EXCLUSIVE: Australian Survivor's Moana Hope on her elimination, illness and love for the game

'I looked like I’d made it to day 49 with how much weight I’d lost!'

By Tina Burke
AFLW star Moana Hope became the sixth person voted off Australian Survivor, in an emotional episode that saw the athlete suffering through illness.
The North Melbourne Football Club player was struggling in last night's episode, where it was revealed she was battling to keep food and water down.
After agreeing on a game plan to vote for both Shane Gould and Jackie Glazier to be eliminated, Moana asked to quit the competition at the Champion's tribal council. After some discussion from the tribe, she then agreed to go to a vote, in an attempt to help the tribe flush out the hidden immunity idol found by Shane.
The tribe successfully got rid of Shane's idol, and also submitted 'compassionate votes' to eliminate Moana.
We caught up with the Champion to chat about her illness, elimination and love for Australian Survivor.
TV WEEK: How long had you been feeling sick before you went home?
Moana: I was sick for eight days, and I think in five of those days I had lost seven kilos. So I was decently unwell!
Moana is eliminated from Australian Survivor, after asking to leave.
In the episode it didn't seem like you were visited by a medic, like Jenna was, did anyone come to see you at any point?
It's Survivor, and I definitely can't just pop down to the chemist. It's sort of like that's the whole point of doing it, to challenge yourself. If I'd asked to be removed from the game to see a medic, that means I would have to quit, so I tried to push through it and tried to make it to the end hoping it would pass. It just got worse and worse, it got to the point where I was passing out, it wasn't a good feeling.
You could definitely see the physical effects of the illness in the episode, with the weight loss and the look on your face, when you left Survivor how long did it take you to get better?
I looked like I'd made it to day 49 with how much weight I'd lost. I came back and it was three and a half weeks that I was in bed for, before I could consume food or water and keep it down. I went to the doctors when we came back and it took them a week before they could even take blood out of my veins, because my immune system had shut down. Definitely unwell!
Were you happy with the outcome of the tribal council, getting to go home but also getting to flush Shane's idol?
Yeah, absolutely. I think it shows that the game still goes on no matter what. You play to the end, and I quite literally played to the end.
Speaking of idols… what happened to yours? Did you say anything to Mat upon your departure?
Maybe you'll have to tune in on Monday and find out (laughs).
You know the truth about Jackie's puzzle lie now, did you know while playing the game that she was shady?
Oh she got me! You know what's funny, I actually said to Sharn within the first week, I was like 'hey imagine if there was like a mole here, someone who's lying about who they are!' But I would never have picked Jackie, no way, she poker-faced me. I knew she was dodge, but dodge as in a game-player and knows how to play the game really well. But I did think she wasn't a rubix cube master… she couldn't do the puzzle challenge (laughs) which is like, if you're gonna say you did something, then be good at it! I fell for it!
It seems like you made some incredible friends in the tribe while you were there, who did you think had what it took to go the distance?
I think all of them do, that's why they're on there. But if I have to pick some favourites, which I don't like picking favourites but I'll do it for you, Mat Rogers of course. He's a beautiful man and what an athlete! And Sharn, she's just like… I didn't know she was a lawyer until I met her and I was like 'oh my god we're going to be best friends because you're a lawyer so you can pick poker faces!' she's just so smart and such an incredible woman. And Commando Steve, he was the monk of the tribe. He would be a yogi, and he would give out inspirational quotes, he was just the coolest dude.
Mat Rogers and Moana became close pals on the show.
The Champions have such a close-knit tribe, but the Contenders weren't the same at the time. Did you have a feel for the Contenders tribe and could you see what was going on?
When we saw them, all we thought about was beating them, but watching it back now I'm like, 'oh I like you, oh I feel sorry for you, oh I don't like you.' I'm so glad, honestly, I'm so glad I was in the Champions tribe. Watching them back, I'm like oh man what is that shelter you've built? Oh and I wouldn't want to be stuck on an island while four men are doing nude runs in to the water, that's not my thing (laughs).
Would you return to Australian Survivor if you had the chance?
Absolutely, I would. I'd probably somehow smuggle in some meds just in case I got sick again. That definitely would be a smuggling option. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and I don't feel like I got to fulfil it, so definitely.
You mentioned your sister Lavina during your time on the show, is she watching all the episodes with you now? She must be so proud of you!
So proud! Her, my mum and my family are so in love with it. My mum would call me every day and be like, 'so what's happening tonight? Tell me who's leaving?' And I would always say wait to watch it. She would still press me for information! Vin is pretty cute. I remember the episode where we got Russell off, Vinnie was sitting there before tribal council and she was like 'oh Russell's gotta go, you gotta get Russell off.' She gets it and she's so in to it. She loves it.
Moana shared a heartwarming video of the day she reunited with her sister, after filming Survivor.
"We didn't tell Vinny when I was coming home. Being away from her with no contact was one of the hardest things I've ever done.... I think you can tell it was mutual," Moana wrote on Instagram.

Annnnnd we're crying!
Australian Survivor continues Monday and Tuesday, 7:30 pm, on Network Ten.

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