Nicole Delma didn’t last long on Survivor. A contestant on the Pearl Islands edition of the CBS reality show back in 2003, Delma left her mark thanks to a little blue halter dress and a tell-it-like-it-is personality that got her voted off in the very first episode.
Now, five years later—and just as the series returns for its 17th cycle on Sept. 25—she’s offering to dish up “the whole story behind the show” by auctioning off her “Survivor Diaries” on eBay: two handwritten journals she kept during the audition process and in the weeks after she was voted off the show.
According to the description on the eBay auction (which closes Sept. 8, at 6:10 p.m. Pacific Time), the first journal contains a 72-page account of the time she and the other applicants spent “sequestered for a week in a hotel in Santa Monica, Calif.,” subjected to “psychological tests, physical exams, mental evaluations, personality profiling, intelligence testing and exhaustive background checks.”
It also recounts meetings with producer Mark Burnett, host Jeff Probst and “scores of other producers and stakeholders.”
Part 2 picks up after she was voted off and sent to “castaway camp” for two weeks before reappearing on the “return” show.
When we spoke with Delma last week, she told us she wasn’t looking to rewind her 15 minutes.
“I actually enjoyed when the final Survivor identity went away, and I was able to escape that stigma,” said Delma, 29, who went on to become manager of e-mail operations for Conde Nast publications. “But I’m starting business school and this seemed like an easy way to raise money for it.”
Indeed, when she put her famous blue dress (retail: $50) up on eBay back in 2003, it fetched a cool $2,500. And if the auction should catch the attention of a publisher, she’ll retain rights to the content for a potential book.
While Delma didn’t elaborate on those meetings with Burnett and Probst, she did offer up a few fun bits from the diaries, such as the multiple takes required for her fateful Tribal Council scene.
“Every time they tried to vote me off, I started cracking up because I knew I was going,” she said. “They couldn’t get the take they wanted so finally they were like, ‘Just get off the island.’”
Delma described her tenure at the castaway camp as more “like a prison camp,” where the producers restricted contestants’ food in-take to keep them lean for the return show—forcing Delma to steal food from the producers’ refrigerators.
But Delma says her revelations about staged auditions and re-shot scenes aren’t meant to spoil the show for fans: “A lot of these things have been rumored for a while.”
(A CBS spokesperson offered this response: “Yawn. Suggestions that the Survivor experience isn’t real or that the competition is staged are as old as they are false.”)
As for breaking her contractual silence about the show, which she says expired in 2005, Delma is confident she’s in the clear.
Still, she says, “I hope the auction price shoots up before I get a call from CBS.”
By Joel Topcik