Although a former Olympic swimmer, Katrina Radke’s splash on Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers was shallow. She was the first person voted out of the reality competition’s 35th season, although it seemed there was a possibility she might be saved by a secret super-Immunity Idol. What went wrong? Why was she the first target? We talked with Radke and got all the dirt, including the reason Chrissy Hofbeck wanted her out of the game so early despite editing telling a different story.
SheKnows: Did you have any idea you were going to be voted out?
Katrina Radke: Oh, yes. I knew I was going home. I could feel the energy. It was pretty obvious. When you want to talk to somebody, and it’s not the same interaction, you just kind of know.
SK: When you felt the vibes it was going against you, did you take any action to try and spare yourself?
KR: There’s so much stuff that you didn’t see. I actually talked to each person about it. I tried to work with each person to change something. At one point, Ben, Chrissy and Alan said we would all vote Ashley. I was definitely working all the people. When Alan used my name to tell Ashley, J.P. and Ben about concern they had an Idol is when everybody started questioning me. It all came out in Tribal Council.
SK: So why were you the first target when there were others, like Alan, clearly rocking the boat more?
KR: That’s a good question. I guess it was my time to go [laughs.] Very good question. In terms of the weakest player, that was Chrissy. With J.P. and Ashley, people talked about getting rid of them because they could become such a solid unit. They knew I was an Olympian. I had told them. They knew I was smart and energetic, which is possibly why I was a threat.
SK: Did Alan truly believe J.P. had found a hidden Immunity Idol when he got naked to prove otherwise?
KR: Alan got paranoid. Ashley and I were talking for longer than we probably should have one day. We had a nice conversation and a couple minutes after that is when Alan freaked out on Ashley. Then he made J.P. strip naked to prove he didn’t have an Idol. He told me after the fact he was basically feeling like Ashley and I were going against him. That’s why he used my name to tell them I suspected they had an Idol. He said Ashley and J.P. were a power couple, but they weren’t. In many ways, each person was connected with other people at different times.
SK: Did you and Chrissy have an alliance like it seemed?
KR: I wanted to work with her, but she wanted me out in the beginning because she was threatened by me. She was so afraid of going home first.
SK: Chrissy was given a surprise super-powered Idol that she could have played to save you. She didn’t, which shocked many viewers. When did you find out the Idol existed?
KR: I didn’t know about it while I was in the game, but I did find out later before the first episode aired. It’s so funny how people are reacting publicly about her not playing it for me. Knowing what happened, I never would’ve assumed she was going to play it for me. There’s so many edits that happen, and it changes how it looks.
SK: The contestants have been separated into three tribes this season of heroes, healers and hustlers. Do you think your placement on the Heroes tribe was the right fit?
KR: Well, it is in terms of my time in the Olympics, which is what they had been promoting. I definitely resonate more with the Healers tribe at this point in my life. I’ve also been a Hustler in many ways. A lot of people could fit into different tribes, easily. People do heroic acts all the time, and could be in that tribe. It was more of a way for the show to create a theme. Everybody could potentially be in different places.
SK: How did you get on the show?
KR: I sent in a video a year or so ago. I got a call before going to a finals week in LA. I was on the show a month or two later. It was quick.