Australian Survivor’s Paige on shock elimination and why she thinks the Contenders made the wrong call

‘They’ve told me they regret voting me out’

By Tina Burke
Paige became the eighth person voted out of Australian Survivor, with the Contenders unanimously voting to eliminate her from the tribe (ASIDE: Seriously, you guys, how many times do you need to be told to split the vote?).
Paige was somewhat blindsided by the decision, as she was told the tribe would be voting to eliminate the ever-sneaky Benji.
The 24-year-old was unable to ever really gain the trust of her tribe, despite her efforts to prove herself as a strong tribe-member in challenges over her 24 days on the island. Unfortunately for Paige, her inability to really cement her place in any of the alliances led to her elimination.
We caught up with Paige after her elimination, to find out more about her time on Australian Survivor and see what's in store for the contenders.
TV WEEK: Last night's episode picked up after the tribe had unanimously voted for Zach to be eliminated. It seemed like camp was pretty positive after that…
Paige: We were so happy! It was the best. We got back from tribal and I think it was one of the best nights that we'd had out there. We had so much extra food and we had like a second dinner because we were just that happy. It was a great vibe.
Paige says the tribe was much happier after Zach (left) was eliminated.
There was also quite a tear-jerking moment in the episode, when you were all given a little token from home. Did that really just uplift the Contenders tribe?
It was crazy how much those gifts really meant to us! You know, 50 days is a long time, but a short time, in all sorts of different ways, but to see the presents and to see it was a photo from my boyfriend it just meant the world. It really kind of connected me to him and got me going again, and I was so ready to go for the second half of the game.
Unfortunately you didn't make it to the second part of the game. You seemed to have a target on your back from early on, though you hadn't really done anything to earn it. Why do you think that was?
I think I just seemed like a bit of a threat. When Benji voted for me the first time, he said 'you're smart and you should have hidden that'. Who you are just comes out naturally, and it's hard to hide it, so I think everyone thought oh god she's a bit too smart she's going to be a bit of a threat, maybe she's playing the game. But I was really innocent, I really wasn't doing anything, I was just trying to get through the first couple of weeks. Everyone sort of created my reputation for me, and once that happens it's pretty hard to shake it.
It's interesting you say they created the reputation for you, because as a viewer it really did seem like all you were trying to do was find an alliance to be a part of…
Yeah that's it! And I obviously picked the wrong one from the start. And you know, people sort of said why would you go back to the boys? But, if I'd turned around and gone to one of the other alliances how's that gonna look? Trying to get in with someone else after my alliance kicks me out? I sort of had no choice, I had to just keep working with the guys.
Obviously in that situation [being voted for by your alliance] isn't great. After that happened were you just wanting to feel safe, and thought the best way to do that was prove your loyalty and show that you were worth keeping around?
Exactly, 'cause I really never did anything to show them that I wasn't loyal. I kept voting with them and kept showing them that all of this stuff they had made up about how I was untrustworthy, wasn't true.
Of course there's a lot of editing down, so we don't see everything, but it really did seem like Benji was under threat of being eliminated when everyone was having their private chats at camp. Is that what you thought the plan was?
Oh yeah! One hundred percent. I'd had really good chats with Tegan, Shonee, Fenella and Heath. We all agreed that Benji was a massive threat, that he was lying and that his story didn't add up. There was just so much about him that was questionable and we really all agreed that he needed to go… but, unfortunately, I think Benji just worked his magic and got around to everyone and played the card that we couldn't lose a guy because we need him for challenges. I think that's the way people went and it's understandable, we had lost so much so I can sort of see why [they kept Benji].
Paige was shocked by the decision to vote her out.
At tribal council, Jonathan asked if you had people you trusted and you said yes. Were you referring to Tegan and Heath?
Yeah, more like Tegan specifically. It wasn't shown a whole lot, but in that time around Tegan's first vote when she got sent to Exile we worked together and we connected and we got really close. Unfortunately, I did participate in the blindside against her, that was really just to avoid having a target on my own back. After she came back I laid all my cards out on the table and explained everything that happened and came clean, and I agreed to work with her. I told her that I would keep acting like I was working with Robbie and Benji so that they wouldn't doubt anything. I think it just seems like I was playing everyone's sides and no one could really know who it was I was trusting.
It did seem as though you felt quite bad over Tegan being sent to Exile, and it was fun to watch when you called out Benji as he tried to explain his way out of that web of lies…
That was a really big moment. I knew he had put that vote together, and everyone knew it, and he was doing everything possible to avoid blame and I just wanted him to own up. In this game, if you're going to be this big game player, this strategist, then own up to it and don't try to act like it was someone else who did it because it was all you.
He's a sneaky one! I'm keen to see how this pans out. Obviously no one wants to go home, but do you think they've genuinely made a mistake eliminating you, at this point in the game?
I definitely think they made the wrong call, Benji was such a massive threat in that game and so manipulative and everyone knew it. It wasn't really a secret that he was pulling the strings and calling all the shots, but they just wanted to keep him to win challenges. But as we see on Monday there's a bit of a shake up coming. Definitely some of the Contenders have told me since that they regret making that decision to vote me out, but that's the luck of the draw. You never know what's around the corner.
I guess it's just the nature of the game, it's a lot more difficult than it seems…
You don't have any hindsight, or foresight, you're just trying to get through the next hour or day.
Do you think you would do anything different, if you had your time on Australian Survivor again?
It's hard to say. I could probably go back and play that game one hundred different ways, and align with different people, and tell different lies, but who knows what would have happened. Looking back on it, maybe it wasn't the best decision to align with Rob and Benji. I should have trusted my judgement and known that young, good looking boys like that don't always tell the truth [laughs]. But you know I'm really happy with my experience, I'm so lucky to have event got there in the first place and to get halfway.
Australian Survivor airs Monday and Tuesday, 7:30pm, on Network Ten.

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