“I already knew the likelihood of me continuing was very slim, and I was like ‘okay … I’m not going to cry. I’m just going to thank everybody’,” Nina says of the fateful moment.
“And then of course, Jonathan is staring at me, and he says ‘you know, we can’t let you continue,’ and it really, really hits me. I hear little whispers, and Shay’s crying, Mel’s crying, and I’m like ‘oh Lord … I hope I don’t ugly cry right now’,” she laughs.
“It just comes out. You can’t help it.”
Nina’s tribe was indeed devastated to see her go, with a lot of friendships being struck up across the game.
“They’re really, really supportive … and I will say maybe that’s a blessing that I went home the way I did, because I didn’t have to anything super mean or backstab-y to anybody, so I’m on good terms with everybody, which is really, really nice. The connection, even with the time difference, that means a lot to me,” she says of the friends she made during the game.
Although Blood V Water was Nina’s first time playing Survivor, she noticed the ease of connection in the game was different to the expectations she had, having grown up watching her mother play the US version.
“I was like, okay, I can’t trust anybody,” she shares of her initial strategy.
“I mean, I even said at the beginning, ‘are these people really nice? No, they’re faking. There’s no way’. And then you’re like, these people are actually nice,” she laughs.
“Mark gave me a piggyback … people wrapping my leg, making sure that I’m okay while I’m walking, making sure I’m fed on that last reward.
“I might not even be in a super-tight alliance with a person, but they’ll do things where you’re like, ‘they’re just kind people’.”
The strength of connection was well-timed for Nina, who had been felt the affects of isolation in the pandemic.
“If I ever get to play again, I will not compare it to this one, because I know with the tough years that have happened and things like that, I’ve just been dying to connect with people,” she says.
“And then I’m surrounded by people who feel the same way – you know, you actually get to hug people, sit next to people without worrying about other things.
“Those connections, really, really mattered to me because for the last year and a half I’d just been going to work and coming home … so that was super, super cool for me.”
Nina is already planning a trip back to Australia to hang out with her new Survivor pals, saying that if work and COVID allow for it, she’ll be back very soon.
“I’m going to be back soon when the border’s open, just to hang out … I feel like I missed out on saying bye to everybody.
“I just want to hang out with everybody while I can.”
But many of Nina’s more vocal fans want to see her return to play Australian Survivor once more – and finish what she started.
“Absolutely,” she said when asked if she’d go again.
“I one hundred percent would.
“I’m not the type to sit out on challenges, but if that slide comes up again, my tribe just have to understand I ain’t doing it,” she counters, laughing.
WATCH: When Shay met Ben | Survivor: Blood V Water
You can watch Australian Survivor on Channel 10 from Sunday-Tuesday at 7:30pm.