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NaOnka Mixon

During the reunion show of Survivor:Nicaragua, we learned that the upcoming season of the show would be bringing us some new rules!

In a new interview, host Jeff Probst discusses the new format and rules. The most notable change on the upcoming Survivor: Redemption Island, which premieres Feb. 16 on CBS, is that when a contestant is voted off, he or she won’t leave the game but instead go instead to the “Redemption Island,” where he or she will face off against the next person voted off in a duel.

The loser goes home and the duel winner goes on to face the next arrival at Redemption Island until one person is left standing. That individual will then get a chance to return to the game.

“We did a haphazard version of Redemption Island a few years ago called the Outcasts,” Jeff explains. “It didn’t work and it didn’t please the audience and there was one fundamental flaw – we didn’t tell people up front it was going to happen … So I have no problem with people coming back into the game because everybody knows up front [now]. A rule can’t be unfair if you know going in. It’s an equal opportunity.”

And thanks to the two infamous quitters, NaOnka Mixon and Kelly Shinn, being allowed to quit the game and remain on the jury, much to the fury of fans, the show has now implemented new rules regarding quitters. From the new season on, producers will have total discretion on whether to keep quitters on the show or leave them off the jury. “The most frustrating part for me was that both of them, due to a precedent we already set on the show, were allowed to stay on the jury and have an influence at the end of the game,” Jeff tells PEOPLE.

In other Survivor news, Matthew “Sash” Lenahan found himself in the same position as popular villain Russell Hantz during the finale show. Despite playing a pretty good game, Sash ended up not only losing the game, but receiving zero votes from his jury peers as he simply ruffled too many feathers. In an interview with TV Guide, Sash discusses not receiving any votes and who surprised him the most on the jury. Excerpts below -

TVGuide.com: Why do you think you didn’t receive a single vote from the jury?
Matthew “Sash” Lenahan:
It’s rough. I think I played a great game on the show. I don’t regret anything. I think I made the best move every step of the way, and I did the best that I could. I can’t control how the jury is going to vote. I did think that I had a shot tonight, but I think the jury voted a lot based on emotion and previous relationships, and not necessarily based on the way I played, which is how I would have based my vote. I just thought some of the members of the jury would have respected the game more.

But saying that, Fabio is a great winner. I am a super fan of the show, I’ve watched all 10 years and 20 seasons, and no one has ever played like Fabio has. I thought I knew all the twists and all the turns and all the angles, but he played a way I’ve never seen, so he’s very deserving.

TVGuide.com: Was there anyone on the jury whose comments surprised you the most?
Sash:
It really surprises me because this is a game. There are some people, Jane in particular, who tried to hit below the belt. You saw with me, the comments she made about my mother, the comments she made about Marty and his kids. It’s a game. I had my game face on, but I love everyone. I don’t hold any grudges. I know that they are all amazing people, but it’s a shame when you see people take it to a level that’s unnecessary.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW RULES? DO YOU THINK SASH SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN SOME VOTES? DID JANE TAKE THINGS TOO PERSONAL?

Los Angeles native Jud Birza aka Fabio became the $1 million winner of Survivor:Nicaragua after outlasting, outwitting and outplaying his fellow competitors following 39 days in the rain forest.

The 21-year-old college student and model beat out musician Chase Rice, 24 and real-estate broker Matthew “Sash” Lenahan, 30, to become the youngest Survivor contestant ever to win the game.

Fabio won by a 5-4 vote, beating out Chase. And in what can only be described as the Russell Hantz effect, villain Sash received zero votes.

Fabio, who won the last three immunity challenges, stated numerous times that he is not as dumb as others thought he was. Dog trainer Jane Bright, 56, was declared the fan favorite, winning the $100,000 Sprint Fan Favorite award. NaOnka Mixon, who host Jeff Probst called “a great villain” admitted that she “acted a fool” on the show but ultimately defended all her actions.

And thanks to NaOnka and Purple Kelly aka the Quitters, Jeff announced last night that starting with the new season, quitters will now have some repercussions, such as not being allowed on the jury. The decision will however be in the hands of the show’s producers.

The next big announcement was that the new season will have a new twist called Redemption Island. According to Jeff, when a contestant is voted out, they will go to Redemption Island and stay there alone, before being ultimately joined by the next person voted out. The two will then compete in a duel and the winner will remain on Redemption Island. After a certain period, the last person left standing on Redemption Island will get to return to the game.

We also got an update of Boston Rob and Amber. The two just delivered their second daughter Carina Rose on December 10th.

My Thoughts – I thought Fabio made an excellent move in deciding to vote out Holly. He’s definitely not as dumb as he appears. Holly would have likely won had she made the finals and quite frankly, I believe she deserved to win. She is the only member of the older tribe left in the game, the only woman left standing and she made some great moves in the game. She is the one who orchestrated the elimination of Brenda — a major competitor. Had it not been for Holly, Brenda would have likely been in the final 3 with Sash.

Personally, I was rooting for Fabio the most and I’m glad he won. I did not think Chase deserved to win at all and believed his game play was about as impressive as Kelly Purple’s. He just seemed to go with the flow, doing what others told him to do. I’m not surprised Sash didn’t get a vote. I’m guessing he failed to watch Russell Hantz’s performance on the last season. Part of Survivor is the social game and pissing everyone off and backstabbing everyone is never a good idea. Sash was a bad player in my opinion because he lied when he didn’t need to, thus making himself more enemies than he needed to.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS SEASON OF SURVIVOR AND FABIO WINNING? SHOULD PLAYERS LIKE SASH & RUSSELL BE PUNISHED FOR BACKSTABBING? THOUGHTS ON THE NEW RULES?

Ben Henry aka Benry found himself the latest eliminated outcast on Survivor: Nicaragua after he was blindsided and sent packing.

In a new interview with TV Guide, the 24-year-old club promoter talks about being blindsided by Chase and his alliance, how his competitive nature might have led to his downfall and also touches on NaOnka Mixon and Kelly Shinn quiting the game. Excerpts from his interview below -

TVGuide.com: How surprised were you to get voted out?
Ben “Benry” Henry:
It was a complete blindside. It was fun to watch with friends last night because nobody had any idea who was going home. … I think it was cool. It was an episode where people were on the edge of their seats and really up in the air as to what was going on. Personally, I did not see that coming. I was completely blindsided. I had no idea what was coming and I thought going into it that we were going to vote Fabio off. I thought that was the mutual consensus.

TVGuide.com: Do you think Chase’s alliance chose to vote for you over Fabio because of how close you came to winning the immunity challenge?
Benry:
Yeah, I think so. Definitely between Fabio or I, I think they looked at it and they really saw me as more of a physical threat and that I had been more of an asset to the tribe in pre-merge game … [They thought] I would have been a dangerous person to sit next to in the top three. I think they also thought Fabio is kind of dumb and would play along, so they sort of had him in their back pocket. They saw me as being a little more intelligent, a little bit more aware so I was the bigger threat.

TVGuide.com: At least you can say you gave it your all, unlike the quitters.
Benry:
It’s a bummer. They have no regrets, but if it were me, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night still. I heard a good quote the other day: “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” … I think it’s unfortunate that they pulled the plug with 11 days left, but it just goes to show that what kind of people they really are.

TVGuide.com: A lot of people are upset that they’re still on the jury. What do you think about that?
Benry:
There was definitely a lot of talk about that and I didn’t think they would be allowed on the jury. There’s really two sides to everything. Part of me says that they’ve been involved in the game and involved in conversations so their vote is somewhat valuable. Another part of me says that if there seven on the jury instead of nine then the vote still would have been there. I don’t know.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BENRY’S INTERVIEW AND HIS ELIMINATION? PLUS THOUGHTS ON TONIGHT’S EPISODE?

In an episode like never before, the world watched last week as not one, but two contestants quit the game of Survivor: Nicaragua.

The decision was shocking because the game was getting close to the end. In a new interview with E! Online, the quitters Kelly “Purple” Shinn, a 20-year-old nursing student, and NaOnka Mixon, a 27-year-old PE teacher, defend their decisions to quit the game. If you’re expecting any regret or remorse from these two, don’t hold your breath. NaOnka also makes it clear she has zero regret about her behavior on the show.

Excerpts from their interview with E! below -

How do you respond to those who call your quitting a slap in the face to Survivor?
“Purple” Kelly Shinn:
I’m sorry to everyone who thinks that, but at the same time I was so physically ill—afterwards, I was treated for parasites and low blood pressure. [Editor's note: Aw, poor baby.]

NaOnka Mixon: I played the game exactly the way I said I would at the beginning: I would lie, cheat and steal, I would be faker than faux fur, I would pretend to be your friend and stab you in the back. I lived up to that.

NaOnka, do you have any regrets about your behavior on the show?
N:
Nooooo! I will not apologize for stealing the food or talking about Kelly B.’s leg, or taking Fabio’s socks, or any other crazy antic I did. That was just my character on the show. If you’re playing a game for a million dollars you’re gonna do whatever it takes, too. It’s just that I [had to] go and be a little gangster about it.

Do you think you were justified going on the reward instead of Holly, when you were quitting the game?
N:
There was no way in the world that I was giving up my spot. [I was] going out with a bang. If Holly wants to go ahead and take the rice, cool. You’re going to be here, I’m not.

Do you think you deserve to sit on the jury?
N:
Hell yeah. I played the hell out of that game and made it past the merge. The game we played was a hard game—it was just under harsh conditions. I really don’t give a damn about what anybody has to say about me and Purple Kelly being on the jury. Obviously [the earlier castoffs'] game wasn’t strong enough, because they didn’t form an alliance or they should’ve researched the game a bit more to make it further. We get to vote for who gets the million, so f–k ‘em.

PK: We went through everything that everyone else had gone through: the rainy nights, absolutely every little thing together. We weren’t away from that at any point. Why separate us when we have been just as much a part of Survivor: Nicaragua as everyone else? As far as others who have never been a part of Survivor but would love to…keep trying? [Editor's note: Headdesk.]

What was your reaction to Alina crying while you checked out?
N:
Alina is a drama queen! She was upset because Purple Kelly outlasted her, and that’s what she gets—she got played!

NaOnka, did you realize you were offending Sash at Tribal when you said you were the last African American player in the game?
N:
Does he look all black? He has a little bit of black in him. When the camera panned to him, I started cracking up because I thought that was hilarious. Sash has part Jamaican in him. I am Negro, there is a difference.

NaOnka, did you experience any repercussions when you returned home? I heard there was a movement to get you fired from your job.
N:
The YMCA does not fire people. What I did in this game has nothing to do with my real life, it has nothing to do with my job. People who try to compare how I make my money with the game I played are ignorant. It’s completely ridiculous. I knew when I was playing that game what I was gonna have to deal with, and I knew it was gonna be on TV.

When it comes to the criticism and complaints that NaOnka and Kelly should not be allowed to sit on the jury after quitting the game, Jeff Probpst agree and calls that decision a tough pill to swallow in an interview with LATimes. Probst adds, “But there was no other decision. The problem was that we had set a precedent. Janu was allowed to stay on the jury and she had a vote. If I’m say, Sash, and I’m in alliance with them and I make it to the end, and I lose by two votes, I’d have a pretty good case that if we did what we did before and let them stay, I would have won.”

A new episode of Survivor airs tonight on CBS at 8/7c.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE INTERVIEW AND THE LADIES QUITTING THE GAME? DO YOU THINK THEY DESERVE TO BE ON THE JURY?

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