Eliminated Australian Survivor Contender Laura: "I did not trust Harry from day dot!"

''He went in there knowing how to play that game and I had my guard up on him big time.''

By Alex Lilly
On Thursday night we bid farewell to our first Contender on this year's season of Australian Survivor.
In one of the most brutal game plays we've seen, digital marketing manager Laura Choong may not have looked like a threat at 4'9'', but her quick-thinking and strategy proved too much of a threat to the Contenders who voted her out with seven votes against Baden's four.
We chatted to the woman who describes herself as "a Chihuahua that thinks she's a Rottweiler," about her early exit and who are the ones to watch.
TV WEEK: Laura, how does it feel to be the first Contender eliminated from Australian Survivor 2019?
Laura: Honestly, it was a mixture of emotion. It was part relief to be getting off that windy, miserable, freezing island but also the devastation of being first voted off my tribe. It was definitely something that I did not want to happen and it was brutal!
TV WEEK: It really was! There was so much sneaky play especially from the guys, especially Harry.
Laura: I know! They did really well and I did not trust Harry from day dot, I was so suspicious of him. Good guy, you can tell, but he went in there knowing how to play that game and I had my guard up on him big time.
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TV WEEK: You said you were 90 per cent sure Baden was going home, when was the moment you thought you could be in danger of going home?
Laura: The moment was when I walked down the beach, it was Harry, myself, Matt and Sammy and Harry told me that the second person or the back-up if Baden didn't go home would be Sarah and I knew that there was no way in hell that they were going to send Sarah home so that stuck with me.
I was like 'No, my name is the second name coming up, this is bad!'
I did say after I left that the reason why I thought it was me who went home instead of Baden was because I came across like I wasn't going to be easily manipulated.
I am a bit of a stubborn personality, I do like to do things my own way and I think that was kind of my downfall in one way or another. Baden was maybe seen as being able to get on their side easier than I was so I am kind of proud that's the person that I am but it didn't get me far in the game.
Laura says she knew she was in danger when Harry told her that the back-up if Baden didn't go home would be Sarah. (Image: Network Ten)
TV WEEK: Do you think there's someone in control of the group?
Laura: I did feel that Harry was able to convince people to kind of do what he wanted them to do.
Harry's one of those people who's lucky, you walk into the game and he's smack bang in the middle and I feel at the beginning of the show, that's where you want to be.
You don't want to be at the top physically or even come across strategically so that you can kind of fly under the radar a little bit.
People want to keep around the strong ones at the beginning so that they can win challenges and they want to pick off the weak ones as well so he was in a really good position to be able to play the game properly and get people to do what he wanted them to do. And same with Andy as well, they were both smack bang in the middle.
That's where I wanted to be but unfortunately the challenges just did not go in my favour and there were probably four of us (myself, Baden, Casey and Hannah) who were at the bottom of the pecking order based on size and strength so automatically we were in trouble.
I wish we had gotten a lot more of those obstacle course challenges because I feel like I nailed that and then the rest of them unfortunately I wasn't able to contribute a whole lot apart from a lot of grunting!
"I wish we had gotten a lot more of those obstacle course challenges." (Image: Network Ten)
TV WEEK: You must've been frustrated when you were asked to sit out of the reward challenge.
Laura: Yeah, it is hard when you sit back and can't contribute but at the same time I could recognise that that was a challenge that was not built for someone who's 4'9'' and 45kg!
I would not have been a whole lot of help and even the height of that beam, everyone else could probably put their shoulders into it a little bit, it probably would've been at my neck.
TV WEEK: What was it like being back at camp with the rest of your tribe?
Laura: I found that harder than I expected purely off the constant 24/7 paranoia that surrounds you when you're back at camp.
It's not like you can just sit back and enjoy, you're constantly watching what other people are doing, who they're going off and talking to, who they're spending their time with. It is absolutely intense from the moment that you walk in there. I expected to struggle most with the cold and the bugs and the hunger because I'm not an outdoorsy person, I don't camp, I'm a city girl but it was actually just the intense paranoia that made me crazy.
It's so hard, it really is this wake-up call of how important it is for humans to have people around them that they can trust and can rely on and talk to truthfully because you don't have any of that in the game and it really messes with your head.
Laura struggled with the 24/7 paranoia she experienced back at camp. (Image: Network Ten)
TV WEEK: Did you recognise or get starstruck by any of the Champions this season?
Laura: I recognised a handful, not all of them as I'm definitely not a sports fan. But definitely starstruck by Janine Ellis, I'm in awe of her, I think she's phenomenal and I've seen her speak at a number of events over the years because I used to own my own business and be part of that entrepreneurial world so I was a bit wowed by her, that's for sure.
TV WEEK: So who do you think will be the last man or woman standing?
Laura: Walking out I said Matty. I feel like he is a switched-on guy, he's physically capable and he's a leader-type personality without being super bossy about it so I think he can go far.
But also there are some people who have really good strategy like Andy and Harry. I would also love an underdog like Sarah to win because she is an absolute champion, I just love her and think she's a legend. I am not backing the Champions, no way!
It was the ride of a lifetime, everyone should apply to go on Survivor. It's a bit of a mind-eff at times but it's a lot of fun!

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