Australian Survivor as we know it came to an end tonight, with Janine "The Godmother" Allis becoming the 19th person eliminated from the game.
In an episode that left us with the our jaws on the floor, the top six scrambled and flipped between old and new alliances as they tried to figure out who to send home. At first it seemed as though our boy Luke Toki was the target, but that quickly changed when he won an immunity necklace (praise be).
With Luke and his partner-in-crime Abbey Holmes running the vote, chaos reigned the camp as Harry Hills and Baden Gilbert tried to convince them to get rid of Janine, while Janine and Pia Miranda tried to convince them to eliminate Baden. It was... messy. And very fun to watch.
Award-winning performances from Luke and Abbey made it seem as though Janine was safe at tribal council, but once the votes where read out it was clear she and Pia had been left in the lurch.
We caught up with Janine to chat all about her shock blindside, Australian Survivor journey and Jury Villa recovery.
Early in the episode we saw Baden approach you, about working with him and Harry to eliminate Luke. Did you trust him?
Look, at the point in the game the only person I really trusted was Pia. Like, there's no one you truly can trust in this game other than the person you're closest to. But you always have to keep your options open, I mean at the end of the day I stick with the people who I know. I've said in the game before the only true telling of who you can trust is when they actually write the name down. So, in the end I went with people who I had trusted from the start... which obviously didn't go according to plan. Well, my plan anyway (laughs). They should have stuck to my plan, it was good!
What conversations did you have back at the camp after Luke won immunity? Did you catch up with Baden and Harry to consider working with them on someone else?
We did, you always try to keep your options open and every conversation you have gives you more insight to what people are thinking. But, at this point, everyone is one hundred percent in 'Survivor Lie Mode'. So you don't really know what people are thinking. For me, I was thinking logically. For example, Abbey, if she had voted with us we get three girls in the five votes and we could go straight to the end. So I couldn't understand the way she voted because we would guarantee her a top three spot. But, look, Luke is a very smart player and he told her a 'Survivor Lie' that Pia and I had told Luke he was going to be top three, which was a total lie we never told him that, but it gave Abbey enough doubt to go 'they're after me, I'm going to get them first.' It's a shame, but it's her game! And at the end of the day it's only a game, and I definitely don't hold any hard feelings towards anyone.
How were you feeling heading to tribal council. Did you feel confident?
Yeah look, I was. I'd had a really good conversation with Luke and he'd said to me - because you go off and on people - let's go back to the start. I said we've had all this history together, lets stay together, and he said okay, the only way I'll feel safe is if you vote Baden because then Harry is left, and you'll most likely vote Harry before me, which gets me further in the game. For me, that made complete sense and because everything seems logical to me I thought Luke's plan was logical. Which is the best blindside, isn't it? You play to people's strengths and, okay, Janine is a logical player so talk logical to her and she'll believe you - and I did!
We must say, tonight was some of the finest Survivor acting we've seen at tribal council. Luke and Abbey genuinely seemed to be on your side, and Baden and Harry genuinely looked concerned. When did the ball drop for you? Were you unaware right up until your name was read out?
Pia and I were walking back in to camp [after the challenge], and we both just looked at each other and went 'we are screwed.' So we knew we were in trouble, and I thought it was probably more me than her and I felt like they thought I was a threat. But, you know, people tell you things. So it was a twist and turn, I didn't see it coming... but I did see it coming as well, you know?
Did you think it was a mistake for the others to vote you out at that time?
The mistake I was worried about, and we'll have to see what happens, but my logic at the time was if Abbey voted against me I worried she'd be out pretty much soon after. Because she had the protection of us, and as soon as you haven't got the protection, you're vulnerable and she was too much of a challenge threat. That's honestly why I thought she would vote with us [tonight] - but we'll see if it pays off for her.
Do you have any regrets over how you played the game or do you wish you did anything differently?
No, no. I played this game and made it to Day 44! I won a necklace, an individual immunity, I found an idol, I made it to the Jury; I must admit I had a full Survivor experience. Would I have liked to be that last one to face the jury and argue my case? Absolutely, I would have loved to have done that, but I have no complaints. I got to the final six, you know I'm pretty happy with that.
You definitely ticked off a few Survivor milestones! How do you feel about your nickname being 'The Godmother'?
Oh look, again because I see it as a game, I think it's just funny. If you begin taking it too seriously, you need to take a look at yourself in the mirror. I mean I called poor Harry a cockroach for god's sake, and whenever I did he'd laugh his head off, and when he called me the Godmother I knew what he was doing, because it was something I would have done. He was just trying to put the attention on to me, I thought it was great game play. It didn't really stick while we were in the game, but certainly the show has jumped on all the characters. It's very funny.
Like you say, one of the good things about Survivor is that there are all of these characters and roles people play, there are villains, but at the end of the day it's just a game. Do you keep in touch with everyone, and laugh or bond over the different moves people made in the game?
Absolutely! I mean, David in particular is someone who texts on a regular basis with me. I spoke to Luke a couple of days ago, I'm in contact with Pia every day. When you have an experience like that you certainly get close, and I think Jury Villa was a fantastic time for everyone to unwind and get to talk about the game, laugh about the game. You know, Shaun got tricked by the fake idol, Simon got a fake clue and was digging, we all had our moments of 'oh god, really?' I had my moment when I was so confident about what was going on, and then I didn't know what was going on [when Simon was sent to Exile Beach]. It's a game, and that's what I love about it. If it was all predictable and it went exactly how I wanted it to go, then it probably would have been a boring show.
Survivor is such a mental game, how did you cope when you got to Jury Villa and had to adjust to normal socialising again?
From being out of society for 40 days, and Jury Villa you're still in quite a bubble, it was a bit of an adjustment but nothing traumatic, it was more subtle. It was just interesting to go "oh, okay, I'm all good," now let's face the world... in my new skinny body.
Yeah, how did you feel when you saw yourself for the first time?
Yeah I was actually. I knew my hair was feral, I wouldn't even call it hair at that point. But I think that my weight loss was probably the thing I was the most shocked to see. I knew I'd lost weight because I could feel it, I didn't realise but my beautiful bum cheeks actually give me great padding, take them away and you're just sitting on bones - it was painful! I remember one time I brushed against my breast and I thought 'oh my god that's a lump!' and it ended up being a rib! Because I went from very small breasts, to zero. So there was nothing left of me.
The weight loss definitely seems to be the thing that shocks everyone the most. But then you get to go have a big feast and a celebration in Jury Villa, how did you enjoy that?
It was great! I think the interesting thing that the body - even though logically you're like 'look it's okay, there's going to be food from now on, you're out of the game' - your body doesn't realise and has this ability to just be ravenous. It looks at the food and is like 'you may never eat again' and you just can't stop yourself. It's bizarre how strong that instinct is to pack on the fat.
Is there one particular moment that stands out for you from your time on Survivor? One favourite part?
Oh geeze. Probably the moments of stillness. There were times when someone would be like 'look at the sky' and it'd be a beautiful pink sky and you'd just think, how lucky are we? We're having the experience of our lives. I think it was just those moments, and the relationships that I've taken out of Survivor. I've certainly enjoyed it, the social aspect has definitely been my favourite part.
Oh that's lovely! We're sure your camp mates and the fans will miss you - it was a pretty dramatic moment for the show!
I think there's a few fans going 'hooray' (laughs) but I find that really funny.
It's hard to compete with Team Luke right?
Oh my god, even I'm on Team Luke. That's his superpower, likeability!