Survivor’s [Spoiler] Disputes In-Game Treatment: ‘I Had Truly Done Nothing to Warrant the Level of Hate I Received’

The following contains spoilers from Wednesday’s episode of Survivor 46.

After last week’s epic Tiffany blindside, Maria’s target quadrupled in size, as all eyes shifted onto her as the next player to flick off the chess board. But as we know all too well, any surefire plan is always easier said than done.

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In a nail-biting finish, Maria secured her safety in the immunity challenge causing the rest of the group to scramble to find another victim. Q managed to escape elimination once again despite stirring up drama at Tribal Council, but a fateful conversation with Charlie worked against Venus’ favor and she wound up being the 11th person voted out and the fifth member of the jury. (Read our recap here.)

Below, Venus talks to TVLine about her drama with Q and Tevin, her wavering relationship with Soda and her biggest regret after leaving Survivor 46.

TVLINE | There’s so much to talk about, but let’s start with the idol. Walk me through your thought process and what led to you not playing it last night?  
VENUS VAFA | It’s no secret that Charlie was the swing vote in that decision and it was very much a 50/50 moment. I ultimately decided to take a risk and I own up to that risk. It didn’t play out. It backfired. I get it. But for me, one of two things could have happened if that was successful and he had voted for Q. 1) It would have reaffirmed an alliance or a bond between me and Charlie, which is something that I was striving for my entire time on the island. I wanted to be loyal to someone and that was my attempt at that. 2) If it worked out, I would have an idol for one more vote. So it was definitely a risk, but I’m glad I took it. Life is too short.

TVLINE | Q has been enemy No. 1 for quite some time, but episode after episode, he survives. Why is he still in this game? 
Honestly, I find it to be brilliant strategy because this chaos cloud that is created during Tribal shouldn’t be underestimated. There’s a reason why so many of us felt lulled into safety. It’s because of the arguments that happen live in front of you make you feel like, “Huh? Maybe I have a chance.” So it just speaks to their performances and honestly, I applaud them because it’s great gameplay.

TVLINE | OK, let’s be real: Would you ever have taken Maria or Q on a reward? 
Hell no! Screw that, but I’m not gonna admit that to them! Also, how dare you assume something correctly about me? I just refused to admit that. But no, I wouldn’t have taken them, but that wasn’t the point. The point I was trying to make is to just own up to wanting to take your closest alliance.

TVLINE | Your conversation with Charlie seemed pivotal in this episode. You didn’t tell him about your idol, but you alluded to possibly having something that could secure the Final 4 for you both. Do you feel that conversation ultimately backfired?  
That conversation alone is why I’m sitting here right now. If I had just kept my goddamn mouth shut for a few more minutes until Tribal! I would definitely say that conversation really was what swung Charlie because he was in the middle. He could have gone either way and pulled votes either way. So yeah, if I had just kept my mouth shut, I probably would have stayed. So that’s my own doing.

Survivor Venus
Survivor Venus

TVLINE | At Tribal, Q essentially said you couldn’t be trusted with information, and Tevin said something similar: That you guys started an alliance and that you quickly started to throw his name around. So a two-part question: What’s your side to the Tevin situation, and also, why do u think people didn’t want to share information with you?  
Do not underestimate the power of poisoning the well against someone. If you’ve ever been bullied you will understand, that there’s no rhyme or reason to it. A lot of the time, all it takes is the most popular person, or rather, the most charismatic and loudest voice, to start planting negative seeds about you and talking s–t about you to convince others of the same thing. I had truly done nothing to warrant the level of hate I received from those two.

But honestly, as much as Tevin likes to say that I was throwing his name around, he was doing that to me first. People came up to me and said that he was throwing my name at the reward challenge. That is why I was so against Tevin. It’s not because I started throwing his name around. It because he led with that immediately. And the same thing with Q. Can I just say with Q, what’s really telling is this man is projecting so hard saying that I would run around the island and cause chaos when that’s what he was doing. He was telling on himself in that moment because in reality, I had done nothing chaotic enough or untrustworthy enough to warrant that level of hate and distrust from my fellow tribe mates.

TVLINE | Your relationship with Soda seemed back and forth, and I wanted to get your side of that story too. 
I think Soda probably has a misconception of what my position was in the beginning of the game. I was purposefully playing into this idea — which, can I just say, this is something I would never do again. But I was purposefully playing into this idea at the beginning that I was someone that no one was speaking to or no one trusted. But in reality, me and Randen were speaking from the very beginning. He was leading with this idea that I shouldn’t be trusted, which obviously, what the hell? That did make it harder for me. But in reality, we were talking for several hours. Literally, he was the only one speaking to me.

So Soda had this idea that she had to bend over backwards running around trying to be this mediator. I never asked her to do any of that. All I ever requested from her was to be my friend and to talk to me. But she really took it upon herself to be this mediator which I never wanted her to do. It’s really unfortunate. I adore Soda, so it really sucks to watch back and see how quickly she shut me out because I really did want to be her friend. It’s a little heartbreaking to see that. All it takes is the most popular kid at school to talk s–t about you to turn everyone else against you. So, yeah, it was really difficult living through it, especially when Randen left and I had no one else to talk to. It was even more difficult.

TVLINE | Even from the early days of Nami, it seemed like you struggled to solidify connections and that carried on to the merge. What else do you chalk that up to?
You know what the actual issue was? The reason why they thought I was so sneaky is that the very first day after the mud challenge, after we had that initial conversation, I stepped off by myself so that I could have a little private moment to wash my clothes in private. But I didn’t communicate, I guess, well enough where I was going and they all thought I was idol hunting.

And that bred a lot of what you see later, of them calling me sneaky and untrustworthy. It was just a miscommunication, I guess. The initial impression of me, they kind of conflated the two. “She’s missing” and “Oh, we already think she’s Parvati-light.” So I think first impressions are really what sunk my game. I feel like if they just gave me a chance, they would have seen how loyal and trustworthy I am and that is the game that I actually came to play. So yeah, advice for future players: Do not go off on your own under any circumstances.

Survivor 46 Episode 11 Venus
Survivor 46 Episode 11 Venus

TVLINE | I was reading your tweets from last night and they were spicy! You wrote: “First impressions and grudges were what made this season so insufferable. Say whatever the f–k you want about me, the hate I got on the island was completely disproportionate and unwarranted. Lies about me took on a life of their own.” I want to give you the floor. Is there anything else you want to say or want people to know regarding the perceptions of you out on the island or what people said or did to paint you in a negative light?  
I’ve mentioned this before but Survivor, as you know, is a social experiment. It’s a miniature version of a greater society and it really amplifies people’s subconscious biases towards you. I feel as though what really shot me in the foot is that people looked at me and on first impression, people don’t like a young woman who presents as confident and who’s outspoken and speaks her mind. And I feel like Q and Tevin going around and spreading such lies about me being untrustworthy? They were really telling on themselves and they were projecting their own behavior onto me and unfortunately, they got to everyone else before I could and they all believed their side of the story. Do not underestimate how short this game is in the new era. It’s very hard to shake a bad reputation. It’s very hard to change people’s opinions of you. First impressions and grudges, I didn’t expect them to hold for so long in this game and that is something I wasn’t prepared for.

But in terms of lies that were told about me, Q at Tribal saying that no one can tell Venus anything because she’ll run around and cause chaos and tell everyone else? When did I do that? I had never, ever done that and I also have never spoken about strategy with Q after he was so rude to me at the Moriah vote because he was just so unresponsive to anything I would say and [he] saw everything as sneaky.

TVLINE | You were so close to winning that immunity challenge! Had you secured your safety, would you have had any trouble getting Maria out of the game?  
Oh, that would have been a sure thing. She’s lucky that at the very last second I forgot how to move my hands because she would have been gone. For sure. Definitely.

TVLINE | Has that moment been haunting you since you got back from filming?
No, but you know what’s funny is that immediately after that challenge, one of the first things Charlie said to me was, “Oh, I bet you’re going to be thinking about that moment every day for the rest of your life.” I was like, “Damn, I wasn’t, but thank you for that comment! Maybe I will now!” [Laughs] Honestly, you can’t live life like that. I tried my best and I was starting at such a disadvantage from everyone else. I don’t think people realize how little weight I had on me. I could barely walk in a straight line. You saw at the beginning of the challenge, I couldn’t cross the bridge with the pole because I couldn’t walk! So the fact that, once again, the underdog pulled it out and was all of a sudden in the lead? I’m so proud of myself for making that comeback.

TVLINE | Do you have any regrets from your time in the game or is there anything you wish you did differently in hindsight?  
I wish I had made more friends on the island. Honestly. One of the things I wrote in my journal before going onto the island was, “I can’t wait to have a new Survivor family,” and it sucks that I kind of came out of that experience with more hurt feelings than friendships. So I think that was probably my biggest regret. I wish it would have turned out a little bit happier for me. But you live and you learn.

TVLINE | Jeff Probst announced an all-returnees season for 50. Any inkling to do it again?  
I mean, listen, realistically, statistically, my chances are like, nil. So I have given zero thought to it, but if they did ask me, I would have just one condition, which is do not cast anyone else from Season 46 with me, please! [Laughs] No, I joke, [but] I don’t know if I would do it.

TVLINE | I could see you doing well on The Challenge
People have mentioned that to me! Who knows? People have said The Traitors, Big Brother, The Challenge. Honestly, my favorite show is Survivor, so in terms of reality shows that I would do, I’m glad that I was able to live this experience.

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