Rob Cesternino talks with the latest player to be eliminated from Survivor: Kaoh Rong in our weekly exit interview podcast. Plus, Rob talks to Jordan Kalish about the moments from This Week in Survivor History
Caleb Reynolds Interview starts at 1:30
Alecia Holden Interview starts at 16:30
Survivor Kaoh Rong Exit Interview with Caleb Reynolds (aka Beast Mode Cowboy) and Alecia Holden
Rob: Good morning, how are you doing?
Caleb: Oh I’m doing well, I’m doing well.
R: Caleb, my heart goes out to you with everything that you went through last night, I
really can relate that I podcast in this room on the second floor, it gets very hot up here so I
certainly can relate to what you must have been going through last night.
C: [laughs] I’m sure.
R: In all seriousness, tell us about your recovery from everything, because it was one of the
most dramatic Survivor moments I think that we’ve ever seen and everybody wants to
know how you’re doing.
C: Of course I got life-flighted, I got to the ambulance, the ambulance carries me to the hospital,
I was in ICU for 5 and a half days-
C: -just trying to get all my levels back to normal and they wanted to keep me in there for
another day, I told them no, I was like look, I’m sick of sitting in this same hospital bed I’ve
been in for 5 days, I feel fine, I can jump up and do a back flip. I started going stir-crazy, there
wasn’t any Americans in there so it was rough for me. The American doctor came in once a day
and he would check on me and he’d be like well, okay, and then he’d leave. The recovery
process for getting out of ICU was 5 and a half days, and then after that you know just coming
home, trying to eat again and trying to drink water and, you know, I went to the doctor several
times after I got home to make sure that everything was okay. They give me about 2 or 3 months
to try not to stay outside, try not to work out, just try to pretty much just relax your body and try
to stay out of the heat. So about 5.5-6 months was the full recovery where I felt good, I felt like I
could go outside without my skin melting off, I could sit in a house without an AC being on and
without sweating. My eyes were real fragile to sunlight, you know just little things like that, like
even with sunglasses on if I walked outside my eyes would just kill me. So just little things that
kinda went away around the 5th month, going into the 6th month I felt full-force and felt like
R: Caleb, how were you feeling going into that challenge, were you feeling okay and it was
really just this challenge that did a number on you or were you already feeling this way
heading into that challenge?
C: You know, I believe- and this is pretty much speaking for everyone out there- you wake up
with no energy, you go throughout your day with no energy, you go to sleep with no energy. And
waking up knowing you have that challenge the next day, you know, you have no energy. It’s no
different than the night before, and the night before that, and you just have to dig deep within
yourself and say we have to win this, and we talked like I know none of us have any energy, but
we have to like amp up somehow before this because one of us is getting sent home if we don’t.
So it was, you know, just you have to dig deep and just bring out that inner beast inside yourself
and say we gotta push past this no energy point. So going into the challenge, none of us had any
energy, we just were kinda sluggish. I felt fine, like my body felt fine, I didn’t feel hot, I didn’t
feel nauseous or nothing, I just felt like aw man, another one of these with no food, I was like
gosh. So it was just kinda like you know, one of them like “u-g-h” like “UGH” type moments,
like here we go again. But you know, through the challenge I felt good. We were kicking butt,
our tribe was working together, we were working hard. Half way through the digging, I noticed I
stopped sweating, so obviously by that point I believe I’m dehydrated at this point. I have no
water, I’m not sweating, so in a way in my mind I said I need to be careful, I need to just kinda
slow down. That’s what my mind said but I said otherwise, so I just kept going full-force and
digging and digging and digging and you know, the Brains had already won so I’m thinking it’s
a 50:50 chance, anyone can win, and I realize like Tai was siting down, I realize Nick was sitting
down, like everyone was taking a break and breathers and sitting and I was just like “oh my
gosh, like my team’s falling apart, we’re all exhausted, like we can’t”, so I just continued like
“guys we can do this, keep going”. Tai and I were talking like “come on Tai, keep digging bud,
dig through the pain, I know it sucks, I know you’re thirsty, I know it’s hot, but push past all this,
there will be a reward at the end if we do”. So really, the digging, half way through that’s when
my body really started to feel that breakdown. But again, I didn’t really care I just kept going and
I felt the same all the way until I rolled that last ball and we won the challenge, we won
immunity and the moment that I fell to my knees and I said “yes” and I fell back, was the
moment my whole world changed. My eyes stated getting blurry and blotchy, my head started
spinning, I started feeling real dizzy, I felt like the world was spinning a thousand miles an hour,
I could feel my heart rate just going out of the roof, and I thought to myself, “okay I need some
shade”. So everyone’s trying to like hug me and be like “good job”, and I just pushed through
them all, I put my hands on my head and I ran over to some shade and I literally just collapsed
and that’s when my eyes rolled back and that was it.
R: Did you lose consciousness during any of that? And if so when did you regain
C: Um yes, I was nonresponsive during the majority of what you guys saw last night.
Throughout me laying there, throughout the IVs, throughout them trying to speak to me, I was
out like a light. There was one moment where I remember Jeff had been trying to talk to me, and
he said my name a couple times and I heard him but I just couldn’t respond. I feel like I heard
him say my name and then finally my eyes opened a little bit and he said “okay, I can see your
eyes”, and he’s like “you’re okay”, he’s like “I want you to know that the doctors are pulling you
from the game”, and from watching last night, which I’m sure you were watching, you see my
shake my head no. So that’s the first time and the only time I responded throughout all of it that I
remember. I may have responded through like a whisper or a head nod throughout it, I don’t
remember, but to my knowledge I was out for the majority, I may have regained maybe once or
twice throughout that being actually on the island. Once I was on the helicopter, I regained once
throughout that 2 hour helicopter ride and the only thing I really remember there was Dr. Joe’s
hand was on my chest and he was holding something if I’m not mistaken, I don’t remember, and
I just reached for my necklace which had my girlfriend, which is my fiancée now, I had her
daughter’s birthstone ring on my necklace and that was really like my emotional item, you know,
that was one thing that I took out there and I said no matter what, even if I like burn to death, I
have to go home with this thing in my hand or around my neck, one of the two.
C: So I remember, I reached for it, I kinda felt for it and Dr. Joe grabbed my hand and he pulled
it back down because I had an IV in my arm and my elbow was bending, it was like bending it, I
remember he pulled my arm down and he was like “what do you need?” and I tried to say it, and
he seen like the fog hit my oxygen mask so he moved the mask a bit like “what are you saying?”
and he finally heard me I was just like “necklace”, I just said it real soft and he dug around for it
and found it and he put it in my hand and I went back out again, once I had it in my hand, I just
put my head back down, and I was out again and then once I woke up in the ambulance, I was
full-force from that point on. I remember everything.
R: Alright, well we only have a couple minutes left, so let me just talk with you a little
about the actual Beauty tribe and what was going on out there because we never got to see
you guys go to tribal council during these 4 episodes which is good but we don’t know a lot
about what was really going on over there. So we saw this great friendship that you had
with Tai, which was really fun to watch on the show, but was it a strategic friendship also,
were you guys talking about strategy? And if so, did you know that Tai had the idol?
C: Tai and I’s friendship, would I say it was strategic? Sort of. I was using my friend ship with
Tai, yes I was being just a really nice guy, I was being a friend to him, I wanted to learn from
him because he’s been through a lot in his life. So sitting down with Tai and talking with Tai, I
was learning all the time.
C: I was using his knowledge to give to me because he’s telling me all about plants and animals
and all this stuff out in that area that are safe to eat, what’s not good to eat, all these things. And
at the same time, I knew that once he went digging for that idol, everyone wanted him to go. So,
when I realized everyone wanted Tai to go, it was like okay I need to kinda keep Tai close.
Honestly I don’t know why I did that, I was just like well he’s kinda on the outs, but I still don’t
want him to think that we’re all like shunning him away because he went to look for an idol. It’s
the game, you’re supposed to look for an idol. So I stayed close to Tai because, again I still just
wanted to learn something every day, he taught us something new every day, so would I say was
it a game play or strategic move? In a way, but you know, none of us really knew if he had the
idol. We knew he was digging for it. We knew that people caught him digging in the ground, so
we just assumed that he had found it but he said that he didn’t. But you know, unless you go try
to dig up where he was and find it, you would never really know if he had it or not.
R: Okay, so a lot of us watching the show have the belief that Anna is the leader of the
three women that were out there with you, did you see Anna as the person who was calling
the shots with those women?
C: Um, yeah I would say that. She seemed to be the talker. I know I tried to go in and put some
little seeds in there to see if one of them would turn on the other, but all they talked about every
time even when we were alone was the simple fact of how tight they are, and all that. There was
one point in time I thought to myself we might need to split these girls up, which one would turn
on the other because we can’t get rid of one of us guys this early in the game, we can’t and they
wanted Nick or Tai gone and I’m over here trying to plant seeds to see if Anna would turn on
one of the girls or if Michelle would or if Julie would, and it seemed like Anna was the
stronghold and the anchor for them three.
R: Alright, real quick, just a couple minutes left, what was your perception of Nick, did you
like him? Because he’s been somebody that has been somewhat of a polarizing figure for
the people watching the show.
C: Yeah, I liked Nick. I didn’t have any issues with him. I know some of the girls didn’t like him
because they had found out that he had told two different stories to two different people. So in a
way, from the get go, from like day 3, they kinda started to feel a little iffy about Nick. I kept
Nick to my side because I knew he was the other strong point in the tribe, like he had man-
strength, I didn’t know how well he knew the game but I wanted to make Nick feel like I was all
with him and then again I wanted to make the girls feel like I was all with them too, so I kinda
had two different ways to go. I had the guys I could go with or I had the girls if anything had
happened to where I needed to. Nick, I liked, he was a good guy, he spoke well, he talked good
about people, he was constantly giving compliments out there, but you know the girls kinda
started to change my mind a little bit because he told two different stories to two different people
and it was about getting someone out, so at that moment our minds kinda started changing about
Nick a little bit.
R: Alright, last thing, last 10 seconds before you gotta go, if you had a choice, you have
Robyn Kass on one phone, Lynne Spillman is on the other phone, they both want you to go
back for an All-Stars but you can only pick one, which show would you do?
C: Yikes, that’s a tough one. I would probably say I would go back and do Survivor again.
R: Survivor, okay! Caleb, great job, happy to hear you’re feeling better, you made a lot of
new fans in this Survivor season, all the best to you buddy.
C: Thank you so much, bud.
R: Alright, take care, bye.
Alecia: Hey Rob, how are you?
Rob: Good Alecia, how are you doing this morning?
A: I’m good, thanks for having me.
R: Very nice to talk to you, I know that a lot of people are very excited to hear form you. So
many people are talking about this relationship between you and Jason and Scot on the
island and how we should be reacting to this. How would you characterize your time on the
island with those guys?
A: I mean they definitely were rude to me, but in the first couple episodes Jason’s blasting me in
the interviews, but none of that was ever said to my face. So I was kind of oblivious to the fact
that that was being said about me. But when we get to episode 4, when we start, you know,
saying things to my face and being mean to my face, that’s when I go up and start confronting
R: Did you feel like you were being bullied out there? Because that’s a word that is being
really thrown around in terms of how everything went down with you guys.
A: I definitely wasn’t treated very well, I don’t see either of them as being good role models but I
do stand up for myself more than you’ve seen, and there was one clip where Cydney had some
rotten fruit down her pants form the challenge and she had thrown it on the ground, and I went
over and got the rotten fruit from down Cydney’s pants and fed it to Scot and Jason, and you
know, I’m just like why are the producers not showing that? That would have been a classic. But
you know, I definitely did stand up for myself more than was shown, but like I said they’re
definitely not guys that have any respect.
R: Right, let’s walk back that rotten fruit thing here for a second. So, you said Cydney had
rotten fruit down her pants during a challenge? Could you talk me through exactly what
was going on there?
A: Okay, so in the first challenge we had to grab everything we could from the boat and then we
had to jump onto the raft, and Cydney had her hands full and she put some fruit down her pants
and I guess the fruit had busted open and we got it on the raft and whenever we got back Cydney
was like “oh don’t eat that fruit, that’s been down my pants”. And you know, the guys are kinda
like isolating me and not wanting to talk to me, so I was just like alright, well I’m gonna go feed
them the rotten fruit that was down Cydney’s pants. So I mean yeah, they did bully me but I
definitely did stand my ground a little more than was portrayed.
R: So do you feel like that you’re almost being perceived in a way that you couldn’t stand
up for yourself out there?
A: I feel like I looked a lot more helpless and defenseless than I actually was but another thing as
well, I didn’t want to be as confrontational in the first two episodes because I was close to being
on the chopping block. But once they actually started saying things to my face, which broke out
in episode 4, that’s whenever I went and addressed it. I don’t believe that just because someone’s
bigger than you you should be intimidated by them. Me and Scot were like David and Goliath
R: So for the first three episodes before the events from the challenge, did you feel like that
you had a pretty good relationship with those guys?
A: Not at all. Even from day 1, Jason said “we’re voting out Blondie”. I think these guys have
extremely big egos and they stereotyped me because I was smaller than them. But here’s my
thing: Scot Pollard said “oh I don’t want to be with any weak players”. Being weak is not having
clean water. Being weak is not being able to cook a chicken because we don’t have fire. When
Scot was on the fire, he tried to make it, he gave up and quit after about 15 minutes. He sat in
that shelter for 5 hours and snored like it was kindergarten and he was having naptime. I’m hot,
I’m dehydrated, I sat in the sun for 5 hours making fire. We had some rainstorms the night
before, that’s why it took me 5 hours. I practiced before the show and I could make fire in about
10 or 15 minutes. So I definitely do think I brought some strength to the tribe because through
getting fire we were able to get things we needed to help us survive and do better in the
R: Why do you feel like that you were sort of the lightning rod for all the negativity that
Jason and Scot had instead of say Cydney or when Darnell or Jennifer were there?
A: You know, they say rudeness if a weak person’s imitation of strength-
A: -and I think that it just made them feel good, picking on someone, thinking that they’re the
badasses of the tribe, and that’s the closest I can kind of describe it, is rudeness is the weak
person’s imitation of strength. And you know, I don’t know why I was such a target but I can’t
adjust what happened in the game, but I mean I was in some deep waters. But they stereotyped
me from, like I said, day one. They didn’t really give me a chance I don’t feel.
R: Now, did it make you mad when you heard that Jason was saying, you know, “I’m not
gonna learn her name, she’s just going to be Blondie to me”, you obviously heard him refer
to you as Blondie on the island, did you feel like that was him disregarding you, or you
didn’t think that much of it?
A: Well I didn’t even know about those interviews until I saw it on TV, but I had my opinion on
Jason too, which wasn’t shown. The guy thinks he’s the bounty hunter, Dog the bounty hunter,
thinks he’s a badass. There was one day, it was pretty funny, I’m like dude, take the diamond
earrings out. But Jason talks about going and catching all the bad guys, and Jason let our chicken
out one morning and he couldn’t even catch our chicken. Darnell had to catch the chicken. So
it’s like you go out, you catch all these bad guys, but you can’t even catch a chicken you let out
dude? He’s all talk. I don’t find Jason intimidating by any means, he’s all talk to me.
R: [laughs] Now, I’m also very curious to know how you were able to survive the two tribal
councils that you did because it did seem like that you were the target from day 1. So let’s
just talk through those other two tribal councils. The tribal council where Darnell ended up
going home, were you able to do anything that maybe we didn’t see that you were able to
not be the person voted off when Darnell went home?
A: Yes. Well, I had a plan that didn’t end up working but when they asked me if I had an idol
and I lied and said I might, my plan was to get them to split the votes. Because I thought Darnell
could get Cydney to align with us. I was going to have me, Cydney, and Darnell vote Jason out
and I knew they’d split the votes if I lied and said I had an idol. But then Cydney started acting
weird towards me and I didn’t think the plan would work. So instead, I kind of looked not how I
wanted to in tribal but in the reverse of things I had a pretty good plan that didn’t go through.
R: At the second tribal council, you were shown in your conversations with Jennifer talking
about that it looked like from the episode Jennifer came to you and came up with the idea
of the women’s alliance. In my interview with Jennifer and in a lot of her interviews she
talked about how you were the one that first came up with the women’s alliance and she
was just humoring you and trying to be nice to you. Can you give us your truth of how that
all went down?
A: Oh yeah, 100% I have no filter, I always say it straight-up, how it is. The first day Jennifer
tried to tell me to do an all-girl alliance and then she went over to Darnell and said to vote me
out, she was just trying to scatter things. Jenny came up to me about an all-girl alliance and I was
all about it. I didn’t like Jason, I did a happy dance on TV. But when she started getting shifty
and completely changing things, Cydney came up to me and Cydney said “Alecia, Jen wants to
get you out now, she’s gonna flip. Write her name down tonight”. I said alright, and I trusted
Cydney on that because Jenny was acting real different towards me before tribal.
R: What was your relationship like with Cydney? Because it did feel like that you were
confiding in her on the show but it also feels like on the show that she was more loyal to
Jason and Scot.
A: On the second episode, I was confused by Cydney because she came up to me and she said
“hey, it’s your choice, do we vote Jason out tonight with this all-girl alliance or do we vote Jenny
out”? And I said we vote Jason out. But then Cydney came back up to me right before tribal and
said “Alecia, change the plan, Jenny wants you out”. So I felt like by that being said, she did try
to help me out in the game that night. I thought I could trust her a little bit after that.
R: Let’s talk about the whole incident with the hidden immunity idol. It starts with Alecia,
what looks like you found the clue that was going to tell you where to go look for that idol,
you share it with Alecia who ultimately tells Jason about what’s going on and Jason also
appears to be watching from the distance seeing what you guys are doing. First off, were
you upset with Cydney for telling, basically narcing on you to Jason and Scot?
A: I mean, of course I was upset with Cydney but I was upset with myself like Alecia what were
you thinking? Like sometimes you just don’t think when things happen so fast and just in the
moment she was right behind me and I just told her and now I’m just like dude, Alecia, what
were you thinking? That was my biggest fail in the game.
R: To tell Cydney what was going on?
A: Yeah, definitely. That was, I just wasn’t thinking to be honest. I did fight more for the idol
than what was shown.
R: Well, tell us about that because a lot of people also were talking about that incident
where you and Jason both went for the idol at the same time and whether or not that was
inappropriate. So give us your play by play of that.
A: Okay, so what happened is I’m sitting in the water, Cydney’s over there and tells the guys,
and Jason takes to running. I get out of the water when I see Jason running and Cydney says
“Alecia, he’s looking for the idol, go”. So I think Cydney was kinda playing both sides. I run as
fast as I can and it didn’t show this but me and Jason are digging, we’re both in the ground
digging together, where Cydney had gone back and covered the idol. We’re both digging and
Jason finds the clue. When Jason finds the clue it shows him and Scot walking off in the corner
and I’m not here. Well they didn’t show this, I’m over there trying to chop the tree that the box
key is on and trying to chop it down with a machete. The producers are like “Alecia, you can’t
cut this tree down”, I don’t know if it’s some Cambodian tree you can’t touch, but they wouldn’t
let me chop the tree down. So then I decide to climb the tree so I get half-way up the tree, I’m
like I’m gonna die. So I get down from the tree and that’s when Scot comes back over. Scot is
going to push that thing out so I’m standing at the bottom. This is what it didn’t really show that
much but when the key comes out, Jason knows exactly what he’s doing, there are rocks under
us which is dangerous, he pushes me as hard as he can with his shoulder, knocks me to the
ground, I have two big scars on my legs still I can show you at the reunion. Zero respect for
women doing that. Like absolutely zero respect. And then after that, he got the key and I was
screwed. So yeah, I got beat by Jason, so yeah that sucked.
R: Wow, that’s definitely a lot more intense than what we ultimately saw on the show.
A: Yeah, yeah I was really frustrated when I saw it because it looks like I just kinda “aw, what’s
going on?” but that wasn’t the case. I mean I’m over there climbing a tree, getting in trouble for
trying to machete down the key box tree, I definitely put more of a fight into that than you guys
saw. So yeah it was frustrating.
R: Now, I’m interested to know when you voted last night, you voted for Scot not for Jason
but it seemed as though you had had more friction with Jason, I know that you were
definitely getting into it with Scot as well last night. Why did you vote for Scot instead of
A: I voted for Scot because Scot wrote my name down in the second tribal when Jason didn’t
and I don’t know, I was still mad about that. He made me mad as well. I wanted to write Scot
and Jason, I’m like “Jeff listen. I’m gonna need two ballots, let’s make an exception tonight”. I
equally wanted them both to go home. I just wrote his name down because in the second tribal he
had written me.
R: I just know from a friend if you ever get two ballots, don’t split them. That being said,
going back to that potential scramble before the vote, we didn’t get to see any of what went
on back at camp. So the guys and Cydney said “hey we can do tribal council right now”,
you said “no way”, so when you go back to camp could you tell me a little bit about what
went on back at camp before tribal?
A: Yeah, so I get back to camp and I try and get Cydney to turn on the guys, maybe make a tie
happen and yeah I knew she wasn’t going to do it but I did try to talk to her about it. And then I
went searching for an immunity idol again for a really long time, I was like maybe there will be a
crazy twist, maybe an idol will come to me, but I didn’t end up finding one unfortunately so I
was kind of out of luck at that point.
R: Did you feel like going into that challenge, did you feel like Jason and Scot wanted that
challenge to be thrown, were they hoping to go to tribal council last night?
A: 150%. So what wasn’t shown is I’m on the puzzle and I look over at Scot and Jason and I say
“switch”. And they laugh. And I look at them again and I’m like “guys just see if you can just
switch me for a minute” they laugh at me again, they just smirk, and Jeff says “Alecia’s getting
no love from the Brawn tribe” and you guys didn’t see that last night. And what I think happened
is maybe I’m not a physical threat, but I’m a social threat. I know you’ve got an idol Jason, I’m
gonna blast you when the swap happens and I’m gonna put a target on your back and you know
that. So I think that they did throw the challenge to go to tribal to be sure I didn’t blab about their
idol. 150%, because if not why wouldn’t he have switched me in the puzzle, why would you
stand there laughing? Back to Scot not knowing how to play as a team.
R: Well, Aleica, you had a very eventful 9 days or so out there on the island and I’m sorry
it did not work out better but you really did win over a lot of fans during your time on the
A: Thank you, I appreciate that. And I hope to go back some day, maybe they’ll have me back, I
would absolutely love, love, love to go back.
R: Alright, all the best to you and thanks for coming on with me today.
A: Alright, thank you so much, lovely talking to you. Have a good day.
Special thanks to Molly Jackson for this week’s interview summary.