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Kim Is "Flattered" That Boston Rob Targeted Her on Deal or No Deal Island

Deal or No Deal Island's Kim Mattina talks about playing against reality legend Rob Mariano, and who she wanted to play with during the game.

By Tara Bennett
Kim Mattina appears in Season 1 of Deal or No Deal Island

Was reality competition super fan Kim Mattina's Deal or No Deal Island game pretty much ruined the moment she got stuck in the mud in Episode 1?

How to Watch

Watch Deal or No Deal Island Mondays at 9:30/8:30c on NBC and next day on Peacock.

While she made it out of the muck, Kim then had everyone gunning for her as she tried to take on "Rob's Army" and The Banker. She was more successful with the latter, as "Boston Rob" Mariano wanted Kim's strategic machinations out of the game. And Kim didn't win any friends in booting out Jamil Sipes so early either. However, Kim did beat The Banker and made it through four episodes before Rob sent her home.

Did the first Deal or No Deal Island episode muddy Kim's entire game?

Kim Mattina leans on a muddy briefcase in Deal or No Deal Episode 101.

Kim told NBC Insider that the overwhelming difficulty of the first challenge did surprise her. "I did the best that I could," she said of the pit that she was eventually dragged out of by her fellow players. "At that point, my mind went blank. It's like, 'Oh, my God, how do I get out of this?' I was exhausted. I was literally gassed out there. But I'm watching people and I can see them going up to the dock. And it's like, 'I'm literally dead in the water or dead in the mud before the game has really started.' But it did give me an observation opportunity."

When she was helped out by Brantzen Wong, who gave her a case, Kim said she immediately felt like she was back in the game.

"I stole the largest case. And the way I stole it [was] by asking, 'Hey, who has the million dollar case? I'm going to protect you,'" she explained. "I think put a strategic target on me, in that Rob, Stephanie, and a lot of them were like, 'OK, this girl is playing the game.' I did my best to get the heat off of me when I could. But Rob is a master at strategic game manipulation."

Kim on Clashing with Claudia

Claudia Jordan appears in Deal or No Deal Episode 101.

From the mud puddle to the challenges, former Deal or No Deal case model Claudia Jordan made it clear she was not a fan of Kim or her game. Asked if there was something that really fed Jordan's beef with her, Kim said it was a couple of issues. "I mean, she already had an impression with me," she said of the mud challenge. "Then her first confessional gave me two 'really, really' olds. I wasn't the first one to refer to myself as old, but others did. And Claudia did. And that's fine. I'm older than her, but not a lot," she added, laughing.

RELATED: Everything to Know About Deal or No Deal Island's Claudia Jordan: From Briefcase Model to Star Player

"When I initially saw Claudia, I actually really wanted to play with Claudia," she said of her intended alliance. "I'm so tired of seeing men constantly win these things. And when women play in a certain way, they're thought of as aggressive or bitchy. Men making that same move are thought of as strategic and strong. So I was really #TeamWoman. But when I eliminated Jamil, that definitely set off Claudia. She was not my biggest fan to begin with, and then that happening set her off a lot."

Playing Against the Legend, Boston Rob

Rob Mariano, Joe Manganiello, and Kamari Love choose briefcases in Deal or No Deal Island Episode 104.

A self-professed student of competition reality games, Kim said it was illuminating to actually play with Boston Rob. Asked how he gets so deep into the machinations of the game so quick, she assessed that he's an effective charmer. 

"Rob has that boyish grin that people are just drawn to and go, 'Oh, he likes me!' At the same time, I knew that is his MO," she explained. "That's what Rob does. Rob looks for people that he can control. He loves controlling the game. But Rob also controls people. Whether they see it or not, it's what he does. And he does it through that charm and through just that 'average Joe' way that he talks to people. Little things like cuffing up Aron's sleeves — stuff like that has an impact on people. And he is incredible at that.

"And at the same time. Rob never looks panicked to people," she continued. "He's like, 'Whatever. If it happens, it happens.' In the meantime, you have to know his mind is racing. He is 100 percent always thinking game and how what he does impacts the game."

RELATED: Traitors & Deal or No Deal Island Contestants Talk Gaming Strategy with Joe Manganiello

Asked if Rob out villain-ed her, or out-played her on Deal or No Deal Island, Kim laughed and gave a resounding answer: "Yes."

She then clarified: "Rob out villain-ed me because he kept it to the confessionals, as opposed to the players. With the players, he's like, 'I can't believe that she would call me that. Oh, my daughters are gonna have to watch that on TV!' Every single bit of it was definitely game manipulation. He out villain-ed me 100 percent. He's experienced at it and I'm not experienced with that. Even though that soundbite says that I say I'm going to be a villain, I didn't say I was going to be a villain. I said, 'If I'm thought of as a villain, so be it.' A villain move would have been telling Dawson, 'I won't put you in against The Banker, and then turn around and put him in against The Banker.' That's a villain move. I definitely used strategic play in a lot of it.

"I had some mean moves but I didn't have villain moves," she added with a laugh.

Kim's Big Win Against The Banker

Kim Mattina cheers as Joe Manganiello points in Deal or No Deal Island Episode 102.

In the end, Kim played a great game against The Banker before she left the game, taken out by Boston Rob.

RELATED: Who Is the Banker on Deal or No Deal Island?

"There were a lot of really great pieces to the experience," she shared. "Playing against The Banker, and beating The Banker was exhilarating. That was definitely a high high. And even though I was intimidated by Rob, at first, as soon as I got a little bit of a foothold, and he knew I knew his game, I was still able to hold my own to be in there for four rounds. The fact that Rob did not beat me in a gameplay sense, rather Rob beat me because Rob beat the Banker so he could point at me and take me out. I don't necessarily think that was the best move. Honestly, I think he took me out a little bit early. And there were opportunities for us to work together. But he wasn't going to do that."

Now Kim is hoping to get a call from other competition reality shows. "The Traitors would be incredible," she said. "Or House of Villains over on E! would be incredible. But I'm probably too soft for House of Villains. I'd have to go in taking something to keep my emotions down."

New episodes of Deal or No Deal Island premiere on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT. All episodes are available next-day on Peacock