‘Survivor’ Castaway Katrina Radke on Being the First One Out: ‘It Was a Done Deal’

Katrina Radkeon SURVIVOR Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers
Katrina Radkeon on SURVIVOR this season, themed ‘Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Robert Voets/CBS

The tribe has spoken. Former Olympian Katrina Radke was the first castaway voted off Survivor season 35 “Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers” and here she talks exclusively to Us Weekly about what led to her demise in the game.

The Minnesota native, 46, went into the experience excited but outnumbered by younger people in her tribe. She and fellow “hero” Chrissy Hofbeck, also 46, were immediately outcast and things looked grim until former NFL player Alan Ball, 31, decided to start pointing fingers amid idol paranoia.

For a moment, it seemed like there might be hope, but ultimately, Radke, who described herself as “adventurous, tenacious and charismatic” in her CBS bio, was voted out unanimously by her tribe, including her so-called ally Hofbeck, who was in the possession of a one-time-use-only immunity idol that could have saved her.

Check out our interview with her below:

Us: What did you think going into tribal? Did you know you were in trouble?

KR: I knew I was going home. I knew before I went to tribal. It was already a done deal.

Us: Were you surprised Chrissy voted for you?

KR: It’s funny, the way they made it look, it seemed like she and I were best buddies or something — and I actually really like Chrissy — but she didn’t want me to win. She didn’t want me to be in this game. She wanted me gone from the moment we got in the boat based on some of the things she would say. … I really tried to befriend her anyway. We had some nice conversations, but no, she was threatened by me, definitely, from the beginning, which is cool. She got me played from the beginning. It’s all good. I hope she can go far in the game.

Us: Do you think she considered using her special idol on you?

KR: No, I don’t think so. There’s no way. She wouldn’t want to. She wanted me gone.

Us: Would you consider her at the bottom of the tribe though, moving forward, at this point in the game?

KR: No because … it’s funny. As much as they showed it was Ben [Driebergen] and Alan — two and two and two. That’s not really how it was. I feel like I had connected with each person separately. There were times it could have been me, Ashley [Nolan] and JP [Hilsabeck]. Or me, Chrissy and Alan. It could have been me, Ben and Chrissy. It rotates. It’s weird. Ashley and I had been talking a while before Alan blew up and that’s probably why he did blow up because he was freaked out we were talking for so long. There are all these things that happened that made people paranoid. It’s a game, right?

SURVIVOR Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers
Katrina Radkeon during tribal council on SURVIVOR this season, themed ‘Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’ Robert Voets/CBS

Us: What did you think of your tribe overall?

KR: I feel like we as a tribe, for the first couple days until Alan blew up, we were actually doing really well as a group.

Us: What did you think about Alan’s idol paranoia. Was it justified?

KR: I love Alan. He’s a good guy, but he’s paranoid.

Us: Did you get a chance to look for the idol during the few days you were on the island?

KR: Yes! I’m so bummed they didn’t show my one scene. I looked for two hours. It was actually on day two that I looked. I just kind of intrinsically knew. “Sometimes there’s something bigger than me here, and I need to trust that.” It happened so easily for me to get on the show and all of sudden I’m there. When I saw my tribe, I was like, “Oh my gosh, all the people I connected with non-verbally pre-game, they weren’t in my tribe.” I was like, “OK, whatever the universe has in store for me, I’m totally game and open to.”

Us: Who did you want to work with?

KR: My favorite people from pre-game were Cole [Medders], Desi [Williams], Patrick [Bolton] … those were three really great people I would have loved to work with. And Ryan [Ulrich], Dr. Mike [Zahalsky], Lauren [Rimmer], there’s a bunch.

Us: Finally, do you think there was there anything you could have done to stay in the game?

KR: If I really wanted to raise hell, potentially. I don’t know if I would have done that. I mean, I could’ve. Maybe on day 20, I would have done it [laughs]. I knew my situation. You just don’t know.

Survivor airs on CBS Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!