After 24 contestants landed ashore for season two of Australian Survivor, the scheming and gameplay began immediately. However, Joan Cabellero, 29, an escape room manager in Sydney, sealed her own fate when she announced she was great at puzzles but failed to produce an immunity win for Asaga. In a toss-up between her and puzzle-mate Kent, Joan became the first person voted out. She spoke to WHO about her experience.
Q: So it came down to a re-vote. Were you surprised at that and did it give you a glimmer of hope?
A: It did. I'm glad it was a really close challenge. I'm glad that it was a really close tribal. It makes me feel a lot better that it wasn't a major landslide of a loss. I was counting it out on my fingers who I had and who was with me but I didn't expect to go that night.
Q: Were you surprised watching it back on TV that it was Luke who instigated the re-vote?
A: Yes! I thought it was Sarah but then I was wrong with Sarah as she voted against me! I got a couple of the numbers wrong but I knew I had half the numbers. I just didn't know who was on which half.
Q: It seems some tribe members were stuck on your saying you weren't particularly good at cardio.
A: That was just Sam and Sam is an endurance runner, so that's her world, being able to run. For anyone else, I mean, Ben was just gassed out all the time walking from our beach to the other side of the beach. I think that was just Sam, but it planted the seed in everyone else's mind. I mean, if you put me up against Kent, I'm pretty sure I could beat Kent in any sort of physical sport, even the swimming.
Q: Kent said on the show he was being very social and that may have helped him.
A: I would not sleep if I were to do it again! I fell asleep from sundown to sunrise and I think that was my downfall. During the time I slept, everyone was awake and having conversations and that was when Kent was just genuinely forming relationships.
Q: Even so, did you make any friends during your three days?
A: Yes. I'm friends with everyone now. We're watching the show at each other's houses, we're checking in on each other, we know everyone's birthday. We are all a big Survivor family. It's good how close we actually are. I can't wait for DJ AK to deejay a wedding Jacqui to be the marriage celebrant!
Q: You mentioned how if you were to do it again, you wouldn't have put your hand up for the puzzle. Is that the case? And how hard was it to do?
A: For me, I knew I would kick myself if I didn't get to try the challenge. Who knows how the vote would have went if I didn't do the puzzle and I ended up doing the physical challenges. Maybe I couldn't get up that net and then maybe that's why I got voted out. So I'm glad I got voted out doing something I loved and I experienced it and now I can say I've ticked that off my list — 'I've done a puzzle on Survivor.'
Q: You have actually survived quite a lot in your life, and now you can add reality TV to the list! What was it like to share this moment with your family, especially kids Jose, Lily and Allegra?
A: They were so excited. Every time the camera panned to me, they were like, 'Mum!' They were keeping a running tally of how many times they showed me. I'm so glad I got a lot of airtime in the one episode I was in. It was good while it lasted. It was shortlived but it was sweet.
Q: Would you do it again if you were asked to return?
A: No! I love it as a fan but not as a participant. I don't think I could come back.
Q: What's next for you?
A: We are opening up a new escape room. Our theme is going to be a Japanese horror-type theme and it's really exciting to get that all sorted. We're currently in the build-out of that and designing the puzzle. I went straight back into designing the puzzle for that room!
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