‘Screw Winning An Oscar, Winning Survivor’s Way Better': Pia Miranda Is This Year’s Sole Survivor
Pia Miranda has just pulled off the role of a lifetime after managing to convince the ‘Australian Survivor’ jury that she deserved to take home the $500,000 over runner-up, Baden Gilbert.
Pia fought for her spot with an impassioned speech about her skilful social game and the jury unanimously voted for the actor at an emotionally charged final Tribal Council.
“I’m not joking, I’ve been dreaming about that moment for 20 years,” the ‘Survivor’ superfan told 10 daily after her win.
“Literally, the first time I saw ‘Survivor’ I thought, ‘I could win this’,” she added.
It seems only fitting that Pia’s ‘Survivor’ dream was born in the year 2000, the same year she appeared in her first major feature film, ‘Looking For Alibrandi’. And even more fitting that her ‘Survivor’ journey was overseen by host Jonathan LaPaglia, whose brother Anthony played her dad in the iconic Australian movie.
Pia summoned much more than just her acting skills in describing her 50 days of gameplay to the jury, fighting pain, exhaustion, hunger and near delirium, still recovering from the nearly seven-hour endurance challenge the night before.
“I don’t know if they show my feet or not because they got so swollen, they were like sausages, we couldn’t even walk afterwards,” she said of the final, brutal immunity challenge won by Baden.
“I think at that point, you’re so emotional and so drained, even winning didn’t seem real. It was pretty trippy. I kept asking [my husband] Luke to wake me up,” she told 10 daily.
Despite her exhaustion, Pia described her journey from bottom of the heap in a Champions tribe full of pro athletes to her evolution into The Smiling Assassin, a skilled social player who pulled the strings on multiple blindsides, most notably David’s.
Baden was unable to keep up with her verbal gymnastics, and swift rebuttals, with his core argument of choosing to "play from the middle" not earning any respect from the jury.
“I was surprised because there were a lot of Contenders on the jury, I thought Baden made a pretty good pitch,” Pia diplomatically said.
She explained that her own pitch wasn’t helped by her years on her stage, but rather, something much nerdier.
“I was a debater at school so I think that helped me -- I think that some of my nerd qualities came out and became an asset,” she laughed.
Her debating skills even managed to alleviate the heartache of the previous tribal, where she made the devastating decision to vote Luke out instead of sending him to a fire-making tiebreaker.
“It was really tough. I was really upset when Luke and I were talking on the beach because I knew that the best play for me was to vote Luke out. We’d had an up and down relationship and I wasn’t sure if he’d take me to final two, and I was pretty sure I couldn’t beat him,” she explained.
Pia said she is most proud of her performance in the final challenge -- but also of the tight friendship she formed with Janine.
“I think it’s a tough game because you’re lying and voting people out. To have one friend where I said, ‘I’m not going to lie to you, I’m not going to vote you out’, it was really something I was proud of. "
Since filming wrapped a few months ago, the Sole Survivor has been keeping things “pretty lowkey” at home with her family.
“Coming out of 'Survivor', one of the things I did learn out there was, I just really appreciate my family and my kids and I just really wanted to stay small because it was such an epic challenge for me and such a full-on experience that I really needed to regroup,” she said.
After 50 days, the challenges for Pia weren't over, having to keep the huge secret of her win.
"It’s been hard. I’ve just been lying to people and saying that I didn’t know anything. I haven’t even told my mum," Pia admitted, adding that she also had to convince her son the ending was fake.
"We're going to watch as a family," she added, "My daughter's been amazing. She's been busting, I think she's feeling really excited today. She's super excited to watch."
"This sort of thing is absolutely life-changing for us. It means we can breathe," she said. "I haven’t absolutely decided where it’s all going but I know that it’s humbling and I appreciate it and I don’t take that lightly."