I had good relationships and I felt like they were true, and to see everybody react like that confirmed it for me and made me even more emotional.”
Since the injury, Nina said she feels “about 95 percent healed”, still feeling a tightness around the muscles similar to the day after a workout.
“I can finally jog without discomfort… I’m working on my squats, those still aren’t 100 percent comfortable but I can still do them!”
Coming into Australian Survivor, Nina had her own mother’s legacy hanging over her head, a pressure to live up to the Diaz-Twine dynasty. Taking inspiration from the many times her mum had played the game, Nina said she also wanted to make sure she played her own game, her way.
“I was inspired by her in the sense of certain decisions she made, certain things that she stood by like you gotta check the rules at the door, don’t play somebody else’s game.
“But I never wanted to be like anybody else, including her, because I felt like if I was trying to be somebody else, I wouldn’t be able to focus on what I actually wanted to be.”
Surrounded by fans of the game, Nina said she was happy to answer any and all questions about her mum when they came up.
“But then when they would start to talk abut me I’d turn around and say ‘hey, just so you know I appreciate you asking about me because everyone else is asking about my mum.’”
The questions about her mum quickly stopped after that.
After the tribe swap, Nina and Sandra were reunited on the same tribe but it wasn’t for long, when Nina cottoned onto the fact that her tribe, and many of her own alliance members, were eyeing Sandra for a blindside. Ultimately, Nina voted with the majority, writing her mum’s name down.
“It was hard, but I knew it needed to be done because I had to think of the risk and the reward,” she explained. Aware that, if she wrote someone else’s name down, she’d have to have a difficult conversation back at camp, Nina realised there was power in voting for Sandra.
“If I write my mum’s name down, everyone can come to me, console me, let me know this is what happened. It made sense if you took emotion out of it.”
Had she not suffered the injury, Nina had hoped to go to the end with Shay and Josh, her closest allies.
“I have this respect for them and, if I had stayed I hope we all would have different games and wouldn’t be compared to each other,” she said.
“You know some people just don’t like each other, or some people take each other because they feel like they’re floaters? No, I want people I have to argue against, that I feel like I earned it. And I feel like being with them would make me feel that way, especially because I was so close with them at the time.”
Before she left the game, Jonathan commented that it may not be the last we see of Nina on Australian Survivor. But having gone through everything, would Nina come back for another shot at Sole Survivor?
“Absolutely. I know it wouldn’t be the same but I would do it for sure. Do it just because of the great experience I had. I know it might not be a great experience if I ever get a second chance, but just having the opportunity means the world.”
Australian Survivor: Blood V Water continues Sunday - Tuesday at 7.30 on Network 10 and 10 play on demand