After being eliminated from ‘Survivor,’ Natalia opened up to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY about Alec’s decision to flip on their alliance to vote her out — AND why she never trusted him from the beginning.
Natalia Azoqa should have been sitting pretty after the tribe swap on the Oct. 17 episode of Survivor: David vs. Goliath. She found herself in the majority on a new tribe, Vuku, with two of her former Goliath tribe mates, Kara Kay and Alec Merlino. The plan should’ve been simple: Vote out one of the former Davids, Elizabeth Olson or Davie Rickenbacker. Unfortunately, Alec had a different idea in mind, and teamed up with Elizabeth and Davie to vote for Natalia instead.
“I think the vote kind of showed that Alec wanted to make big moves in the game,” Natalia told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “I think maybe the swap was really his time to step up his game. He never talked about strategy a lot at Goliath…or maybe he did with other people, but not with me. Maybe he thought this was his shining moment to make a stance in the game, but honestly, I don’t agree with it. I don’t think it was a smart move at that time.” She added that she doesn’t “respect” Alec’s decision, even to this day. “I will admit if I made a mistake or I really thought he made the right choice in voting me out, but I don’t really see how it was a smart decision,” she said. “I can’t congratulate him on it. He knew he had my trust — I made it very clear with him that I wanted to work with him.”
Things blew up between Natalia and Alec at tribal council, especially after he started openly whispering to Elizabeth right in front of her. However, Natalia felt something was off with him long before that. “I really had a lot of doubts with Alec,” She admitted. “He would not talk strategy or gameplay. He really didn’t open up to me a lot — and that goes back to the Goliath tribe. I tried working with him, and closer to the swap, we had a feeling something would happen, so I was trying to push a relationship with him. I didn’t get it from him on the Goliath tribe and certainly not on the Vuku tribe, so I felt really insecure in my relationship with him.”
Do you think Kara really had no idea that Alec was going to vote for you? My initial instinct was that she was lying to me, which is why I kept asking her. I wanted to see from her face if she was telling the truth or not. I had built a really strong connection with her from the beginning, and could see it from her face. But I really think she had no idea! I think she was probably more blindsided than I was. I had an idea and kept saying it to her before tribal council — that I didn’t feel comfortable. But she was adamant on her decision to stay with Alec. Going into tribal, she believe he was not voting me out, even after he talked to Elizabeth. SO, yeah, I really feel like she was the one who was blindsided.
Do you think you would’ve had better luck if you ended up with a different Goliath tribe member on Vuku than Alec? I do! I think the whole Goliath tribe was very focused on staying Goliath strong, and the fact that a lot of us got along, there was no reason to flip. I think Alec was just so focused on making his big move.
Where do you and Alec stand today? We’r going to have to see when the show is done what happens between me and Alec!
Do you think you could’ve done anything differently? I think I could’ve acted less crazy. I was getting really paranoid right before tribal and you see my craziness come in. But, I will say the point where Alec wanted Davie gone, maybe I could’ve been a little more open to listening to what he had to say. That could’ve helped. But, to be honest, I asked him point blank: Why would we vote out Davie?, and the way my tone was, it was accusatory and maybe he took that as a dig to him. Like, I’m basically saying you’re wrong. But to me, that’s just how I talk. I wanted him to have a clear explanation as to why he wanted Davie over Elizabeth, because Elizabeth was voting me out. If you’re going to show your alliance towards me…you better vote with me.
Was there anything you wish we saw that wasn’t shown? You don’t see a lot of my strategy in the game. There was a lot going on with me and Natalie [Cole] on Goliath, and that was more entertaining, I guess. You didn’t get to see the Goliath tribe that much because we weren’t going to tribal, so they had to show the moments that stuck out. I really, really wanted to play this game and I worked so hard talking to a lot of people and building relationships in the beginning. I wish they could have shown more of that.