Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders

Shonee Fairfax Exit Interview: “I Think I Could Have Won If I Made It”

Inside Survivor catches up with Australian Survivor’s 21st boot.

Photo: Nigel Wright

Monday’s penultimate episode saw the other half of Shonella have her torch snuffed, as Shonee Fairfax was eliminated in a tense Tribal Council. After Brian won his fourth Immunity Challenge of the season, the three Shhh alliance members were forced to turn on one another. It looked set to be a fire-making tie-breaker between Shonee and Sharn, but knowing she lacked skills in making fire, Shonee went “rogue” and pitched a new plan to Sharn. Shonee’s idea was for her and Sharn to put their two votes on Shane, thereby avoiding the fire challenge and saving both of them. However, at Tribal Council, Sharn used Shonee’s own plan against her, voting with Shane and sending Shonee to the jury in a rare 2-1-1 vote.

Austin Smith caught up with Shonee to talk about that Tribal Council, her bond with Fenella, and who she wanted to go to the Final 2 with.

1. Shonee, thanks for chatting with us about your pretty crazy Survivor experience! Before we get into the details, what appealed to you about playing Survivor? Did it live up to your expectations?

When I first watched Survivor I thought ‘oh yeah this sounds alright. Win half a mil, drop a few kgs and get a tan!!’ It was an amazing experience, but I wish I won!!

2. You found yourself in such a tight spot at your final Tribal Council, but took an enormous gamble with your rogue plan! Why take the risk with voting for Shane instead of Sharn? Did you have any expectation that Sharn would actually vote with you?

If I had voted for Sharn it would have been 2-2, and I would have lost the fire challenge, sending me home anyway. My best bet was to use that time and try to make Sharn see Shane as a threat who has a lot of the same friends on the jury as her. By the sound of Sharn’s voting confessional she just didn’t believe I’d actually vote Shane.

3. In the fantasy world where Sharn did vote with you and Shane was blindsided, how do you think the game would have played out for you? Who would you have hoped to go the Final 2 with, and do you think you could have been the Contender who emerged a Champion?

I would have been happy to sit next to anyone at the Final 2! I had an amazing resume! I was in the majority every vote pre-swap, survived a 6-2 tribe swap, one of 4 contenders to make it to merge, won individual immunity, last standing contender and I survived the most tribal councils out of everyone!! I think I could have won if I made it.

4. Going back to the Monika vote, why did you decide to form the Shush Alliance instead of sticking with Brian & Monika? Was it simply vengeance for Fenella’s elimination, or were there other factors at play?

Brian had previously saved Shane from being dead man walking, and then he voted Sharn to save Shane. All Brian’s actions had shown that Shane was a much bigger part of his plan than what he had let on. It made sense for him to want to go to the end with people he would most likely win the last challenge over. Of course, if I had known they had changed their minds and were ready to let go on Shane things would have been different!

5. Speaking of your other half, what drew you to working with Fenella at the start of the game? When I spoke to her last week, Fenella said she wouldn’t have gone to the Final 2 against you – would have gone to the end with her?

Fen is absolutely hilarious and is always keen to laugh at situations instead of sulking which is something I loved!! I wouldn’t have wanted to go up against Fen [in the Final 2] as we had worked so closely together! I don’t think it makes strategic sense to go with someone who has the same friends on the Jury as you.

6. You found the Vote Steal in your massive lolly jar from the auction and ultimately told Benji about it before trying to use it to vote out Sharn after Mat. Why did you tell Benji about your advantage? And why try to use it then?

Benji and I were really close in the game and still are! I told Benji because I thought I was going home that night! I thought it made sense for them to vote me out now but they had bigger fish to fry.

7. You worked with a lot of different people throughout your game – how did you choose your allies along the way? Aside from the Shonella of it all, who else did you connect with in your 47 days?

I worked closely with Anita too; we were a 3 at the beginning! I was really close with Benj too! I was really drawn to people who can make me laugh!!

8. You played a pretty crafty game, slipping through the cracks, but also making some pretty big moves along the way! What do you consider to be your best move or strategic choice?

I think my best move was the Zach vote! I had two different groups of people who had different ideas, and ultimately everyone voted me with. By bringing Tegan/Heath and Benji/Rob together, it meant we hadn’t lied to either and had options moving forward.

9. On the other side of things, is there anything you could have done differently that might have gotten you all the way to the end?

At the time I made decisions because that’s what I thought was the best vote at the time. Looking back and knowing that Brian and Moni were willing to let Shane go at 5, I should have voted with them! All hindsight though.

10. Finally, are there any particular moments of gameplay, fun camp life or personal experiences that you wish had made it onto the show?

At the Contenders camp, we had a lot of fun and played campfire games every night!

Written by

Austin Smith

Austin hails from Canberra, Australia. By day, he works by the light of office fluorescence. By night, he can be found swing dancing to Top ‘40s tracks (1940s, that is), playing board games, and enjoying life with his wonderful wife. His pedigree as a long-time Survivor superfan is evidenced by his Survivor-themed 11th birthday party featuring a gross food challenge comprising Brussel sprouts. Austin writes Inside Survivor’s episode recaps for both Survivor US and Australian Survivor.

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