Survivor

Jenna’s heartbreaking exit from Australian Survivor: ‘I wasn’t ready to go home’

The Contender was eliminated due to injury

By: Tina Burke

Jenna became the fifth person eliminated from Australian Survivor, in an emotional tribal council that left the Contenders tribe – and viewers – in tears.

The 28-year-old was eliminated from the competition, after suffering a series of injuries to her foot in challenges.

Jenna was flown to visit a doctor, while the Contender tribe competed in another challenge. She was told she could no longer compete in physical challenges, and her teammates ultimately decided it was her turn to be voted off.

We caught up with Jenna to talk about her injury, emotional farewell, and dream of returning to Australian Survivor.

TV WEEK: It was a little hard to see in the episode, can you explain how the first injury happened?

Jenna: It was in the first immunity challenge when we had to use the ram to knock down the brick wall. Heath went through first, followed by myself, and as I've gone over the wall a couple of the other contestants have come over behind me and some of the bricks and rubble have fallen on my foot.

Were you in pain from that day forward?

Yeah, I knew there and then that I had hurt myself, it was pretty sore. The next day I remember just waking up and, the pain when I tried to stand up in the morning was just phenomenal. I remember looking at my ankle and it was so swollen and bruised, I knew I had two options. I could speak up and say that I'd really hurt myself here, and potentially jeopardise my place in the game. Or I could just wig it out, and soldier on, and see what happens. Me being me, I chose option number two, and I think as time went on it definitely got worse. But it wasn't at the point where I was going to let it stop me.

Jenna was told she couldn't compete in the final challenge, but instead needed to take a trip to the doctors.

When you injured yourself for the second time in a challenge, did you know you would be going home?

I guess deep down inside, I sort of knew, but I was still clutching at straws and hoping that for some reason something would happen, and that it was going to be ok. In that very moment when the challenged had finished, and we were back at camp, that's where it really sunk in that my days were numbered. Then it was only a matter of time, and I guess that's when you really start to think about like 'Should I really be here? Did I do what's best for me?' But I guess my personality got the better of me, and I wasn't ready to go home. I wasn't going to quit or let it stop me from trying to achieve what I wanted to achieve.

How did you feel when the doctors said you couldn't compete in challenges any more?

It was very frustrating to hear that, for two reasons. The first reason, was because it was hard to deal with, because it was something that was so out of my control. And the second reason was that I didn't really get a full diagnosis. All I was told was that I had to have a cast put on my leg, and that I couldn't compete in the physical challenges, but I wasn't told why and I guess that made it really hard to swallow. Knowing I couldn't compete, but not knowing why was tough.

The Contenders compete against the Champions, without Jenna.

It was an emotional tribal council, and you gave a really heartbreaking speech. How did it feel to watch that episode back and see not only your reaction, but the sadness felt by the entire tribe over what happened?

It was a hard episode to watch, it was definitely very emotional for myself as well. The hardest part was that it kind of took me back to the moment, it was almost like I had to relive that moment. You start questioning like, 'Did I do the right thing? Should I have said something different?' but at the end of the day I've just got to remember that this was out of my control.

If I had it my way, I would have just taken the cast off, and I would have continued to compete whether that was the best thing for the situation or not. In my everyday life if I hurt my ankle, I wouldn't let it stop me from doing what I wanted to do. So I didn't want to let this injury stop me, which I guess is why I took that chance to go to tribal council and fight for my position in the tribe.

Do you understand why the tribe voted you out?

Oh, absolutely! At the end of the day it is a game, and at the stage of the competition we were at we needed to stay strong as a tribe, otherwise we weren't gonna have a tribe. There's definitely no hard feelings. It was a horrible situation for myself, but I'm sure it was horrible for them as well, and I wouldn't want to intentionally put anyone in that situation.

Jenna is comforted at her final tribal council by Anita and Tegan.

If you had the chance to return to Australian Survivor, would you?

Absolutely! At the drop of a hat, I would be there in a heartbeat.

Australian Survivor continues tonight at 7:30pm on Ten.