“Survivor” Champion Kim Spradlin-Wolfe – “I Could Be the Lord Varys to Sandra’s Tyrion”

“Survivor: Winners at War” (CBS)

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Editor’s Note: The players were separated by gender and didn’t officially know the theme of the season when this interview took place.

Another Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted across from the giant “Boston” Rob and Sandra heads at the Island of the Idols.


Winner of “One World” (2012)

Name: Kim Spradlin-Wolfe

Age: 36

Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

Current Residence: San Antonio, Texas

Occupation: Interior Designer


Gordon Holmes: You had three kids in short order?

Kim Spradlin-Wolfe: Right after the show, I got remarried.

Holmes: Remarried?

Spradlin-Wolfe: (Laughs) Married. The good kind. And then we had three kids in twenty-six months. They’re now three, four, and five.

Holmes: Holy cow.

Spradlin-Wolfe: That’s part of the reason why I wanted to do this, getting to go through the experience with them. My five year old will get it this time. The four year old might get it.

Holmes: What kind of mother are you if these kids don’t know about “Survivor”?

Spradlin-Wolfe: I didn’t want them to see it until they can get it. It would hurt my ego if they asked to switch to “Go, Diego, Go!” in the middle of my final Tribal.

Holmes: This is where mommy won a million bucks. Pay attention.

Spradlin-Wolfe: (Laughs) Exactly.


Holmes: You get credited, and rightfully so, for playing one of the best, most dominant games ever.

Spradlin-Wolfe: Shucks…now I’m regretting that.

Holmes: You should have half-assed it.

Spradlin-Wolfe: What was I thinking?

Holmes: How do you use that to your advantage in this?

Spradlin-Wolfe: The truth is, I’m going to try to ignore it. I’m going to start over and let this be a new game and a new experience. I’ll try not to take any baggage from last time. What worked, what didn’t work. I’ll try not to think about what I did or what they did, because they’re changing too. I’m good at reading a room. I think that’s why I did well last time. I’ll let this be a new game, a new day, and hopefully I can read the new cast.


Holmes: This is your first time as a returning player. Has anyone given you any advice for playing in an all-star season?

Spradlin-Wolfe: I’ve talked to a couple of people, not about me going on, but that were upset about their experience on a returning player season.

Holmes: Troyzan (Robertson) has been back, Kat (Edorsson) has been back…

Spradlin-Wolfe: Aras (Baskauskas), Troyzan, Kat…those are the people that I know well enough to have heard some of the things they could or could not have done better. The consistent advice has been that there are just so many alliances and there’s not any real commitment or stability. I’m open to committing to something and seeing it through to the end.


Holmes: There’s always talk of pre-season alliances. Have you been doing any of that?

Spradlin-Wolfe: If there are, then I haven’t been a part of it. Which is scary. I didn’t want to waste the weeks leading up to coming up here doing that. I think it’s a waste of time. And if that kills me, then fine. From what I’ve heard, that’s a mess and doesn’t serve anyone super well. It’s more important for me to be in a peaceful mindset than to have worked up some relationships that aren’t based on a lot of trust.

Holmes: I want to be peaceful before I cut some throats.

Spradlin-Wolfe: That’s the plan.

Holmes: That’s horrible.

Spradlin-Wolfe: (Laughs) It’s a freakin’ game.

Holmes: I’ve been married for a little under four years.

Spradlin-Wolfe: Congratulations.

Holmes: Thank you. And against my better judgment, I married a woman who doesn’t like “Survivor.”

Spradlin-Wolfe: (Laughs)

Holmes: She just doesn’t like the lying and the backstabbing.

Spradlin-Wolfe: It’s a mean game.

Holmes: But, Rick Devens drew her in.

Spradlin-Wolfe: I love Devens.

Holmes: She was on the edge of her seat when he was voted out. She actually said a curse word.

Spradlin-Wolfe: That makes sense, because when you think about the evolution of the show it was nicer in the beginning. There was more human connection. It does feel more cutthroat now.

Holmes: It does, but at the same time you have “Millennials vs. Gen-X” where it didn’t seem like there were hard feelings after a deceptive move.

Spradlin-Wolfe: Yeah, that’s true. That has changed. I’m curious to see if this goes a little more old school.  I think there are some people who like it how it was. Just because it worked well for them when they played it.


Holmes: You were season 24. You’re pre idol nullifiers and Edges of Extinction.

Spradlin-Wolfe: Yup. Thank god.

Holmes: Are you all caught up on those?

Spradlin-Wolfe: I’ve watched it all. I haven’t missed an episode since my season. I feel like I understand what people are doing and what the pace of the game looks like. I’m going to play the best game I can possibly play. Try to be brilliant, try to be a genius. But, I think you can play a perfect game and still get voted out second. Like the last time Sandra was on, she kicked ass and she still went home. There was nothing she could do to change that.


Holmes: You’re in lockdown so you’re not allowed to talk. But, there are always winks and nods. Are you doing any of that?

Spradlin-Wolfe: Honestly, there’s not as much winking and nodding as there was last time. I think this is a more mature crowd and they’re used to it. I have impressions of how people are…I can’t decide…I love Parvati. Parvati is someone I watched when I was somewhere in the 19-to-21-year-old range. I was obsessed with Parvati and thought she was the coolest thing ever. I think we have a lot of similarities in the way we sort of work the room to be likable and friendly and not overly serious. Talk to everyone. But, she’s very strategic and super smart. I feel like I’m a cross between Parvati and Sophie. I think if I’m on a tribe with Parvati I’d either want to work with her or get rid of her. I won’t know until I look into her eyes and have the conversation. I love Sandra, I’d play with her. But, if I get a bad vibe I’d be super freaked out.

Holmes: Have you noticed anyone sitting together, interacting with one another?

Spradlin-Wolfe: Parvati and Amber sit at the same table a lot. I feel like Denise and Danni and Michele are easy and don’t seem like they’re overly trying right now. I think they might be easier to play with. I really like Sophie. I think we play similarly, but at the same time I’m worried she might be coming for me. (Laughs) I think we could be a good pair.

Holmes: You two are back-to-back champs.

Spradlin-Wolfe: Yeah, I was supposed to be on her season, but I got pulled. I think she replaced me or I was the alternate.


Holmes: We haven’t heard a theme officially. Would you care to make a guess?

Spradlin-Wolfe: I’d go winners.

Holmes: Interesting. Ten women on an island, and that’s it.

Spradlin-Wolfe: Sure…or…maybe there are ten guys tucked away somewhere.

Holmes: Ah…if these ten gentlemen exist, who do you think we could see?

Spradlin-Wolfe: (John) Cochran, Tyson, Jeremy, Richard (Hatch). I’d love to see Richard. Yul, Ben, Nick…who else…I don’t think Chris (Underwood) is going to be there. I’d love for Chris to be here. He kind of falls into the Denise, Michele, Danni camp for me. I don’t think Rob is going to be here because Amber is here.

Holmes: Anyone you’re concerned about?

Spradlin-Wolfe: Richard freaks me out. He’s different. The time I met him we had a great conversation. But, he’s on so many levels. Tyson, I like Tyson, I know Tyson fairly well. We played a poker game, me, Jeremy, Rob, and Tyson.

Holmes: Who won?

Spradlin-Wolfe: Out of the four of us, I won. The professional poker player won, but I got second. And, I’d never played before, so I’d call that a win.

Holmes: So, you’re not a seasoned poker player…

Spradlin-Wolfe: No, I read a book on the plane there.

Holmes: Is there anything you’re bad at?

Spradlin-Wolfe: (Laughs) Lots of things.


Holmes: Alright, we’re going to play Align or Malign. I’m handing you cards featuring the nine women you’ve been sharing a tent with. Give me four you will work with and five you will not.

Spradlin-Wolfe: In a dream world…

Holmes: Which is exactly where we are right now.

Spradlin-Wolfe: (Laughs) Which is exactly where we are right now. I’m going with Michele. How do I put this nicely…I love Michele, she seems really sweet. I think we’ll get along. I think she could be my new Chelsea (Meissner).

Holmes: That was perfectly nice.

Spradlin-Wolfe: (Laughs)

Holmes: You’re like, “Michele is the best and I love her.” Super nice.

Spradlin-Wolfe: (Laughs) Sandra, I’d love to play with her. I think we could do very well together. I could be the Lord Varys to Sandra’s Tyrion (Lannister). I think she’s so funny and cool. Something in my likes something in Sandra. I don’t know if she’ll trust me enough to play with her. I like Sophie. She also scares me because she is smart and strategic. I like Amber. I’ve never met her, but I get a good, confident, peaceful vibe from her. And, there’s the mom thing. She’s got four littles, I left my three kids. I got goosebumps when I saw her. I thought, “She did it too!” I’m not the only one freaking out about my kids.

Holmes: OK, the other five?

Spradlin-Wolfe: Who have I maligned…Sarah…I malign you. She has a chaotic energy. She’s like the female Tony. Natalie…I can’t get a read on her. I watched her season and I just have this block. I can’t remember what she did. There’s something in me that doesn’t trust me and I trust my gut. I want to trust Parv, I’d like to play with Parv, but my gut tells me not to. Denise…I don’t feel like I’d click with her. I like her, she seems really amazing, but I don’t feel a connection. Danni is trying really hard. I think she’s really psyched to be here and will do anything to further herself in the game. But, if I had a fifth align, it would probably be Danni.

Holmes: OK, of that five, who’s the first boot?

Spradlin-Wolfe: Sarah…she’s just scrambling. I already feel it.

Holmes: Of these four, who’s your ride-or-die?

Spradlin-Wolfe: I’d love it to be Sandra, but I’m going to say Amber. I’m going with my gut.


Holmes: You mentioned some “Game of Thrones” folks. How bummed are you that you’ll have to wait so long to watch the finale?

Spradlin-Wolfe: So upset. It was the number two reason that I didn’t want to come.

Holmes: Maybe they can arrange a reward where they let you guys watch it.

Spradlin-Wolfe: Yes! That’d be hysterical.

Holmes: Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about Twitter spoiling it.

Spradlin-Wolfe: When I get home I’ll go straight to watching it. Before I see my kids or anything, I’ll just hide in my room. I’ll be out in an hour.


Holmes: You’re considered one of the best winners of all time. Are you worried that someone loves the idea of being the person who blindsides Kim Spradlin-Wolfe?

Spradlin-Wolfe: Sure. But, I bet most people out here are feeling that about themselves. Any other season, I would’ve been nine worried. Now I’m maybe six worried. Some people might think I’m a threat, but I don’t think I’m number one out here.

Holmes: There’s something to be said for; there’s never a bad time to target a former winner in an all-star season. If this is all winners, this somewhat negates that.

Spradlin-Wolfe: Yes, this is my best shot.


Holmes: OK, we’re going to play Best Defense. I’ll give you a train of thought someone might use to target you, you need to argue against it.

Spradlin-Wolfe: Got it.

Holmes: Kim Spradlin owned “One World.” I don’t want her to get any momentum.

Spradlin-Wolfe: Honestly, I’m just as surprised that I dominated my season as anyone would be. I think, and I don’t like saying this because I don’t know if it’s fair to say, it was an easy cast. When I look at this group, compared to the group I played with, there’s no comparison. There’s no Kat Edorssons or Christina Chas out here. There were only a few people that had seen or knew the show. So, in that sense it was somewhat of an unfair advantage. I think that’s why it went so well.


Holmes: Kim won four out of her last five immunity challenges…

Spradlin-Wolfe: Same thing. Look at who I was competing against. (Laughs)

Holmes: (Laughs) Oh man.

Spradlin-Wolfe: (Laughs) Anyone can look like a rock star athlete…

Holmes: Are Kat and Christina going to read this and be like, “What the (expletive deleted)?”

Spradlin-Wolfe: (Laughs) When you take out the Jays (Byars), and the Troys, and the Matts (Quinlan), and you’re competing against some girls who didn’t even play high school sports, you’re going to look really good. I think that’s what made me successful. I was with Troyzan and Alicia (Rosa) and Christina and Chelsea. I think people were expecting Sabrina (Thompson) to be better at the challenges, but she wasn’t good. I didn’t feel like I had to work terribly hard to win those. I don’t think I’m some bad-ass, genius “Survivor” player. I’m grateful for the season I was on.


Holmes: If Jeff let you pick a twist, which twist would you request?

Spradlin-Wolfe: No twists.

Holmes: No idols, classic Borneo?

Spradlin-Wolfe: I’m fine with idols, but idols getting put back and all of that? I think it just takes away from the actual gameplay which is the thing I love to watch.

Holmes: Was there a tipping point where you thought, “This is enough with the twists”?

Spradlin-Wolfe: I think there was, I thought my season was fine. Now it’s almost more of a distraction than fun.


Holmes: Here’s the dumbest questions you’ll get all day; if an alien landed and you had to show them a scene that shows them why “Survivor” is awesome, what scene would you show them?

Spradlin-Wolfe: (Laughs) I want to do your question justice…

Holmes: My dumb question deserves a well thought out answer.

Spradlin-Wolfe: It’s changed so much. I think this last finale was a perfect glimpse of what “Survivor” has become with Devens. He just played his heart out and you could feel that. And in comes Chris and he’s made relationships with all of these people. He ousted him and won. That’s kind of a picture of my sadness with it at the moment. It’s hard for me. I hate the Edge of Extinction, I hate it with a passion. As a fan, as a player…honestly, I can even say even if I was voted out I’d rather go to the jury. I’d love to get back in the game, sure, but it doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like “Survivor” if people can get back in. I wouldn’t have won my season with all of this stuff. Troy would have come back or whatever.

Holmes: You’re preaching to the choir, Spradlin.

Spradlin-Wolfe: Sorry. Maybe that’s a bad answer.

Holmes: That alien is going to be so depressed.


Don’t miss the premiere of “Survivor: Winners at War” – Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 8 pm ET.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @GordonHolmes