The sixth episode of Australian Survivor saw the biggest elimination of the season so far, as AFL star Moana Hope essentially asked to be voted out of the game after suffering from sickness from a number of days. While she initially wanted to quit, her tribemates convinced her to go through with the vote, partly out of compassion, and partly because they wanted to flush Shane’s hidden immunity idol.
Inside Survivor caught up with Moana to talk about her emotional exit, her bond with Mat Rogers, and what it was like taking out Russell Hantz.
1) Hey Mo, thanks for chatting with us today. You were an early fan-fave and it was a shame to see your game end so prematurely, can you talk us through exactly how you were feeling in those last few days? And did you get checked out after the show and find out what made you so sick?
I felt extremally unwell and helpless; I think moving onto day 8 of not being able to eat and drink was definitely getting the best of me physically and mentally. When I got home, I was sick and in bed for 3 and a half weeks before I could actually stomach anything and feel normal again.
2) It seemed like you wanted to quit at Tribal Council, what ultimately made you change your mind? And are you happy you decided to let your tribemates vote instead?
I became very close with the team of champions, and even though it was the best experience of my life, they also had to watch me deteriorate over the 8 days of being unwell and I knew they would want what’s best for my health but also one last game move and that was to flush Shane’s idol.
3) You found an idol early on, at Tribal Council no less! What was that experience like? And did you leave the idol with Mat or take it with you when voted out?
It was pretty awesome. I felt like a little kid who found their first $100 bill on the road. And also to be the only person to ever find an idol at tribal council is pretty awesome. I absolutely left it for Matt 😊.
4) You formed an alliance with Mat and handed him the idol for safe keeping. Did you ever worry he could betray you and keep the idol for himself?
Nah, Matt is a man of loyalty and family, and I knew I could trust him, I knew he wouldn’t ever play me like that… well not that early in the game.
5) Before you got sick, you appeared to be in a strong position in the tribe, with a close alliance with Sharn and Mat. What was your strategy moving forward? Did you want to go all the way to the end with those two?
It was to keep Matt and Sharn with me all the way to the end and pick off the non-trusting ones. With Matt came Commando and with Sharn came Lydia. So we were a pretty strong group, and I did trust them all.
6) Let’s rewind to the Russell vote and your amazing burns on Mr. Texas! What was it about Russell that rubbed you the wrong way? Did he ever try to form an alliance with you?
Haha. I’ve seen Mr. Texas play before and he is very good at the game but never won it, so I knew he had weaknesses. I just didn’t play along with his fakeness and knew I had to get him out early before he poisoned everyone’s mind into thinking he is actually a good person in the game.
7) We saw your bonds with Sharn and Mat, but who else were you close with on the tribe? And on the flip side, who didn’t you get along with?
I got along well with Brian but didn’t completely trust him as he flipped on the Mr. Texas vote the 1st round. Monika and I were cool, and I didn’t not like anyone, I know Jackie was playing the game hard and good on her for that. But the most entertaining one was Shane, the unicorn of unicorns. I was team champion all love person.
8) Despite the early exit, did you enjoy your experience on the show? What were your highlights?
Best experience of my life, and that’s due to a mix of things, being put out of my comfort zone, being challenged physically and mentally, being around absolute champions, overcoming fears, and coming through all that on the positive side of things.
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