Reality TV

EXCLUSIVE: Eliminated Australian Survivor player Henry reveals what fans DIDN’T see when he gave that idol to Mat Rogers

Turns out there was a bit of TV magic involved!
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Australian Survivor’s Henry Nicholson is no stranger to making big moves in the game – which secured his spot on All Stars but ultimately led to his downfall when he was voted out in Tribal Council on Tuesday.

Despite only being on the island for a short time, the Adelaide teacher handed over an idol to Mat Rogers on his rival tribe, leading to the shock elimination of Daisy Richardson and also created a fake idol as a ruse to use in Tribal Council.

But after Shonee Fairfax used her own hidden immunity idol at Tribal to cancel out the votes against her, Henry was next in line and he was shown the door.

Speaking to Now To Love after his elimination, Henry shares eye-opening details about what really happened during the idol swap with Mat, reveals why All Stars was more emotionally draining than playing just after losing his mother and explains why he’ll never regret playing strategically.

Henry is known for his big moves, which put a target on his back.

(Image: Network Ten)

Tonight’s Tribal Council was a bit of a curveball with Shonee playing her idol to save herself. Are you a bit gutted that you went out like that?

Nah, that’s probably one way you want to go out with big move. Last time I got blindsided and went home with an idol. This time I go home after an idol was played on me so no, I’m a fan and that’s all good!

At Tribal Council, you tried to psyche your tribemates out by pretending your fake idol was real. Obviously Nick had his doubts but did you have the feeling the others were buying it and that you’d be safe?

The idol wasn’t really for that night. It was my future in the game. I wanted to put down that idea in their head because I thought I had the votes. So Shonee goes home but in their minds, they think I’ve now got an idol that I didn’t choose to use, which means next time they’ll probably have to split the vote and then I only need me and three other people to get the majority vote next time. So it was my Hail Mary for my longevity of the game, it wasn’t just to survive tonight. There were many reasons as to why I thought it was a good move and I think it was worth the risk and the way I did was generally well done.

Henry was sent home after Shonee used an idol to save herself.

(Image: Network Ten)

Moves like that in All Stars have so far created a target on people’s backs, including yours – do you think it was a mistake to make big moves so early or do you think it could have paid off?

I guess playing big from the start – it is a long game. There are 23 other players with you. I think if I get through to the end I’ll know I’ll get every single juror’s vote because I’ve played one hell of a game. If I kept at the rate that I was going, there was no doubt in my mind that I’d beat anyone I sit next to. Maybe not David but there’d be some big moves against him. I respect someone who plays hard. I’d prefer to go out when I did, adding to my legacy as a big player than maybe surviving another seven spots and just forming the jury. That bores me so I like being a big player.

Have you spoken to Nick since Survivor wrapped? Are you still mad at him for leading the charge against you?

We don’t speak anymore. [laughs] Nah, it’s a game. I hope it was shown in my exit, I didn’t walk out upset at anyone, I gave everyone a hug. It’s a game and I hope Australia can understand that everything that happens out there, you’re trying to compete. Whenever you touch that beach, you’re trying to win an individual game. Honestly, it doesn’t really bother me about Nick because I don’t see the sense behind it – voting someone like me out when he had clear knowledge that I believed he was in my camp. So why would you vote out someone who had good intentions? I never put his name up, I never wrote his name down until I knew he was against me. There are some things that weren’t shown were me and Nick working together and building an alliance so I’m not angry at him because I didn’t see the sense in getting rid of me.

Is there ever a point where someone crosses the line and goes way too far in pursuit of victory in the game?

In my opinion, I would be surprised if someone could do something, in the realms of the game, that would be not with good intentions. I think in a game that promotes lying, cheating and stealing, that’s all encouraged. It’s almost enjoyed by the viewer – stealing extra food, lying to people. That’s why people watch it. I don’t think people who go on that island have any malice or intentions to hurt, it’s just to move forward in the game. I’ve been a fan of the game for so long that I can see someone maybe isn’t as big a fan as me, take it personally. But if you get voted out, it’s for a reason.

WATCH: Australian Survivor’s David Genat plays The Tribe Has Spoken. Story continues below…

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One of the biggest moves you made in the game this time around was giving your idol to Mat, which then led to Mat and David’s huge blindside of Daisy. Did you realise at the time how big of a move that would become?

Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff that isn’t shown. But there are other reasons why AK found out about it. But my intention for giving the idol to Mat was for him to throw the challenge and make sure they went to Tribal Council and then I would give it to him. And then once I gave it to him, there were conversations had with AK and some of the others that alert them that there’s an idol coming into the mix. I still wanted someone from Mat’s tribe to go home, but that was too complex I think for the TV.

By things that weren’t shown on TV, do you mean AK didn’t actually find out about it because he saw it?

He was directed towards knowledge that I was giving it to Mat by other players. AK knew that Mat was getting an idol. He knew that Mat had an idol via me and Nick.

But then again, you’ve got to understand [what’s shown] is based on storylines as well. Mine ended tonight as you saw. But that’s Survivor, there’s so many things that go on and it’s just trying to fashion the best avenue forward for all the characters. If you see AK’s look, there was no eye contact. Even people were texting me like “How did AK see that?” He didn’t see the actual passing over of it, he just had the knowledge of it.

A lot of the big players are getting picked off quite early on All Stars, do you think Mat and David are in trouble after their big blindside of Daisy?

Well, like I got told by an executive producer, we’re all stars, so we’re all big players but yeah, the flashy ones generally… I don’t know. I think as an All Star, you have a duty to play big. And Mat played big, David played big – that’s good! I hope it strikes fear in people not wanting to go against them and go forward. Obviously I think Mat has an idol which will help him. But if it comes out that David is a rat, which I know they’re sniffing around for, I like to think the big players will get through it and some of the ones who coast through it, don’t.

Mat and David’s blindside of Daisy left their tribemates shocked.

(Image: Network Ten)

Last time you went into this, I imagine it was a completely different mindframe having just lost your mother. How did the experiences compare?

It’s strange, you’d think it would be harder emotionally the last time I played but I kind of look at it like this, that the first time mum had just died and I was in between careers and I didn’t really know where my life was heading so I didn’t want to come back to reality. I liked being on that island even though it was hard being away from my family, I couldn’t bare having to go back home and having to deal with grief.

This time around, I’m a teacher, I just graduated before and had a job lined up and my niece has gone from a little baby to actually talking and walking and knows my name. I would give half a million bucks for 50 days extra with anyone in my family. If time goes, you can’t get it back so I found it really emotionally hard this time around because I have an amazing life. Taking me away from that for however many days is something I’ve now learnt isn’t worth it.

Henry with his mum as a young child.

(Image: Supplied.)

One of the things you are remembered for on your original season was lying about being a yoga instructor. Did you lie about anything this time around?

No, well, the thing about All Stars is everyone knows your game. I remember saying I was a teacher now and everyone not believing it. So it’s a bit of fun and I think that just adds to my character on the TV. The only lies were about gameplay. Nothing over the top.

How did you prepare physically for Survivor’s gruelling challenges?

It’s funny, some people want to eat more and have the fat all there so when you don’t eat you have something for you. But I was like “I’m going to be on TV, I want to look as good as I can!” [laughs] So I’m like “Gym! Let’s get ripped! Let’s eat broccoli for a week!” But nah, just general stuff. I like keeping fit. But you can’t really train for holding a barrel up or pushing a big box off a pontoon or wrestling three other people or jumbling idols for ice-cream so I did what I normally do I guess.

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