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'Australian Survivor' Forced Abbey To Face Her Fears

Chatting to 10 Daily over the phone, Women's AFL star Abbey said that the game of Survivor taught her to "find these mental strengths" that she didn't realise she had.

"I hate heights, with a passion," Abbey explained. "When I'm saying heights, I mean like, that feeling of even jumping on a trampoline -- when you go down,  that whole feeling makes my stomach turn!"

Of course, anyone who's seen 'Survivor' will know that heights are kind of an inevitable part of the challenges, and Abbey soon found herself "tested" by her fears.

"That mental strength you develop really comes to fruition when you have to do something for your tribe, so you just go and do it," she shared. "So you find out things about yourself that you never knew existed and for me, facing my fears in some of the challenges is really exciting to me."

In fact, Abbey said that pushing herself -- physically and mentally -- was one of the main reasons she signed up for the show in the first place.

"I just hate that feeling of comfort and content," she explained. "So I'm always looking to constantly challenge myself and get to that uncomfortable feeling."

After watching last season of 'Champions Vs Contenders' and getting really into it, Abbey was quick to get the "tick of approval from [her] partner, friends and family" when approached to be on the show herself.

Calling it a "pretty crazy ride", Abbey said that it was "an opportunity" that doesn't knock at your door every day, adding: "You'd be crazy not to not to take it up and give it a crack".

Having paid close attention to last year's Champions, Abbey said that she "definitely learned from Lydia's game" after watching her get voted out for being too dominant in challenges.

"Lydia was kind of that powerhouse, physical threat in the game, and that was her undoing in the end, after the tribe merge, so I guess I kind of learnt from her mistakes," she said.

Abbey explained that she went in trying to work out whether she was going to be a physical, social or strategic threat, and over the course of her time in the game, she tried to "find a way to blend them all together".

She explained that although she knew she would be "seen as a physical threat", she went in asking herself how she could "fly under the radar a little bit more than Lydia did".

While Abbey wanted to be true to herself, "first and foremost", she also wanted to "blend in a little bit" and "hold back in a few challenges" so that she didn't end up with a huge target on her back.

"It was hard to try to dull down the fact that I am a physical threat because I'm very competitive," she shared. "As soon as Jonathan said 'go', yeah, that's where my white line fever comes to play!"

"You know, you go in there with all these ideas, like 'I'm going to stick to my word, I'm not gonna lie', and then two days later, you're like 'aw, s**t'," she laughed.

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After confronting her fears and having a once in a lifetime adventure, Abbey told us that she would "treasure this experience forever", especially because it led to some "incredible relationships and friendships with people on the show".

Surprised to find herself connecting with so many of her fellow competitors as deeply as she did, she explained: "you go into that situation and you're with these people 24/7. You have no choice but to talk to one another, and they're essentially my family now."

Still, it wouldn't be 'Survivor' without the lies, blindsides and drama, and one of the other elements of the game that Abbey found surprising was "how many lies people tell" and "how uncomfortable you feel in a number of different circumstances".

Used to "trusting people on face value and taking people at their word", Abbey said that she struggled with having conversations with people while knowing in the back of her mind that "they could be bulls***ting" her.

Lies aside, though, Abbey said that the whole experience was "bloody real".

"You have zero help," she explained. "Like, I watched 'Survivor' last season like 'is this real?', but going in and experiencing it firsthand, you're literally out there just to survive."

Australian Survivor: Champions V Contenders' premieres Wednesday, 24 July at 7.30pm, only on 10, 10 Play and WIN Network.

Feature image: 10