The ninth episode of Australian Survivor kicked off with the Exile Beach duel between the previously eliminated Anita and Tegan. After sharing notes and realising they were both duped by Benji, the two fierce competitors entered the battle arena where they faced off in front of both tribes. It was a close fight, as each Contender stacked blocks to save their lives in the game, but in the end, Tegan snatched the victory, dashing Anita’s hopes and sending her out of the game for good.
Inside Survivor’s Austin Smith caught up with Anita to talk about her time on the island, her alliance with the girls, her conflict with Paige, and why she didn’t split the vote at the tribal council she went home.
1. Anita! Thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions about your Survivor adventure! First of all, you came into the season as a big fan of the show, jumping for joy when you saw Jonathan – what were some of your biggest “oh my god, I’m on Survivor!” moments?
Gosh sooooo many! Getting on the truck and looking around trying to read my fellow tribemates. The moment you’re handed your buff. The moment you catch sight of the Champions and see Russell. The moment you arrive at your beach and introduce yourself to everyone. Winning our first immunity challenge and taking the idol back to camp. And even small things like etching a notch into the tree each morning you’re there. Going to tribal and seeing the fire and going to vote, taking that pen and writing someone’s name and putting it in the urn. I could just go on and on.
2. It seems like you, Shonee and Fenella clicked right away – how did the three of you come to working together, and can you tell us a little more about your girls’ alliance?
When we arrived at the beach we just started weaving some palm fronds and I loved their personalities straight away. We just clicked and laughed lots, and by the next day I had said that I would never write their names down. We cuddled to sleep at night for comfort and warmth and had lots of giggles.
3. You and Paige, on the other hand, had a lot of conflict in the aftermath of the Steve vote. How did you come to be at odds, and did you end up burying the hatchet by the time Tegan and Heath were in the firing line?
Firstly I love Paige. She just clicked with Benji and Rob straight away and when the boys put her name down at that tribal and she wrote Shonee’s, I was just being protective and felt if the boys didn’t trust her, I wouldn’t either. I felt the boys found her intelligence intimidating. But we actually didn’t have any “conflict” and before you knew it, we were on the same voting alliance with the Tegan vote.
4. When it came to the Tegan vote, what led you to believe the lie Benji told to Shonee over your own alliance with Tegan and Heath?
I was only told about that vote 10 minutes before tribal. I suppose they felt because I do call people out that I may have confronted Tegan and then the plan would have blown up. I heard Tegan was gunning for me from Fenella and I simply trusted my strong alliance with the girls.
5. Fenella raised the idea of going after Zach at the vote you went home – why did you and your alliance ultimately choose Heath instead? Did you consider splitting the vote at all?
Probably my biggest what if??? All I can say is that trust is so important and if the majority wanted Heath, that was the call, ultimately at that stage splitting Tegan and Heath up was front of our minds. I did consider splitting the vote last minute and even had a brief discussion with Benji about Heath having an idol, I thought if he had one he may have kept it for himself in a “real elimination” or I also thought maybe Zach may have had one as he was feeling vulnerable. That will haunt me forever.
6. What was it like to be knocked out of the game by an Idol and only one vote from Heath? As the votes were being read, were you concerned he might have targeted you or were you surprised by his decision?
That was pretty cool, really as a fan of the game that was a fantastic play by Heath. But no one else wanted me out of the game, so that feels good too. My numbers were always strong; no one else had ever written my name down. I knew as soon as Heath played that immunity necklace I was the name he wrote down, as he wrote my name the night before and he felt I was physically the weakest player and he wanted to give Tegan the best chance of re-entering the game.
7. As a fan and as a player, how did you feel about the surprise Exile Beach twist? Did you get a new buff as a keepsake after you were forced to burn yours?
I loved the twist – Survivor is all about twists, it was all apart of the experience going to Exile. Yes, I did get a new buff, I was pretty hysterical at the thought of throwing away my buff (as a fan that’s everything). It’s your tribe’s colour, it says your tribe’s name, it holds your hair back. I wore it as a top, it has your sweat, blood and tears, it smells “Survivor”. I was promised a new one as soon as I got to the Villa out of the game.
8. At your final Duel, you were accepting of your fate, but is there anything you would have done differently if you had your time again?
Probably work a bit faster haha! It was lovely having the Champs cheer me on, and apart from Heath, I felt total support from my Contenders tribe as well. I just felt when it came to building those blocks the foundation needed to be strong and I probably wasted too much time on that (my husband is a builder). But no regrets as it was so close just one block was the difference.
9. If you’d won your way back into the game, what was your gameplan going forward?
To continue working with the girls and with Benji & Rob. I felt the next votes would have been Heath, Zach, and Paige. And when I was doing my numbers I still felt strong until a swap or merge.
10. You told us you could sell ice to Eskimos, but we only saw glimpses of your game. What parts of your game are you proudest of, and is there any part of it you wish had made it to TV?
I’m proud that I always had a positive outlook and made my tribe happy. I loved making sure everyone was fed and had enough to eat. I loved cheering on my Contenders so loudly and proudly. I wish you had seen the fun moments around camp like when I made our team play bocce blindfolded. Or our special chats around the fire at night. Everyone I voted for left the game at tribal and I was a part of a big blindside in the Tegan vote. So overall I loved every minute of my game.