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'Deal or No Deal Island's Claudia Jordan Calls Kim "Fake" and "Toxic"

Claudia Jordan on 'Deal or No Deal Island'

While the dozen contestants on Deal or No Deal Island come from different walks of life, Claudia Jordan has by far the greatest connections to the cases. The reality star and actress started her career as a case model during four seasons of the hit NBC game show. And 15 years later, she returned to the game to become the Banker's opponent rather than his accomplice.

By the time Claudia left, though, she had made many more enemies than the Banker. Kim Mattina had explicitly been aiming at her and her alliance, captained by Survivor legend "Boston" Rob Mariano. As a result, the entire cast devised a plan to ice Kim out and send her again into elimination. But a last-minute audible by Stephanie Mitchell threw the plot away. In the chaos, Claudia volunteered to get her case stolen, ready to take her fate into her own hands. Unfortunately, those fated hands grabbed the wrong case (ironically, the one she held throughout her time on the main show) and was eliminated when she took a bad deal.

Claudia spoke with Parade.com about her elimination, approach to the game, and feelings about Kim and Stephanie. Deal or No Deal Island airs Mondays at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on Peacock.

Related: Everything to Know About The Traitors Season 2

You just have to watch back what turned out to be an emotional rollercoaster of an exit. How are you feeling right now?
It's like, "Wow." I'm glad that people got to see the kind of person I am. It didn't work out for me as far as winning the game. But it works out for me in life as far as people saying that I stand by what I say. You don't have to worry about me telling you one thing and doing another. And I think that's a really valuable characteristic to have in life. I think we've gotten so far away from that, the things our parents taught us growing up: to be a good person, not lie, and not be a snake. I think maybe reality TV has kind of rewarded negative behavior for a while. So people think, "By any means necessary. I'll do what I gotta do to get there. As long as the end justifies the means, I'm okay." No, I don't think so. I don't.

I'm curious: What made you decide to go to the other side of the cases and play on Deal or No Deal Island in the first place? And did you intend to come in with that attitude you just mentioned of being true to yourself over everything else?
I honestly thought that my chances would be tough to actually win for the optics. If the Deal or No Deal model wins, is it gonna look fixed if I won? So I was like, "Well, I'll go on there, have a good experience. Maybe take a personal offer or get some money on the side." I didn't really set the bar, like, "I'll do anything to win because I'm okay with the experience." It's not make or break for me if I win or if I lose. I'm not going to be desolate and destroyed financially if I don't win.

I want to win. There's a lot of people I want to help and projects I want to get done. That would have definitely been a blessing. But you can't look at these reality shows as the way to fix issues in your life that you've got to work on as an adult. A reality show shouldn't be your Plan B. A prize on a reality show should be an extra kind of frosting on the cake. So I looked at it as if it'd be nice, but I always want to take something away from things. If I don't win, did I have a good experience? Did I make a mark? Did I try to pass on a lesson? Did I try to show people there's another way to do things? Yeah, I did. I checked all the boxes. And I got this off my bucket list. That was my goal. And I did it.

S,o how much did that philosophy inform your decision to let Stephanie steal your case and purposely go in against the Banker? It wasn't necessarily quitting, but I very much saw that attitude of, "If it works out for me, great. If not, at least I went out on my own terms."
Yes. And also, I didn't want to be a sitting duck. I was taking my power back. "You know what? Let me do it. I'll be in the bottom. Of course, it's going to be me that's gonna go against the Banker. I'm okay with that." At that time, I was getting frustrated. I was saying, "Well, you can't really trust all these people here like you thought. There's a little bit of backstabbing going on. It's probably not too not put your trust in anybody else's hands. Take control of your own game." So at that point, I was like, "Eff it. I'll do it. I'll take one for the team."

I was trying to calm down what was happening. Stephanie was dismantling our plan, throwing everybody under the bus, making us look crazy. Giving Kim all this intel. And I'm like, "Girl, what are you doing right now?! You can't see how you're putting a target on your back now?! Do you think moving forward, if you escape elimination tonight, do you really think that people are going to trust you, like you, or want to be around you long term on the show? You have made this extremely difficult on yourself now. So you deal with that. While I'm back at the hotel drinking a pina colada, figure that out."

Let's get into some of your relationships this season. Ironically, the person who sends you into elimination is one of your closest allies in Boston Rob. And Kim regarded you as one of his tight numbers, lumping the two of you together. What was your dynamic like?
I just want to clarify that he didn't throw me on the bus. He didn't send me to play the Banker to hurt me. What you don't see is I volunteered. I told him, "There's no way I'm letting you send Aron." So it wasn't, "I'm gonna protect Aron," no, no, no. Claudia spoke for herself and said, "I'm going in. I'm playing the Banker. I got it." I didn't want to play this early. But I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles. I will go and do it myself. No one's going to take me out just sitting up, like how they did Jamil. I thought that was dirty. And how they did Brantzen. I'm gonna take myself to the Banker, and then I'll have the best chance of controlling my destiny. And if you lose, I feel like there's less feeling of resentment. Like, "You know what? It was my fault. It wasn't someone else." So he didn't sacrifice me. Let's be very clear.

And I was not insulating him. I was not his minion. I was his ally. And I actually felt like they were unfairly targeting him because he'd been successful on other shows. I don't think that's right. I think that gave real scrub energy. Real broke bitch energy as well to be like, "Let's take out someone that's been successful on a show. So we should penalize him because he's good." I don't think so. I penalize people based on their character and lack thereof, not because they've been good on shows. Actually, I want the people that have been good on other shows to stick around to help build this pot up. But people didn't see it like that.

I imagine one of the people you're alluding to with that statement is Kim. It was no secret that you two were butting heads towards the tail end of your time in the game. Was it as simple as she wanted to target you and Rob, or were there other reasons that led to your conflict?
I just think she was fake. I just felt like she would play the little old helpless lady role. And then while you're over here, distracted, trying to help her with the simplest of tasks--I mean, I was even trying to help this lady put eyelashes on--she's over here being conniving. Take a break, ma'am! It doesn't have to be gameplay 24/7. Relax. I just didn't like her vibe. I just felt like she was kind of sneaky. And while she's over here telling everybody else that they're sneaky. I don't like hypocrites. How are you gonna say Jamil is sneaky when you're over here, plotting and planning? And because we don't do your bidding, we should be punished. Who are you?

From our perspective, it seemed like everyone had pretty much gotten on board with the plan to steal Kim's case before the challenge. Was Kim really that ostracized from the group?
Definitely, we were sick of her. Her vibe, her energy was very negative. And everybody was kind of just tired of her. So we were like, "You know what? We're not feeling you right now. And I felt we felt like for the mental health of the group, it'd be best to get rid of the toxicity," which was Kim. But Stephanie is the one I'm more intrigued and shocked by. Because for her to sit there in front of everyone, and to play down like she did not know the plan when she was one of the co-sponsors of the plan. Alyssa brought the plan to me. I was in my tent, minding my own business. They both come in. They're like, "Here's what we're gonna do." And I'm like, "Okay, that could work. But it could also backfire. If Kim ends up winning the game, she could take out whoever she wants." But I'm like, "Hey if that's what y'all want to do, I'm gonna rock with y'all. Because girl power. I'm a team player. Let's do it."

And then she did a lot of stuff you didn't see, whispering in my ear and telling me, "Girl, you know I'm trying to hack you back." Then, to blow up the spot in front of everybody like that really showed a lack of character and showed that she's not to be trusted. Are you like that in real life? Because it came so naturally to her to just blow up the spot on everyone. She threw everyone under the bus, including Alyssa, who had the most to lose because she had kind of bonded with Kim a little bit but then didn't like how Kim was moving. So she decided to tell us, "Hey, she's kind of talking [expletive] about y'all. I don't like it. And her vibe is it's kind of throwing us off." So, yeah, when I saw Stephanie just turn on all of us, I don't know why she chose an alliance with Kim over everybody else. You know that Kim is not the strongest player. Katt Williams said in his interview with Shannon Sharpe, "You have an unnatural allegiance to losers." And that really is Stephanie; that just describes Stephanie perfectly well.

So I'm intrigued. If you had beaten the Banker and had a chance to eliminate someone, would you have picked Kim or Stephanie?
It was both of them, but I was leaning more towards Stephanie. The way she blew up her spot, it was going to be her. And then I was going to focus on Kim another week. I didn't get to do it, but it's okay.

Next, check out our interview with The Traitors season 2 winners CT Tamburello and Trishelle Cannatella.