After a dramatic tribal council in which Nick played his immunity idol and a departing Kate told middle-of-the-road players to "have some balls," a stirred-up Fia Fia returned to camp and let their emotions out.
Nick, rattled from being called a snake by Sam, needed a good cry and El stood by to comfort him. He then tried to set things right by Sam and Lee. In better spirits, Nick channeled his energy into a reward challenge win for letters from home — a boost for him and Matt, who wanted to hear from his fiancée and got the chance when Kristie gave up her reward.
But Nick also knew that without an idol to protect him, he was vulnerable at the next tribal council, and when he dropped out of the immunity challenge, he knew all he could do was geek out about getting his torch snuffed.
WHO spoke to Nick Iadanza, a 28-year-old high school teacher from Adelaide, about becoming the fourteenth person to leave Australian Survivor and the first member of the jury.
Q: So, fanboy, was it everything you imagined it would be?
A: It was everything and more. I seriously never thought I would be able to cross off so many things on my bucket list. The last one was to win, but yeah, I got nine out of the 10 things I wrote down before I got out there.
Q: Did Jonathan appreciate the hug after snuffing your torch?
A: Oh he loved it because after I was voted out, he came back for another one. He's a hugger.
Q: You admire those who play the game hard. Would that extend to Kate as well?
A: Absolutely. Kate was playing really hard. I love Kate. I think she's a really good person. I've just never subscribed to this idea that people 'deserve' to be there. It's a reality show called Survivor. No one 'deserves' to be there. It's about who is there and who plays the best game. It's not about who you are in your real life because we all checked our real lives at the door. It's not about deserving or who is good and who is bad. I respect and admire her gameplay — it's just not for me and I just don't think it's in the spirit of Survivor.
Q: So when you were having heart-to-hearts with people about what you are like in real life, was that hypocritical?
A: No, absolutely not because you are not supposed to show who you really are, but sometimes it comes through, and I understand that. I just don't think anyone should be condemned for being who they are. It's hypocritical to condemn someone when everyone is out there trying to play a game.
Q: But the cry was good, right?
A: Oh, my God, I was feeling the darkest that night and that morning before the challenge. The letter from my fiancée, my sisters and my dad was exactly what I needed. It, seriously, gave me that fire to keep going. I was cooked. I was done, but they brought me back in.
Q: Where do you keep that letter from home now?
A: I've got it at home. I've got my grandfather's suitcase from when he migrated to Australia. It's got all my precious things in it, so that letter's gone straight in there as well as my Survivor buff.
Q: You certainly drew strength from your family during challenges. Did you think you'd do as well physically as you did?
A: I absolutely had no idea I would be good at physical challenges. My biggest fear was I was going to stuff up the challenges and then get voted out because of it, and I thought, 'Oh, that's OK because I've got the strategic game on lock.' Well, when I went out there, my strategic game was nowhere near as good as it should have been and my physical game is what saved me, and for someone who has never played team sports or been an outdoorsman, the fact that I could compete and win against the big boys? That's something I will never forget and I know, I know with 100 percent certainty, that that was my mum staring down at me and guiding me forward.
Q: You played hard in the beginning with the poem you made up about the idol clue on Vavau. Did you know how much that would haunt you for the rest of your game?
A: I had absolutely no idea that that was going to be the cloud that hung over me the whole time, because yeah, I lied. I told my alliance of Jenna-Louise, Craig and Sue straightaway but I definitely lied for the clue. I didn't realise that it would be such a big deal, and I'm not quite sure. I think it's my personality that makes it seems so much worse than it was because Phoebe and Rohan and Kylie, they all lied as well, but it just doesn't appear as bad because that's just who they are. That's a credit to them and a mark against my name.
Q: Kate tried to call out the power trio of women in the last tribal but you actually named them. Good or bad of you to do that?
A: It was a known fact before tribal council that I was going home and it was very openly discussed at tribal council. I had absolutely no illusions that I would be staying. I wanted to say, 'Look, this is who is controlling the game — do what you will with it.' It's not that I wanted to get the girls voted out, but I wanted to mix everything up. I was trying to look out for Matt because Matt was on the outside and thought he was on the inside. He's my Adelaide buddy and we were such good friends out there that I didn't want him thinking he was in something that he really wasn't.
Q: Brooke, Flick and El were not 'Mean Girls,' then?
A: They were people who were just in control and they are three women who knew what they wanted, and to call them Mean Girls, I think, is extremely misguided and a bit of an indictment on the way that we view women in power, to be honest.
Q: Was too much knowledge good or bad for you as a player?
A: I was thinking about it on too much of a Meta level and not just kind of letting it happen. I was letting things happen in my brain first, and that did come back to bite me because my enthusiasm is one of the really charming parts of my personality but it's also one of the grating parts of my personality.
Q: You are the first juror and it's a final two scenario. Thoughts?
A: I was really surprised. All of a sudden, your final three deal needs to be rethought because a final three doesn't sound good enough if it's final two. I was so excited to be on the jury. Shy of winning the game, it's the goal that everyone goes for. The fact that I'm the first person there, I get to set the tone and I get to establish the fact that the person who is going to win this game is a person who has to play hard and has to understand strategy. Otherwise, you're not getting my vote.
Q: You lasted two days shy of the length of the US game.
A: I lost over seven kilos and my hair was falling out, I had bug bites and scabs and infections all over my skin, and I love it. That's so perfect. If I didn't have any of that, I would be so upset!
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